The Unusual History of Old Man’s Cave

The popular cave in Hocking Hills has a pretty curious name, the Old Man’s Cave. The story of how this cave got its name is very intriguing one and will definitely be a treat for all curious visitors.

The name hints at a rock shelter where Richard Rowe once lived. He was a hermit in the 19th century, who they say, is buried under a cave ledge in the area. Before settling in the Hocking Hills area, the Rowe family had their home in the eastern part of Tennessee.

The Rowe brothers, David and Richard Henry trekked with their father to the Ohio River banks after their mother passed away where they planted a trading post. While David pursued a career as a freighter pilot, Richard joined the family trade business and stayed in it till 1810.

After this he traveled the Scioto and Ohio rivers for two years, watching closely all the happenings of the 1812 War. Following those 2 fateful years, he became a loner and chose to live a solitary existence in the forest.

Richard often took trips to the gorge in the fall and stayed there throughout the trapping season. He took a walk to the Ozarks to visit his brother and found out David had died, leaving behind a widow with no money to support herself.

Richard promised to return with money he had kept safe in the Old Man’s Cave and left. In view of the promise he had made, Richard trekked back to the gorge. One day he stopped at a stream for water like he always did. As was usual, Richard used his musket’s butt to crack the ice when something unusual and terribly unfortunate happened.

The weapon fired and hit him under the chin. They say he was found two days later by trappers who coffined his body with an oak tree’s bark and gave him as good a burial ceremony as was possible with the supplies they found in the forest. To this day, not a single person knows the exact space where Richards was buried in the Old Man’s Cave.

There was also another time in Richard’s life when he gave his relatives a scare. His relatives and friends looked for him for 3 whole years and thought he was dead when he reappeared and told them he had only been gone to visit his brother David. Richard is the man this cave has been named after, almost as if it were his cave; the Old Man’s Cave.

Considering taking a trip down to Old Man’s Caves and experiencing its history first hand? Contact us today for an Old Man’s Cave cabin that is comfortable, budget friendly and conveniently located. Contact us today to make your reservation!