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The Little Known Legend of Miller's Cave.

Short story By: fred siracuse
Historical fiction

This is an historical fiction short story inspired by a song recorded by some Country and Western artists such as Hank Snow called "Miller's Cave." It was written to be the fictional legend behind the song.

Submitted:Sep 12, 2011    Reads: 5,538    Comments: 4    Likes: 2   

Waycross,Georgia is the seat of Ware County wich lies closest to the Georgia/Florida border, and logicaly so for it is the county's only incorporated city. It shares the Okefenokee Swamp with Florida,the southerly border state. In the 1950s out of state tourists were given special treatment in Waycross with free overnight lodging and a free trip to the swamp.Although it has rarely surfaced in the media in most cases,it still possesses it's own list of legends and mildly known trivia. One particular piece of trivial pursuit is the fact that it was indirectly attempted to be put on the map by an American song writer by the name of Halan Howard. A respectable tunesmith,his songs have been recorded by some big name Country Artists such as Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline.

Halan Howard's attempt was indirect. The more direct party was a more worldly character named Dusty Barnes, whose own attempt was made in the spring of 1949. This Waycross resident man had a reputation for being a hit with the ladies although it used to baffle his peers, not only for his treatment towards women,but also for the rest of his oppbrobious quirks. An easily jealoused man, his paranoiac demeanor often costed him his friends (save his lady patrners) and his forward oppertunities. His bar room episodes could have enflicted bodily harm on his part. Dusty often braved the most likely candidates that could have killed or crippled him,but every time he always avoided the predictable.

The woman that he planned on marrying was a Mississippian woman named Francine Dougherty. She and her family, from Waynesboro, Mississippi, migrated to Waycross,Georgia just prior to the Great Depression. Francine was a severe and troublesome alcoholic with many socially unacceptable issues. She was also a shy and soft spoken girl who could mean well just the same. She could win the hearts of many that she touched even though there were just as many that opposed to her. Her promiscuous disposition, it is said, could be summed up that she just had to be caught on the right drunk at the right time. And not to mention, most of her escapades were at the chagrin of her steady boyfriend, Dusty Barnes.

Ushering in a few more of his bar room episodes, he could have launched in to yet another one when he stopped in for a drink after work one Saturday night. After ordering a third drink, two men, both strangers to Dusty, came in and sat them selves down. As the two men began to talk to one another, the tall and huskey man had obviously met Francine on one of her given nights. As their conversation continued, he became informed that she had definitely been seeing a man that was dubbed by the people of Waycross as Big Dave Calhoun. Since a good day would only make him just barely six foot three, there were plenty more bigger and more seasoned men in Waycross, but Calhoun had a status all his own.

Dusty had met the man casually over the years and he began to remember the talk that he would hear of him from time to time. Dave was ungodly strong and every man that worked beside him could vouch for it. He had a temper of dangerous potential , especially after he had first killed his best friend, a fifth of rot gut whiskey. Although he could've crushed any man in his wake, his wife and three children were usaully the ones who felt the brunt of most of his rampages.

Dusty sat at the bar and listened until he had heard enough. After he ordered a fifth of Corbys, he collected his change and withdrew. The history that was about to unfold after this point may never even be vaguely confirmed. The witnesses to it may have either been absent or deliberately withdrawn.

Tiger Mountain lies just five miles outside the western border of Waycross, Georgia. Not far up it's base, on a section of it called Lion's Bluff, is the mouth of Miller's Cave. A vast branching cavern, it is said to have a memorial based namesake, although it has been debated untrue. In 1955 a group of amateur Speleologists began a long awaited expedition deep inside the caverns. A long time in the waiting, the group of amateur scientists anticipated on making an intriguing discovery but came upon a macabre one instead. They contacted the Georgia State Police to report that they had found at least two human skeletons.

David Calhoun's skeleton was shattered and mangled. It is speculated that his body was drug for miles by Dusty Barnes' truck which was found as a rusty hulk up on Lion's Bluff. Francine Dougherty's skull was shattered by a close range gun shot. The rest of her skeleton was in perfect condition. Dusty Barnes' case analysis,compared to the rest of the case over all, could only make one finall conclusion, He did not take his own life until he had established the bodys to his satisfaction.In 1958, by yet another expedition,his bones were the last to be found.

If I were to go to this cave, for any reason that be, I would never call the name of any of these three people.


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