Nelson Wiley Evans.

A history of Adams County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time, including character sketches of the prominent persons identified with the first century of the country's growth .. online

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Online LibraryNelson Wiley EvansA history of Adams County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time, including character sketches of the prominent persons identified with the first century of the country's growth .. → online text (page 4 of 120)
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itself is 1 20 by 60 feet. In the pit, in the center of the eggy the ancient altar
was placed.

"Some of its fire-blackened stones are still there. Within the memory
of men still living it was quite an imposing structure. The myth that
treasure was buried in this ancient cairn had firm hold on the pioneers,
however, and years ago the altar was torn down, in a vain search for gold
and precious stones. So far as possible it has been restored.

"The mound itself is built as all other serpent mounds are, no matter
in what country. The head of the serpent, containing the altar, is on a
high bluff overlooking Brush Creek. The first rays of the Sun God fell
first upon this altar, and from it, far below, the priests of the ancient faith
could see the ♦three forks of the river. This trinity, whether it be three

•Baker'8, Middle and West. See Bratton Township.

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rivers or three mountains, is always to be seen from an altar of the ser-
pent worshipers, and is always unmistakable. The alt^r is invariably
placed in the one spot from which the trinity may be seen. It is always
olaced where the first rays of the rising sun may fall upon it. From the
.-eighboring lands the awe-struck worshipers of old might see the priests
perform their fearsome rites and watch the victim of the stone knives
gasp out his last breath as the first tongue of flame licked at his still quiver-
ing flesh. Just what these rites were will never be known, in all prob-
ability. But that fire and knife played a part in them can hardly be doubted
from the mute witnesses found by modern searchers.

*'That the spot was revered as a shrine is certain from the character
of the remains found near it. Hardly a square yard of the surrounding
territory is there that did not at one time hold a grave. The interments
were evidently made with ceremonies of some nature. Ashes are fre-
quently found in the graves though this is not often an indication of cre-
mation. The human bones found are not calcined by fire. The ashes
are rather to be considered as the scrapings from the hearth desolated by
the death of its protector. In them are found stone and bone weapons
and ornaments and occasionally plates of native copper, rudely hammered
out, or crystals of lead ore fashioned into rude ornaments. Smelting was
not known then, and stone hammers took the place of the rolling mills of

"From the position of these copper ornaments, they were evidently
head and breast plate, probably burnished. They are in very rare in-
stances of sufficient size to be considered as an early attempt at body armor.
Flint knives of considerable elegance and of presumable utility are to be
found in abundance, together with weapons :*n the process of making, and
the stone shapers and grinders by which the weapons were made. In one
or two instances these stone knives have been found in such position as to
inevitably lead to the conclusion that they were lodged in the body at the
time of interment. Whether they were placed there before or after death
is mere conjecture. In the ashes of the graves remains of rude pottery
are also to be found.

**From a careful inspection of the Sei:pent Mound, and an exploration
of the graves and mound itself, scientists have formed several interesting
conclusions. First, that the mound, corresponding as it does exactly in
type with similar serpent mounds found in Asia, Africa and Europe,
Central America, Peru and Mexico, points to the dissemination of serpent
worship at one time over the then habitable world. Whether these mounds
are of approximately the same date, or belong to different epochs, is yet
debatable. That they belong to the same form of worship is indisputable.
Human sacrifice is pointed at by the fire-blackened altars. The worship
of the snake still exists among the Zunis and Moquis of our own country,
though the more bloodthirsty portion of the rites is now omitted. All
evidence points to such sacrifice at no distant date among them, however.

"Structural peculiarities of the skulls point to a similarity of the
Mound Builders with the Hindoos of the present day and with the ancient
Peruvian races. The occasional presence of decapitated bodies in the
serpent mound graves, or a bodyless skull, indicates that head hunting,
even as it is now practiced among the Dyaks of Borneo, existed in those
earlier days. Traces of paints occasionally are found on the disinterred

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skeletons together with lumps of the ochre used for such personal adorn-
ment, even as the American Indian does now where he has not come in con-
tact with tiie influence of civilization. Lastly, the skulls found are those
of men equal in brain capacity and muscular and bony structure to races in
existence at present."

In 1886 the trustees of the Peabody Fund of Harvard University,
through the efforts of Prof. F. W. Putnam, purchased the Serpent Mound
and several acres of the lands surrounding it from Hon. John T. Wilson.
Under the directions of Prof. Putnam, the Serpent was restored to its
original outlines, and the grounds surrounding were tastefully converted
into a beautiful park — now known as The Serpent Mound Park.

Recently the park has come into the possession of the Ohio State
Archaeological and Historical Society. It will be greatly improved and
made a place of resort for pleasure seekers as well as for the graver
students of the monuments of a lost race.

Old Stone Fort.

In the. northern part of Tiffin Township, about one mile to the north-
west of the now almost forgotten site of the old town of Waterford on
Lick Fork, on lands now owned by William Smith and William Crosby, is
"Old Stone Fort," an ancient structure, the work of the Mound Builders.

The form of the fort is circular. The walls are from twenty to thirty
feet at the base, and were when first observed by the early settlers from
three to five feet in height. They seem to have been constructed of clay
and surmounted with a heavy wall of stones. This theory is sustained
from the fact that portions of the stone superstructure seem to have top-
pled over where the bulk of the stones lie on the outer edge of the walls.
In other portions there are but few stones remaining, the walls having
been taken down and removed.

The site of the fort was well chosen. It is on the highlands border-
ing Lick Fork of Ohio Brush Creek, and commands a sweeping view of
the valley below and the country about and beyond. It is near enough the
rich valleys of Ohio Brush Creek to afford a place of safe retreat for those
engaged in cultivating the soil or fishing in its waters in case of attack.

A little rocky stream known as Mink Run flows across the enclosure
from west to east cutting it into two equal portions. From the outer limits
of each of these portions of the enclosure come little rivulets which enter
Mink Run within it thus dividing it by a series of narrow longitudinal val-
leys affording shelter from the missiles of an attacking party from without
the walls of the fort. Within the walls of the fort are three fine springs
of pure water. The one on the east of the center of the enclosure would
alone supply hundreds of persons and animals with abundance of water
at all seasons of the year. There seems to have been constructed across
Mink Run below this spring and near the eastern wall of the enclosure,
a dam which formed a great reserv(Mr of pure water in this portion of the
fort: The walls of the fort itself have been much heavier in the portion
tvhere Mink Run passes through them than elsewhere. There are three
gateways yet visible in the walls. One at the southwest, one at the west
where Mink Run enters the enclosure, and one to the northwest. Thi<5
last gateway is in a portion of the wall yet covered with forests and can

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readily be seen. At the western gateway where Mink Run enters the en-
closure are two circular structures, one on each side of the stream. These
are each about thirty feet in diameter and were erected for the protection
of this gate. Without the north and east walls of the fort are a number
of small mounds. Within the eastern wall of the enclosure there can yet
be seen a small mound about thirty feet in diameter, now about level with
the surrounding surface, which at one time was several feet in height.
This was opened many years ago by Samuel McClung who then owned the
lands on which the fort is situated, and it was found to contain charred
bones and some bits of earthenware. The walls of the fort proper enclose
about thirty acres of land.

* Explorations of the Valley of Brush Creek.

This region is well known because in its northern part is located the
faiiious Serpent Mound. The serpent itself has been the subject of much
literature and considerable has been published regarding Fort Hill, in the
edge of Highland County, but a few miles up Brush Creek from the ser-
pent. But no one seems to have examined the remains lying between the
serpent and the Ohio River. There are several branches of Ohio Brush
Creek which also have remains along their shores, so that altogether there
is about sixty miles of occupied territory along Brush Creek Valley.

On the farm of James McCullough, about four miles north of Youngs-
ville, a small mound was opened and a skeleton badly decayed found
near the center, with head toward the east. Several flint war points, some
bones, needles, and a few bear tusks were found near the shoulders.

In a small stone mound on the farm of James Montgomery was found
a cremated skeleton and one badly decayed. An earth mound three-
fourths of a mile northeast of Montgomery's was opened and a hammer
stone and decayed bones found.

On the McCullough farm five miles south of Youngsville, three stone
mounds, nine by eleven, seventeen by twenty-one, seven by ten, and each
about one foot high were explored. They occupy a high point of land over-
looking West Fork of Brush Creek. Bodies as in case of all stone graves
or mounds lay upon the surface, and had been covered with bark and stones
heaped on top. No relics accompanied the remains. On a spur of the
same hill, lower down, say loo feet above the valley is an earth mound,
two feet high and thirty-two feet in diameter. In. the center was found
a skeleton buried about five feet deep. The skeleton was surrounded by
large flat stones forming a kind of sarcophagus.

On the Swearinger farm two and a half miles below Newport on
Ohio Brush Creek is an earth mound.

On the Plummer farm just below Newport is a village site containing
twenty-five acres, and must have had 200 lodges. There are numerous
pottery fragments, flint chips, bones, and other remains scattered over the
surface. Skeletons in graves have been found here.

On the F'lorea farm at an elevation of 500 feet, commanding a view
of the country for ten miles about, is an earth mound.

* Extracts from Ohio Arohaeologioal Report, 1897.

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On the Patton farm on Cherry Fork is a mound four feet high and
forty feet base. In it was a badly decayed skeleton and two rare spear-
heads. A layer of charcoal two inches thick covered the skeleton.

There are a number of stone graves on the farm of William McCor-
mick on West Fork of Brush Creek. On the Williams farm across West
Fork from McCormick's, on a hill 175 feet high is a moimd four feet high
and forty in diameter. In it was found burnt earth, charcoal, a cremated
skeleton and one spearhead.

On the Finley farm near North Liberty is a mound four feet high
and fifty feet broad. Two skeletons were found above which were much
charcoal and ashes and two fine spearheads of the "shouldered" pattern.

About one-half mile north of Winchester is a fine mound and three
circles, the walls of which were when first discovered about five feet high.
These circles are about 150 feet in diameter. One mile north of Win-
chester on a branch of. West Fork, Mr. James McNutt m 1896 found a
cache or pocket of eighteen spears of fine workmanship, and constitute
one of the finest deposits ever discovered.

Above and below the village of Rome six miles aboye the mouth of
Ohio Brush Creek are extensive village sites with refuse scattered over
the fields in great profusion. Just below Rome on the high bank of the
river, 200 yards from the water, is a mound two feet high and fifty feet
in diameter. In this mound were twenty-two skeletons.

To the above we add the following: On Ohio Brush Creek, on the
old Daniel Collier farm, there is a circular enclosure 200 feet in diameter
and three to four feet high. This is situated on the broad terrace on the
right bank of the creek about three-fourths of a mile below the Collier res-
idence, and just below the old ford of the creek. The banks of the creek
have been washed away until a portion of the circle is exposed, giving a
fine sectional view. There are fragments of human bones, shells, charcoal
and flint chips extending through a vertical section of two feet. There
are numerous stone graves on the high hills overlooking Brush Creek in
this region.

At the mouth of Ohio Brush Creek is a village site, and numerous,
kettle-shaped pockets of burnt earth, charcoal and other debris. On the
Ohio River just below Vineyard Hill was a fine mound perhaps fifteen feet
high and one hundred feet in diameter near which Israel Donalson was
captured by the Indians in April, 1791. When the writer visited this mound
in 1883, the river had cut it nearly all away. In the archaeological report
above quoted, the mound at Rome is said to be the place of Donalson^s
captivity. This is a gross error.

Below the mouth of Island Creek and near the upper island is a mound
and circle. And at the crossing of Seventh and Broadway in the town of
Manchester stood a most beautiful mound twenty or twenty-five feet high,
and perfect as a cone. It is said that the Ellison heirs who owned the land
had this beautiful tumulus dug down and carted away.

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Principal Tribes that Inhabited Ohio— Tbel^ Mode of Life-Pioneer Ex-
peditions Asainst the Tn d < nn ■— E»tingnishment of
Indian Titles,

That portion of the Northwest Territory comprised within the limits
of the state of Ohio, when first visited by white men, was occupied by
several powerful and warlike tribes of Indians. The first explorer of
this region was LaSalle who discovered the Ohio River in the year 1669,
but his account of the Indian tribes is meager and unreliable. In fact no
authentic account of the Indians in this region dates beyond the year
1750. About this period, some reliable information as to location, numbers,
manners and customs of these tribes was obtained from adventurers and
traders among them. In the year 1755 James Smith, of Bedford, Penn-
sylvania, was taken prisoner by some Delaware Indians and carried to one
of thear towns on the upper Muskingum, and adopted by one of their
families. Smith was then about eighteen years of age, and he remained
with this tribe, adopting their customs and manners, until his twenty-
third year. He afterwards became a resident of the state of Kentucky and
was elected a member of the Legislature of that state for several years.
His account of the Ohio Indians is accepted as reliable. In the year 1764,
Col. Boquet led an expedition overland frcmi Fort Pitt against the Mingos
and Delawares in the Muskingum country, and at the same time Col. Brad-
street invaded the lands of the Wyandots and Ottawas in the region of
the Sandusky and Maimiee, from the British post at Detroit. As a result
of these expeditions much valuable information was obtained concerning

Ohio Tribes of Indians.

At this period the Wyandotts occupied the valleys and plains bordering
the Sandusky River. They were, according to their traditions the oldest
of the northern tribes of Indians, and had at one time occupied' all the
country from Mackinaw down the Lakes to Quebec, west to the Great
Miami River, and northwest to Lake Michigan. They had spread the deer
skin for the Delawares and Shawnees and permitted them to occupy a por-
tion of their country. It is said of them that they were always a humane
and hospitable people who instead of torturing and killing their white pris-
oners, adopted them into their families and treated them as of their own
blood and kin. Rev. James B. Finley, a missionary to the Wyandotts for
many years, points to the fact that at that time this tribe was dominated by
descendants of the Armstrongs, Browns, Gibsons, Walkers, Zanes and
other white families prominent in Ohio pioneer historv.


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The Delawares who at one time occupied the country north of the
Potomac, and who sold to William Penn the state of Pennslyvania, after-
wards crossed the Alleghanies and took possession of the country drained
by the Muskingiun and its tributaries. The Delawares were largely
represented by warriors at the defeat of St. Clair.

The Mingos, a remnant of the Six Nations, were in greatest force
about the Mingo Bottoms on the Ohio River below Steubenville, and
occupied the country as far down the Ohio as the Scioto. In the early
history of the country they had dwelt in the lake region of the
state of New York and in the contest for supremacy between the British
and French, had taken sides with the English. The celebrated Logan,
whose speech at the treaty with Lord Dunmore, at Camp Charlotte, on the
Scioto, which was pronounced by Jefferson one of the masterpieces of the
world's oratory, was a chief of the Mingo nation.

The Miamis, a fearless and warlike people of whom the chief Little
Turle, was a representative type, resided in the region of the Great Miami
and the upper Maumee.

The Shawnees, the most relentless enemy of the early white? settlers,
were of southern origin, and occupied all the country between the Scioto
and the Little Miami northward to the territory of the Wyandotts and
Ottawas in the region of the Sandusky and Maumee. The celebrated
Chief Tecumseh was a Shawnee. The above mentioned were the principal
Indian tribes in what is now the state of Ohio, when the first white ad-
venturers began to explore this region.

Indian Mode of Lif e«

The first explorers of the region bordering the Ohio from the mouth
of the Muskingum to that of the Great Miami note the existence of but
one Indian town — Lower Old Town — ^a Shawnee village just below the
mouth of the Scioto, on the Ohio side. The village contained a numerous
population, but was destroyed by a great flood about the year 1765. After-
wards the whites laid out the old town of Alexandria near the same site,
which* in time was abandoned for reasons which caused the Indians to re-
move to another situation. The other Indian towns in this region were
those on the waters of Paint Creek, and near where the town of Xenia
now stands on waters of the Little Miami. There were camping sites oc-
cupied a portion of the year by Indian families on the larger tributaries
of the Scioto and the Miamis, but no permanent vills^es. In Adams
County, there were noted summer camps on Ohio Brush Creek near its
mouth, on the West Fork above the village of Newport, and above the
Marble Furnace on the East Fork. There was a well-known hunting
camp on Scioto Brush Creek near Smalleys. As late as the year 1800,
Indian families cultivated the bottom lands on West Fork above where
the Tranquillity pike crosses that stream. These families came from the
towns on Paint Creek to this region to gather their winter store*; the
women and children to make sugar in the fine groves of black maple that
bordered the waters of Brush Cr^ek, and to cultivate patches of maize
and beans, while the men fished in the well -stocked streams,- or fcJlowed
the chase in quest of the deer, elk and bear.

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When the first white adventurers penetrated this region they found the
Iildians well equipped with guns, axes, and knives supplied by the French
traders in the region of the Lakes. Only boys and squaws used the bow
and arrow in the pursuit of game. They were also supplied with iron ket-
tles for use in cooking and sugar-making. The men were experts in the
construction of bark canoes, and the women were unexcelled in the dress-
ing of skins and the making of moccasins for the feet. They also made ves-
sels from skins in which they stored the oil of tlie bear for future use. These
summer camps consisted of wigwams formed from poles set on end and
fastened together at the top, and covered usually with bark, occasionally
with skins, leaving a small entrance on one side, and an opening at the
top for the escape of smoke when a fire was made within. Their huts in
the villages were made of small round logs covered with bark or skins.
Old Chillicothe, near Xenia, was built up in the form of a hollow square,
with a log council house extending the length of the town.

The domestic animals of the Indian were the horse and the dog, and
the wealth of a brave was reckoned by the number of these in his posses-
sion. The Indian furnished shelter and food for his dog, but neither for
his horse. His dog could share his meal of venison or bear meat, and could
sleep in his wigwam — ^but the horse could do neither. His horse was ex-
pected to feast in summer and starve through the winter, when its only
subsistence was the fallen grass of the rich bottom lands and upland
prairies, or the "browse," or twigs of small bushes and und"ergrowth of the

Pioneer Expeditions Against the Indians.

The Ohio tribes of Indians guarded its .soil with jealous care against
the encroachments of the whites. They had carried on wars of extermina-
tion among themselves previous to the coming of the white settlers, but
upon the advent of the latter, the prc«ninent chiefs of the several tribes
counseled peace among their own people, and unrelenting warfare against
their common enemy, the whites. As a result, for a period of forty years
from Braddock's defeat to Wayne's victory at Fallen Timbers, the most
relentness, the most cruel border warfare in the history of the world was
waged between the Ohio Indians and the white settlers of Western Penn-
sylvania, and Virginia, and the northeastern border of Kentucky. The
military organizations led into this region before the establishment of civil
government in the great Northwest, under Maj. Wilkins, in 1763; Col.
Bradstreet, in 1764; Col. Bowman, in 1779; Col. Clark, in 1780. Col.
Broadhead, in 1781, and that of Col. Crawford, in 1782, only served to
stimulate the Indians to greater eflForts to exterminate the white invaders.
Even the successful campaigns of Col. Boquet, in 1764; of Lord Dunmore,
1774, and of Gen. George Rogers Clark, in 1778, failed to give any per-
manent safety to the border settlers on the Ohio. After the treaty of peace
between the United States and England in 1783, when the Northwest
Territory came into the possession of our government, several minor
expeditions from the settlements in Kentucky were undertaken against
the Shawnee towns on the Little Miami and the waters of the Scioto, but
with no beneficial results to the whites.

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Tod's Ezpeditton.

One of these expeditions organized by Col. Robert Tod, of Paris, Ken-
tucky, and Simon Kenton, of Kenton's Station, near Washington, Ken-
tucky, took its route across Adams County, and blazed a line of travel
through the forest, that afterwards became a prominent landmark in this
region, known as Tod's Trace and Tod*s War Road. The Indians had
greatly harrassed the inhabitants around Kenton's Station, stealing their
horses, and killing the settlers or carrying them away in captivity. This
was in the summer of 1787, and Kenton sent word to Col. Tod to bring
what men he could raise and join his men at Washington from which place
their combined forces would march against the Shawnee town on the north
fork of Paint Creek in what is now Ross County, Ohio. The forces ren-
dezvoused at Washington, and Col. Tod was put in command. They
crossed the Ohio at Limestone and marched up the river to Little Three
Mile Creek and thence by the way of where Bentonville now stands to the
waters of Lick Fork, and thence to Ohio Brush Creek which they crossed
at the Old Indian Ford, afterwards called "Tod's Crossing," near the

Online LibraryNelson Wiley EvansA history of Adams County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time, including character sketches of the prominent persons identified with the first century of the country's growth .. → online text (page 4 of 120)