Marshall County Alabama
Marshall County is located in the northeast part of the state and lies between the major metropolitan centers of Huntsville to the northwest and Birmingham to the southwest. Comprising approximately 567 square miles, Marshall County is one of the five smallest counties in the state. The population is 93,019. Its county seat is Guntersville, Alabama. A second courthouse is in Albertville, Alabama.
Marshall County Alabama History
Marshall County was created by the Alabama legislature on January 9, 1836, from Cherokee land acquired in the 1835 Treaty of New Echota.
During The War Between the States. Marshall County was the scene of several raids by Federal troops. It was unsuccessfully shelled by these troops on July 30, 1862 in an attempt to capture the town. It was again attacked on March 2, 1864, and again on August 24, 1864. It finally yielded to the invaders January 1865, and was burned and destroyed with the exception of six or seven buildings.
The Tennessee River runs southwest from the northeast portion of the county and exits in the northwest. The Paint Rock River forms a portion of the county’s northern boundary, and several tributaries of the Black Warrior River run through the southwest part of the county.
Marshall County Alabama Native Americans
Cherokees settled along the Creek Path and the Tennessee River as early as 1784 inhabiting the area. Most of the remains of these towns and villages can be identified.
Near the present village of Red Hill, on the west bank of Brown Creek, there was a Cherokee town used about 1790 by the head man of the tribe , Richard Brown, for whom the town was named. The Cherokees fought with Gen. Andrew Jackson at Talladega and Horseshoe Bend, and received Jackson’s praise for their military aid. Brown’s village was situated on two important Indian trails, one leading from Ditto’s Landing, now Whitesburg, across the Brindley Mountains, and the other on the Creek Path. About fifteen miles below the village there was a branch trail leading to the Creek settlement in middle Alabama. Corn Silk Village, on and one-half miles southeast of Warrenton on the Corn Silk farm of the Street plantation, on the banks of Corn Silk Pond, was a small Cherokee village, the head man of which was Corn Silk, for which the village was named.1
Marshall County Alabama Online contains a very good history of the American Indian Tribes in Marshall County Alabama.
Marshall County Alabama Cities
Albertville, nicknamed “Fire Hydrant Capital of the World,” is the largest city in Marshall County of North Alabama. The name is derived from Thomas A. Albert, one of the first area residents. It lies on Sand Mountain, a rich plateau about 25 miles wide and 75 miles long, extending from about 40 miles northeast of Birmingham and Creek Indian country. Albertville and the surrounding area are rich in Indian lore and history.
Arab, Alabama is a thriving city situated atop Brindlee Mountain, and just 30 miles south of Huntsville and 70 miles north of Birmingham.
The city of Boaz is named for the husband of Ruth, a Biblical character in the Old Testament.
Marshall County Alabama Towns
Douglas is a town in Marshall County. Douglas, a part of the Huntsville–Decatur Combined Statistical Area, had a population of 744 in the 2010 census. The town incorporated in 1978.
Douglas is concentrated around the intersection of State Route 75 and State Route 168, southwest of Albertville. Guntersville Lake lies several miles to the north. Douglas holds a Community Festival annually in March. It also maintains a sports complex that has baseball/softball fields.
Grant is a town in Marshall County. As of the 2010 census, the population of Grant was 896; it is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. The town was incorporated on November 15, 1945.
Grant is located on the plateau of Gunters Mountain. A historical cave, Cathedral Caverns, lies just north of Grant near Kennamer Cove. The town is concentrated along County Road 5 (Cathedral Caverns Highway, signed as Main Street in Grant) near the northern edge of Gunters Mountain, though the town includes corridors along CR 5 southward across the mountain to the shore of Guntersville Lake, and eastward along Baker Mountain Road to the edge of the mountain.
Sardis City Alabama
Sardis City is a town in Etowah and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of Alabama.It is part of the Gadsden Metropolitan Statistical Area.It originally incorporated in May 1963 under the name of Sardis. It later became Sardis City in the 1980s. At the 2010 census the population was 1,704.
Union Grove Alabama
Union Grove is a town in Marshall County, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. Union Grove is located approximately 3 miles from Guntersville Lake and 6 miles from Arab.
Marshall County Alabama Communities
Joppa is a census-designated place and unincorporated community in Cullman and Marshall counties. As of the 2010 census, its population was 501.
Asbury is an unincorporated community located on Sand Mountain in eastern Marshall County, Alabama, United States.It is located about nine miles east of the county seat of Guntersville.The community was named after a Methodist church, which was named for one of the first Methodist Episcopal Church bishops, Francis Asbury.
Claysville was named in honor of Henry Clay, and served as the county seat of Marshall County from 1836 to 1838. During the American Civil War, Claysville became a strategic location, due to the ferry crossing of the Tennessee River. A Union Army garrison was located here during the latter part of the war. The 13th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment was stationed here under the command of Colonel William P. Lyon. A post office operated under the name Claysville from 1831 to 1879.
Egypt is an unincorporated community in Marshall County, located 2.8 miles northwest of Arab.
Hog Jaw Alabama
Hog Jaw is an unincorporated community in Marshall County.
Horton is an unincorporated community in Marshall County. Its ZIP code is 35980. As of the 2000 census, the population was approximately 4,450.
Hustleville, also known as Hustle, is an unincorporated community in Marshall County.
Kennamer Cove Alabama
Kennamer Cove is an unincorporated community and cove in Marshall County. Kennamer Cove is located on the side of Gunters Mountain, and was first settled circa 1814 by the Kennamer family. Many of the inhabitants of the cove joined the Union Army during the American Civil War.
Little New York Alabama
Little New York is an unincorporated community in Marshall County.
Morgan City Alabama
Morgan City, also known as New Rescue, is an unincorporated community located in Morgan and Marshall counties. Morgan City and Union Hill border each other due to it being in the same area on top of Brindlee Mountain.
Newsome Sinks Karst Area
In this area lies one of the region’s densest areas of caves, known as the Newsome Sinks Karst Area. In a span of 50 acres it contains well over 30 documented caves and pits. It is designated by both the Southeastern Cave Conservancy Inc. and the National Speleological Society as off-limits due to endangered plant species growing in the area.
Mount Hebron Alabama
Mount Hebron is an unincorporated community in Marshall County, Alabama.
Rayburn is an unincorporated community in Marshall County.
Red Hill Alabama
Red Hill is an unincorporated community in Marshall County.
Scant City Alabama
Scant City, also known as Marghton, is an unincorporated community in Marshall County.
Swearengin is an unincorporated community in Marshall County. A post office operated under the name Swearengin from 1881 to 1907.
Warrenton is an unincorporated community in Marshall County. Warrenton appeared on the 1870 U.S. Census as having a population of 60 residents. This was the only time it appeared on census rolls.
Marshall County Alabama Historic Destinations
Arab Historic Village
The Colonel Montgomery Gilbreath House
Cathedral Caverns State Park
Marshall County Alabama Geography
The Tennessee River runs southwest from the northeast portion of the county and exits in the northwest. The Paint Rock River forms a portion of the county’s northern boundary, and several tributaries of the Black Warrior River run through the southwest part of the county.
Marshall County Alabama Archeological Investigations
This is in a bluff on the right bank of the Tennessee River, 10 miles below Guntersville. It has three divisions. Shortly after passing the spacióus entrance a branch turns to the right. In a few feet a wall is reached which can be scaled only with a ladder. Climbing this, a large chamber is reached, totally dark, and the home of innumerable bats whose “guano” covers the floor and fills the air with a stifling odor. This branch comes to light again more than a mile away on the side of the mountain. Returning to the lower chamber and going back about 100 feet from the main entrance, a wall similar to the first is reached, above which is another large cave. Bats never inhabit this, and the floor is of loose dry earth. . But no ray of daylight penetrates it, and as a great amount of saltpeter was made here during the War of 1812 scarcely any of the earth retains its original position. During the Civil War the floor of the lower or main cave was also dug up for making saltpeter and much of the leached earth piled in front of the cave. This acts as a dam against encroachment of the river except in the highest floods. There seems, however, to be a passage between the cavern and a spring under the river bank, for water appears on the floor as soon as it reaches the same height outside and the two surfaces maintain a constant level until the freshet subsides. On account of these facts no excavations were made.
Nine miles below Guntersville, on the right bank of the Tennessee, is a ferry known as Honey Landing. It is at the lower end of a steep bluff which forms the river front of a high hill or mountain, as such elevations are called here. A few feet above high-water mark a narrow ledge or shelf projects, which can be reached only from a point on the side of the hill just above the ferry. About 100 yards from here the ledge reaches a cave, which has a high and wide entrance, with ample space for several families to live on a fairly level, well lighted floor. If the cave were dry, it would be an ideal primitive home. But water continually seeps down the hill above and falls over the roof at the en trance, while a gully through the cave and several minor washes, …, as well as the mud spread over the floor, show that a large amount of water flows through the cave in wet seasons and covers all the floor except an area some 15 feet in diameter. This is dry on top, but would be muddy at a depth of 3 or 4 feet, the level of the bottom of the gully, so no exploration was attempted.
Six miles northeast of Guntersville is a cave in which many human bones have been found. It is only a burial place and could never have been used as a dwelling. The entrance, barely large enough to crawl into, is at one side of the bottom of a large sink hole due to the falling in of a cave roof. It receives all the rainfall of more than an acre and is nearly choked with mud and driftwood. It may have been somewhat larger at one time, as there is a tradition that a deer was chased through the cave, coming out at Bailey’s Cave, a mile away. Within a few rods the water sinks into the earth, and the floor of the cave, rising beyond this point, is dry. It was on this dry earth, not in it, that the skeletons were found. The floor is uneven, at some places permitting a man to stand, and at others rising to within 3 feet of the roof. Explorations can not be made, as there is no method of disposing of the removed earth.
This cave is 7 miles northeast of Guntersville. The entrance is high and wide and there is a.large, well-lighted area within; but the cave is flooded every time Town Creek gets out of its banks. Bailey’s Cave is the other end of Welburn’s Cave, as persons have gone through the hill from one to the other.
This cave, which is also called Alford’s and is still more commonly known as Saltpeter Cave, is on the left bank of the Tennessee 10 miles below Guntersville and opposite the Fearin property. The entrance is at the foot of a bluff overlooking a strip of bottom land a fourth of a mile wide, but the opening is above any flood that has occurred since the country was settled. At the foot of the slope is a bayou filled with Tupelo gums. Between this and the river the ground can be cultivated. The cave is so straight and the walls so smooth as to look like an artificial tunnel. The entrance is in plain view from a point 380 feet back, and the change of direction, even at that distance, is very slight. The saltpeter miners started at the entrance and removed all the earth lying from 3 to 6 feet higher than the present floor, which is nearly level. They carried their work along the surface of a stratum of gravel, sand, and clay, which is so compact as to be difficult to remove with a pick, and seems to belong to the stream which carved out the cavern. The “face” where they quit work is 5 feet high, and the earth is quite dry, breaking down in angular fragments and separating from the walls so freely as to leave no residue on them. Its original depth at any point, however, may be very easily ascertained by noting the different tints or shading of the wall rock, the lower part, which was protected by earth, being distinctly lighter in color than that above, which was exposed to atmospheric weathering and, for a time, to the smoky torches and candles of the workmen. The distinct lamination of the saltpeter earth, as shown in the “face,” proves it to have been laid down slowly and intermittently in still water. It could not be determined whether this was due to the river in flood periods, or to a gentle stream from the interior whose volume varied in accordance with weather conditions. There is also a small channel along the top of the earth, filled with gravel and sand, as if the overflow of a stream far back in the mountain had been diverted in this direction after the laminated deposits had become dry and settled. The walls are 10 feet apart near the entrance, but are not more than 8 feet elsewhere and in some places the width narrows to less than 3 feet. They also have an inward slope at the bottom, so the cave is either shallow or else so narrow at no great depth as to be uninhabitable. This fact, and the character of the material deposited by the ancient drainage stream, make it hopeless to expect result from exploration.
There are two caves 100 yards apart, in Brown’s Valley, 11 miles southwest from Guntersville. The larger has a descent of 21 feet from the front to the general level of the first floor. All this part is well lighted. The drainage from several acres of the mountain side above pours over the roof at the entrance and runs down the inner slope. It has worn a gully, and the first level it reaches is quite muddy. Leaves and trash 3 or 4 inches deep are piled on and against the loose stones toward the side where the water seeks an outlet. It has worn a crooked channel along this side of the chamber, and falls into a hole which at a depth of 10 or 11 feet below the floor makes a turn and passes from sight. So it is certain that soft wet clay extends more than 30 feet below the level of the entrance. The drier deposits of this room have been extensively worked for saltpeter, and a much greater quantity of earth would have been removed but for the fact that masses of stalagmite, too thick to break off with a sledge hammer, and scores of columns, some of them 6 or 8 feet in diameter and many tons in weight, cover a considerable part of it. The first room is succeeded by several others, all of which are dry and of large size, but in total darkness, and the floors in all have been more or less disturbed in the search for niter. The general direction of the bottom is downward. The last floor is probably 50 or 60 feet lower than the entrance, and is reached by a slope on which it is difficult to retain a footing. In nearly every part the earth is covered by stalagmite, much of it so heavy that the miners could not remove it, but were compelled to dig under it as far as they could reach; and in no place is a rock floor to be seen. The thickness of stalagmite on the floor, and the great size of the columns, is proof of their antiquity, while the depth of earth beneath must have been thousands of years in accumulating before the deposits began to cover them. Excavations here, while quite desirable, would be very expensive. Much stalagmite would have to be blasted; upward of a thousand yards of earth moved, and all of it taken out of the cave, because there is no room for it inside. As a man can not push a wheelbarrow up such an incline, a trench must be cut through to the exterior slope; and as solid rock lies not more than 5 feet below the surface at any point, blasting would be necessary the rest of the way. The task is . equal to opening a stone quarry. The second cave on McDerment’s place has a good opening. A trench 4 feet wide and 6 feet deep where the rock is thickest has been blasted out to make a level approach to the entrance. Masses of stalagmite on each side, sloping like solid rock from the walls, leave barely room for a man to walk for the first 30 feet. Here the walls recede somewhat, and a pit nearly 15 feet deep yawns before the explorer. After continuing for some distance with this depth, there is another drop of 10 feet which holds until the end of the cave is reached. This entire depression is due to the removal of earth for making saltpeter. It is evident that a vast amount of material has been carried out. As in the first cave, excavation would be very difficult and expensive. All rock and earth would have to be carried up a steep grade, or a deep cut made to wheel it out. As the light is very dim at the first widening of the walls, it is not probable the space farther back would be occupied unless as a refuge. Both caves were eroded by water running into the hill, and the end of each is abrupt, the roof being higher and the walls farther apart than at any point nearer the entrance. The original outlets are now filled with earth, and apparently have been so for ages.
FORT DEPoSIT CAVE
Six miles below Guntersville the highway to Huntsville crosses the Tennessee River at Fort Deposit Ferry and passes out through a narrow valley between two bluffs. Less than 100 yards above the landing, on the north, or right, bank, is a large cave from which the spot takes its name; there being a tradition that it was used by General Jackson as a storage room for supplies during the Creek Indian war. On either side the bluff is vertical to the water’s edge, making the cave now inaccessible except by boat. In front of the entrance the rock is worn in ledges which can be easily ascended. The opening or mouth of the cave is oval in form, about 18 feet high and 15 feet wide. The sides are uneven, there being a projecting shelf on each side near the floor. At 40 feet from the opening these disappear, owing to the narrowing of the cavern. There is a gradual ascent of the floor toward the rear, the rise being about 2 feet in the first 60 and more rapid from that point onward. A thin deposit of dried mud on each side, where it escapes the feet of visitors, shows that the river enters the cave at times, but not to a depth that carries it back more than 25 feet. The present ferryman says the flood of 1867 is the only one which has reached so far within that period. After clearing away the earth, roots, and rocks at the front, a straight vertical face at a distance of 18 feet from the entrance measured 93 feet at top and 5 feet at the bottom between the solid rock wall on each side, and was 4 feet 4 inches high. The floor was not of solid rock entirely across, there being a crevice less than 4 feet wide which was not cleaned out, because no one could have lived in it. About the middle of this bank (vertically) streaks of red earth, burned elsewhere, extended 34 feet out from the right wall; there was very little ashes and no charcoal mixed with it. Above this red the earth was dark like garden soil and contained a few shells and fragments of pottery, with a little charcoal and ashes; it had all been disturbed and apparently resulted from scraping the débris away from camp fires. Below this, the line of demarcation being very distinct, the earth was yellow and sandy, like river bottom land, and contained no foreign matter except roots of trees growing outside. Figure 23 shows a section on this line; the crevice is omitted from this and the subsequent illustrations. At 20 feet in, a foot below the top of the dark earth, was some charred corn. The yellow earth became irregular, thinner, and higher against the side walls than at the center. (See fig. 24.) At 22 feet the yellow earth had nearly run out, there being only a small amount against either wall, while the darker earth reached down into the crevice that opened in the narrow strip of rock floor. In the lower portion were mingled a few shells, pebbles, and specks of charcoal, as if it had been thrown there. Across the upper portion of the deposit extended fire beds, burned earth, ashes, shells, broken pottery, and occasionally a fragment of bone. (See fig. 25.) At 24 feet it was found that what had been taken for a solid floor in the last section represented was only a large flat rock which had fallen % into the crevice and wedged tightly. % when this was passed the yellow ** *-*.*.* : * * earth reappeared, at a slightly lower level. At 26 feet the yellow earth became mixed with red. It was excavated to a depth of 5 feet in the endeavor to discover the reason for this. As there was not the slightest trace of ashes or charcoal, the red admixture must be a natural result of staining by iron in some form and not due to heat. Above the yellow was the usual stratum of dark earth, containing culinary débris. In the central portion of this was a mass, sufficient to fill a wheelbarrow, of angular, unburnt fragments of limestone from 3 to 15 pounds in weight. On the surface of the dark earth were some Fig. 24.—Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 20 feet. ten or twelve fire beds, reaching from wall to wall, the edges overlapping and interlacing in so confusing a manner that the exact number could not be made out. (See fig. 26.) At this stage it appeared that the crevice, or at least its upper part, had been filled by river floods and a slight ridge of sand thrown across the mouth of the cave. The Indians, it seems, occupied both this ridge and the lower % stead of carrying it all to the outside. It is equally possible, however, that this waste was brought from points beds came to an end at about 28 feet on the right and 29 feet on the left. A section at 28 feet is given in figure 27. At their inner margin, among the ordinary refuse characteristic of such deposits, area behind it, throwing débris to the rear to fill up the depression in FIG. *:::::: o, of Fort De farther back and thrown here to fill posit Cave a eet. and level the floor. These heavy fire [graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic] were many fragments of human bones, including ulnas of two individuals, one much larger than the other. They plainly indicated cannibalism, as they were broken when thrown here. Besides the ulnas, there are pieces of ribs, Scapula, tibia, and feet. At 29 feet the underlying yellow earth became comparatively level across its upper surface, again closely resembling a river deposit. The darker earth above it contained a greater amount than heretofore of ashes, bones in small pieces, potsherds, mussel, snail, and periwinkle shells, and the like. More charred corn was % found along here. % At 30 feet the yellow earth – % began to rise, and at 32 feet Fig. 26–Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave – e at 26 feet. it was very little more than 3 feet lower than the top of the highest ashes. A section at this point is shown in figure 28. At 35 feet the strata became quite regular and uniform from wall to wall. The dark earth, next above the yellow, measured 3 feet in thickness at the center, and while showing by its admixture of ashes, etc., that it had been thrown here, had evidently formed the floor for a considerable time. The upper foot was burned red or dark from longcontinued fires, the ashes above it Fig. 27.-Cross section of Fort Deposit being from 6 to 8 inches thick, Cave at 28 feet. and forming the present floor of the cave at this place. The dark earth contained much less of refuse than nearer the entrance; such shells and ashes as appeared were promiscuously distributed and not in little piles or masses as before. A section at 35% feet appears in figure 29. It may be remarked here that this is the only sketch in which the upper line coincides with the surface of the deposits. In the others a thin covering, less than 6 in ches at any point, of dis- Fig. 28–Cross section of Fort Deposit integrated material from walls Cave at 30 feet. and roof covers the ashes left by aboriginal fires. This is omitted At 38 feet the yellow earth had risen until it was within 3 feet of the top of the entire overlying deposit. The latter contained little of the dark earth, being mostly composed of ashes and burned earth, some of which resulted from fires made on the spot, but the greater part being thrown from other points. The rise of the yellow earth, consequently, is more rapid than the rise of the material covering it. % At 40 feet there Fig. 29.-Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 35% feet. was a dip in the yellow earth, extending for 4 or 5 feet and descending 2 feet at the deepest point. This may be due to drainage at a lower level. At 47% feet a pocket of the dark earth extended a few inches into the underlying yellow earth. A hole seems to have been dug into the latter. There was no more of foreign material in this hole than elsewhere in the dark earth above and around it. It is shown in figure 30. The amount of shells, pottery, etc., had been decreasing for several feet before this point was reached; indeed, from 40 Fig. 30.–Cross section of Fort Deposit 2 2 e Cave at 473 feet. feet onward there was very little of it—enough, however, to show that all the dark earth had been disturbed and thoroughly mixed. The fire beds, too, while holding their depth of about a foot, contained more earth between the successive layers of ashes, showing as great age, probably, as those – – nearer the entrance, but less continuous occupation. This condition prevailed to about 60 feet from the entrance, at which point the yellow earth, now mixed with sand and gravel, was only 3 feet below the surface of the floor. Fig. 31.-Cross section of Fort Deposit The appearance of this line is – Cave at 60 feet. sketched in figure 31. At 62 feet there was a dip in the yellow earth, extending to 67 feet and 2 feet deep at its lowest point; it then rose to the usual level. At 70 feet ashes appeared in greater quantities; at 73 feet the dark earth was only a foot thick, the ashes and burned earth being 2 feet [graphic][graphic][graphic] thick and apparently all dumped, as there was no definite arrangement of the various parts. (See fig. 32.) A small perforated disk and a double-pointed bone needle were found here. The fire beds now began to thin out rapidly, the dark earth also diminishing in quantity, until at 80 feet, from which point the entrance was no longer visible owing to curvature of the walls, there was only 5 or 6 inches of them in all, resting directly on the yellow earth, which contained much more clay than farther toward the front. The walls began to diverge here, forming a room whose greatest width was 11 feet 6 inches at 95 feet. At 100 feet a reverse curve brought the cavern on a course parallel to that which it had held up to 60 feet. At 90 feet there was evidence of fire at one side, the ashes and burned earth being 5 inches thick at the wall, and thinning – – – – * FIG. 32.-Cross section of out to a feather edge within 4 feet. This I’ort Deposit Cave at 70 was the last fireplace discovered which feet. may not with certainty be attributed to white men. The yellow earth, presenting no evidence of having been disturbed since originally deposited, reached from the superficial layer of loose dry earth to the bottom of the trench, a depth of 4 feet 8 inches. Below this point the walls were less than 4 feet apart, and the space filled with gravel, as shown in figure 33. This gravel had exactly the appearance of that in gullies on the %- hills outside, and plainly dates .” back to the period at which the cave was formed. The stream which aided in the erosion, or which flowed through from some sink hole or other outside opening, carried this gravel into the crevice. Consequently, even if Fig. 33–Cross section of Fort Deposit the space between the walls had Cave at 90 feet. – been ample for dwelling purposes, an attempt to live here when the gravel was being carried in would result in the intending settler having his effects washed out into the river. At 93 feet the side walls confining the yellow clay narrowed to a little less than 5 feet apart. The upper portion of the one to the left has been eroded into a recess or cavity, forming the chamber above mentioned. The earth on the rock floor in this recess is nowhere more than a foot deep. A section is presented in figure 34. At 100 feet the room came to an end. The space between the walls was 74 feet at the floor level and 4 feet at a depth of 4 feet. At 105 feet the nearly vertical walls were only 5 feet apart on the floor; at 112 feet the space increased to 7 feet. A section showed about a foot of loose earth mixed with ashes; 3 feet of yellow clayey earth, rather compact; then gravel and sand. The latter was dug into for a foot, at which level the walls were converging and it was useless to go any deeper. Enough was done, however, to verify the supposition that this stratum was due to the action of running water seeking its outlet at the mouth of the cave. At 103 feet, at the bottom of the yellow clay and on top of the gravel, was a chalcedony pebble about 24 inches in diameter. The material is foreign to this locality. It had plainly been used as a hammer stone, and is the only object of human origin found anywhere below the dark earth. There was not the slightest evidence of any disturbance of the clay in which it rested. At 120 feet the side walls were only 5 feet apart. At 125 feet they again diverged slightly, and a recess on the left forms a chamber 12 feet across. At 150 feet they had drawn in to 8 feet at the widest interval. A section showed loose dry earth, some of it cemented by drip from the roof until about as hard as lump chalk; then compact clayey earth, also with travertine in small lumps; below this the gravel and sand. The latter, at this point, seems to have been deposited in the last stages of the formation of the cave. Occasionally, along here, a small patch appeared that seemed to be ashes; but none of it was more than 6 inches below the top of the ground, and the substance may not have been ashes at all, but the fine white limestone dust that wears off from the stone. There was nothing in the trench, at any depth, after the chalcedony pebble, that could possibly be due to human intervention, except these small patches of ashes, if ashes they are. At 165 feet from the entrance the cave made its fourth turn and expanded into a chamber about 15 feet wide. Along the sides of this and in the various crevices opening from it were great quantities of clean ashes, plainly enough thrown there from fires made in the central part. The gravel came to within 3 to 5 feet of the top, being quite irregular. On the gravel was dry clay, seamed and [graphic][graphic] Fig. 34.—Cross section of Fort Deposit Cave at 93 feet. [graphic] fissured in all directions so that it fell out under the pick in clods like angular pebbles from an inch to 3 or 4 inches across. This was clearly the result of muddy water settling in a hole and thoroughly evaporating. There was also some travertine in small lumps here and there through the clay, and above it was a mass fully 2 feet thick at one side of the trench but running out be- % fore it reached the other % side. It was porous, almost spongy, and seemed to be the lime dust from the roof . and sides cemented by drip- …; ) ping water. Above all this, so far as the trench extended toward the sides of * 35.-Cross “to: For Deposit Cave at the cave, was an inch to 4 – eet. inches of loose, dry, dark earth, which on the left dipped down to the clay, thus replacing the travertine. At 175 feet the gravel had leveled down and was more or less mixed with clay and sand. Above this was another “mudhole deposit” of clay which had thoroughly dried out and become checked and cracked in all directions. On the right this was covered with travertine slightly mixed with earth and clay; on the left, above it and also at one place within it, was a coarse gritty earth fallen from the roof but not converted into a compact travertine. The section appears in figure 35. At 180 feet the trench was carried to a depth of 6 feet. This exposed a fine clay and sand, or silt, like that deposited in the eddies of streams. Above this was another deposit of “mudhole” material which had thoroughly dried out, – — checked and cracked in all directions so re, so cross section of that it formed angular masses of various Fort Deposit Cave at 180 sizes, and had then become wet again so feet. that it was now soft and sticky. To the left of this, on the silt also, was a small amount of the gravel. It had the appearance common to a bank of such material on the side of a little stream which has undermined and carried away part of it. Clearly, these three formations were of an age that witnessed the erosion of the cave. Next above them was a stratum of loose dark earth similar to that noticed in the front part of the cavern; but here were found no traces whatever of man’s presence. Into the right side of this stratum projected the wedge-like edge of a mass of travertine, which was not traced to a termination. Over all lay a deposit 3 or 4 inches thick of dark, nearly black earth, mixed with ashes. This is quite modern. The section appears in figure 36. [graphic][graphic] During the Civil War the cave was continuously resorted to by deserters, refugees, moonshiners, fugitives, and “food for powder, dodging the conscript.” All these sought shelter in this chamber and behind it, in order that their fires might not be visible from the river. The piles of ashes in the crevices and corners were thrown there by these hiders-out, to get them out of the way. Similar but Smaller piles of ashes are to be seen all along as far as the spring, 200 yards from the entrance. The presence of pottery of a type common to this region in fields and shell heaps, and of maize, denotes that all the fire beds, etc., are the results of habitation by the modern Indian. Where these ceased nothing else was found. In or below the yellow earth, clay, or gravel, nothing can be found; for until these were laid down and the stream of the cave had sought another outlet, there was no dry place in which to live. It may be worth recording that a dead mulberry tree stood about 20 feet in front of the entrance to the cave. Under it was a narrow crevice filled with earth, but all around it was bare rock. A root, larger than the tree, grew into the cave and followed along one side wall as if fastened there for a distance of some 60 feet. Here the earth floor of the cave came high enough to cover it. This root was exposed for 160 feet in the trench, or 180 feet from the tree; at this point it was 3 inches in diameter and turned aside into a crevice. As the root could not have grown in the open air, it furnished proof that much deposited material has been carried out of the front portion of the cavern and away from the ledge since this tree was a sprout.
Marshall County Alabama Links
1. A Brief History Of Marshall County
Marshall County Alabma Online