|Picture from Barnard a Look Back by Marie de Giacomo 1982 Greenhills Books Randolph Center|
While I am still on the subject of Ellis Mountain I will also include another article from The Harbor publication: Oliver’s Cave on the side of Ellis Mountain was the mecca of many boys during the last hundred years and an expedition there sometimes served to close the spring term of school. They have cited their article from Vermont Life Spring 1961. ) For a boy of the 1830’s, Oliver Plaisted had a good education, and as a youth taught school for awhile before learning something of the builders trade. In the 50’s he came back to live down on Broad Brook in Royalton with his parents and he remained there after their deaths, taking on strange and reclusive ways. He was ill and a man to fear imagined dangers. It was a special house that Oliver built which keeps his name alive today, not the hermit shack which he first built down by Broad Brook.
There is no evidence that the authorities ever thought to come for him but when the Civil War broke out, Oliver struck out for the hills—for the wilderness of ledges and mountain top near the Barnard-Royalton town line.
Here he took refuge, living for some time in a small natural cave whose opening he walled up partially. Here in his fear and misery Oliver chiseled on the rock works to be seen today: “This is Hell.”
Nearby Plaisted soon erected a small stone house which now is known to picnickers and hikers as “Oliver’s Cave”. He built staunchly, his only tool a jackscrew but with this he somehow moved a huge stone slab across the top to form a complete roof. There was a doorway and inside a rude fireplace. Nearby he built pits and rock piles, which some say were his forts or outposts.
It’s not recorded how long Oliver kept to his mountain retreat, though probably he was there off and on throughout the war. Once, it is told, he backpacked in from Woodstock a barrel of crackers. Nobody ever came after Oliver, it appears, and he died at 58 in Royalton some fifteen years after the war ended. The old there and his shack by Broad Brook have long since gone, but the stone refuge, “Oliver’s Cave” stands firm on the mountain top, a Civil War monument in its way.
I have added a link for all you geocachers out there.