A Remarkable Discovery
Augusta, Ky., March 17, 1876
To the Editor of the Cincinnati Commercial:
While out hunting on last Thursday night, on the land of S. K. Veach, near this place, my dogs suddenly ceased barking, and when our party got to the place where we expected to find them, no dogs were visible, but a low rumbling noise attracted our attention to a small elm tree, and going to it, we discovered a hole somewhat larger than a flour barrel and, by getting down from our horses, we could hear the dogs seemingly hundreds of yards under the hill adjacent. It being dark, we returned to town, and on Friday morning bright and early we went back to examine.
It seems that a large flat rock had lain over the mouth of a cave or cavern, and the ground gradually giving away, it had fallen to the floors beneath, some four feet perpendicularly, and then sloping down gradually at an angle of about 45°. We went to the house of Paddy Bradford, near by, and obtained some candles, and headed by the intrepid Captain Steven Waits, commenced our explorations. There were in the party John Harbeson, J. Wilson, L. Knodler, C. Coburn, B. Rankins, John Cablish, Jr., C. W. Taylor, Tom Allen, Henry Sisson, Tucker Drake, and myself.
After some hesitancy and trouble we made our descent for some two hundred yards through a passage or way varying from five to twelve feet in height, and from three to seven feet in width, when we entered a large chamber, perfectly square, and as near as we could guess, about eighty feet each way, and in the neighborhood of twenty feet high. It was the grandest room we had at that time ever seen, and our lights reflecting from the walls and ceilings gave the appearance of a magician’s palace. Our minds were lost in wonder and amazement. In the center of this room was a large square, built up of rock, which we lifted off, and there found an immense skeleton, eleven feet two inches in height. Some kind of metal cap, resembling copper, was lying near the head, and various trinkets scattered about. Also, a large sword five feet three inches in length. The sword is now in the possession of Hon. W. T. Marshall, at the Jo Doniphan House, and can be inspected by any one so desiring.
On to-morrow or next day we shall continue our explorations. The county is all excitement, hundred flocking to the place, but afraid to venture in. From the number of passages opening from the large room, we expect to find possibly a rival in our cave to the Mammoth. Mr. Veach is jubilant since he had gotten into the cave business, and has refused large offers for his land.
We will write again.
as reprinted in the New York Times.