Laetitia and her group crossed the state line into West Virginia. Their ultimate destination was Capon Bridge, but first they went south for a stop at Capon Springs. One meaning of the word “capon” is a male chicken whose testicles have been surgically removed to maximize meat production in the castrated bird. Development of the technique is credited to the Romans. However the West Virginia place name is derived from the Shawnee Indian word for a local stream, “Cape-cape-de-hon,” meaning “River of Medicine Water.”
Originally called Frye’s Springs, the river was believed to have medicinal properties. During the mid-nineteenth century, a hotel, spa, and resort, the Capon Springs Historic Hotel, was built to capitalize on the springs putative healing capability. Laetitia brought her group to the hotel, where they toured the grounds. Some of the group used the spa.
Then they headed north to the Edwards Run Wildlife Management Area for some wildlife viewing before heading toward Capon Bridge for the evening. On the way they stopped at the late-nineteenth-century Hook Tavern. When the group viewed the span over the Cocapon River for which Capon Bridge is named, a poultry farmer from Kentucky named Clem who was on the tour said to his wife, “See, I told you the bridge wasn’t actually made out of capons.” Laetitia smiled and later wrote the limerick of the day.
Clem thought Capon Bridge must be schlock
When he thought of his own capon flock
For a castrated bird
Is rather absurd
For use as a bridge building-block.