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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 130, September 30, 1853

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Identifier: DX04148711

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 130, September 30, 1853

Description: Describes a free mulatto guide for Mammoth Cave named Stephen Bishop.


reigned in his stead. Quite away out of the track of the world is the place [Mammoth Cave], no town or hamlet for a score of miles, Kentucky wild wood, mountain and brake engirdling you. Southern folk crowd the place during the sultry summer months, but we’re in the tail of the season, and but a handful of visitors here. The long porticos were all uncrowded, the sunlight basked on the luxuriant lawn and fine trees, and a little knot of idlers had collected at the portal. Two or three negroes guides, or waiters, a wooly-headed, black-velvetty skinned boy with his large white eyes, and four or five dogs, little and big, were waiting the advent of any chance visitors. In an arm chair, with its back tilted against the wall, sat a good-looking young Southerner [Oliver Kellam], idly cracking his whip, or critiscising the horsemanship of an Irish retainer of the establishment, who was attempting to leap a horse over a fence, in the field in front. Inscribing our names on the hotel books, we borrowed from a colored waiter, (yclept St Clair,) flannel jackets, of a yellow hue & caps, and were put under charge of Stephen [Bishop], for the descent in the Cave. Now this same guide is a notable fellow in his way, and has identified himself with the place to such an extent that folk inquire for him in special, esteeming themselves happy in securing his services. He’s a picturesque varlet, a bright yellow-ish tinged, warm complexioned mulatto with [word crossed out] jetty black curling hair under his low crowned, wide brimmed hat; bright eyes and sharp knowing glance. He sports a moustache, smokes eternally, and is altogether the sort of fellow [Paul] Gavarni would like to sketch and [Alexandre] Dumas to describe. Off Of his other peculiarities more anon. He, with his fellows were born thralls to Dr [John] Croghan, are freed now, by his will, and in two years or so will have earned money to transport them to Liberia. Steven Bishop, (that’s his whole name,) has been about the cave fifteen years, assisting to make most of the discoveries. / Off we

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-09-30

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: African Americans
Mammoth Cave (Ky.)


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