The Teays River Valley, near Geneva Indiana

     Updated March 18, 2008        URL is

The Amazing Story of Our Teays River



This content is yet another fine publication available at the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site in Geneva, Indiana.

The Teays River Valley

The pre-glacial Loblolly area was the Ancient Teays River Valley. The Teays River was one to two miles wide and over 500 feet deep before the Wisconsin Glacier moved through the area. The watershed map [which remains unscannable so far, for this website] shows the relationship of the Teays River (outlined in red) and the pre-drainage Limberlost Swamp (light blue.) It is here in the Limberlost that the Teays River made a turn from a southwest flow to a nearly straight west flow.

The direction of the glacier’s flow over the Teays was in this same southwest direction. As the glacier bulldozed its way through, it filled the Teays River with all its preceding soil and debris. After the glacier advanced past the Teays, it began to accumulate more soil and debris again. However, at this point the glacier stopped its forward movement and began to melt.

Since the glacier had just dumped much of its load into the Teays River, it formed a low lying area in the moraine. As the glacier continued to melt, the water needed an outlet. The lowest area of the moraine provided the outlet (outwash) and the water eroded the soil and formed the area that is now called Magic Valley.


Magic Valley is just a small part of the Salamonie Glacial Moraine formed 12,00 to 15,000 years ago. This glacial moraine is about two miles wide and consists of the high ground covering the southern 1/4 of the watershed. It is characterized by the many small branches of the Limberlost in Jay County, Indiana and Mercer County, Ohio. The Salamonie Moraine in the watershed continues through upper Bear, Wolf, and Sam Creeks and extends to upper Camp Run in Jay and Wells Counties in Indiana.

Wabash Moraine

The other moraine we are familiar with is the Wabash Moraine north of the Wabash River. The Wabash Moraine is the Continental Divide separating the water flowing to the Gulf of Mexico from the water flowing to Lake Erie. The outwash valley for the Wabash moraine was the Canoper between Geneva and Berne. (Read about the Canoper on the meander page of this site.)

Water Quality

Most of the water entering today’s Wabash enters from the south bank. The watershed entering the Wabash from the south is particularly important to the rural landowners and the town residents in and around Geneva, Indiana. The 75,000 acre Limberlost and Loblolly Watershed brings as much water to the Wabash in one stream as all the other streams entering the Wabash in Jay and Adams counties combined. What does this mean to the people of Geneva? It means lots of water! The Teays River and the glacier helped to create this depression, but much of the work we have done in the past 20 years to improve drainage has helped to increase the flooding problems and degrade the water quality.

Both the flood reduction and water quality improvement can be addressed by many of the same practices. Restoring wetlands and building water retention areas (ponds) will reduce the flooding potential and provide sediment traps to clean up the water. An ideal location for restoring wetlands would be above the Teays River. These wetlands would feed the aquifer with an abundant supply of water.


We spend thousands of tax dollars each year to remove sediment from our open streams, but spend practically nothing to keep it from eroding back into the stream. Why? Landowners in other counties are reducing their drainage costs by installing filter strips along their open streams and drainage ditches.

The filter strip, if planted with hay, can be baled twice a year. Such cutting allows the grass to take up more of the trapped nutrients and thus improve the water quality of the stream. A well maintained corridor will restrict grass growth in the channel and allow water to flow unobstructed downstream.


Fencing to exclude livestock from open streams is important. Livestock degrade a stream in two ways. First, they trample the stream banks and destroy the vegetation that provides protection from erosion. The banks and stream bottom are easily eroded with the next rainfall. Second, the fecal matter deposited in the stream is a direct load of nutrients that degrades the water quality.

Want to improve the water quality? We’ll supply the materials if you construct the fence. Funds for fence construction are supplied by an EPA 319 Grant administered by the Indiana Departmemt of Environmental Management and by Friends of the Limberlost

Other Points of Interest in the Watershed

Official State Historic (Web)Site

The Indiana State Historic Sites website is the official word.

Send gentle web corrections to Sandra Weinhardt, email