John Baker's Discovery of Great Saltpetre Cave

By: Samuel Brown, M.D. (1805d, 1809, p237)

Samuel Brown writes:

(In 1798 John Baker) entered by the north mouth, but proceeded only a short distance into it, on the succeeding day he brought his wife and two or three of their children to explore it, he carried a torch and his wife a supply of pine. After they had advanced within hearing distance of this torrent 400 or 500 yards from the north mouth, the only one then known, he dropped his torch and it was completely extinguished. During two days and two nights this miserable family wandered in total darkness, without provisions and without water, though sometimes within hearing of a cataract which they durst not approach, at length Mrs. Baker in attempting to support herself on a rock, perceived that it was wet, she conjectured that this was caused by the mud which they had brought in on their feet, Baker immediately ascended the rock, and saw the light of day.


Source: The Saltpeter Empires of Great Saltpetre Cave and Mammoth Cave, Angelo I. George, 2001 HMI Press

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