Robert Catlett Cave
Biographical Sketch On The Life Of Robert C. Cave
Robert Catlett Cave was born February 13, 1843 in Orange County, Virginia. His parents were Robert Preston Cave (1814-1861), and his mother was Sarah Francis Lindsay Cave (1818-1852). He had two brothers, older brother Lindsay Wallace (1838-1917) and younger brother Reuben Lindsay -known as R. Lin.- (1845-1924), and one older sister Mary Anville (1839 -????). On December 15, 1863, Robert married Fannie S. Daniel in Orange County, Virginia. The marriage license stated that both Robert and Fannie were from Orange County, and that Robert was said to be a farmer. To their union was born ten chidren: Robert Clifton (1864-1887); Ida Anville (1866-1918); Lindsay Lovell (1868-1889); William Travis (1870-1873); Elmore (1872-1934); Julia Morton (1873-); Rhodes Estil (1876-1951); William Daniel (1878-); Edward Powell (1880-1957); and Maury C. (1883-1919).
He served along with his two brothers in the C.S.A. during the Civil War. After the war he worked in business for a while but soon gave it up to preach. In 1867 he was ordained, and preached for the Macedonia church. As Cave preached the gospel in Virginia his popularity grew. The brethren in Kentucky heard of this young preacher who was growing in influence, and invited him to Lexington to work with the journal, the Apostolic Times. So, in 1872 he went to Lexington and ultimately became editor. He served for about a year when many offers of local works began to be offered. He left the paper and accepted the work at Georgetown. Later he moved to Hopkinsville and preached for the church there. While there he followed Elder T.A. Crenshaw as president of South Kentucky College.
While in Hopkinsville he preached for the Hopkinsville church from January to December, 1877. In 1880 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee where he began preaching at the Church Street church (Later known as Vine Street Christian Church). He preached there for a year, and due to health problems gave the work to his brother R. Lin Cave. R. Lin preached there until 1899. Later Robert moved to St. Louis where he preached for the Central church. During a series of lessons in 1889, Cave expressed some views that were foreign to the Bible and the restoration plea. In these lessons he denied the inspiration of the Scriptures and the miraculous conception of Jesus. He shocked the area churches, both disciples and all the denominations in the St. Louis area with his denial that Jesus was raised from the dead, and that Christians could believe Jesus to be a myth as long as they accepted the idea of Christ. The St. Louis newspapers ran transcripts of the sermons as well. He was soon dismissed from the church and rejected by the church at large. David Lipscomb wrote a number of articles in the Gospel Advocate in the early 1890s to defend the truth against him, as did others in journals around the country.
In 1911 Cave wrote a book on the Civil War entitled, Defending The Southern Confederacy: The Men In Gray. He strongly believed in the cause of the confederacy until his death. He argued that the southern cause was not over slavery as much as it was a strict belief in the right of states to choose their own destinies. He had grown up under the Jeffersonian philosophy of freedom from oppression. He believed that the fight for states rights was the same fight that their forefathers had fought to bring about freedom from England during the Revolutionary War. This book has been reprinted and is in circulation today.
Robert C. Cave was a highly controversial figure in both the Restoration Movement and the history of this country. He was a free thinker in a nation who lived at a time when many questioned life's most fundamental truths. His beliefs and teachings left him without the friendship and fellowship of those who loved him in the early years of his life. He, like Jessie B. Ferguson before him, and many since, show that the good that is done in one's life can be forgotten when they choose afterward to live and teach contrary to the will of God. He died June 23, 1923 in St. Louis, Missouri and is buried in the Valhalla Cemetery beside his wife and two sons.
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Directions To The Grave Of R.C. Cave
Robert C. Cave is buried in the Valhalla Cemetery in St. Louis Missouri. The cemetery is located at 7600 Saint Charles Rock Rd. St. Louis, MO 63133. The office phone is: 314-721-4900. The GPS Location of the cemetery is Lat: 38°41.26N x Lon:090°19.15W. The cemetery closes at 5:00p.m.
From downtown St. Louis take I-64 West to I-170 North. Go to Exit 5 (Saint Charles Rock Rd.) and turn right. Pass Lackland Road; Continue past North and South Rd.; When passing N. Hanley Rd. look for the entrance to the cemetery. Enter the cemetery and go to the first left (You will be going up an incline). Section 1 should be on your left and Section 6 should be on your right. Take the first right and stop. Look to your right. The grave is about 30 feet in. The graves face east. The plot is in Lot #151.
Also buried at this cemetery are famous people such as the slave Dred Scott, General William Tecumseh Sherman and the famed Tennessee Williams. While in St. Louis be sure to visit the grave of John O'Kane at Bellefontaine Cemetery.
Special Thanks To Wayne Kilpatrick and Tom L. Childers for providing photos of the grave markers on this page. I visited the grave of Robert C. Cave in June, 2009 while on a 3000 mile, one-week journey of the Restoration Movement in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana & Kentucky