Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local News

July 24, 2013

Pioneer Life Week underway at Carter Caves

July 24, 2013 — Sam Plummer of Olive Hill will spend this week living in two different eras.

Plummer will guide visitors through a historical tour of Saltpetre Cave, teaching about the importance of a mineral for the war effort in 1810, as well as disinfecting the shoes of his guests to prevent the spread of a modern consideration within the cave systems.

“This was not a very pleasant job,” said Plummer after introducing himself simply as “Col. John” and providing a step-by-step guide to refining saltpetre from the guano-laden dirt in the cave for use in making black powder, or gunpowder.

The first step, Col. John explained, was gathering the cave's dirt and removing all rocks before adding water to create a beer-like liquid called “liquor.” The liquor was hauled out of the cave/mone and further processed before being shipped to Portsmouth. Once there, it was used as one of three crucial components, along with sulphur and charcoal, for gunpowder.

Conditions in the cave, which remains at a constant 47-degrees, were rough for the 30-plus men who used picks, shovels, buckets and wheelbarrows, he said, pointing out one room in the cave which served as sleeping quarters for the saltpetre miners during winter months, or when they were simply to tired to hike out to the cave opening.

At the end of the approximately 90-minute tour, Plummer asked his guests to lift their feet to allow him to spray the soles of their shoes with a disinfectant solution aimed at preventing the spread of spores carrying White-Nose Syndrome, which threatens the park's population of Indiana bats.

At the top of the steps leading into the cave, Mike Little sat on a bench and sharpened a fixed-blade knife while awaiting the group's return for a black-powder rifle demonstration, also part of the ongoing Pioneer Life Weekend, which continues through Saturday.

Text Only
Local News
  • 16 indicted by Carter grand jury

    Indictments of 16 persons have been handed down by a Carter County grand jury. Although 11 of those were processed June 27, the documents were released Monday to the Journal-Times.

    July 23, 2014

  • Wreck4.JPG Wreck leaves trail of gravel

    Members of Carter County Emergency Management, Norton Branch Fire Department, Kentucky State Police
    and Carter County EMS responded to an overturned truck Monday afternoon.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rex Collins.JPG Package liquor sales begin in Grayson

    It took more than a year, an investment of about $750,000, and a lot of paperwork but packaged liquor went on sale last Thursday in Grayson.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Star Elementary renovation underway

    Ongoing renovation of Star Elementary School was one of the main topics of conversation at Monday night’s meeting of the Carter County Board of Education.

    July 23, 2014

  • Standout Youth Rally

    The third annual Standout Youth Rally will take place this weekend at the Olive Hill Shrine Park. The Christian praise and worship experience is free and includes admission, food, camping and entertainment.

    July 23, 2014

  • Stage lighting welcome at renovated OHHS

    Performers at the Olive Hill Arts and Education Center, previously known as Olive Hill High School, eventually will be highly visible to their audiences in the future, thanks to help from the Carter County Community Fund (CCCF).

    July 23, 2014

  • Olive Hill fire chief to step down

    Olive Hill Fire Chief Wes Gilliam has informed the Journal-Times that he will resign from his position effective July 31.

    July 23, 2014

  • DSC_9807.JPG Beer on sale in Olive Hill

    Malt beverage sales began in Olive Hill last Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • store.jpg Packaged liquor sales begin this week

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_7242.jpg Rodeo rides again at Carter County Fair

    After three years with no rodeo, the bucking broncos will return to the Carter County Fair this Thursday and Friday.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo