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Otsego Herald

March 7, 2013

A cave tomb in Tennessee

From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, March 6, 1813

Compiled, with comments



Died, in this town on the 2d inst. [March] of the prevailing epidemic, Mr. JACOB PRICE, aged 47 years.

COMMENT: Jacob Peck (1764-1813) came from Scituate, R.I., and was living in Fly Creek when he died. He left his wife, Mercy (Rutenber) Peck (1758-1841) and six children. The “prevailing epidemic” was presumably “spotted fever” (meningitis).


Died, on the 28th ult. [February] Mrs. PRISCILLA WEAVER, aged 72 years.

COMMENT: She had been a member of the Cooperstown Presbyterian Church since 1809.


Died, on the 27th Mr. DAVID SHIPMAN, aged 84 years.

COMMENT: David Shipman (1730-1813) is generally believed to have been a model for Natty Bumppo in James Fenimore Cooper’s Leather-Stocking Tales. A revolutionary veteran, and a keen hunter and fisherman, he lived alone in a cabin in Hartwick. Cooper, in his “Chronicles of Cooperstown” (1838) referred to Shipman as ““the ‘Leather Stocking’ of the region, ... [who] could at almost any time, furnish the table with a saddle of venison”

A Cave Tomb in Tennessee

CURIOUS DISCOVERY: A gentleman late from Tennessee, gives the following narrative:

“A person was digging after Saltpetre in the summer of 1811, on the waters of Duck river, Smith county, State of Tennessee; he discovering a large stone set against the mouth of a cave. Curiosity led him to overset the stone. On entering the cave, which appeared natural, in a lime-stone rock, something resembling a vault or ancient sepulchre, he discovered deposited in a cave, the bodies of two human persons, a male and a female, each in a curious wrought basket made of splits of cane.

The bodies were in a sitting position. Around each body was wrapped a kind of large shroud or plaid, seemingly wrought with the fingers, made of lint of something resembling wild nettles or Indian hemp. Both bodies and shrouds were entire. The bodies were consolidated.

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