Old Ruby, the wolf hunter, was a discharged soldier who came from Fort Winnebago (Portage) in 1840 to the Albany area. He was illiterate and loved to roam the hills and river bottoms with his dogs. Reuben hunted wolves and brought their ears to the Monroe County Courthouse to receive a bounty of three dollars a piece. During the cold winters he could usually find a friendly farmer to let him stay in a barn, but at other times of the year Reuben occupied a cave in the side of a bluff along side the Little Sugar River.
In 1886 James Keegan leased the grounds in which Reubin`s Cave was carved. He erected a winding wooden staircase encircling the cave from the the Little Sugar River up to the sixty foot bluff at the top and there constructed a dancing pavilion. A small steam boat called the "Mikado" brought townspeople and tourist alike up through Lake Minetka ( the Albany millpond) into the mouth of the Little Sugar and then up the shallow stream to the acclaimed cave. Plans were made for a lookout tower seventy-five feet high on the bluff with a telescope and "electric revolving light of all colors".
Reuben Folsom, inset, legendary hermit-hunter, who, it is said, lived in the cave pictured here during the mid-part of the 1800`s.
Reuben seemed to live and move in a world of wolves; he became wolfish in nature and looked and talked like a wolf. He even named his dog "Wolf." He could out walk any ordinary human being, taking great strides as though some phantom form were dogging his foot-steps. Despite his seeming surliness, old Reuben was a harmless inoffensive creature whose whole sum of usefulness undoubtedly overbalanced all the harm he ever did.
However, it is quite certain that he was slightly deranged mentally. The children here were all afraid of him because he bit the heads off rats in order to show the strength of his teeth.
Time whitened old Reuben`s hair and, as the years went by, the one-time athletic step enfeebled led him to the home which charity had kindly provided for the unfortunate of the earth. It was in 1870 that the veteran hunter passed away. He was firmly convinced that turpentine was a great medicine and so he slipped away one night from the attendants and took a huge dose of it. He died soon after and was buried on a hillside between Monticello and Albany. Two or three years ago his body was moved to the Gap Church yard where the citizens of Albany erected a marker for him....more
- - Volume: 8 - WEEK: 100 Date: 4/18/2020 7:30:04 AM -