Death in the Ravine

A dispatch from Corinth, Ky., says: In the year 1817, about one mile from where Corinth, Ky., is located, some men engaged in making counterfeit money made their home in a cave, which is found in the ravine, subsequently known as “Dead Man's Hollow.”

At the brow of a hill, over which the “old state road,” that leads from Cincinnati to Lexington, this cave is found.  Five streamlets, from different directions, pout their silvery threads of water into nature's chasm, making a musical monotony.  at the left of the “old state road” was a cavern, about ten feet deep and 30 by 40 feet in diameter, over which a huge rock hung, providing shelter for the occupants.  Here was found their tools for counterfeiting, and bunks on which their families slept.  Just beyond stood an old county tavern where intoxicants were kept and where travelers spent the night on their trading journeys to and from Cincinnati.

It was the custom in those days for farmers and traders to drive cattle and hogs through Kentucky and along the old state road, and return on horseback with money on their persons.  Many traders as far south as Winchester and Danville and Richmond went to market this way.

In the fall of 1823, and young man by the name of Abernathy, from Central Kentucky, was returning from Cincinnati, having sold a large drove of cattle, and stopped at the tavern.

A plan to murder than man was formed and at midnight they made a raid and broke into the tavern, and went to his room, but Abernathy had fled.  He was tall, with piercing black eyes and attractive manner, and won the heart of daughter of one of the would be murderers. She had learned of their plan and had revealed it to him, with whom she fled into the wilderness for safety.  In those days, Kentucky was by thinly inhabited and ten or twenty miles of wood intervened between their houses.

They were overtaken and both were brutally murdered. Their bodies were carried to and his in the cave, where the compositions of limestone preserved them for years.  Abernathy it is said had $1,800 on his person.

The killing of one of the inmates of the den caused some dissatisfaction which resulted in another murder and thus the mob was broken.  These bodies were seen years afterwards and retained an almost perfect form.  The county tavern was still a place for frolic and revelry.  Gambling and dancing were incessant evils.

George w. Henry, aged 77, from whom the reporter received most of his information, said that 65 years ago, as he was going home from a dance at the inn, on passing the cave his horse was frightened and ran a mile before he could stop it.  He heard a noise like roaring thunder, which was frightful and he could not tell what that noise was.  He said, “I would swear to that in any court.”

Other old an reliable citizens tell many stories of ghosts and hobgoblins connected with their visits to “Dead Man's Hollow.”

During the civil war, John Beard was killed by soldiers, some of whom will read this article and recall the heinous looking place  that has haunted them for these years, and his body was cast into the cave, but found and removed later.

It is impossible to get negroes to go near the "Hollow" after dark; they invariably see ghosts. Drunken men are frequently haunted there and will be sober before passing.  Many declare they hear voices, moans, and shrieks.

As was reported last summer, Leslie Farmer was digging in the cave, and found an old coffee boiler full of ancient coins, which he sold for a good sum.  There is no doubt that rich treasures of wealth are hidden on the old cave.


from the Alexandria Gazette, Alexandria, Virginia, March 5, 1897