"Dripstone Wall" by NPS Photo , public domain
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Mammoth Cave National Park National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Stephen Bishop, Cave Guide of his courage, intelligence, and untiring zeal. He is extremely attentive and polite, particularly so to the ladies, and he runs over what he has to say with such ease and readiness, and mingles his statement of facts with such lofty language, that all classes, male and female, listen with respect, and involuntarily smile at his remark. His business as a guide brought him so often in contact with the intellectual and scientific, that he has become acquainted with every geological specimen in the cave, and hen Franklin Gorin and having a prodigious memory, has at A.A. Harvey purchased his tongue’s every incident of interest Mammoth Cave in 1838, that has transpired during his adminGorin brought his young slave, the istration.” 17-year old Stephen Bishop, to be a new cave guide. “Stephen and Alfred belonged to Dr. Croghan, the late owner of the In October of 1839, Stephen met his cave, and are to be manumitted in new master. Gorin had sold Mamanother year, with a number of other moth Cave to Dr. John Croghan. slaves. They are now receiving wages, in order to enable them to begin freedom with a little capital, in Liberia, their destined home.” Stephen became a free man the following year, but he chose to remain at the cave. Stephen died during the summer of 1857. He is buried in the “Old Guide’s Cemetery” on the ridgetop south of the cave entrance. Quoted material taken from Stephen Bishop, the Man and the Legend W “Stephen, handsome, good humored, intelligent, the most complete of guides, the presiding genius of this territory. He is a middle-sized mulatto, owned, as they say here, of handsome, bright features. He has occupied himself so frequently in exploring the various passages of the cavern, that there is now no living being who knows it so well. The discoveries made have been the result Using a tallow candle, Stephen would smoke his name on the ceiling of the cave. To avoid wax dripping in his eyes, he would use a mirror – and sometimes get the letters backward.