An Interesting Day
It was an interesting day in the documentary project. First off Gross McGee posted a on the Charles Waldack page about a trip report from 1866. It contains a great account of Nick Bransford the guide. He writes the following:
From my favorite article about the cave in 1866.
Nick is a joker. A guide for twenty-eight years, he has caught something from every party he has led, and touch him where you will, you find a ready pun. He mingles instruction with fun, yet is not garrulous or satirical. If you ask him where that avenue leads to, he will probably first say “that it don’t go nowhere, it stays right hyah,” and then give the information. That prop against the wall “holds up the cave.” A few hundred yards from the entrance are seen the vats of saltpeter miners who worked here in 1812. The wooden pipes show no signs of decay, and the imprint of the hoofs of the oxen are not only still visible, bur are turning to stone. Nick rakes for bits of corncob in the stalls where the oxen were fed and when somebody observes that none are there, he gets off his regular joke, the he will “have to bring more in—de last ones didn’t last three months.”
He was kind enough to send me a copy of the article from the Cincinnati Commercial 03Aug.1866 p2. The article is not available online but he had tracked it down. I sent him a couple of newspaper notes of marginal interest to his Charles Waldack project.
I then received an email from the Huntington Library in California about some letters I had request they copy for me. These are letters between Matt Bransford and Albert Janin regarding his business of providing a boarding house for black visitors to the cave and his leading those tourists through the cave. I also requested a scanned copy of a business card from the “Bransford Summer Resort.” There is a fee involved for the use of the card in the documentary, but it is reasonable amount and this is an important aspect of the story. I just need to fill out the form and send in the fee. So it is a win.
Next I received a copy of a document I requested from The Tennessee State Library. It is the complete text of “A Trip to Mammoth Cave, Ky.” By James Fowler Rusling published in 1864. It contains contains among other things a conversation between abolitionist Rusling and Materson Bransford about how he felt when his first three children were sold away.
I also purchased a TomTom at a Black Friday sale price to make sure I don’t get turned around again on any future excursions (like hunting for Roger Brucker’s house) when mapquest just doesn’t cut it. I am not sure this will be any better, but it can’t hurt.
The other minor thing that arrived was a copy of Art Palmer’s “Geology of Mammoth Cave” book. I have another copy somewhere in the attic, but it is still missing. So I bought this second copy cheap on eBay.
Overall it was a successful day in the project.
Edward Forrest Frank