Henry's Corncobs

Henry Bransford, circa 1867

Henry Bransford, circa 1867

The best souvenir from Mammoth Cave in the 1870s was an eaten corncob that graced the ground. These weren’t just any ordinary corncobs though. These cobs were from the War of 1812.

During the War of 1812, soldiers would come through the Mammoth Cave area to rest, set up camp for the night, and make pewter dirt for additional gunfire. With them came their oxen and burrows. Even the animals during the war were required to eat in order to survive. The soldiers would feed their animals ears of corn, resulting in eaten corncobs left on the ground. In addition, the cobs were often covered in pewter dirt from their owners making it during the night.

Visitors from the east coast were fascinated with these corncobs that covered the cave. They offered Henry, Mat’s son, a nickel or dime in exchange for the cobs.

After awhile, he sold his last cob. Henry then said that “I will have to grow an extra big crop of corn next year.”

In actuality, Henry had been planting the corn recently in the cave and individuals did not know that they were not the real cobs that had been originally there. However, the visitors were happy to “have a piece of history” and Henry was glad “to get an extra nickel from them.”

Even the Bransfords liked to have a little fun now and then.


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