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Prehistoric: A macabre story from 100 years ago

Item submitted on reading: Robert Cumming: Stories of cave-like opening near Top of Arch by Robert Cumming.

Submitted by an Anonymous Source, reprinted with permission

This bit of interesting if macabre (in a number of ways) Russell County history appeared as one long paragraph on the front page of the March 22nd, 1916 edition of the Adair County News. J.N. Page, mentioned in the introductory sentence, ran a drug store on the square in Columbia for many years. (In that era and for several decades after, the honorific "Dr." was accorded pharmacists as well as physicians.) The speaker, J.F. Montgomery, a lawyer, was 66 or 67 at the time of this telling.

Stated the article, under the headline "Prehistoric":

"A few evenings ago, while a company of gentlemen were seated in Dr. J.N. Page's drug store, talking of incidents of long ago, Mr. J.F. Montgomery related the following:

"A number of years ago," he said, "a man named Phillips was in Wayne and Russell counties, hunting up relics of prehistoric times, and on Cumberland river, in Russell county, near the Wayne line, he found an opening in a cliff.

"He entered it and discovered any number of skeletons, evidently those of Indians, or bones of some race of people who had been put to death before history was written.

"There were several hundred of these skeletons, and Phillips, the discoverer, was of the opinion that the men whose bones remained, were pitched in the cavern from above, as in looking up he discovered light from a large hole.

"Phillips brought two of the skulls he found to Monticello, and I was in the town at the time. One of the men had been killed with an Indian arrow, as the point was in the skull, showing that it had penetrated the brain."

This story was posted on 2016-04-13 09:12:34
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