Cave Man

Submitted by Lorna Marks

Ironton – August 13, 1966

A CAVE MAN’S PARTY – The first cave man’s party held in Lawrence County, at least the first since civilization, was held Tuesday night near Vesuvius Lake, with Harold HANEY, host, and the Coal Grove Lions Club and invited friends as guests . . . The rain was pouring down from black clouds and thunder was booming when seventeen members of the Lions and eight guests left Ironton via State Route 93 north for Ellisonville . . . About five miles north of town the rain was left behind and as the caravan went over the hill at Vesuvius, the terrain was bone dry . . . Cars were parked near what is known as Paradise Park, where all aboard transferred to a makeshift trailer with host Harold Haney at the wheel for the last three-fourth mile of road over a steep hill through under brush – sort of a thrill ride like a nightmare . . . The last 300 yards was on foot over a rocky narrow path near a steep rock cliff . . . The 18 foot deep cave about 30 feet high and almost 75 yards long where three picnic tables had been set up by the host Mr. Haney and chairs provided requiring much labor to get ‘em here.

Dinner was prepared on an extra long charcoal grill and hamburgers and hot dogs with coffee or ice cold drinks never tasted better . . . The feast included ‘tater chips, pizza and camp baked cherry pies . . . Lion Club president George A. GENCO introduced the guests including Wayne LYND and Les WISENBERGER of Ironton Lions Club, Ray WALLER, Ray GILLESPIE, Paul PATTERSON, Clarke HANEY, Sr.

The Haney brothers, Dr. John and Clarke (Buddy) Jr. Haney were the program speakers . . . explaining discovery of where the dinner was being served . . . Following their talk about the cave a question and answer archeology discourse of the cave followed . . . A display of arrow heads and bone needles and other objects, which have been unearthed in the cave the past four months by the brothers were shown with a chart to classify the types of arrowheads . . . some of the implements that were used about 1000 B. C. were found in the cave at a depth of about 4 feet.

At least three types of people inhabited the cave at different periods of time from 1000 B. C. to about 300 years ago . . . The Chippawa Indians were probably the last humans to inhabit the area . . . Mussel shells, snail shells, bones of birds and horns of animals were unearthed in the cave in recent weeks . . . The amateur archeologists believe that the cave dwellers hung animal skins from the roof of the overhanging cliff and thus helped to keep out the cold weather in winter . . . Three or four different fire pits have been located at different levels and it is in these areas that the most relics are found.

The program was presented by the light of a single gasoline lantern which was hung from the cave wall and the shadows of insect life coming from the dark forest created a rather weird setting for an unusual stag meeting of the Lions as well as sort of an unexpected spooky ending that had not been planned . . . As the program ended it was discovered outside the cave was as dark as a black cat in an alley at midnight because it was 10 p.m. and there was only one flashlight in the large group of men and all held hands to follow the leader over the narrow path down the cliff from the cave to reach the parked cars some distance away.