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Local History

Smallin's Cave 1929

"By crawling their way through the small tunnels of the long and historic Smallin’s Cave yesterday afternoon, two miles northeast of Ozark, Kenneth Decker and James Grigg, Drury College biology students, believe they are among the few person’s to perform the feat.

"Finding a biology field trip in the cave’s region lacking in adventure, the students slipped away from the party and visited the cave, entering by the large entrance. Five and a half hours later, the boys, with scratched knees and arms, emerged from an opening in a field over a mile away.

"They found the traveling [hard] very much of the way, as the smaller passageways have been practically filled with dirt and gravel washed in by the rains of the years. They were forced to crawl most of the way.

"They found two large caverns which they explored. They found several bits of writing on the walls. The date ‘1862’, followed by ‘the 24th Regiment.’ It is believed Civil War troops used the cave for storage of ammunition and supplies.

"One of the large rooms possessed a stone stairway leading from the floor to a high ledge, presumably cut out by early Indians.

"Decker is from Sedalia and Grigg from Joplin. Both bore severe scratches on their legs, knees and arms, received from crawling over the cave’s rocky floor."

Springfield Daily News, April 26, 1929, p.9.

The cave is known today as the Samllin Civil War Cave. The photograph of the cave's mouth is taken from Caves of Missouri by J. Harlen Bretz, published in 1956.

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