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By Bela Hubbard 1887 .... "Are they here-The dead of other days?-.... Let the mighty mounds That overlook the rivers, or that rise In the dim forest, crowded with old oaks, Answer. A race, that long has passed away, Built them;--a disciplined and populous race Heap'd, with long toil, the earth, while yet the Greek Was hewing the Pentelicus to forms Of symmetry, and rearing on its rock The glittering Parthenon. These ample fields Nourish'd their harvests." Bryant. Part I. General Character and Distribution of the Works Few works of a pre-historic people comparable to those found in Ohio, and elsewhere to the southward, occur in Michigan. Some scattered earthworks are found, of whose origin and uses the tribes of Indians living here at the first advent of the white man had no knowledge. They are of far less extent than those of Ohio, and indicate a people of different customs. Circular earthworks occur here and there, but they are of small size, and referable to a different purpose from the large circle-mounds of the Ohio. There are no truncated mounds, such as those found further south, and supposed to have constituted foundations or terraces for the dwellings of chiefs, or for religious edifices. No long earth-built ways, connecting the larger circles or squares, occur in Michigan. Nor are there any defensive works on so grand a scale as those in the Ohio Valley.
A few earth-mounds occur, some of which may be referred to a defensive purpose. One of these is found--or was found, for the desolating plough has reigned rampant over it for the last thirty years--on the Clinton River, in Macomb County, and is thus described to me by Mr. J. E. Day, of Romeo. It lay between the north branch of Clinton River and a small spring tributary, and was about twenty rods distant from either stream, and on a plateau elevated fifteen feet above. It consisted of a nearly circular embankment four to five feet high, and enclosed about three acres. The diameters were 350 and 400 feet respectively. On the outer side was a wide ditch. There were three openings or gateways, each twenty feet wide, and protected within by a mound so placed as to shut off from without all view of the interior. A small lake within the enclosure supplied water to the garrison. Between this "fort" and the smaller stream were a large number of tumuli, in an irregular cluster, each of which contained a single skeleton. A little below the junction of this stream with the Clinton was a very large tumulus, surrounded by seven smaller ones in a circle. In situation and general character this work bears considerable analogy to the defensive works of Northern Ohio. The embankment may have been crowned with palisades, and the interior mounds may have served for observation, as well as defence, to a village within the circle. A large amount of broken pottery and other relics found in the vicinity seems to indicate a once numerous population. Nothing is known which would indicate a religious purpose, analogous to the so-called "sacred enclosures" of Ohio. In all the north-western portion of this county, extensive fields or gardens, in which the cultivation was in drills or rows, may still be distinctly traced. Near the mouth of this river occurs another similar work, and of apparently a like defensive character. Mr. Henry Little, in one of several papers on the Mounds, published in the Kalamazoo Telegraph in 1874, mentions an ancient work in Gilead, Branch County, which may with some probability be classed as defensive. "It was an earth embankment, one end starting from the waters of a small lake, the other end coming around to the lake at a point considerably distant from the first. It enclosed an excellent spring of water." He also describes an earthwork of this kind, and much more extensive, at Three Rivers, in St. Joseph County. "The Rocky River from the north, and Portage Creek from the north-east, unite their waters with the St. Joseph, but a few rods distant from each other, forming a tract of land in
the shape of the letter V. About a mile north of this junction was an artificial earth embankment, about six feet high, stretching across the plain, from Rocky River to the Portage." This plain is elevated many feet above these streams, and with this triple defence a beleaguered army might here sustain itself with considerable confidence against the warfare of savage foes. This defensive work has a peculiar interest, from its vicinity to those remarkable evidences of ancient labor, skill and taste, denominated the "garden beds," of which a description is given elsewhere. Blois, in his Gazetteer, alludes to "forts of the square or rectangular kind," one of which "is said to be one or two miles below Marshall, one in town of Prairie-Ronde, and several on the Kalamazoo." It is to be regretted that no traces now remain of these structures. On the banks of the St. Joseph River I remember to have seen, in 1837, a circular embankment of unknown origin. It was of small size, and so well defined that I could not pass it unnoticed. My recollection, however, does not enable me to give any very definite description. Mr. Little, in the papers above referred to, mentions an antique work of very unusual form. Describing a tumulus on Climax Prairie, he adds. "South of the mound and in the edge of the timber, on the highest part of a hill or eminence, there was an excavated ring, which formed the whole of a perfect circle, and enclosed one and a half acres. The excavated hollow was about one rod wide at the bottom and between 2 and 3 feet deep. When first discovered, forty years ago, it was overgrown with large forest trees." Circles of this kind are very rare. Some have been found in Ohio, and I remember seeing in Wisconsin an animal form made in intaglio, instead of relief. The ring described by Mr. Little could not have had a military purpose, or pains would not have been taken to remove the earth, which, if thrown up as an embankment, would have assisted such an object. A circular embankment occurs at Springwells, just below Fort Wayne. Of this I shall give a detailed description on a future page. Some of the works above alluded to have a similar character to those small earthworks found in the vicinity of Lake Erie, on its south side, and extending into New York, which have been surveyed and described by Col. Charles Whittlesey. These consist of embankments with outer ditches, and are built across the necks of the uplands between ravines, thus aiding to render a small piece of land easily defended. Their purpose as works of defense cannot be mistaken.
and a height of 15 feet or more above the general surface. differing in this respect from the others. Close by are two others of nearly equal size. All are within an area of two and a half acres. By far the finest group of mounds that has come to my knowledge occurs on the banks of Grand River. It is probable they were temporary refuges. This great emergency may have arisen when those barbarous hordes. all very regular in shape and conical. and varying in height from eight to two feet. Seven of these tumuli were opened during the year preceding my visit. like those who made the garden beds. Around them cluster seventeen smaller tumuli. They were still perfect when the writer had the satisfaction of seeing them in 1874. elsewhere. Possibly they were the last refuge of an agricultural people. which were composed of the gravel of the uplands. Many of these were in use by the Indian tribes inhabiting the country at its discovery and settlement by the whites. Tumuli or burial mounds. They are in a line about 100 feet apart. This group occupies the first terrace. without regular arrangement. single and grouped. like those series of forts which are found in Ohio and which serve for the protection of a large district. Of other kinds of relics of a past race Michigan has more abundant examples. 4 . The largest of these mounds has a diameter of 100 feet. three miles south of Grand Rapids. by captain Coffinbury and others. who occasioned the final destruction or dispersion of the Mound-Builders of Ohio. turned their victorious arms upon the northern race of peaceful cultivators. Trees were growing on the mounds of two to three feet diameter. consisting principally of sugar maples. This was found to be wholly composed of the richest portions of the surrounding alluvial soil. As I propose to describe with some particularity those which occur in the immediate vicinity of Detroit. and among them one of the largest. or with any plan or system.These are all isolated instances of comparatively small defensive works. unconnected with each other. are very common in all parts of the peninsula. I will content myself with alluding to a few only of special interest. and there were evidences of still older ones which have perished. hastily erected against some sudden inroad. It lies in the shadow of the ancient. and 500 feet from the river. untrimmed forest. and some continued to be used for their ancient purposes for a long time afterward. which is overflowed in high water to the foot of the mounds. No relics were disclosed.
the proportions "indicating a stature of seven feet. and entirely above ground. many years ago.except a copper awl. a tumulus of considerable size. While certain tribes of the red man in historic times are known to have made frequent use for intrusive burial of mounds which they found in the land. generally one only in each. Besides the usual variety of stone arrow. who combined with the savage life such a sympathetic love of nature. and a copper axe. strongly put together. with its silent surroundings. together with ashes. A different mode of entombing their great men was practised by the Indians inhabiting Western Michigan. He was placed in a sitting posture. and who buried him there a century before the date of the white settlement. Of the smaller mounds. it is the general opinion that the era of their original fabrication belongs to a more remote past. would imply that this mound was appropriated to such bodies only as were cremated. in 1841. We can certainly point to an exception in this State. Patches of ochreous earth were met with. and near the village. except one. On the beautiful prairie of White Pigeon. and one-fourth inch thick. These will be alluded to hereafter. eight inches long by four wide. until the remnant were moved by the U. and the red earth. The absence of skeletons in this tumulus. Wacousta. and faced to different points. the lowest mound yielding the richest harvest. In all skeletons were found.and spear-heads. which is pronounced gigantic. and tradition asserted that it enshrined the remains of a celebrated chief of the Pottawatomies who formerly occupied that part of the country. in the early part of this century. mingled with comminuted bone." All were in a sitting posture. six were opened. lovely in its seclusion and grand with its overshadowing foliage. He was still held in such estimation that thousands of his tribe came annually to pay their tribute of respect at his grave. as though dumped from a basket. No attempt had been made at 5 . impressed my mind strongly with the poetical character of that race. They were of ordinary size. the grave of the renowned chief. several stone pipes and marine shells were also found. were several copper needles. In 1837. and all were so decayed that it was impossible to preserve them. The spot occupied by this interesting group of tumuli. Four handsome pots constituted the most interesting discovery. It was found by the first whites who settled there in 1826. I saw. I saw on the summit of a lofty bluff overlooking the river Kalamazoo. S. and the body surrounded with a crib of logs. With the bones were many relics. quite smooth and perfect. Government to Kansas. a bushel in a place.
after the flesh had decomposed. Possibly this disposition may have been but temporary. his people have long ago departed. Among the mounds of the Mississippi Valley. until the time should arrive for a general inhumation or "Feast of the dead. The stones were nicely placed.raising an earth mound. But these places know him no more. his history is lost to tradition." Piles of stone are mentioned by Mr. to some general resting-place of the nation. The earth-tumuli in Michigan are nearly always found in some picturesque situation. associated with the ancient remains in Macomb County. of Rome." One of these stone-mounds was opened forty years ago. and supposed by him to have been gathered by the ancient race for the purpose of clearing the land for cultivation. often on some promontory that commanded a lengthened prospect of the Indian's natural highway. My own theory is. and further south. The stones being removed. are occasionally found some built of stones. Day. and more than a mile distant from the group of earth-mounds elsewhere mentioned. on or near the banks of the larger streams. although ancient fields exist near. like a hay-cock. Mr. But. They were entirely alone. He says: "In several places in this vicinity were found mounds made of stones. nicely piled up to a height of four to five feet. and which was probably his favorite resort while living. that the stones were heaped about the body for protection. An instance of a similar construction is reported to me by Mr. and the discovery of the skeleton serves to confirm his opinion. portions of a human skeleton were exhumed. and even his tomb tells but an uncertain story of his former being. Schoolcraft as existing on the Island of Mackinac. Day is certain that the stone piles mentioned by him were for a different purpose. and threw its roots over the sides of the pile. The skeleton was entire and still partially enveloped in its integuments. and had been preserved in shape by a tree which grew on the summit. "It was four feet in height and placed in a circular excavation of two feet depth by four feet diameter."--a custom which I shall notice presently. with a view to removal of the bones. 6 .
the late Col. is far less definite and certain than could be desired. When mounds are opened in most cases. unless the bones of the occupants have perished through time." found by Mr. the skeletons indicate a race of very inferior size. On one occasion I accompanied an old pioneer and worthy Judge to visit several mounds in Western Michigan. twenty years before."Perhaps on banks of many a stream.-Save this rude mound. Henry Whiting. And down through generations run. might seem to refer them to a lower type. so far as relates to the aboriginal Wolverines. Sloping beneath the day's warm beam. they show a race of giants. according to others. to suit the zeal of the narrator." a poem by our distinguished townsman. and the skull of which fitted entirely over the judicial head! The Cardiff Giant was a few inches longer than this. whose sole monuments are mounds of earth. Amid the diversity of statement as to reported and actual finds. and little regard seems to have been paid to the direction in which the face is turned. well illustrates the desolation which has fallen upon the race. The elasticity of these ancient relics. Laying their bones within the mound Where all their gathered sires were found. it is impossible to determine from the reports whether the skeletons found belong to original or intrusive burials. when laid out upon the turf. but as he was entirely of gypsum it was quite easy to 7 . by cranium and other measurements. that the information they convey to us of the character of the ancient occupants. And yet the spot no sign disclose. or from cremation. The tumuli are monuments to the dead as well as graves. And broke through Nature's wild repose. H. that they closely resembled the historic races. he had dug from one of these mounds a skeleton which. Original burials seem to have been made at or below the natural surface. measured eleven feet. and the bodies are found both in horizontal and sitting postures. Gillman in the mounds at Springwells. According to some accounts. Tribes may have lived from sire to son. My guide gravely informed me that. although several very prognathous skulls and the "flattest tibia on record. So unscientific has been the usual mode of unearthing these tombs. It is almost certain that one or more human skeletons will be found entombed. eight and three-quarter inches.--that ever there The hum of men had filled the air. is truly wonderful. I think the conclusion may be drawn." These lines from "Ontwa.
Possibly a microscopic examination may prove that the Grand Rapids tool was similarly encased. On each side were ornaments of similar design. very accurately modelled and deeply impressed. In pottery our mounds are quiet rich. They are interesting as showing the extended intercourse. The four pots mentioned as disinterred at Grand Rapids were of very regular form. Some of these must have come from the Atlantic of the Gulf. was some substance having the appearance of cloth. the whorls being cut out and holes made for hanging. which Dr. The other three differed in this. and the rim was adorned with cross-lines or hatching. Strong to be from the Pacific. it is a little singular that so few tools of copper have been found. on the part of the ancient inhabitants of our peninsula. Several copper axes from mounds in Iowa were found wrapped in a similar covering. the whole effect being quite tasteful. Finds of this kind in Wisconsin have far exceeded those from our soils. while one is pronounced by Prof. The surface otherwise was covered with small indentations. with knives and other implements of chert. one had a rim around the neck. showing both advance in the art of weaving and some especial reverence or consideration for the metal implement. surrounding each. after a slight curve inwards. than among the dwellers west of Lake Michigan. swelled into a bowl of uniform bulge. and probably system of barter and exchange. While the Michigan mounds contain the usual complement of stone axes. but too much decayed for preservation. arrow-heads and spear-points. 8 . In connection with the copper axe mentioned as among the finds in the mounds at Grand Rapids. that the bowl--round bottomed in all-was divided into four equal bulges. Shells similarly prepared were in use by the Southern Indians in the time of De Soto. A smooth band encircled the neck. in inch wide. from which the vessel. practised by the unknown peoples. The Pacific coast shells had evidently served the pupose of vessels.fabricate any proportions which the gullibility of the public could swallow. These were made more sharply protuberant by a smooth band. and this would seem to indicate less acquaintance with the copper quarries of Lake Superior. Farquharson pronounces to be cloth. Among the relics found in the Grand Rapids mounds--and by no means uncommon in other tumuli--are marine shells. for drinking-cups. as horns were used by our Saxon ancestors. Some of the pots are at least fully equal to those of the bronze period in Europe.
The composition and general character are much the same. They appeared to be in the form of a half egg. Two of these were uncommonly fine specimens. and on the inside was black throughout. It was ornamented with figures of various kinds. was admirable.Among the finds in Macomb County was a dish of an unusual size and form. crumbled to pieces. found usually in fragments. rounded at the base into a gourd form. On the exterior was a thin coating of reddish clay. The neck was about five inches wide. and of the capacity of one or two gallons. in good preservation. But curved forms and figures are more pleasing to the cultivated eye. and imply a degree of æsthetic advancement. below the rim. abruptly contracted toward the mouth. quite distinct from the remainder. in a determination of the advance in culture of the people by whom they were fabricated. and an eye and hand capable of giving finish to articles of admirable form. Below this the body swelled into a graceful curve. and presented to the Archæological Museum at Cambridge. largely mixed with pounded stone. The composition was clay. combined with great lightness. they were smooth on the inside but marked on the exterior with various fantastic figures. Gillman. in the mounds at Springwells and elsewhere. with a flaring brim. with a collar. Unfortunately this unique vase. scarcely less perfect than if constructed on a potter's wheel. Straight or zigzag lines occur on the coarsest specimens. symmetry and lightness. The fineness of the texture. By the side of each of the numerous skeletons found in what is known as the Carsten Mound. The specimens from the Michigan mounds show a taste to appreciate. and had a capacity of twelve to fifteen gallons. It resembled the smaller half end of an egg-shell. and about a foot in height. lay a pot or urn. of which three only were obtained entire. The above describes but a few specimens of the many pots. and entire. The art of the potter is so ancient and universal. By some process differing from and less effective 9 . Mass. than to any other of the ordinary relics. which contained much mica. The pots found by Blois in the mound opened by him at Springwells in 1839 were generally too much broken to determine their shapes. of two inches breadth. on exposure. that more interest attaches to the remains of a perished race which show the state of the ceramic art among them. Springwells. These vases were purchased by Mr. and the character and forms of the utensils made of baked clay are so important. and may betoken the first advance from the rudest savage ideas.
than the modern. many evidences were still extent of the old aboriginal occupation. ancient and modern. These incidents of history are recalled. in the immediate vicinity. and that such articles were transported all over the country. the Indians of the Southern States. Old kilns have been found in Georgia. while it deprives the Northern Mound-Builders of the credit due to such skilful artisans. was confined to a few skilled persons. When I came to Detroit. that these pots were an importation from the South. Indian Antiquities at Springwells During the early French occupation of Detroit several Indian nations had settlements on the river banks. and micaceous rocks. They raised corn and many vegetables. shows.--colored clays. and it conveys an enlarged idea of the extent of the traffic which existed in these ancient times. It was hardly possible to dig a cellar or level a hillock without throwing out some memorial of the red races. The fact that in the better kinds of pottery found in the Northern mounds exactly the same materials combine. an imperfect glazing was obtained. THE MOUND-BUILDERS IN MICHIGAN Part II. Conspicuous were the Hurons. because the fact of the considerable degree of settled and civilized habits attained by the Indian tribes of that day serves to throw some light upon those pre-historic antiquities whose origin and purposes are involved in so much obscurity. in 1835. arrow-points. The sea-shells tell the same story. They had villages strongly defended by stockades. the manufacture of stone implements. It is possible. for purpose of sale and barter. though it seems hardly probable. even in modern times. may therefore warrant the conclusion that they were importations. and the general resemblance of the ornamentation. and the inner surfaces are often quite smooth and fine. between the widely separated portions of the continent. Pottawatomies and Ottawas. in large quantities. That country furnished all the material desired. being noted for the excellence and variety of their pottery. and it is known that. at least. Mingled 10 . that the Northern peoples had the good taste to appreciate these beautiful and useful articles. sea-shells. etc. and Adair suggests that the black color was owing to the smoke of the pitch pine used in the fires.. This supposition.
But more interesting memorials of a traditionary race were then extant. the arrow and tomahawk of the savage. and for clay used in the manufacture of brick. It was then about ten feet in height. and other memorials of the savage--rude as were the artificers--are perfect as in the day when they left the hands that made them. "in one red burial blent. In striking relationship with the emblems of savage warfare it was not uncommon to find. But arrow-and spear-head. mingled with shell beads. were thickly strewn bones and broken pottery. Large excavations were in progress for gravel. and is still in good preservation. while the implements of the civilized race are nearly perished with rust. These encroachments had destroyed one of the tumuli. sword-blades and cannon balls. Of several skull thus obtained and in my possession.with their half-decayed bones were pipes and other utensils of stone. fresh and imperishable! To unearth a human skeleton was a common occurrence. of which one still existed at the time of my first visit. It did not exceed six feet in height. laid upon the skin. stone knives and arrow-points. one is deserving of particular mention. placed about the temples. that the stain is a deposit from the oxidation of a copper band. On this bank were two mounds of conical form. wampum-beads of curious workmanship. Allusion has already been made to tumuli at Springwells. and sometimes were seen protruding from the soil where the action of the waves had broken into the land. Several rods below was a smaller tumulus in a field. A close examination reveals the presence of a belt of color. The colors are strong and penetrate the entire bone. from the fact that it is stained through with permanent colors of red and green. with a base diameter of forty feet. and elevated about thirty feet above the water. and my conjecture is. The old alone is ever new. ornaments of silver and copper. Just below the copper works the bank was very bold. for the extent of an acre. 11 . broken pottery. and the figured cross of the missionary. on a line with the forehead. On and around this spot." gun-barrels. A group of these existed on the river front of the Reeder farm. though injured by pilferers of Indian relics. should have penetrated the bone. within the grounds of the United States reservation. and the whole have since disappeared. Thus does the remote past outlive the present. but it is not possible that these pigments. It was the custom among some tribes to paint the face of the dead with his war-colors. They were thrown out by spade and plough. then covered with forest. extending around the head. mementos of the place-faced warriors who strove on the same battlefields.
The mouth large and broad. and six were found enclosed in the mouth. was sand. The most remarkable feature of this find is the presence of an oxide of iron.In a "Gazetteer of the State of Michigan. but it exhibited a mixture of decomposed animal matter. but some forming very sharp cutting implements. in 1839. like that of the surrounding country. either iron or copper. "No metal was discovered. supposed to represent a vessel of that metal. three inches thick. was unknown to that early race." Arrow-heads. It was judged that the stature of none exceeded five feet six inches. and with each were several pounds of a friable earth. The head was invariably turned toward the north. some of which had evidently undergone calcination. "The general contour of the cranium was different from what is commonly noticed in the present Indian races. Immediately below this were found six human skeletons. of the rudest kind. The first few feet revealed many human skeletons. which has much interest. lying in different parts of the mound. the body a little inclined backwards. in the attitude of a person preparing to drink. Some had been strung. the volume of the brain quite small." published by John T. for if these bodies really belonged to the prehistoric race. was penetrated. Blois. is given an account of the opening of one of these mounds two years. By the side of one was found the remains of an uncommonly large. Only the long bones and parts of the ribs and crania remained undecayed. as every other circumstance would imply. and the hands supporting an earthen vessel. laid in a promiscuous manner. the skull unusually thick. the forehead exceedingly low and receding. Each appeared to have been interred in a kneeling or sitting posture. The excavation was commenced on the top. and made of similar shell. resembling Spanish brown. the face wide and short. but which colored red any object to which it was applied. in cylindrical form." Great numbers of beads. were found. holding some two or three gallons. The soil. About one foot from the base a stratum of charcoal. with deposits of the usual utensils and implements. white marine shell. then are we in conflict with the apparently well founded opinion that the art of smelting metals. which proved it to have been of iron. Iron is very 12 . others lay upon different parts of the body. were beside them. and occasional fragments of bone. before. wrought and unwrought. It suggests a very difficult subject of inquiry. and continued a depth of four feet below the base. but the oxide or rust of iron was traced in the shape of a vessel. The vessels were of the capacity of one or two gallons. pieces of hornstone and quartz.
H. Ransom. F. General Cass said that bodies were brought here from great distances. frequently all night long." The appearance. to receive from the Indian agent at Malden the annuities so liberally furnished them by the British Government. and made night hideous with their discordant yells. is very interesting. by the recollection of Mr. H. and were even preserved frozen during the winter. and probably this artifice was required to compel him to set forth on hi spirit travel. the soul of the deceased lingered for several days. unwilling to quit his earthy belongings. Winnebagoes. "They scooped out a shallow grave in the centre of the top. Pottawatomies." 13 . B. after covering the body with sand brought from the neighboring bank. the shores of Lake Superior. He then scraped the sand from the hollow interior. As a ghost cannot cross water." According to a common superstition. Witherell. for intrusive burial. He says he had "broken one side of the top before he noticed anything peculiar. that in his childhood he had seen the children of the wilderness deposit the remains of their departed friends in the bosom of one of these mounds. in a paper read in 1858 before the Historical Society of Michigan. and sometimes indicated that a warrior was laid in his grave. and. Here they held their war and medicine dances.perishable. stated. The story of the use of these mounds by the native tribes to a quite recent date. was certainly that of indurated oxide of iron. he adds. Tawas and other tribes congregated at this favorite spot. and yet the circumstance seems to him incredible. the friends of the dead man went into the river and waded about in zigzag course for some time. Iowas. Their music was the monotonous sound of the rude drum. in order that he might lose sight of friends who would have otherwise attracted him to stay too long. The object of this custom was. he confirms his statement made in 1839. that the spirit might not be able to follow the tracks in the sand. The Hon. the above plan was resorted to. Blois written me in 1877. in order that they might be interred in these favorite mausolea. Menominees. It was done to drive the evil spirit off. until the spirit had departed on its long journey. In a letter from Mr. Wyandots. and would probably be wholly consumed by rust. regarding the supposed iron vessel. "This sand hill was a favorite camping-ground with all the Western tribes in their annual migration from their far off homes on the banks of the Mississippi. Chippewas. but there was not sufficient strength in it to hold together. who was present. beaten with unvarying stroke. long before human bones deposited at that remote era would have crumbled away. Foxes. At different times the Sacs. and the rivers and lakes of the western forests. Sioux.
were the vases described in a former page. In this case the large individual measured seven and a half feet in height! The original surface of the ground was about fifteen feet above the general level. over a considerable portion of the town of Springwells. which were quite perfect. is an opening or gateway. the shortest 250 feet. at different epochs. as late as the second year of my residence in Springwells. About half a mile below the group of Springwells tumuli already mentioned. Carstens. and very finely and evenly serrated. enclosing about one and a half acres. and about two feet in height. which was only three or four feet high. as though this had been a matter of indifference. The latter is about twelve feet wide at base. At the south end. The ditch from which the earth was taken is about eight feet wide. They were of milk-white quartz. and I have seen the river alive with canoes of these various tribes. J. about 7 inches long by 3 wide. and beside the head of each was an earthen crock. The longest axis is 320 feet. of course. In the year 1870. and the skeletons of fourteen bodies disinterred. They mark the shores or water-lines of the ancient lake or ocean. and consisted of drift gravel. The bodies were found at a depth of six or seven feet from this original surface. Among a large number of arrow-points and other articles common to the mounds were several lance-heads of unusual size and beauty. one of the ancient tombs was disturbed. overlaid by yellow sand. but no vestige of iron. in digging away a section from one of these ridges. and mostly on the outer side.This practice on the part of the British Government was continued down to 1836. They were in the usual contracted posture. and about 100 feet distant. The general level of the land in the vicinity of Detroit is varied. but in some places on the inner side. is a small circular earthwork. to centre of embankment. It consists of a low embankment. opposite Fort Wayne. by ridges of sand and gravel. of the kind alluded to at the beginning of these observations upon the Indian antiquities of Michigan. These elevated places were often chosen by the natives for sepulchral purposes. 50 feet wide. 14 . and were. There was the usual report of big bones. of an oval form. toward the river. Two of these.H. on land of Mr. was heaped above. interred in these deep graces before the tumulus. and now in the Archæological Museum at Cambridge. Until recently it was not known that any portion of these was artificial. and a necklace of copper beads. Among the relics was a long needle of copper.
which crossed the neck of marsh. The width of the gateway. and the irregular character of the ditch hardly accord with the supposition that it was a military work. Many generations had risen and passed away since the dusky forms of its artificers were consigned to the neighboring tumuli. No attempt seems to have been made to level the surface within the enclosure. half a century ago. such as have been found with similar structures in Western New York.The accompanying sketch will give a clearer idea of the situation. and the absence of any protective mound within. and as many wide. at Del Rey. and neither the ancient nor modern races are supposed to have had herds of domesticated animals. while the warriors were upon a warpath. When this interesting relic first came to my knowledge. I shall close these remarks with some account of the great mound near the junction of the river Rouge with the Detroit. about 500 feet long." if such it may be called. which upon the north and west sides is several hundred feet wide. and attributed to the Iroquois. Of the purpose for which this work was constructed. requiring the protection of corrals. and the interest which attaches to it may warrant me in occupying some further pages in its description. which rises gently from the river to the height of about six feet. within the distance of an arrow cast. To the old French habitants it was also known that it had been used by the Indians as a burial-place. 15 . It is upon a small area of land. There are no traces of a stockade. It might have served as a place of security for the women and children. we are left to conjecture. a few feet apart. There are traces of what appear to have once been two parallel embankments. which separates the hard-land tact from a ridge of some fifteen feet elevation. Ever since the settlement of the country this mound has been a wellknown and conspicuous feature. as it is overlooked by the higher land on the east. in a direct line towards the circular "fort. This tract of firm land is surrounded by a morass. and cut off from roads and settlements by the morass. it was in the midst of a dense forest and thicket. Upon the east this marsh narrows to a neck about 100 feet wide. Yet the regularity of the work marks it as one of studied design. and antique oaks and rambling grape-vines--its sole occupants-silently told the story of the years that had gone by. shrouded from any observation but that of an antiquary. It would hardly seem to have answered that of a fortification. or been thrown up in some sudden emergency. three miles below the city. Yet its true character seems never to have been fully appreciated. or open wet prairie. There is nothing to indicate that the enclosure surrounded a village.
as far as the site of the city. where were deposited the remains of their dead. Not only has it been reduced more than half the entire length. says the mound originally extended from its present limits westerly fully 500 feet. To the south and west were seen Grosse Isle and the channel leading past Malden to Lake Erie. lay the deep waters of the river Rouge. and the mode of their occurrence. half a mile distant. From the immense number of skeletons found within it. Mr. But little examination is needed to show that some part at least of the elevation is natural. is artificial. in every direction. It is most picturesque. Bourdeno.For nearly half a century. until now it is but a miniature of its former self. It was symmetrical in form. The tumulus must have been visible from a great distance. could be retained. and the slopes were about as steep as the sand. for a stratum of gravel appears below ten or more feet of sand. until the flesh had disappeared. and little notice taken of its contents. 400 feet wide. and other Algonquin tribes. to where a bend in the Rouge brings that river close to the highway. circling nearly two sides of the mound. which evidently belongs to the drift that has left many similar deposits over this region." 16 . enough is disclosed to show that this huge mound has been the memorial of many interesting and marvellous events. A portion of the overlying sand may be ascribed to the same source. there can be little doubt that it was one of these national sepulchres of the Hurons. but I think the fact will be made evident that a considerable part of the original. while northward the view commands many miles of rolling country. of which most of it was composed. and the proper season had arrived for the great "Festival of the dead. Little of the original shape now remains. Beyond stretched a field of natural meadow. but more than half also of its width on the river side. At the base. The south side bordered close on the river for its whole length. for a resting-place and monument to their dead. by wagon load and boat load. who has lived in the vicinity for more than sixty years. The mound or hill was then 700 or 800 feet long. over all others. to the river Detroit. that had been carefully kept for the purpose. and not less than forty feet high. and the present extreme height nowhere exceeds thirty feet above the stream. and visible for many miles of its course. The situation is such as would be chosen by the Mound-Builders. portion after portion has been dug away and removed. Above stretched the straits. and even of the present elevation. Much as has been lost by the wanton destruction of this instructive monument.
Levi Bishop. that I refer the curious to that poem for its full illustration. the lover. without the lifeless clay. side by side. gathered from the whole nation. with many ceremonies to which I shall only briefly allude. The relics--shapeless forms.--the procession--the harangue--the dance--the games--the feast--the solemn song. Of both the sexes. "Two fathoms deep the burial pit. The festival has been so well described in the 15th Canto of Teuch-sa-Grondie. by our lamented townsman. winging their way to the land of spirits. howling concourse" of guests and mourners." The dismal process of cleansing the bones--the exposure of the remains to the view of mourning friends--the decoration in the richest furs--the display of gifts destined for sacrifice.-To final home.--to land afar-To land beyond the evening star. amid "a weeping.This was attended. To spend them on their destined way. dreary funeral wail.-A frightful throng. shrieking. a melancholy train. and of young and old. A circle that might well admit A thousand bodies. in swift decay. constituted a scene unique as it was solemn and awful. The child. And twice two ample fathoms wide. Come forth their final resting-place to gain. one of those mysteries of the past that is never to return. broken at intervals by the long-measured. sachem chieftain bold. all illuminated by the midnight glare of blazing torches and camp-fires. as did the unburied Romans on the borders of the Styx. amid the general gathering of the tribes. Until this ceremony had taken place the spirits of the dead were supposed to wander restlessly about. "Departed spirits linger still.--the promiscuous casting of the remains into one general pit." When the appointed time has arrived "--the recent dead Are lifted from their temporary bed." 17 . Awaiting for the festal day. simulating voices of disembodied souls. The mouldy bones.-Their vacant place in cabin fill.
His statement goes further. where they were accustomed to inter their dead in one common sepulchre. mingled with burned bones.. Mr.] That the river Rouge mound was of this character there is much cumulative evidence to prove. and from the attendant relics." much charcoal and ashes were found. but the fact that many bodies of white soldiers have been interred in the hill is evident. Powerful as is the interest which attaches to this hill of the dead from this proof of its character. heaping above them the funeral mound. instead of being buried whole with the dead. which have escaped decay. It affords certain evidence that cremation was practised by the MoundBuilders of this region. much of which he collected and buried elsewhere. before their fatal dispersion by the Iroquois. as in ordinary cases." which was filled with bones. Bourdeno has seen hundreds of skeletons removed in the digging down of the hill. near the east end. it presents other points of interest. mingled indiscriminately. that in Pontiac's time. in all probability. buttons and other portions of military equipment. fled to and settled below Detroit. He says that in some parts there seems to have been a "cellar. This ceremony took place once in ten or twelve years. such as pieces of scabbards. an old resident. also gives similar accounts of the number of skeletons disinterred. In the account given me by Bourdeno he states. there occurred at this place a massacre of British soldiers by the Indians. and that the dead were buried in this mound. were thrown upon the burning pile. A house was erected on the summit. where they were known as Wyandots. I am not aware that history alludes to this event. and before the fatal ambuscade at Bloody Run. viz. which escaped the massacre on Lake Huron. but all were broken. that in other parts of the mound than those containing the "cellars. With these were many pieces of large pots. a sacred or "altar" mound. and of course suffered partial destruction.* [Note : * It is matter of history that a portion of this nation. Thousands of fragments of human bones still lie bleaching on the sand. for on these occasions the relics. as to their immense quantities.The Jesuit Relations of 1636 tell us of a place of this kind set apart among the Hurons in Canada. from the character of the skulls found in a certain part of it. During old territorial times the mound was made to subserve the living. mingled with sherds of pottery and other relics. which was at first 18 . It was also. The latter fact is consonant with the theory of cremation. Squire Ludlow. Another phase in the history of this mound is related by Bourdeno.
and other rubbish. This trench was commenced on the river side. and a foot lower down. and Indian trinkets. On the south side of the head was a small pot. Desirous of more fully determining the true character of the mound.--all except a large quantity of bricks and mortar. but how many feet had been originally heaped over it it was impossible to say. The relic-hunter finds over the whole surface a curious intermingling of the old and the new. and the skeleton exposed. To the west." At about the same distance from the skeleton first mentioned. This skeleton was only three feet below the surface. and a United States cent of 1829. near the top. This was dug carefully around. was a mass apparently composed of burned human remains. was very observable. and with bits of brass and iron that once belonged to the accoutrements of the British soldier. six feet wide and five deep. a portion of which seemed to have been undisturbed and was still covered with sod. we proceeded to open a trench near to it. except an English halfpenny of George III. Gillman as characteristic of the most ancient human remains in this region. and through the highest part now remaining. and was so doubled together and crushed. Hubbard. a few years ago I proceeded. first pointed out by Mr. It occupied a space two feet by one and a half. iron and other articles of modern housekeeping are in close communion with flint implements. It has been gone many years. We then struck a skull. which was also so flattened and decayed that it could be removed only in fragments. and at a foot 19 . The ribs and most of the vertebræ and smaller bones had perished. Henry Gillman and H. It formed a dark. and was continued northerly for the distance of ten feet before anything appeared to reward the labor. and about two feet from the above and one foot deeper. and four inches thick. The skull was so much flattened and decayed as to render it impossible to determine the shape or size. the central axis of the original mound.. Still deeper. antique pot-sherds. and a perfectly formed greenstone "celt. composed of baked clay. It lay with the head to the east.--glass. and quite hard and compact. These were found about four feet below the surface of the digging. as nearly as possible. in company with Messrs. but the larger bones of the arms and legs were sufficiently perfect to be removed. Having determined. to a practical investigation. Close to this were a few unburned portions of a skeleton. that the whole occupied a space not more than two feet long by four inches thick.a trading-post for the Indians. The flattening of the tibia. It had evidently originally been placed in a sitting posture. was another mass of cinders. G. pieces of crockery. reddish soil. several inches thick.
It may have formed part of an "altar. This. we came. On the disturbed surface was found a spot covered with broken fragments of clay. The lowest of the compacted masses was five feet beneath the present surface. it is apparent that interments took place during long intervals of time. however. cemented masses were discovered. A few inches below this was disclosed a stratum of black earth. These continued in considerable numbers through the succeeding three feet. when the digging was discontinued. from its color and character. This was continued to the depth of eight feet. and of a yellowish-red color. and they establish the fact of cremation beyond question. and the holes are about half an inch diameter. Among these masses of compacted cinder were several large nodules of irregular form. composed of cinders and burned bones. beyond this indicated that these might once have composed vessels of iron. Continuing the excavations beneath the sodded portion of the mound. was another mass of considerably larger extent. for no such custom is known. yet the presence of these bones made evident either that interments had taken place at this great depth of more than ten feet. as if from heavy blows. Two of them exhibited a round hole at the apex. at a depth of two feet. There was no appearance of the sand having ever been disturbed. That they consisted in part of burned human bones there could be no doubt. and found to constitute a bed not less than twenty feet square. and a foot thick. and here were found numerous nodules or lumps of a white substance. at three feet from the surface we uncovered numerous skeletons. upon what appeared. made by some sharp instrument after death. the earth heaped above the first 20 . They were disposed irregularly. How much lower still these singular masses continue was left undetermined. such as are pointed out by Squier in his so-called "Altar Mounds" of Ohio. And as these occur immediately below the undoubted Indian remains first mentioned. Nothing.remove to the west. the extent of which was traced at several points. which seemed held together by a cement of iron rust. The rimming is plainly visible. In excavating another trench at a lower part of the mound. Some of the crania were shattered. to have at one period constituted the original surface. or that the earth had accumulated since the deposition. which proved to be disintegrated bone. We now sunk a shaft or well into the sand at the place where the hard. as the matrix is entirely sand." or clay hearth. The skulls and some of the bones were in those of babes. as though hastily buried. may be presumed to be an artificial deposit. It is entirely improbable that any of the Indian races buried their dead in graves of that extreme depth.
and cycle by cycle. containing the dead of many centuries. Thus year by year. that covered alike their bones and their animosities? 21 . Since the discovery of the two perforated skulls others have come to light. For what purpose were these perforations? A suggestion has been made. when hope had perished. he had ascended the ancient mound. In this beautiful spot the red man of all those departed eras. elsewhere in the State. and it accords with the known anxieties of the Indian. until the time of the great festival of inhumation. of parties of his foes. Where but upon the graves of their ancestors. To his limited comprehension this tumulus of sand was stable as an Egyptian pyramid. And hold in mortmain still their old estates. how much of the past has been forgotten! Who can tell the story of that fierce struggle which took place on this spot. that the holes were for giving more speedy release to the spirit from its earthly tenement. the remains being covered. that they were intended as a means of suspending the skull in view of the friends of the deceased. What shades would throng around him if each skeleton form of the thousands that lay below could answer to his summons! "From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands. for it was secured by religious veneration. The condition of these crania indicates that they are comparatively modern. Many a time had his canoe paused at this place. mingled together in death in a common mausoleum. the great Pontiac resorted--that stern. may this savage hero have come to muse upon the past and its faded glories. it may be. uncompromising foe of the Anglo-Saxon. the mound grew in height and proportions. as tradition tells. We must regard this great mound--now being so ruthlessly destroyed--as a vest necropolis. while his eye reamed over the wide expanse of river and marsh and land in search of friendly forms. similarly treated." Within even the brief period of the ascendency of the Anglo-Saxon in this region. could he so worthily arouse the hearts of the living to resist their oppressors? And here. bodies being sometimes buried entire and sometimes burned. desired to make his final rest after the toils and pleasures of life were ended. Another supposition is of a very practical kind. like the others. belonging both to the prehistoric past and to our modern era. Here. creeping stealthily along its sandy shores. and to be gathered to his fathers in the place where reposed the bones of generations gone before.being a foundation for a new interment. when the two races that in life had been so distinct and hostile. and landing. with a fresh deposit of sand. or. perhaps from many now forgotten nations.
The whoop of the savage and his funeral howl are supplanted by the hum of a untiring. In the distance rise to view the spires and buildings of a proud and prosperous city. the sparkling waters lave its base. rolls its waters to the lake. and the proud pile which they created to immortalize their memory has nearly disappeared. and will soon have vanished altogether. in undeviating flood. but the canoe of the red man has given place to the winged barks of commerce. as of old. how changed the scene! The same noble river. 22 . and smoking factories. their history is but a fading dream. The protecting forests have been superseded by cultivated farms and village streets.And now. practical industry. the warm sunshine rests upon this spot. the winds blow over it from the not distant lake. the barge and the steamer. in the progress of an unheeding and remorseless civilization. scattering the dust that once animated human forms. Still. But the beings these cheered in the olden time have all perished from the land.
DIAGRAM OF ANCIENT EARTHWORKS MACOMB COUNTY 23 .
POTS FROM MOUND NEAR GRAND RAPIDS RIVER ROUGE MOUND 24 .
NEAR DETROIT 25 .DIAGRAM OF ANCIENT EARTHWORK SPRINGWELLS.
THE EARLIEST MENTION OF THESE RELICS which. still resident of our State. in his “Gazetteer of Michigan. For any knowledge beyond the scanty details hitherto recorded we are forced to rely upon the recollections of the “oldest inhabitants. we cannot but recognize the rapidity with which we are losing our hold of this kind of testimony. explored this region before 1748. of one kind of the beds. or even thirty years ago. is by Haven.” An unusual importance attaches to These remains of a lost race. and that of those which were so numerous and prominent forty. and not the mounds. Foster devotes to them less than a single page of his voluminous work. he is the only author of note who honors this interesting class of the works of the MoundBuilders with more than the most meagre mention. He found in the western wilderness “large tracts free from wood.” a detailed description. and were it otherwise.” Another writer of early date. I find. that “they certainly indicate a methodical 26 . in effect.” Indeed. from the fact that they have been almost entirely overlooked by archeologists. John T. and the very brief period at which it must cease altogether. which have received the name of “Garden-Beds. many of which are everywhere covered with furrows. He gives figures of two kinds of beds. Observations were made by him as early as 1827. and he records the fact that “the garden beds. No mention is made of these remains by Priest or by Baldwin.” We know how uncertain this reliance often is. the most striking and characteristic antiquarian monuments of this district of country. and only says. form the most prominent. who. published. in his “Archeology of the United States. of unknown age and origin.ANCIENT GARDEN BEDS OF MICHIGAN By Bela Hubbard A class of works of the Mound-Builders exists in Michigan. Blois. nearly every trace has disappeared. with a diagram. with several French associates.” It is the report of Verandrier.” Schoolcraft was the first to give to the world any acccurate and systematic account of these “furrows. as if they had formerly been plowed and sown. in 1839. by far. and.
(Width of beds 12 feet.) Fig. principally in the counties of St. 1. without paths. According to the universal testimony. paths none. But I must first define THEIR SITUATION. and twenty-five of them have been counted in the space of one hundred feet. and in height six to eighteen inches. The tough sod of the prairie had preserved very sharply all the outlines. They are of especial interest to us. according to the most reliable information obtained. which I shall attempt to classify.” Yet these relics constitute a unique feature in the antiquities of our country. in parallel rows. composing independent plats. They consist of raised patches of ground. These varied in dimensions. Joseph. with the exception referred to in Wisconsin. Lapham describes a few of this kind of remains which were found upon the western shore of Lake Michigan. these beds were laid out and fashioned with a skill.cultivation which was not practiced by the red man. as “consisting of low parallel ridges. being from five to sixteen feet in width. separated by sunken paths. they are confined to our State. where they occupied the most fertile of the prairie land and burr-oak plains. length 74 to 115 feet. order and symmetry which distinguished them from the ordinary operations of agriculture. from the fact that they were not only the most prominent of our antiquities. Joseph and Grand Rivers. The so-called “Garden Beds” were found in the valleys of the St. in parallel rows. Wide convex beds. as if corn had been planted in drills. Cass and Kalamazoo. EXTENT AND CHARACTER. and were combined with some peculiar features that belong to no recognized system of horticultural art. separated by paths of same 27 . sufficient uniformity is discoverable to enable me to group the beds and gardens. Some investigations.” Dr. enable me to define more accurately and fully than has been heretofore done the different kinds of these beds. In the midst of diversity. and were generally arranged in plats or blocks of parallel beds. in length from twelve to more than one hundred feet. Wide convex beds. but. by no means thorough. 2. as in the following CLASSIFICATIONS: 1. They average four feet in width.
1 to 2 feet. 4. length. all separated by narrow paths. and S. 2 feet. paths. 8 inches. height. Plats of beds are undoubtedly here referred to. 8. 8. 1~ feet.)Fig.) Fig. his language is. E.) Fig. (Width of beds 14 feet. “The beds are of various sizes. length. separated by narrow paths. according to the latter.length. 6.. each plat divided from the next by semicircular heads. Fig. Schoolcraft does not give the exact localities. (Width of beds. of varying widths and lengths. Wheel-shaped plats.) Nos. covering generally from 20 to 100 acres.) Fig. arranged in a series of plats longitudinal to each other. 100 feet. 12 to 40 feet. separated by narrower paths and arranged in a series of longitudinal plats. 7. 3. (Width of beds. 7. (Width of bed 12 to 143 feet. height. are varieties. As to their extent. 6 to 20 feet. 14 to 20 feet. to the plats adjacent. to my knowledge. paths. 5. with narrow paths. arranged in plats similar to class 4. Parallel beds. paths.(Width of beds. separated by narrow paths. Parallel beds.) Fig. Wide and parallel beds. 6. height. consists of five plats. 5 to 14 feet. Of these only those numbered 1. 74 to 132 feet. and single beds. height. 12 to 30 feet. 3. paths same. 6 feet. while the others areflg~ted as well—i and 2 by Schoolcraft and 4 by Blois. b and c. No. arranged in plats or blocks.) Figures a. 100 feet. 3 and 5 are described by Schoolcraft and Blois.. 20 beds in each plat. Long and narrow beds. 5. 2. 18 inches. length. 2 feet. (Width of beds five feet. Parallel beds. about 30 feet. (Width of beds. 28 . 4.” Some are reported to embrace even 300 acres. but divided by circular heads. consisting of a circular bed. and I am unable to state whether beds of the same class have been noticed by other observers. (See figures. 10 to 12 inches. 6 feet.paths.) Fig. 4 feet. length. 3. 2 and 4 have ever before been delineated. and W. of uniform width and length. with beds of uniform shape and size radiating therefrom. paths. LOCALITIES I present diagrams of each of these classes or kinds of beds on a scale of thirty-two feet to one inch. 18 inches. at varying angles. 1 foot. each 100 feet long. length.width. and arranged in plats of two or more at right angles N. paths. length. in independent plats.
The length of the plats or blocks varies. arranged in alternate blocks. so far as my own inquiries warrant. (See figures a. regularly laid out in beds running north and south. The prairie contains three hundred acres.) The prevailing width of the bed is five or six feet. containing about one hundred acres. T. were covered with the beds. Mr. Laken Brown confirms this account. represents the form and arrangement which is most common. within the space of a mile. section 7. T. 4). On the farm of J. of a garden in which the beds are of more than usual diversity in width and length. and the beds five feet by twelve or fourteen feet. in the form of parallelograms. eight or ten acres were entirely covered by them.” The distinctive peculiarity of these beds is what Blois calls the “semi-lunar” head. Cumings. and the burr-oak trees on them as large as any in the vicinity. of class 6. is from a drawing by Mr. The garden is judged to be half a mile in length by one-third in breadth. at one hundred. H. the average being about twenty feet. Cobb. town of Schoolcraft. Mr. Prouty concurs as to the extent covered. Fig. but thinks the beds were six feet by twenty-five to forty long. viz: that of a series of parallel beds formed into blocks of two or more. that in 1831 they were very numerous on the plains where now stands the village of Kalamazoo.Of the plat figured by Blois (No. and eighteen inches deep. six feet by twenty five to forty. the writer says: “They are found a short distance from Three Rivers. E. Class 6. b and c. Shatter. 29 . Gardens of this kind were found by the early settlers. On the farm of the latter in the town of Comstock. Shafter and Roswell Ransom. Mr. There must have been 15 acres of them on his land. Henry Little says. on one side of an oval prairie. at this place. is from a drawing by James R. Toland’s prairie. and that of the paths one and a-half to two feet. the burr-oak plains at Kalamazoo. M. A. 6-b. at the extremity of each bed. being very regular and even. Prairie-Ronde. having a north and south and east and west direction. of Galesburg. at Schoolcraft. old settlers. surrounded by burr-oak plains. In 1832 the outlines were very distinct. Fig. 6-c. alternating with other similar blocks placed at right angles to them. the beds were quite numerous as late as 1860. The “sets” would average five or six beds each. of one hundred acres. and elsewhere. separated from them by a path as represented. and says they reminded him of old New England gardens. there were not less than ten acres of beds. say that three or four acres on the edge of the prairie. five feet in width and one hundred in length. and south of the mound. Neighbors put the number of acres covered with them in 1830.
” and further “nearly all the lines of each area. also in the single beds outlying. The figure delineated is from the descriptions and dimensions given by the former. represented generally by Class 6. 30 . Others admit of half circles and variously curved beds. and that they are very different from those left by the field culture of any known tribes of Indians. which is here not at right angles. They are platted and described to me by Messrs. and apparently ample walks leading in different directions. but of smaller dimensions. The former speaks of “enigmatical plats of variously shaped beds. although those unknown builders were undoubtedly an agricultural people. All occurred at Kalamazoo. of Kalamazoo. from expressions used by both Schoolcraft and Blois. Class 8 is established on the authority of Henry Little and A. with alleys between. through the valley of the Mississippi river. Prouty. are rectangular and parallel. They differ from the more ordinary form of No. nor have I any confirmation to offer from other sources.” This language is too vague to enable me to construct a diagram. WERE THESE VEGETABLE GARDENS? To answer this question. and are differently grouped and disposed. The latter describes two of similar design. 6. The reputation of the writers will not allow us to consider the descriptions fanciful. There is reason for supposing that there may have existed another class of beds. Cobb & Prouty. but at various and irregular angles. The diameter of the circular bed and the length of the radiating ones are each twenty-five to thirty feet.The series represented by Class 7. that these relics denote some species of cultivation. on so extensive a scale. or sub-area of beds. we must proceed according to the doctrine of probabilities. but it is possible to suppose they were misled by the representations of others. differing altogether from any I have represented. either distinct or combined in a fantastic manner. Nor do we find any similar remains in connection with the works of the MoundBuilders. 7) were found at Prairie Ronde.” The latter says the beds “appear in various fanciful shapes. in the arrangement of the blocks or sets of beds. and in immediate association with the other forms of beds at that place. The number of beds in each block is also greater than usual. in parterres and scalloped work.” Some are laid off in rectilineal and curvilineal figures. with avenues. All opinions seem to agree. (fig. T. and the radiating ones twenty feet. the centre bed being only six feet in diameter. which exist.
citrons. Whereof they make their meal. while the curvilinear forms suggest analogies quite as strong to the modern “pleasure garden. widely apart. Their spades and mattocks are made of wood. in which were cultivated various plants. Joseph valley I learned of numerous places. We are led.” The nearest approach to anything resembling horticultural operations among Indian tribes. the resemblance of many of the plats to the well-laid out garden beds of our own day is very striking. as well as for ornament Was there something analogous to this in the Michigan Nation? Did the latter also have botanical gardens? May we accord to this unknown people a considerable advance in science. who refers to a practice. laid out in different styles. among some of the southern Indians. which is without precedent among the pre-historic people of this continent north of Mexico? ASSOCIATED AND CONTEMPORANEOUS RELICS These extensive indications of ancient culture necessarily imply a settled and populous community. gourds. but in hills. often large but always disposed in a very irregular manner. But here an extraordinary fact presents itself. in addition to a cultivated taste.” In the St. where the labor and skill of our ancient horticulturists were apparent in small gardens.of the people who made them. and in their gardens they plant beans. no 31 . cucumbers. and with an eye to the picturesque. for medicinal uses.” published in London. Ribault’s “Discovery of Terra Florida. but had used it for the display of its own peculiar taste. and many other fruits and roots unknown to us. within the historic period. As little do these beds resemble the deserted fields of modern aqr culure. that they had gardens. that almost none of the usual aboriginal relics were found. of setting apart separate pieces of ground for each family. sowing the fields with a grain called Mahis. that for ages had consecrated these old garden lands—agrees in the fact. 1563. “They labor and till the ground. as if each family had not only its separate garden patch. to look for other evidences of the numbers and character . and this was never cultivated by them in rows. peas. is noticed by Jones. Historians tell us of the Aztecs.The principal crop of the Indians is maize. so well and fitly as is possible. and an eye for symmetry and beauty. therefore. This author quotes from Capt. such evidences are almost wanting! The testimony of nearly every one whom I have consulted— men who were among the first of the white race to break up the soil. On the other hand.
as to the relative antiquity of the garden beds of Wisconsin. and with a sufficient garrison might have withstood the siege of a large army of barbarous warriors. are some ancient embankments. There are no traces of dwellings. discloses not even their bones! At Three Rivers. of course. and in Gilead. we can ever know. Branch County. and may pass for works of defence. though not numerous. Upon the St. Their dwellings and their tools were of wood. and in the town of Prairie Ronde. rather than of the chase. no implements of stone. a mile apart. and have perished. that they lived in simple and patriarchal style. and of asthetic if not scientific tastes. but have no recognized association with the garden race. It consisted only of an earth embankment. The date of the abandonment of the beds may be approximately 32 . and was worthy of more enduring monuments! We may reasonably conclude. should be the only memorials of a race which has left such an evidence of civilized advancement. are not uncommon. indeed. from which he infers. They were found overlying the latter. since it is not likely that the race could have thus encroached upon the works of another. Lapham furnishes a species of evidence. no spear and arrow heads. not even the omnipresent pipe. Joseph and Colorado rivers. that these garden beds. exist several small circular and rectangular embankments. until long after these had been abandoned. We may also suppose a considerably more recent age.pottery. that they were a people of peaceable disposition. But no connection can he traced between these detached earthworks and the garden beds. It seems strange. in Western Michigan. Tumuli. nor do they give indication of any religious origin or rites. as compared with the animal mounds. subsisting on the fruits of the earth. which are probably referable to this people. None of them seem to have been the bases of buildings. It thus enclosed a large area. resembling the lesser works of the Mound-Builders so numerous in Ohio. of laborious habits. This simple record of their character and labors is all. and their religious or other significance forgotten. and the soil which has so sacredly preserved the labor of its occupants. suggestive as they are. ANTIQUITY OF THE GARDEN BEDS But is this all? May we not form some reasonable conjecture as to the period in which these gardeners lived? A fact mentioned by Dr. or burial mounds of the Red man. it may be. about six feet in height extending between two forks of a river. a more recent origin. That at the first named place was notably extensive.
who emigrated from the St. by the age of the trees found growing upon them. How long these labors were abandoned before this tree commenced its growth may not be susceptible of proof. against the raids of the warlike tribes living eastward of them. must now remain forever involved in mystery. while they yet remained. I have mentioned. mentioned by Schoolcraft. were erected by this settled and peaceful race of gardeners. It is perhaps useless to regret. cut down in 1837. They were ignorant of the authors of these works and were not more advanced in the arts of culture than the other known tribes. This carries the period back as far as 1502. 33 . At the time of the arrival of the French the country was in possession of Algonquin tribes. and after modern culture had for many years obliterated the old. if the latter received only simple earth burial. for a period quite long enough to have crumbled into indistinguishable dust every trace of wooden dwellings and implements. from the memories—of course not always exact or reliable—of early settlers. or that they could not have received. It is probable that the few defensive works. The larger one may have served for the general defence in a time of sudden and great emergency. as well as of the bodies of their fabricators. that these most interesting and unique relics of a lost people have so completely perished. as places of temporary refuge for the women and children. the more exact and scientific scrutiny which is now being applied to the antiquities of our land. It is probable that on some such occasion they were surprised by their savage and relentless foes. and were overwhelmed. One of these. scattered or exterminated. or some years prior to the discovery of this country by the French.fixed. or be left to conjecture. Most of the facts I have been able to present are gathered in large part. and it does not seem to me necessary to go further back than the three centuries during which that tree flourished. Early French explorers do not appear to have been interested in the question. had 335 cortical layers. Much that might then have been cleared up. Lawrence about the middle of the 16th century. through the greed of the dominant race.
There is a witchery about the subject that inflames the imagination and warps the judgment. and at last I found myself becoming a skeptic on the subject of the history of man and his origin. 1879 (Extracted from: Michigan Pioneer Colelctions: Vol.3 1879-80) History taught me to believe that Christopher Columbus discovered America. and my brain 42 . who had so long roamed over the wild wastes of the western wilderness were regarded as a kind of military force. My belief in the existence of the so-called mound builders of our continent increases from year to year. I did not try to know just how they originated. theories began to dissolve and my opinions swerved the other way. Beyond him. how long they had existed. I felt that we had been moving among doubts and shadows. but the Indian was the only link in my mind between Columbus and Adam. Of CONSTANTINE Read February 5th. that he was the first white man who set a foot or raised a flag on its soil. with my head in a whirl. I never look upon the remains of a people which stand so silently and so solemnly around what people I do not Know—without feeling myself stretching away into the past. set on foot by the Almighty to hold the country until civilization should take possession and subdue it. or how many millions of them had lived and died.THE MOUND BUILDERS AND THEIR WORK IN MICHIGAN BY HENRY H. I once thought it heresy to doubt the geographical books and schools of the day. the depths of the past were crowded with generations of Indians. and like the swinging pendulum. too far at first and beyond the centre. Our fathers had lived and died in the faith of what was written about our history—and why should not I also? As I grew older and my credulity sobered down into facts. and I am not yet restored to faith on this subject. and all the tribes and nations of red men. and strange shafts of light began to flash around and illuminate the world. RILEY.
Ohio. as many persons have done and are doing. to puzzle us with curious investigations and strange questions never perhaps to be answered. in graceful curves. parallelograms into figures of serpents. The mound builders seem to belong to a race who finished up their work on earth before the real life-work of men and nations began. Iowa. with buttresses and gateways. the great truncated pyramid at Cahokia. An inclosure in Adams county. the commercial value of such points as St. a thousand feet in length. the mouth wide open in the act of swallowing an egg-like figure.—not a word—not a sign—no thing to betray their origin—nothing to wring front them the terrible secret of a great people long vanished from the earth. in the shape of a serpent. in West Virginia. and their tributaries. Louis and Cincinnati. It is curious to know. as we have since seen. birds. and if possible. marking the existence and departure of a great people who have left nothing behind them to tell us from whence they came or whither they went. one at Miamisburg. These wonderful works of past generations of men extend along the rivers throughout the Southern States. seven hundred feet long and five hundred wide. and they exhibit a good deal of art. they are laid out into squares.exhausting itself among the phantoms of antiquity. however. particularly the Ohio and Mississippi. The inclosures referred to are protected by heavy embankments. There is a mound at Grave creek. It may not be out of place for me to stir the dust of the mound builder—to wonder and speculate. circles. and in Ohio alone. sixtyeight feet high and eight hundred feet at the base. many inclosures are found in the form of animals. contains a huge relieve. Inside. The mound builders have built their fortifications and erected their monuments on our principal rivers. pointing backwards to oblivion . he probably 43 . hut the mound builder has left no track in New England. He saw. others in mathematical lines. ten thousand mounds are found and fifteen hundred ramparts and inclosures. serpents and men. and who just left their monuments behind them when they passed away. birds. and they are a most interesting subject of study. Missouri and on the upper lakes. seventy-five feet high and a thousand feet at the base. over their remains. formed of earth and stone. and beasts. Illinois. They look down solemnly upon the civilization of to-day. the tail coiled. Ohio. In Wisconsin. clothe their dry bones with flesh and breathe life into the old carcass once more. that he seemed to be actuated by the same motives and governed by the same passions that his successors have been in locating their cities. and away up in the northwestern part of our continent.
obsidian. and gave the key of their history to oblivion and vanished front the earth. to a branch of the Gibbon. raised up so many strange monuments. whether as a member of a joint stock company on a per centage. for the year 1879.had trade and speculation in his eye. and also a vast weapon and implement çuarry for the ancient hermit sheep-eaters.—who built Palenque. how he worked. peadants and beads. elegant patterns of pottery. silver. Copan and Uxmal. and has not been found north of the mountains of Cerre Gordo. or every man for himself. believe and disbelieve. There are copper and stone axes. says: “I this year traced the mountain of obsidian or volcanic glass from where I discovered it last year. Ornaments and implements made of copper. “—ED 44 . Superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park. a distance of some eight miles. Norris. and found in a style and finish beyond anything furnished by the modern tribes of Indians on our continent. finely wrought. p roving that it is there the tree dtvtde of the waters of the Missouri and the Yellowstone. are found. and almost fancy we hear a chuckle from the old mound builder at our disappointment and distress. toys of bone and mica. The works of art which these mounds contain perplex and instruct us. Did the mound builder know how to temper his copper tool as the Egyptian did? Obsidian is a volcanic product used by the Mexicans and Peruvians for arrows and instruments. and dug. but he went deep down into the copper ore. and probably transported vast amounts of it. We examine them. he was the first miner in the Upper Peninsula. like the Scioto. within our knowledge. below the Lake of the Woods. Porphyry is a hard material to work and required a hard tool to cut it. as has been supposed by some writers who have explored the twilight that covers their remains. at Beaver Lake. upset our theory to-morrow. whoever they were. and raised. tn his report to the Secretary of the Interior. IV. we do not know. solve the mystery today. for life and business. in Mexico. Agriculture and commerce were evidently important considerations in his calculations. He appropriated rich valleys. and finally retreat into darkness again. 1 which indicates a communication and reciprocity between people wide apart—between that mysterious nation. all showing a people not deficient in art and mechanical ingenuity. knives and bracelets. who erected those wonderful buildings in Central Anierioa ages ago. The mound builder was an early pioneer in Michigan. now buried in a wilderness. but just how or 1 Colonel P. theorize over them. chisels. porphyry amid green stone. His works were not all a mere labor of defense—his occupation not merely that of a soldier.
They are connected underground. from five to nine in breadth. quantities of stone hammers and mauls. The island is about fifty miles long. 45 . but there is evidence going to show that they were originally polished and of good workmanship.where we cannot say. and are scattered throughout the island. which. has little globules or slivers of silver attached to it. some of the ore found its way into the mounds on the Mississippi and Ohio. the amount of labor performed exceeds that done on one of the oldest mines on the south shore. At McCargoe’s Cove there are nearly two miles of pits very closely connected. The pits are from ten to thirty feet in diameter. or some of it. have been found. from twenty to sixty feet in depth. and great trees. distinguishes no other copper in the world. rocky shore. It is difficult to determine their original workmanship owing to corrosion. it is said. and the chain of evidence by which this is determined is the fact that the copper so found. near the northern line of Lake Superior has excited amazement. with a ragged. counting so much. weighing from ten to thirty pounds. The ancient mining at Isle Royal. and the whole is a mass of rotten wood. three hundred and four hundred years old. Specimens of Lake Superior copper have been discovered in the mounds. knives and arrow-heads have been discovered. copper chisels. They follow the richest veins of ore with great knowledge and skill in the art of mining. and that at one point alone. some broken from use and some in good condition. and brought out only by fire. The silver found in other ore is throughout the whole. and cut up into deep gorges and is covered with a growth of timber. and only so much time for us in our efforts to fix the age of these mines. The copper tools seemed to be hardened by fire. How and where was the ore removed? Why and for what purpose was so much of it consumed? Where did the provisions come from to support the laborers in their work? There are no bones of mound builders found there— no evidence of commerce—no remains of vessels. but as we shall see. there is one deep cut in the rock. and drains are cut to carry off the water. which has been operated with a large force for more than twenty years. and yet it is said that although two hundred men with their rude way of mining could not accomplish any more work than two skilled miners can at the present day. When were those pits opened? By whom? Who can tell? Forests have grown up and fallen and mouldered over them. on Isle Royal. covered its entire length by timbers that are now decayed. stand around them to-day. The working out the ore was no doubt by heating and pouring on water— very slow and tedious.
and many stone axes and 2 Mr. not only there. but throughout portions of the Upper Peninsula. Skulls are found at the bottom. 46 . the Rouge. They are not as gigantic as some of the others herein described. we may be the very oldest. and were discovered by Mr. Their channels have been cut deeper since he laid out his grounds by their sides and erected his cities thereon. and to some extent clothed. although the subsequent burial remains of Indians are found nearer the top. more than in any other way. and were once regarded as of Indian origin. and almost always there is the evidence of an altar having been erected. and we are therefore the more puzzled to know to what race the mound builders belonged. and whose treasure was no doubt exported to the central and southern portions of our continent. Henry Gilman read an interesting paper before the Detroit Scientific Association en this subject. Clair. that physiologists have been able to determine that the mound builders. Clair are said to be very remarkable.2 The mound builder was an early pioneer. showing that mounds were raised over them and that the body was not afterward buried in them. were found two hundred skeletons nearly perfect.or wharves. five or six feet below the surface. stone pipes in the jaws of several of them. Those at the head of the St. for although we are called a new country. Gilman in 1872. Mounds have been discovered on the borders of the Detroit river. Terraces have been evidently formed below his work since he passed away. comparatively speaking. and in many other portions of the State. were not Indians. the work of men who must have been fed. who is now forever forgotten. at the head of the St. A few years ago an article appeared in the Toronto Telegraph stating that in the township at Cayuga in the Grand river. It is through these skulls. upon which the body was laid and consumed by fire. on the Grand river and at the foot of Lake Huron. on the Black river. or houses—and yet vast amounts of copper have been taken out. The banks and streams upon which he built declare this to be true. perhaps. We frequently hear of the discovery of the skeletons of a gigantic race. the shape and outlines of the head being different and indicating an entirely different race of people. whoever they were. for it may still be seen where the same stream has destroyed a portion of his inclosures higher up where they now stand. on the farm of Daniel Fredenburg. the rites and ceremonies over some great chieftain. from which some of the facts about Isle Royal are taken. a string of beads around the neck of each.
Bishop Zyumarraga especially made one great conflagration of them. There was evidence from the crushed bones that a battle had been fought and these were some of the slain. It is said the ten tribes left Palestine. let me look into some of the theories on the subject. “ The Lost Tribes. Some of the thigh bones were six inches longer than any now known. and finally established themselves. little was known by him of the wonders of Central America.skinners scattered around in the dirt.’ were the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel.” and ‘‘Foster’s Pre-Historic Races. The Aztecs were then in power and had built a city of magnitude and even splendor. leading us to any foundation upon which we can stand? Is there any evidence to the point which may be regarded as reliable. Decayed houses had been found near this spot before. He found a wilderness around him filled with architecture which has since been to some extent explored. and thus here and there one was preserved in this way and some were not found. and who once held dominion in our State? Before answering this question. The farm had been cultivated a century and was originally covered with a growth of pine. or is everything about them forever buried? Perhaps we may grope our way amid mists and shadows to some purpose. a curious sly old Spanish ecclesiastic. who understood their value. and few of them less than seven. here and there. Were these the remains of Indians or some other race? Who and what filled this ghastly pit? Is there any clue to the people who built these mounds? Can we find any track running back into the past. who quietly hid a few away at the peril of his soul for the good of mankind. Cortez destroyed them or intended to do so. The Spanish monks supported this theory. and found in “Baldwin’s Ancient America. They had their laws and their literature. who built the mounds. Fires were kindled. Books were then in existence. dug out the copper on Lake Superior. and there were indications that the region had at some time been inhabited. some of them measuring nine feet. volumes consumed and the world thereby saved from the heresy they contained. When Cortez captured Mexico in 1620. ‘The Mound Builders. about seven 47 . and if we cannot demonstrate our position we can start the reader by strange suggestions and plausible theories. in which we are satisfied were to be found records of races of men that will be found nowhere else. and also Lord Kinsborough. promulgated by different persons. The skeletons were gigantic. But the books not being Catholic.” 1st. but how old we do not know. of any kind. crossed Behring Straits. Can we here show any connection between a pre-historic race. But there was found.
hundred years before Christ. and may have sailed up and down our great rivers when the kings of Egypt were building the pyramids. The Atlantic Theory. that this continent of ours once extended from New Granada to Central America and Mexico in a long peninsula partly across the Atlantic. This attributes the civilization of ancient America to theAtlantides or Atlantic race who once occupied the lost Island of Atlantis.’ It is supposed. and were supposed to have explored that ‘extensive ocean. who spread their sails in the face of the Greek philosophers (who despised commerce). but it has always been possible to track them and their works by their language. where the ruins still show great architectural beauty.” 2d. ‘The ships of the Malays.’ The remains of a city called Modjo-pahit are very wonderful. and its islands were so numerous that the fastest vessel. ‘was unable to go round them in two years. and there is very much tradition and history to be found among the older nations of the earth to confirm the supposition. There is little to support the claim.’” 3d. planted colonies on the shores of the Mediterranean. and there is not a Phoenician letter or word to be found or a monument in Central America. or a sign or symbol remaining there which points in any way to that nation as its origin. But Baldwin says. The Phonecians were bold navigators. sailed as far as Central America. and in the existence of which they fully believed. it was said. and the old books already referred to. say that centuries before.’ and to have visited that ‘great Saturnian continent. ‘they surpass those of Central America.’ Its metropolis was in the Island of Java. Wallace says. and even India. The Phoenician Theory was also very popular.” 4th. and was a part of what is now known as the Canary. There is just enough mist hanging over it to render it bewitching. on this continent. and even splendor. In pre-historic times the Malays were a great people and ruled a great empire. One of the most romantic and yet probable theories is the Atlantic’ theory.’ which in some way had been brought to their notice. as there is nothing Malayan in either the antiquities or speech of the early Americans. they were visited by a foreign people who came in ships. Identity of language even fails and antiquarians generally have abandoned that field of study. and to stimulate the explorer into a wild enthusiasm. as well as the traditions of the Aztecs. It had ships. and on beyond these islands was still a large tract of fertile 48 . so much talked about by the people of their day. This empire was described by travelers six hundred years before the first voyage to India by the Cape of Good Hope. ‘the theory does not hold out. Those maritime rovers. Madeira. and Western Islands. it is supposed. “ The Malay Theory.
speaks of the Island of Atlantis.” “There is a considerable evidence to be found corroborating this theory. to furnish us light on the subject. there came mighty earthquakes and inundations which engulfed that warlike people. and are still out of water. Sonchis. says Plato.country.’ Most of the inhabitants were destroyed. Boturini. Can we connect the mound builders with any people within the historic period . Torquemada. wild and poetical as it seems. and invaded Europe and Asia. planted themselves upon the isthmus now known as Central America. It is stated in Plutarch’s ‘Life of Solon. The tradition declares the continent was once extended as stated. and some fled to the mountains. he conferred with the priests of Psenophis. We must be confined to the ancient records in Mexico and tradition. and the waters of the sea combined with volcanic fires to overwhelm and engulf it. that they were distinguished in arts and sciences. Atlantis disappeared beneath the sea. and learned from them the story of Atlantis. and stand as monuments of the destruction around them. 49 . Clavigero.” “And so it is suggested that the survivors of this catastrophe fled inland.’ Afterward. It is supposed that the whole was sunk by earthquakes. some escaped in ships. but still not without a considerable evidence.’ It is supposed that Atlantis was destroyed before Athens became a city. To use the language of this tradition: ‘The land was shaken by frightful earthquakes. One of their festivals. that they built mighty works there. tending to establish this strange and startling theory.’ Plato makes a record of it. commemorated this terrible destruction. traditionary and otherwise. Heliopolis and Sais. speaks of a great army which came across the Atlantic sea. Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg.” “This history of Atlantis is also found in the annals of Egypt. The old Central American books allude to the tradition of a catastrophe of this kind. so that navigation on it ceased on account of the quantity of mud which the ingulfed island left in its place. that while in Egypt. celebrated in the north Izcalli. that ‘three kings reigned there with great and marvelous power. and therefore it is only as groping amid shadows. and was destroyed by a sucession of frightful convulsions.’ says ‘their power at one time extended into Lybia and into Europe as far as Tyrrhenum. and then that sea became inaccessible. and that the West Indies and other islands were mountains whose peaks were never submerged. and it was maintained among the Central Americans when Cortez first overran the country. ‘in one day and one fatal night. and that they are the mound builders whose remains are strewn far and wide up and down our streams and valleys?’ I will now return to the first proposition.
the Aztecs. and skilled in working metals and stones. They. when Cortez invaded and captured their capital. intelligent. being no longer able to hold out abandoned their country to escape destruction—that two chiefs led the march until they finally reached a region near the sea named Tlapalan Conco. Squier. and finally. They emigrated again and reached Mexico. The Colhuas reach back to a time beyond computation.among the Spanish. Huehue. that the Aztecs had held possession of Mexico only about three hundred years before the invasion by Cortez. and Prescott. among the American explorers. and the Toltecs. These records show that the very earliest people in Mexico were called Colhuas. who were savages. it is said—Old Tlapalan—to distinguish it from three other places of the same name. their predecessors? It is claimed that they were a people identical with the mound builders. The old records are of great value. It is certain also. when Cortez came on with his army. and that owing to insurrection or an invasion they were driven away. They came from the northwestern or southwestern portion of our continent. founded by them on their way to and in Mexico. known as Huehue Tlapalan. and he formed an alliance with them and they were 50 . and later the city of Tullan. Catherwood and Stevens. what is now beyond the result of the scholar has been thus preserved for our use. But who were the Toltecs. where they built a town called Tallanzinco. were found in possession of the country in 1520. that an old record describes this people as of fine appearance. Another record informs us that the emigration of the Toltecs was forced— that they were assailed by the Chichimecs. may be consulted with profit. and the adobe houses of their forefathers may be found to-day in ruins scattered through the valleys in those regions. who were hostile to the Aztecs. to a period nine hundred and fifty-five years before Christ. lasting thirteen years. which became their seat of government. It was conducted by twenty chiefs and they were followed by a large number of people. and under one great leader a terrible struggle ensued. says he has a certain date in their language as old as that. industrious and orderly. means old. the next Aztecs. the next Nahuas or Toltecs. and the Toltecs. The Abbe Brasseur. it may be. Torquemada says. These ancient records declare that an empire once existed in the northeast. One having made extracts from another when the language was better understood. One company settled near the Tampico river. after many years came to Mexico and conquered the country of the Colhuas. who succeeded them. It will be remembered that a portion of the country was held by a people called Tlascalans. as has been stated. where they remained several years.
The present condition and decay of the ruins show their age. defensive and monumental purposes. and who in turn. and they have held their secrets with an assurance and success that is discouraging to the antiquarian and scholar. Stevens thinks they belonged to a dismembered part of the Tolcan empire. I regret that after so much speculation around which thick clouds rest. and there is evidence in these ruins of a higher civilization before the Toltec dominion. The mounds built by the Toltecs. according to the Abbe Brasseur. prior to nine hundred and fifty-five years before Christ. came from the east in ships—the Toltecs from the northeastern. are found from Michigan to Mexico. after listening to the echoes which faintly die away as the explorer of these mounds turns his ear to 51 . and who were. the records say. And the same mound may be found to-day in Mexico. which have excited the wonder of travelers and historians? It is time to bring this article to a close. adopted their high civilization and built the cities scattered over that country. If the art is higher in its construction. if they were the builders. mocked the inquisitive. monuments. as the ancient records say. sacrificial. statuary and inscriptions over Mexico. and the Aztecs from the northwestern or southwestern portion of our continent. called Chichimecs. with no history of their own for our instruction. The Colhuas. their work and records have thus far defied the explorer. “came from the east in ships. that the Toltecs were the people who left their remains in our northern peninsula and on Isle Royal—who dug out the copper there—who built our mounds. and with the exception of the work of the Aztecs. then. and the greater their age the more elaborate. particularly on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. And yet the picture writing on the Aztec monuments furnishes the scholar with no key to interpret the inscriptions on the temples and monuments of Palenque and Capan. and who survive mostly in tradition. They were erected for devotional. that is. These nations have scattered their temples. the older ruins exhibit the greatest skill. The first from an early civilization. after such an effort to resurrect the buried remains of the past. evidently the work of the same people or their descendants. then.of great service to him in his conquest. in their monuments and in the records of a succeeding and different race more highly cultivated. The Colhuas. driven out by a savage people. the form and design seem to be the same. the last two from a semi-barbarian land. Is it too much to say. conquered the Colhuas in Mexico. skillful and beautiful is the work.” As we have said.
THE MOUND-BUILDERS 52 . after peering into the skulls and handling the implements of this strange people. can utterly destroy the history of a nation—turn its language into a mysterious collection of characters which may never be read. so that not one reliable link between the present and its past can be found to determine from whence its people came and whither they went. Strange that time.catch their significance. its monuments into puzzles to perplex antiquarians. omnipotent as it is. I have afforded so little information to my reader.
OF DETROIT Read before the Detroit Scientific Associatien in 1874. in many directions. Henry. In this connection it is proper to state that I have lately been informed. to lands assigned them on the Susquehauna by the Six Nations. of the presence in bygone ages of that peculiar race known as the mound-builders. Throughout the region of the Great Lakes abundant evidence. often without their true character being recognized. and subsequently by the Wyandottes. and thus large amounts of valuable relics have fallen into ignorant hands. and have finally been forever lost. and ally them to the ancient race of men who inhabited Brazil in the remote past. they have been destroyed. Indian tradition says that these mounds along our river were built in ancient times by a people of whom they (the Indians) know nothing. Even those works which remain are fast disappearing before the march of modern improvement. from the low monotonous shores of Lake Erie to the rocky cliffs of Lake Superior. about the middle of the last century.IN MICHIGAN by HENRY GILLMAN. but were constructed long before their time. and for whom they have no name. of the Smithsonian Institution. some of the most remarkable relics and monuments of a people whose cranial affinities and evidently advanced civilization totally separate them from the North American Indian. And our own State of Michigan. that the mounds were occupied by the Tuetle Indians. but in numerous instances. in the shape of the well-known mounds. but very little is known of their early history and 53 . is constantly being brought to light. These facts were ascertained by me in the course of some investigations which I made several years ago. and if any survive it is there they must be looked for. often of the most interesting character. and at that time I further learned that the Tuetle Indians had been absorbed by the Six Nations. has contributed.” and that the Tuteloes “are believed to have migrated from Virginia northward. of the result of seine inquiries made at my suggestion in regard to the name Tuetle. a tribe “admitted as a younger member of the confederacy of the Six Nations. were at one time not infrequent. The conclusion arrived at is that the word Tuetle is probably a corruption of Tutelo. through the instrumentality of Prof. and even within our present city limits. Along the Detroit and Rouge rivers those monuments.
migrations.” An interesting paper on the Tuteloes was read by the Rev. J. Anderson, before the American Philological Association, in July, 1871. Reporting Mr. H. Hale’s discoveries, this assigns the Tuteloes to the Dakotan and not the Iroquois stock, and gives an account of Mr. Hale’s visit to Nikungha, the last snrvivor of the tribe of the Tuteloes, and who has since died at the age of 106 years. The establishment of the identity of the Tuetles with the Tuteloes, and their residence on these mounds and along the Detroit river, is not only an interesting addition to our local history, but is of special value in view of its tending to sustain Mr. Hale’s opinion (opposed to the conclusions of others regarding the Dakotan migration) that “in former times the whole of what is now the central portion of the United States, from the Mississippi nearly to the Atlantic, was occupied by Dakotan tribes, who have been cut up and gradually exterminated by the intrusive and more energetic Algonquins and Iroquois.” The relics exhumed from the mounds consist of stone implements, such as axes, chisels, scrapers, arrow-heads, spear-points and knives, fragments of pottery of a great variety of pattern, including the favorite cord pattern so frequently seen in such connection, from the Northern Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico; and the bones of man, generally much decayed, and exhibiting other indications of antiquity. From the fragments of burned bones and charcoal found, it would appear that in the earlier interments cremation was practised. The tibiae present, in an extreme degree, the peculiar flattening or compression pertaining to platycnemic men. In the fourth annual report of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, attention is called to this, some of the relics which I collected here having been donated to the museum by the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, to whom I had presented them. The curator, Prof. Wyman, says: “Of the tibiae of forty individuals from the mounds of Kentucky, one-third presented this flattening to the extent that the transverse did not exceed 0.60 of the fore and aft diameter. The most extreme case was from the mound on the River Rouge, in Michigan, in which the transverse was only 0.48. In the most marked case mentioned by Broca, viz: In the old man from the CroMagnon (France), it was, as deduced from his figures, 0.60.” Prof. Wyman draws attention to certain resemblances in this bone to the same bone in the ape, adding: “In some of the tibiae the amount of flattening surpasses that of the gorilla and chimpanzee, in each of which we found the short 0.67 of the long diameter, while in the tibie from Michigan it was only 0.48.” Subsequent to this (in 1870), I discovered in adjacent mounds
several instances in which the compression of the tibiae was developed to even a greater extreme. Two remarkable cases of this peculiarity were afforded by tibiae taken by me from a mound on the Detroit river. In one of these unique specimens the transverse diameter of the shaft is 0.42, and in the other 0.40 of the anteroposterior diameter, exceeding, I believe, any platycnemism which has been observed before or since in any part of the world. In communicating these facts to the American Naturalist, not long afterwards, I claimed that the last mentioned case “may be considered as the flattest tibia on record.” (See American Naturalist, October, 1871). Both of these bones are strongly marked with the saber-like curvature, also a characteristic of the chimpanzee, as are likewise many others of the tibiae from the vicinity. The majority of the tibiae present the flattening, which is an exception to the facts as noted in other sections of the United States, where it is supposed to pertain to “only about one-third of all the individuals observed.” In fact it is an exception to find a tibiae from our mounds along the Detroit destitute of this peculiarity; and where one is found it is generally of later burial and consequently of less ancient origin. A few years ago the greater part of the large circular mound in the vicinity of Fort Wayne was removed and most important results were obtained. Eleven human skeletons were exhumed; a large number of burial vases; stone implements in great variety and of superior workmanship, consisting chiefly of axes, fleshers, spear-points, arrow heads, chisels, drillers and sinkers, pipes; a peculiar implement of unknown use, formed of an antler, with duplicate perforations at its thickest end; and two articles manufactured from copper,—one the remains of a necklace, formed of a number of beads strung on a twostranded cord, a few fragments of which remained sufficiently preserved to satisfy me that it was made from vegetable fiber, probably from the basswood (Tilia Americana, L.); the other article of copper consisted of a needle, or borer, several inches in length, quadrangular at the base, and well-wrought. One of the skulls is remarkable for its diminutive size, though adult, its capacity being only 56 cubic inches, or less than 76 per cent of that of the average Indian ‘cranium, which is given as 84 cubic inches by Morton & Meigs, the minimum observed by them being 69 cubic inches. The measurement by Morton of 155 Peruvian crania gives 75 cubic inches for the average bulk of the brain (no greater than that of the Hottentot or New Hollander), the maximum being 101 cubic inches, while the minimum sinks to 58, the smallest in a series of 641 measured
crania; and yet you will perceive this is exceeded in diminutiveness by this crania from the Detroit river. The average volume of the brain in the Mexican is 79 cubic inches, while in a series of measurements of 24 crania from the Kentucky mounds it is found to be 84. The Teutonic crania gives the average of 92 cubic inches. Thus it is seen that while the great volume of the brain is- indicative of power of some sort, the opposite is not always to be regarded as proof of a degraded condition. In short, quality may here, as in other instances, compensate for deficiency in quantity. So we find the cranium of the Peruvian, who possessed a high degree of civilization and refinement, equaled in capacity by that of the New Hollander or Hottentot, while it is exceeded by that of the degraded, brutal North AMerican Indian to the extent of nine cubic inches. Still the crania of the mound-builders, it must be acknowledged, present characteristics which, in the language of Foster, “indicate a low intellectual organization, little removed from that of the idiot.” And this skull from the Detroit river mound must be placed in the same category. Prof. Wyman, in the sixth annual report of the Peabody Museum, in referring to this skull, goes on to say: “In ordinary skulls the ridges of the temporal muscles on the two sides of the head are separated by a space of from three to four inches, seldom less than two, while in the Detroit mound skull this space measures only three-quarters of an inch; and in this respect it presents the same conditions as the skull of a chimpanzee.” It is interesting to remember that “the flattest tibiae on record,” already referred to, were taken by inc from this mound; and all the tibae had more or less sabre-like curvature associated with the platycnemism. It remains for me in this connection to call attention to the fact that the perforation of the humerus is another remarkable characteristic which I have observed to pertain to those platycnemic men of our region. I refer to the communication of the two fossae situated at the lower end of the humerus. This is of great interest, as this peculiarity is most frequently met with in the Negro race; it has also been observed in the Indian, and, though not always present, is quite general in the apes, while it is very seldom seen in the white -races. One of the most remarkable and extensive series of tumuli which are known to exist in this part of the lake region it was my good fortune to discover in the year 1872. I refer to the mounds situated at the head of the St. Clair river, and at the foot of Lake Huron. They extend in continuous succession for about one mile and one-half northward, as I have satisfactorily determined. Strange to say, those who lived in their immediate vicinity knew nothing of their character. A paper which I wrote on the subject, embodying the principal facts, subsequently formed
with few exceptions. etc. alternating with well-wrought beads of copper. is a burial mound.a part of the sixth annual report of the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology. a tributary of the St. broken pottery. including the American Journal of Science. and the bones of birds stained green as in the first instance. consisted of an extraordinarily large number of broken stone hammers of the rudest kind. in other words. one made of small bones. One of them presented some features distinctive of the “refuse heaps” of our Atlantic coast. pottery. that at least our northern mound-buildcrs will be found to have possessed this trait in the degree and to the extent denoted . and the decayed stump of a scarlet oak (Quercus cocinea Wang. are of similar character. containing the bones of various animals used for food. On the west bank of the Black river. stone implements and other relics. a wide area at one end being covered with a solid crust of black ashes from eighteen inches to two feet thick.) two feet in diameter surmounted the summit. The general publicity thus given the discoveries precludes the necessity of more than a passing notice here. in connection with my previous discoveries in the same direction. and stone implements. The relics from the burial mounds. stained a beautiful green color resembling enamel. the interior of which was described to me as being lined with pottery similar to that of which the vases. The numerous mounds. and was afterward copied into several of the leading periodicals of the country. the roots spreading above the contents in all directions. I made the remark. are formed. which contributed some unusual features. having been largely used for burial purposes. pots. from what I have seen that future investigation will extend the area in which this type of bone is predominant to the entire region of the Great Lakes.. and of the north of Europe. and two necklaces. no other instance of the 57 . or. two of them being each over a foot long. All the tibiae noticed by me exhibited the compression characterizing platycnemic men. and one sixteen inches in length. if not of the Great West. But the most interesting feature of this repository of relics was a grave. Clair. “I cannot but believe. the other composed of the teeth of the moose. the consequent excavation revealed a large number of human bones. mostly cervical vertebrae. a plate of mica five by four inches.“ which prediction recent discoveries in Wisconsin and Iowa would seem in a fair way of fulfilling. in addition to those usually found. This was so peculiar a circumstance. Stone lance or spear heads of great length were taken out. A road having been cut through the easterly slope of this mound. In dwelling on this circumstance. finely perforated at the roots. In the mound containing the last mentioned ornaments several interments had been made.
further excavation revealed a considerable quantity of fragments of the pottery above referred to as having been said to have lined the grave. I found this pottery to be of rather a coarser description than usual. But I availed myself of an opportunity of visiting the locality. I considered the statement highly improbable. Time will not permit inc to speak of a number of other mounds which have come under my observation. Highly wrought stone implements. They were probably largely used for purposes of sepulture. A very limited and hurried examination which I made of the group in 1871. many of them being finely polished. The side so ornamented was invariably concave. and sand. My chief informant was perfectly uneducated in such matters.kind having come to my knowledge. were in the last stages of decay. on this occasion were exhumed with the pottery. and the handicraft displayed in its construction is of the highest order. So rough and unfinished was the unornamented side that it had every appearance of having been pressed upon the ground while yet plastic. different from any other specimens I have seen elsewhere. or greenstone. It is made from sienite. 58 . sufficiently satisfied me as to their ancient origin. They appeared to be of the same character as the mounds on the Detroit river and those at the foot of Lake Huron. and unsmoothed. and even attributed the peculiar formation lining the sides of the grave to the coagulation and final hardening of blood. accounting for its presence in such large quantity by presuming a battle to have been fought in the vicinity. The few fragments of human bones. One of the handsomest stone axes I ever saw was taken out at this place. but in this instance made with a large cord or small rope. Though the construction of the road through the mound had destroyed most of the original features. and even gravel. while the other side was convex. a favorite material for this implement. and marked abundantly with the cord pattern. are frequently encountered. which. known to be of such frequent employment. A remarkable series of those works occurs at Beaver harbor. sienite. adhering to it. on Beaver island. From the success attending my brief labors it would appear that the more valued relics of the mound-builders have been here deposited in unusual abundance. not long after. to make a special examination. in Lake Michigan. and scattered a multitude of valuable remains. that at first. such as diorite. After having viewed the evidences I had no longer any great difficulty in receiving the statements previously made. This certainly appeared to confirm the statement. confirmed this impression. They are formed of a great variety of stone. many of them being of uncommonly skillful workmanship. shale and chert.
and the intelligence displayed in the tracing and following of the veins when interrupted. generally pits of from ten to thirty feet in diameter. Consequently. are found scattered throughout the island. and from twenty to sixty feet in depth. Canada. in most parts of the coast line.I shall close with a short account of the recent discoveries of ANCIENT MIINING AT ISLE ROYALE. This may well appear almost incredible when we take into account the disadvantages under which these primitive miners must have labored. more or less dense. abounding in deep inlets and small harbors or coves. the mistake of supposing it to belong to Canada is frequently made. A large number of islands and rocky inlets lie off the main island. particularly in a northeast and southwest direction—the line of its greater axis—to which direction the rocky elevations of the island. a mine which has now been U constantly worked with a large force for over twenty years. LAKE SUPERIOR.from the south shore of Lake Superior. in some places rising more than 700 feet above the level of Lake Superior. rocky shore. Nearly the entire of the island is covered with a growth of timber. The island is nearly fifty miles in length. 59 . They invariably are on the richest veins. correspond in a remarkable degree. including the various improvements in mining appliances and the vast resources of modern science. consisting of the species usually composing our northern forest. The works. on three sections of land toward the north side of the island.. who is at present engaged in developing the mineral resources of the place. and from fifteen to twenty miles from its north shore. varying from five to nine in breadth. In the year 1872 some of the most remarkable of the ancient works yet encountered were brought to light by a party of explorers on Isle Royale. at one point alone. and lies off Ontario. to which geographically it would seemingly belong. having. an exceedingly ragged. Some idea of their extent may be arrived at from the statement of a gentleman well known in mining interests. where it exists. and all the advantages comprehended by our present civilization. and who calculated that. wherever examined being sunk through the few feet of superincumbent drift. into the amygdaloid copper-bearing rock. it pertained to Minnesota rather than to Michigan. etc. the amount of labor performed by those ancient workmen far exceeds that of one of our oldest copper mines on the south shore of Lake Superior. Isle Royale is situated about fifty miles. or one might suppose that belonging to the United States.
inferences being drawn therefrom as to their rude construction. The fragment was not of uniform thickness throughout. and the fragments of large numbers of them are found intermingled with the debris on the edge of the pits. was taken from the debris. A drain sixty feet long presented some interesting features. Arrowheads of copper have also been picked up. have been found by cartloads. Tools made of copper. Stopes 100 feet in length are found. the timbers had mostly decayed. When opened... These mauls are occasionally found grooved for the affixture of the handle. drains being cut in the rock to carry off the water. weighing from ten to even thirty pounds. The stone hammers. having been cut through the surface drift into the rock. It must originally have been about three feet in diameter. The tools. in most instances the pits being so close together as barely to permit their convenient working. the chief tool with which the labor was performed. charcoal. e. the vessel was thinner in those portions. at the bottom of a pit. shaped like a bowl. when cutting with the grain. At a deep inlet known as McCargoe’s Cove. having examined a large number of those tools. have been taken from such of the pits as have been explored. it had evidently been covered for its entire length by timbers felled and laid across. or mauls. at the surface. With the exception of the stone hammers. and were evidently hardened. I wish to say that. and where bearing veins of copper are generally worked.has elicited the astonishment of all who have witnessed it—no mistakes having apparently been made in this respect. I believe this roughness to have 60 . etc. both in the vicinity of the pits and scattered over the island. no other tools formed of stone have been observed. or at their bottom. though injured from oxidation. on the north side of the island. Having seen the remark that tile copper tools of the ancient miners are of rough and not polished exterior. and the center portions had sunk into the cavity. These excavations are connected underground. They are either perfect or are broken from use. A large portion of a wooden utensil. p. excavations such as are described extend in almost a continuous line for more than two miles. Even the rocky islets off the coast have not escaped the observation of those ancient miners. filling it for nearly its entire length with the rotted wood. the wood having been more easily removed when working in certain directions. This vessel had possibly been used in bailing water from the excavation. and from its appearance something of the rude character of the tool employed in shaping it could be gathered. apparently through the agency of fire. and consisting principally of chisels and knives. appear to have been of fair workmanship. as if lost in the chase. but are oftener without this adaptation.
Excellent arguments have been advanced by Mr. the original surface being apparent in places. The removal of the contents was consequently very dirty work. more or less interrupted as they undoubtedly must have been. yet it does not seem too much to estimate hundreds of years for their accomplishment. Some of the copper heads taken from the “mounds” in Michigan display a wonderful degree of neatness in the manipulation of the metal. some of their copper tools were made by being cast or moulded. As to the time which has elapsed since the mines have ceased to 61 . mostly of vegetable matter. Though no exact estimate can now be made as to the length of time occupied in the prosecution of those extensive works. In many cases this is quite palpable. Foster to prove that the mound-builders understood the art of fusing copper. could barely be equivalent to two of our skilled miners. in which the agency of fire bore so prominent a part. if not polished. it must have taken a long series of years to accomplish the work exhibited. on turning back the overlying drift. The pits which have been examined. the accumulations of many a fall of the leaf. yet the agency of fire was here evidently not employed. It is possible the two classes of tools here referred to may mark two distinct eras in the history of this manufacture. From the method pursued by this people in mining. and that the moulded tool designates an advance from the primitive method of hammering the metal into shape. wearisome process! Even with a large force constantly engaged in this labor. it would seem improbable they could have long remained ignorant of the fusibility of the metal. then. The method of mining pursued by those people was evidently. invariably had on top a large deposit. An experienced mining captain computed that two hundred of those men. often in the roughest manner. with their rude methods. What a slow. it would more than double the period required.been caused mostly by corrosion. the junction of the bead being in many cases almost imperceptible. Besides this. to heat the rook through the aid of fire. beneath which lay a thick bed of charcoal and mud mingled with fragments of copper-bearing rock. and. and evidently confirming the fact that at least the external faces of the tool were originally approximately smooth. at least. if those people withdrew during the lengthy winter season. as has been supposed. to attack and separate it with their great stone mauls. when by the application of water the rock was sufficiently disintegrated. and that. they were partly filled with water. by being cleaned out. yet in most cases the evidence appears conclusive that the rudely-fashioned tool was simply wrought by being beaten into the desired form.
undecayed center of the tree. Linn. several generations of trees have arisen and disappeared. President of the United States. interior portion of the stump remaining sound. Lyell. But it must be remembered that this does not prevent the period of the desertion of the works being placed back at twice or even three times that distance. A large proportion of the rotted wood surrounded it. and on the tumuli formed of the excavated debris which surround them. The present growth of forest covers. The remains of trees older by hundreds of years than the oldest of our present timber are found in and on the sides of the pits. as already given. and which is now in process of supplanting by what is known as our ‘‘second growth. In one ease. the present condition of things was bronght to pass. only the red. in his notes on the Ohio mounds. on their sides. This tree had not been blown down. and some years may also be allowed for the time which may have elapsed before it commenced growing on its peculiar site. therefore. a more definite approximation can be reached. but had grown and decayed where the stump stood. in his “Antiquity of Man. On removing this stump the debris underlying it was found to consist of the 62 .be worked by this by-gone race. through the regular rotation. In other words it only proves that the pits had not been worked within the time mentioned.) was found on the tumulus at the edge of a pit. the species of the present forest covers equally the excavations and the adjoining land. all the timber now growing on them being of the same character as that covering the adjacent land. from two to four feet in diameter. and not considered an overestimate. those excavations and the debris surrounding them . If to this be added 200 rings. may not be far from the truth. we may form some slight conception of the period which must have elapsed before. Trees. I cannot but conclude that since the last work was done on those pits. acknowledged to have been remarkably skilled in woodcraft as well as in warfare. has made some valuable and suggestive remarks on the relation observed by the different species of forest growth.” The late General Harrison. the partially decayed stump of a red oak (probably Quercus coccinea.unbroken.” quotes the passage with further and approving remarks. So that the placing this period at from 700 to 800 years. Various careful estimates have placed this period from seven hundred to eight hundred years. A careful enumeration of the annual rings composing this red. no difference being observable in the growth. are now growing in the pits. As at Isle Royale. we have 584 years as the period of its growth. To this will have to be added thee number of years which a tree with the durability of the wood of this species takes to reach the stage of decay here exhibited. as representing the decayed outer portion of the stump. gave as the result the number of 384.
to the south shore of Lake 63 . that those miners followed the deposits of sheetlike copper. Some of these pits are circular. was discovered what is taken to be the site of the town. others are quadrangular. some perfect. and they vary from ten to thirty feet in diameter. and it was only through the undecayed portions of an antler that the animal was recognized. From another pit. and more interesting still. and occupying the successive terraces of the slope. however. the soil being thrown up around them to a sufficient height. with other points on the island. made of copper. which. others fractured from use. It is manifest from the working of the veins. beneath a third deposit of vegetable matter. as well as in the excavations themselves. It had evidently fallen into the pit long after it had been deserted. the walls of which were generally left unbroken. But time did not permit a satisfactory examination of this interesting locality. or the habitations of these people. the remains of the skeleton of a deer were exhumed. They doubtless shipped the copper. the object of their toil. on a thorough exploration. The remains consist of a series of shallow excavations. where a stream about forty feet in width had cut a channel through the rocks and formed quite a fall of water. exhibits the character of the copper generally sought by those men. which had apparently been exposed to the action of fire and then had been partially hammered into a shape approximating to a bowl-like utensil. a knife. This. Indications suggest that timber or bark was used in their construction. it is hoped will afford. unable to escape. Pine-trees (Pinus strobus) of the present forest. giving an extensive view of Lake Superior and overlooking the intervening point of land which makes the little bay an excellent harbor. It occupies an elevated slope. The latter are found in large quantities in the rubbish forming the tumuli at the mouths of the pits. have frequently been cut on the tumuli. generally about four feet in depth. mingled with considerable amounts of charcoal.usual angular fragments of copper-bearing rock. which varied frown a quarter of an inch to an inch in thickness. in which 380 annual rings have been counted. At an indentation of the coast on the south side of the island. that they crumbled to pieces. where. The bones were so decayed. and with which were intermingled a large number of stone hammers. thrown out from the adjoining pit. too. Another interesting relic consists of a sheet-like piece of copper. rejecting as unmanageable the fragments of rook which contained even large-sized nuggets of the metal. and. they seemingly had been pushed behind those miners as they advanced in the exploration of the vein. many valuable facts connected with the life of this remarkable people. had perished.
from its general outline. The good landing. Of the excavations on the small islands lying off Isle Royale. and stone hammers. and there is no 64 . This island lies off the south-west end of Isle Royale. they have completely disappeared through decay. therefore. and especially the cranium. the skull being orthocephalic. the sheltered and yet commanding hillside. was well selected as a town site. it is difficult to believe but that. The conformation of the bones of this race. and the unremitting toil which is devoted to the amelioration of life through the improvement of its surroundings. It is also remarkable that the discoveries of the remains at the settlements on the south shore of Lake Superior have never included human bones—so far as I am aware—but have been confined chiefly to excavations.Superior. who. for the purpose of distinguishing it. Singular to say. the abundant stream and fall of water. These will doubtless identify this people with the mound-builders. which is dolicocephalic. occupies a position between the Indian cranium. places them above the Indian in the scale of humanity. which enabled them to watch the return and departure of their copper-laden flotillas. though not of any great intellectual development.. and are not devoid of an ambition which. But this conclusion will hardly be accepted as satisfactory. I have named. widely separate them from the North American Indian. Their characteristics suggest a people. and is a sandstone rock with very little soil on any part of it. the wonderful metal finding its way thence to other parts of the country. as has been already remarked. are capable of patient endeavor. This point. ie. some must have died during even the periodic occupation of the island. were all strong recommendations even to those semi-savage inhabitants. and only a few small trees or brushes at one end. It is possible those men may have had some superstitious belief which led to the removal of their dead to their burial mounds further south. and the Teutonic. The sides of the island rise abruptly. the admirable harbor. copper tools. of a population so crowded as is implied by the extensive excavations on Isle Royale. however humble. it being hitherto unnamed on any of the maps. Triangle Island. Some contend that. which is brachycephalic. and ally them rather with the ancient inhabitants of Brazil. as is testified by the articles of copper found in the burial-places of the mound-builders. and have been buried there. up to this time the bones of man have not been met with on the island. whose monuments are so widely distributed through our country. and it is to be hoped that the explorations in process of being made will result in the discovery of human remains. during so long a lapse of time. an interesting example was discovered by me on the rocky islet which.
by about twenty feet wide. At two places. as a place of safety. It required two men to remove this. and the isolated character of the island. totally unlike that produced by the action of water. The fragments occasionally contained copper. probably decaying through the lapse of ages. One of the smaller pits. At this place the rock is mostly as level as the floor of a room. and all along it. the copper veins in the wall-like cliff had been attacked and partly excavated. already described. and also in a cleft-like indentation on the south side. This is of rectangular form. they had long since disappeared. is a marked depression. leads down to the lake. are the circular pits of the ancient miners. Small boats could easily be hauled out here. Though careful search was made. and rather abundant on the 65 . and presenting some indications of artificial origin. Though of small size. to our disappointment. except for a short space on the northeast side. they are remarkably distinct. All those works exhibit the same roughish surface. as are most of the pits. a little over two feet in diameter and nearly two feet deep. sixty feet in length. This last mentioned landing has much the appearance of its natural conditions having been improved by artificial means. Near this. from two to five feet in diameter. We found this pit more than half full of the angular fragments above alluded to. had a large slab of rock covering its mouth. and about as many feet deep. a gradual slope. particularly with the aid of timbers laid for the purpose. It may not be uninteresting to state in this connection that I found the rare fern Botrychium lunaria (Swartz) flourishing. no relics were met with other than the angular fragments of the rock broken off by the usual methods pursued by those rude miners. It is filled with water. wherever are indications of copper mines. From appearances.landing for even small boats. occupying nearly the center of the island. the rock being generally smooth throughout. as from indications we hoped to find this the repository of some valuable relics. I am inclined to think that mine were the first hands to rest on those objects since the departure of the primitive workmen. But about thirty-five feet northwestward of the head of the landing occurs a more remarkable excavation. and at the base of the more central point the sandstone is considerably hollowed. and the well-like pits are immediately perceived to be the work of human agency. Had any tools or other utensils been deposited here. twenty-live feet long by twenty feet wide. at each end of the circular pits. The rock is discolored as if from the action of fire. but though emptied of its contents nothing further was encountered. Immediately at the inner end of the southern landing.
The copper. The deer. if such were employed? How did so great a population support life in such circumscribed limits while still carrying on their mining operations? Did they make a permanent settlement.).exposed rock of this island. It is evident that such extensive operations as are here described required a system and an organization of no mean order for those days The vast extent and the method of their labors. the object of the mining. thus affording food in considerable quantity. In contemplating the facts involved. as is probable. have been conveyed in vessels. gives evidence of his former presence in the horns which are sometimes found. grass. actuated by an ambition which we. much decayed and gnawed by rodents—which were picked up at two separate points on the island. It grows in tufts of Potentllla tridentata (Ait. or were they simply migratory.” covering so wide an area of 66 . largely dependent on cereals for subsistence. most likely. and often proving their destruction. transported to the island. However. must. being dreaded by even our largest craft. and other dwarfed plants. giving us a totally different conception of them. it was. wore doubtless not scarce. many questions are naturally suggested. and smaller mammals. and I have now in my possession two interesting relics—the larger portions of the antlers of this animal. The so-called “Garden Beds. would seem to imply that they were of no desultory or intermittent character. these men dared to face the unknown—to brave the hardships and perils of the deep and of the wilderness. in all probability. across a stormy and treacherous sea. The caribou. from a more southern latitude. The island probably abounded in game. great or small. bear. or was the work prosecuted during the summer months only? These are questions not easily answered. Leaving their homes. caribou. whose dangers are formidable to us now. The discoveries on Isle Royale throw a new light on the character of the mound-builders. today. we have hitherto supposed that the mound-builders were essentially an agricultural people. their families abiding with them. If grain food was used by them. long extinct here. visiting the island and returning as occasion offered? Did any or all of them remain throughout the severe northern winter. while the waters were alive with many varieties of fish. in sufficient supply. to be available. How did this people become aware of those mineral deposits at so isolated a point? How did these men become present in such large numbers as is implied by the extent of the works discovered? What was the character of their vessels or sailing craft. and dignifying them with something of the prowess and spirit of adventure which we associate with the higher races of man. would not be ashamed to acknowledge.
The past rises and recreates itself. many circumstances more than hint at. baptized in the silvery spray of Lake Superior. If the ancient miners were not identical with the mound-builders. at least. situated at the south. softly ascending to the same blue Heaven which still bends over all with its eternal benediction. The apparent similarity of their characteristics and habits is further testimony in this direction. as well as similar grounds of other places. from their toil. and looking down on the surrounding features. Standing on the rocky eminences of the island. the voice of an unknown language falls upon the air with a strange rhythm. the half-naked savages. that commercial transactions. That a central government. demonstrate the agricultnraj habits of the ancient people of this region. landing on the precipitous islets. Again they swarm along the rocky beaches with those ragged shores. delve in the slowly-deepening pits. ruled with patriarchal if not autocratic sway over the entire region. in presence of the remarkable disclosures here detailed. disappearing in the distance. some. however. the curling smoke rises from their excavations or their dwellings. even then torn with the storms of thousands of winters. the forest falls beneath the blows of their rude axes. and in this thraldom obliged to work the copper mines. from Mexico to Lake Superior. the rude boats or vessels pass to and fro in busy traffic. are bound with their valued freight for the main land far to the south. The remains of these cultivated fields also afford a clue as to the source of the chief part of the supplies required for the mining adventures in the northern country. it was not difficult for the imagination to repeople the solitudes once more with those primitive men. 67 . the overhanging cliffs echo and resound with the clang of their stone hammers. which lie scattered along the pleasant indentations of the coast. the constant finding in the burial places of the latter of ornaments and utensils wade of Lake Superior copper would warrant. The question will not fail to suggest itself: Were these vast operations accomplished through slave labor? That a conquered people were kept at this isolated place by their victors. begrimed. which cannot be received without further confirmation. existed between them.the St. Joseph river and Grand river valleys. or by the banks of the beautiful lakes of the interior. is an opinion. Michigan.
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