PUBLICATIONS RELATED Mr. Napier’s Observations on Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 24: Related Literature
Books, Periodicals, Literary Productions, Related & Derived Literature & Bibliographies


TAGS: Mr. Napier’s Observations on Pine Mountain ; Mr. Napier; Alice Cobb; Pine Mountain; geology; rivers; Kentucky River; Big Sandy River; coal; limestone; Long Island Sound; Beatyville, KY; Pineville, KY;

This unusual essay on the geology of the long mountain called the Pine Mountain was carefully transcribed from some written record. Although neither the identity of “Mr. Napier” nor the transcriber is known, Alice Cobb is suspected to be the gatherer of the story.

The narration clearly shows a man who has carefully observed his environment while attempting to analyze its many geological formations. While his conclusions drawn from his observations may be fanciful and fantastical, it is clear that he has looked at the stream beds, the variety of rock, the way the trees grow and the evidence of great upheavals. There is a curious logic in his description that flows like the mysterious rivers of the region and begs to be understood.


The great Pine Mountain, the mountain of mysteries and most charming scenes. Even the rugged falls and fearful clifts in gigantic form all Different formations of the earth may be found in this mt. It is one of nature’s mysteries to think over. The more you look at it the worse you become confused. The first thing to think over is sure its appearance at Long Island Sound in New York. [It] travels in southern western direction to the Gulf of Mexico which might be called a part of the great Appalachian system. It is well known on the north of this system is great coal field of enormous worth and oil fields of great importance. On the south of this system coal and oil fields are unknown. But copper and iron ore of fine grades are found in many —– with other valuable minerals are fund. We are bound to admit the Pine Mt. is a part of the system which shows they have been a great upheaval in time causin’ many disturbances of the earth causen the change of many water courses which is hard to Discribe… but in tracing the Pine Mountain you will see it has been a river of great size before the Disturbed of the earth so it come to me from travelin’ the mountain that probably the Tennessee river were near for north easterly direction to Long Island Sound which shows it is the mouth of some great river.

Now in travelin’ this mountain, you will find what is known as the Dowbles of the mountain. You still see the signs of great river been flowed north east. You will find swamps, even marshes with more or less water followin’ the old river bed in different places the marshes are so bad that cattle gets in there and dies in the mire if they are knot found and helped out. And decayed shells to show they has been a large water course the width of the clifts on each side of the Dowbles shows it has been the banks of the great river. By examine the rocks on Both Sides of the old river bed it is plain to be seen that river flowed north east. If you notice you will get all kind of water flowin’ out of that mountain and you get the best proof of this by the lime stone in the Pine Mountain. The same lime stone you find several hundred feet below. Elsewhere the upheaval has raised the limestone ledge on Pine Mountain from a level of the lime stone bed found in northern Ky. around Lexington and Winchester. At Winchester the limestone is at water level. Coming east to Batesville [Beatyville ?] you find the limestone about 400 feet under surface and you find the lime stone no more tell you come high up on the mountain. And comen up the Kentucky river you will find the beds of the same seam are about twenty feet lower on the North side of the river which is nearest the mountain. And you will notice all the small water courses on the South Side of the River Has been disturbed and all twisted about two get back to the Ky. River & you will notice by travelin’ this mountain that it is all broke up in many places maken it have quite a Different appearance if you notice following the mountain near Pineville, Ky you will find where the mountain seems to cross the river Cumberland or the Cumberland breaks through the Pine mountain. Similar two how the big Shady [Sandy] breaks through the mountain at Breaks [Breaks of the Big Sandy] and seems at the same time to have disturbed the Mountain Range near Big Stone Gap where there is some interest seen for the tourist and even people of the Native land if they will look nature square in the face.

The mountains there are more disturbed than the Ridge of the Pine Mountain. The Rocks and coal beds on Pine shows a upheaval. I mean the coal Beds and rocks lays in a range of about a 45 degree of perpen dickular which are a part of the same Eruptions which Disturbed the great River in the time gone by and is now known as the pine Mountain. You will notice the timber of irregular formation. You will find the chestnut oak which place belongs to the top of the mountain at the foot of the Hill and you will find up in the Douwble of the Sycamore & the Beech which belongs to the lower elevation and around the River Banks.