Cave man

Have you ever heard of the Brentwood “Cave Man”? No? Well, there once was a local resident who had that nickname. And there in lies a story. Back in the late 1890s, there was a swamp just south of Brentwood. One day, some boys were walking in the area and saw smoke coming up out of the ground. Investigating it, they found a stove pipe hidden in a tree stump. The boys reported this to the village, and town police were summoned to the site. They found a large cave with a concealed entrance, fully furnished and stocked with a large food supply. But there was also a chain attached to the wall, and this made the police very suspicious. After an investigation, they uncovered a disturbing plot. A man named James Richardson had dug the cave and hidden its entrance. He was an uneducated former cowboy who had married a popular local girl named Annie Waller. Her parents strongly disapproved and broke up the marriage. Richardson then came up with the plot to kidnap his wife and confine her in the cave-chained to the wall. Richardson was ready to seize Annie when the police closed in and stopped him. He then disappeared, and was never seen again. The entire incident caused residents to dub him “The Cave Man”. Annie Waller Richardson later divorced him, then happily remarried to a local druggist and lived in Smithtown for many years. N. Ziino - January 2007 Local History Newsletter

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