John Muir


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pears, he complacently covered the table with bits of rocks, plants, etc., things new and old, supposed to be full of scientific interest, which he had gathered in his surveying walks. He informed me that all scientific men applied to him for information, and as I was a botanist he either possessed or out to possess the knowledge I was seeking, and so I received long lessons concerning roots and herbs for every mortal ill. Thanking my benefactor for his kindness, escaped to the fields and followed a railroad along the base of a grand hill ridge. As evening came on all the dwellings I found seemed to repel me, and I could not muster courage enough to ask entertainment at any of them. Took refuge in a log schoolhouse that stood upon a hillside beneath stately oaks, and slept on the softest looking of the benches. Sept. 6. Started at the earliest bird song in hopes of seeing the great mammoth cave before evening. Overtook an old negro driving an ox team; rode with him a few miles and had some interesting chat concerning war, wild fruits, etc. “Right heah,” said he “is where the rebs was a tearin’ up the track, and they all a suddin thought they seed the Yankees a comin’, ober dem big hills darr, and Lod’ how dey run.” I asked him if he would like a renewal of these war times, when his flexible face suddently calmed as he said, with intense earnestness, “O Lod, want no mo wa, Lod no.” Many of these Kentucky negroes are shrewd and intelligent and when you get them warmed up on a subject that interests them, are eloquent in no mean degree. Arrived at Horseshoe cave about ten miles from the great cave. The entrance is by a long easy slope of several hundred yards. It seems like a noble gateway to the birthplace of springs and fountains, the dark treasuries of the mineral kingdom. This cave is in a village which it supplies with abundance of cold water, and cold air that issues from its fern-clap lips. In hot weather crows of people sit about it in the shade of the trees that guard it. This magnificent fan is

Date Original

July 1867


Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist