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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 144, October 1, 1853

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Identifier: DX04161471

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 144, October 1, 1853

Description: Regarding the slave guides at Mammoth Cave, and a tale of a wedding party whose boat capsized in the cave.

Transcription:

go in two years time. He [Stephen Bishop] is now earning the money for it. His former owner was his father. The constant newspaper glorification of Stephen together with the Latin scraps he’s picked up have made him a Cave lion, and therefore the other three good fellows are snubbed into comparative insignificance, all visitors being eager for Stephen’s guidance; whereas the others troglodyze just as well, sans the display of vanities and self will and harmless braggadocio. Mat, says Mr Miller, is the only one whose word he can thoroughly depend on. / Seated Round a blazing wood fire, Mr M; the good-looking young Southerner, hight Oliver Kellam, and I sate sociably smoking far into the night. Nought worse than a sprained ancle has occurred in cave periginations. Folk have been lost for varying times, one for a drearily-passed forty-eight hours, but discovery has always ended the horror of it. Once, owing to some fools conduct on the part of a girl a boat was sunken on Echo River. The party, a wedding one from Bowlingreen, (a little town hereabouts,) were wetted by three feet of water, their lights extinguished, themselves horribly scared, but presently landed on a rock platform by the exertions of guide Nicholas. And then he contrived to rouse the boat, bale it out and get the party back, though in the darkness, to be rescued by Stephen, sent in by Mr Miller, who found that Green River was rising, and was anxious about the safety of the visitors. There’s in reality little chance of danger in the Cave, excepting from an overcrowded boat and folly on the part of its occupants. Were one to sink in the deep deeper parts of Echo River, inevitable, unspeakably horrible death would result to all; the bravest swimmer might strike out in that ice-cold water and Cimmerian blackness, cluth clutching at slimy rocks offering no grip or landing place, and all in vain. The streams wind and turn that even a guide would have but little chance. And these Rivers might rise, as during Winter and Spring they do, barring access to the miles of cavern on the other side; but Green River being carefully watched, any persons there exploring might be

Rights: NoC-US

Place:

Dates: 1853-10-01

Type(s): Diary
Page

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

Subjects: African Americans
Diaries
Mammoth Cave (Ky.)
Slavery
Slaves
Travel
Smoking
Slaveholders
Boats and boating

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