Early White Guides at Mammoth Cave

Early White Guides at Mammoth Cave

The primary focus of the documentary I am producing is the black guides who worked at Mammoth Cave and their story.  The reason for this is frankly because it is more dramatic.  It involves slavery, manumission, prejudice, role of race in society, discrimination, segregation, and Jim Crow laws set atop the background of the role of guides and the exploration of the longest cave in the world.  That being said I do not want to ignore the role that white guides played and their contributions to the history of the cave and the exploration of the cave.  I want to include in the documentary segments on these men as told by their descendants and historians of the region.

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I would like to include in the documentary an introduction by family members still residing in the region of their family’s role in the history of the cave.  For example someone saying something to the effect:  “My great-great grandfather John Smith worked as a guide in the cave from 1820-1840, he had three sons, two of them, Bill and Bob, also worked in the cave from xxxx until xxxx and from xxxx until xxxx.  The third son, Fred, worked at the hotel as a manger from xxxx until xxxx.  Bill was the guide to some famous person, and discovered this new section of the cave.” 

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I want to invite locals who had ancestors who worked as cave guides or at the cave property to contact me.  We can discuss what information should be included in these segments of family history.  We can make arrangements to videotape these short interview pieces on my next visit to the cave.  Yes, the segments will be short, but they would create a fuller appreciation about the bond between the people and families who lived and worked in the region and the cave.   I know there are descendants of Archibald Miller, the Lees, the Hunts, and the Nelsons among others who could contribute immensely to the project.  Les Carney has already contributed photos of his grandfather Lester Carney with tour groups he led into the cave. So please contact me and see what we can work out.  edfrank@comcast.net

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Lester Carney and cave group

About Edward Forrest Frank

My name is Edward Frank. By training I am a geologist with published research on caves found in the United States, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. I am the webmaster, BBS administrator, and run the Facebook Page for the Native Tree Society and am involved with tree research with the group. I am the author, or coauthor, of a number of tree related articles and publications available for download from the NTS website and NTS BBS. I edit the monthly magazine for the group - eNTS Magazine. I write science fiction and fantasy stories reflecting a lifelong love of the genres. Most recently I published a fantasy role playing game Knarf 4, available through Amazon Kindle. I have an extensive science fiction and fantasy library and have long enjoyed table top role-playing games. Not satisfied with commercially available games, I started creating my own game variations in the mid 1980's. Knarf 4 is latest version best version of those games. I also write non-fiction. I currently am working on a book on "The Old-Growth Forests of Cook Forest State Park, PA" targeting older children and teens. I am suave, sophisticated, funny, kind, considerate, thoughtful, brilliant, devilishly handsome, and above all modest.
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One Response to Early White Guides at Mammoth Cave

  1. Eric Elder says:

    My wife’s grandfather, Parker Ritter was a guide at Mammoth Cave from 1943-1976. Parker was one of the 18 original guides hired when Mammoth Cave became a National Park in 1941. I have photos and other information if you are interested. I am currently a guide.

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