We’re at the point now where summer is slowly winding down, leave yourself a little time to explore your own surroundings before the hustle and bustle of fall arrives. Whether it’s where you live or a new place, get off the beaten path, grab adventure by the reigns and wander.
As you wander down Barrington Ferry Road after it turns into dirt just past the old Leconte Woodmanston plantation, you might be surprised to come upon a face peeking out from one of our Live Oak trees. Yep, you might actually see a face looking back at you while you’re doing some Sunday afternoon riding. And no, we’re not talking about the Keebler Elves. These faces are serene and majestic and unfortunately don’t make cookies! These are the Tree Spirits of Liberty County. They sit along the right-hand side of the road carved into two trees about 50 yards apart. We took a quick field trip out to see them and when I finally got a chance to get up close in person, only one thought came to mind: Ingebongies. I know now you’re thinking “What the heck is an Ingebongy?”
Well, when I was a little girl my brothers and I would visit my grandmother for the weekend. She had a great big house on a lot of property out in the boonies that she mostly used to ride her horses on, or take her dogs for a walk. I loved to visit her and tag along on these trips through the woods, not just for the horseback riding but also for the stories she’d tell us about her life growing up, how my mother was as a child and you guessed it, stories about the “Ingebongies.” The Ingebongies were spirits who lived in the trees and would only come out on certain occasions. I was very intrigued with this concept as a child, it couldn’t be very comfortable to live in a tree. And I was convinced if I lingered too long around any one particular tree the Ingebongies would snatch me away, never to be seen again.
Now I have no idea if these stories were an actual myth or if Ingebongies were my grandmother’s brainchild she used to add a little spice to our rides. I never have been a very talkative person. Whether it was fact or fiction, at 5 years old I was a true believer. I’m pretty sure everyone else knew they were just stories, but for me I knew every time something moved just outside my range of vision, it was an Ingebongy.
I’ve never forgotten these stories so as I’m sure you can imagine the tree spirits in Liberty County immediately brought me right back to my childhood! Except this time, I wasn’t scared I would get snatched away. (Mostly because I was in the truck, and I knew Leah and Delese wouldn’t let me get snatched away!)
We don’t know who carves these majestic faces or what the meaning is behind them, but they sure add a little mystery to a backroad we all love to wander down. Walk right up to it and you’ll see the amount of detail and precision in both faces. If you’ve ever tried to carve your name into a tree or wooden shed you know it’s pretty difficult to make it look nice, and yet the character and detail of these faces are a perfect example of rustic artwork.
Plan your next weekend around visiting these peculiar works of art and take in a bit of Liberty County on your ride. Bring the kids along and stop for a while at Briar Bay park at the playground. Maybe you’ll find a new Tree Spirit that has appeared recently or perhaps you’ll find another hidden gem. Explore Liberty!
-Erin Johnson, Creative & Content Manager for the Liberty County CVB
The Right Blend Blog is written by two different authors employed by the Liberty County Chamber/CVB. As we are able, we rotate weeks and each writes about our individual experiences, opinions and let our writing reflect our personalities and creativity. All content provided on The Right Blend blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.