Changing Lives and Bringing History to Life, One Revolution at a Time!

SnR UGRR Tour 2011 ~ July 2 Ride Day 17

Slept in Burlington, KY 
Dry Ridge, KY to Maysville, KY
A Treasure Trove

Its Saturday, so I get to ride the full day. We’re riding to Maysville, KY on this day and the day is HOT.

We had no planned accommodations on this day so Suepinda worked her magic and called up Donny at River City Park and he and Will set us up with primitive sites for the night. This being Saturday, Donny hired a band to play this evening and invited the whole town and the temporary residents of the park. About 50 people showed up to enjoy the music. Many of them on golf carts.
We watched the live entertainment at the campgrounds. I needed to get something from the van and we were approached by a tall, grandfatherly gentleman named Jerry Gore. Jerry told us stories of his family where one of his ancestors sat at the bedside of Abraham Lincoln during his death. He told us of his museum dedicated to the Underground Railroad that contained one of a kind artifacts from the time of slavery. The museum is his home. It was formerly owned by a family that had enslaved Africans. Later it was purchased by a family that used it as one of the stops on the Underground Railroad. It contained a jail for those enslaved as well as hiding places for when things got risky. He definitely wanted us to come by and assured us that if we fit him in our already tight schedule he would even open up the museum at 3am. That’s how much he wanted us to see what he had to show. He said he would be home after running errands in about an hour. It was now 7:40pm.
Jerry Gore~Maysville UGRR Historian

I let Suepinda know of our encounter with Jerry and we made plans to see him before 9pm but after several calls to the number he provided us I decided to get the address and drive by there to see what we could see. Jerry wasn’t home yet but the “owner” of the mansion was. It turns out that Jerry leases a portion of the historical home in order to make part of it a museum. As we waited for Jerry to arrive home we walked up the street to the fine architecture of Mayesville. 

While taking pictures in one of the unique doorways of the city a man came out to greet us. He is the district judge, Buddy Gallenstine. He informed us that all the historical homes along this main street we were on were privately owned and excellently maintained by their owners. After several minutes he requested that his wife, Alice Kay, to come out and meet us. Turns out she’s a bit of an historian having been born and raised in the city. She told stories of how it would take days, depending on the “slave patrols” in the area for people to get from one house to another. A distance of only 100-200 feet. She told of the tunnel that led to the Ohio River underneath Jerry’s home. She spoke of how the children would play in them before they were closed off to the public. 

The judge phoned Jerry for us. He had arrived home so we would go see him soon. He and his wife had just invited us in to view their home, as well. She showed us the original design of the home that pretty much was the same for the last 100 years. She showed us the “slave” entrance and two other entry ways which were altogether different than the normal entry way but led to the same place. We were shown photos of their large family and treated with drinks to quench our thirsts. As usual, we were gladly welcomed by the people we meet.

Authentic bench where enslaved Africans sat waiting to be sold
I’m glad that the owners and he are willing to do that as the mansion is a treasure trove of information and artifacts from the slavery period that Jerry has been able to collect. The wait for Jerry was WELL worth it. His enthusiasm, concern for the history and delivery of the information impeccable. Speaking to him was incredible and he had the Youth Cyclists enthralled.   Due to the uniqueness of the artifacts that he had on hand we were unable to photographically document some of them. But has has “slave” shoes that were found in a hidden crawl space in the Judge’s home; a heft broad axe, various tools, a “slave” bench that they used to seat the people while auctioning them off, a Civil War rifle owned by one of the “colored” troops, numerous articles, posters and bills of sale. As I said, it was a treasure trove and we were blessed to see it.
The phenomenal Jerry Gore who opened his home and heart to us
The highlight of the tour was the basement where those who were enslaved were held in a double walled jail. A room of 10×10 square that would hold up to 100 people at the same time. Misery is the term that identifies the feeling of being in there. The floor was brick and uneven, the walls un-insulated, no heat, no cooling, and there was blood sprayed on the wall. Looking at the spray pattern let’s you know that whomever was hit was done so VERY hard. We prayed for those lost souls while standing in that room.
Slave quarters for cooking
and sometimes sleeping

Around the corner in another part of the basement Jerry showed us the crawlspace where enslaved Africans hid when the house was suspect to being “inspected”.  It is a small, dank, space. It was also the space that led to the now closed tunnels. I could not imagine the strength of will it would take to wait in that space in the southern heat. Jaw dropping.

At the end of the tour Jerry gave us a warm “see you later” as he never says goodbye. The Youth Cyclists will remember this day forever.

Spoke ‘n Revolutions Youth Cycling UGRR Tour 2011 ~ Visit the nation’s National Parks. 
Let’s Move Outside!
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