Forgotten Trails: Sanders Cave holds history
Published 10:13 am Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Before you read this article, I want you to know that I do not recommend you all hop in your cars and go to see this place. A few years ago, our local sheriff's department was looking for a bad guy and went into this cave thinking they might find the fellow there. All they found was an illness as the result of breathing bat guano. So I would say you probably don't need to venture to the place without a gas mask.
Once again I draw on the writings of Edley Franklin, who wrote this article in 1950. It was printed in the May 25, 1950 edition of The Brewton Standard.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1780, Hare started his robbing career while still in his teens. 1801 found him in New Orleans where he organized his robber gang. They robbed overland travelers in the vicinity of Pensacola, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and on up through North Alabama, Tennessee, Maryland and Canada. In 1818, Hare was hung in Baltimore, Maryland for robbing a U.S. Mail coach.
Never having seen Sanders Cave, John Scott and I decided to go see it. Armed with cameras, flashlights and the following information we took off.
The road we took was a bit rough and wound around in four directions at one time. When I figured we were about due to come out on the highway between Evergreen and Georgiana we came to a gate. Later we came to a branch. Leaving the car we headed up the branch.
It wasn't long before John was puffing and blowing and talking about red bugs. I reminded him of the ticks, also. A little ways farther on, John was scratching and swearing we were lost.
Finding a large sink-hole in the edge of the branch, and thinking of what we were told about passing the mouth of the cave, we wondered if this was it. Neither of us had the nerve to poke our head in to see. Besides it looked too much like a moccasin den.
After we ran out of branch to follow we came to the conclusion that somebody had their directions slightly mixed. John came back down the same side of the branch and I came down the other. Still no cave.
Back at the car we held a conference. I voted to make a circle down the branch. John voted to get in the car and drive on till we found someone who did know where the cave was. Being the owner of the car, John won the election.
Going through another gate, we followed the road through a field of 99 acres of cotton before I saw a man coming across it. He said his name was Amos. What was more, he said he knew where the cave was and took us to it.
The cave was down the branch not over 300 yards and in sight of where we had left the car the first time.
The mouth of the cave opened into the side of a lime-rock ridge and had a slight oval shape. The face of the entrance is covered with names, initials and dates carved in the rock. From the entrance the floor shapes slightly downward for perhaps 20 feet before it levels off into a large room.
Rock formations, like huge icicles hang down from the room in places. The air is cold an damp. The lime rock floor is slippery.
Mr. Amos informed us the temperature inside the cave always remains the same. In the top of the cave is a skylight hole. It was through this hole that the robber, Hare, is said to have entered and left the cave. At that time, it was the only entrance. The present entrance was opened years later. Light, coming through the hole in the ceiling and through the entrance, lights up the front part of the cave with a twilight effect.
Farther back in the tunnel-like cave, that winds in one direction and then another, it gets as dark as a sack of black cats. The only sound is that of water dropping from the ceiling and walls. Like the face of the cave, the walls are carved with initials and dates cut in the rock.”
There is plenty more of this story, but space is limited. If you're interested in the story, check back here next week and we'll finish the trip and may take another one.
Remember if you have any interesting stories you'd like to read about or if you have information you'd like to share, please let me know.