their inhabitants possessed. In later years British and
American traders operated over the same route. Some of
these traders came by canoe following a water trail up the
Fox river to Lake Winnebago, then going to the foot of the
lake and up the Fond du Lac river. At its source was a
portage or "carrying place" across which they transported
their goods to the head of the Rock river. Another route
was by way of the Fox and Wisconsin and from the latter
river by means of Pheasant Branch to Lake Mendota. In
wet years the waters of these two streams so closely ap-
proached each other that no portage between them was
necessary. The remainder of the route to the Rock was
through the Madison lakes and down the Yahara or Catfish
river to the larger stream. In 1778 Charles Gauthier de-
Verville made a journey over this course from Green Bay
to the Rock.*
One of the early traders on the Riviere Roche was Pierre
La Porte, a Canadian Frenchman, who worked for the old
American Fur Company for a great many years. Begin-
ning with the nineteeth century, and for a period before
that time, he had as his territory the Rock River running
* W. H. Colls., 10-72.
16 WISCONSIN ARCHEOLOGIST. Vol. 9, No. 1
from a point just above where Janesville is now located."
"The great double bend about half way up the Ouisconsin
line was one of the camping spots or trading stations. The
mouth of the Rock River was the downstream terminal. On
a few occasions LaPorte traded up-stream along Rock River
and at the end of such trips he sold his furs at Green Bay."*
Capt. Thomas A. Anderson spent a winter in trading
with the Winnebago on Rock river, probably at the foot of
Lake Koshkonong, in 1802 and 1803. There were some
French traders located near him at the time.*
Two trading cabins were located on the shores of Lake
Koshkonong. One of these was located on the west shore
of the Lake on the Bingham farm on Crabapple point. Here
on a former Indian village site, Mr. Rufus Bingham in 1839
found the excavation, rotting timbers, and fallen stone of
an old trading cabin and its chimney. Nothing is known of
the trader, whom Rev. Stephen D. Peet supposes to have
been Le Sellier. This site is about three miles from the foot
of the lake.* On the east shore of the lake, about a mile
north of its Rock River outlet, was located until the winter
of 1837-38 the log cabin home of Joseph Thibault (Thie-
beau). Three other traders, Charley Poe, Elleck (Alex.)
Le Hear (Lemere) and Cavelle, occupied three other log
cabins in this first white settlement on the shores of the
lake. Thibault was an agent for the Milwaukee trader, Sol-
omon Juneau, who is reported to have made more than one
visit to the lake to see him. He was a Canadian, the earli-
est settler at Beloit. He had two Indian wives and three 01
Joseph Thibault was the American Fur Co. trader at the
Winnebago village at Turtle Creek at Beloit for about a
dozen years before 1836.*
Other traders who supplied the Indians of the Rock River
villages with trade goods in return for their furs were
Shephen Mack, whose post in 1829 was at Bird's Grove, on
the Rock at the mouth of the Pecatonica River, in Illinois.
The Indians were very fond of him and he settled many
disputes between the Winnebago and Potawatomi. At
* A. B. Way, The Rock River Valley, 137.
*Wis. Archeo., 7, 78-79; 99-100.
* A. B. Way, The Rock River Valley, 141.
* W. H. Colls., 9-152.
Indian Village and Camp Sites ,of the Lower Rock River in Wisconsin. 17
Grand Detour on the Rock was the trading post of Pierre
Lasaliere (Le Sellier), a Canadian and long an employee of
the American Fur Co. His name is mentioned as one of its
employees at Mackinac in 1818-19. He made visits to the
Indians of the Rock and Wisconsin in the fur trade interests
as early as 1813. Near Dixon was located the trading post
of John Dixon, founder of the Illinois city which bears his
name. Other traders located not far distant from the Rock
were Jules de Munn whose trading house was on the Sugar
River near the site of the present city of Brodhead ; on the
shore of Lake Kegonsa at its Yahara River outlet the cabin
of the trader Abel Rasdall, and in Madison the post of the
French trader, Oliver Armel. De Munn was a near rela-
tive of the Choteaus, the noted company of St. Louis Indian
traders.* All of the later traders also traded with the Rock
In "The Antiquities of Wisconsin," published by the
Smithsonian Institution in 1855, Dr. Increase A. Lapham
devotes a chapter to a description of the "Ancient Works in
the Basin of Rock River and its Branches." He describes
and figures the group of mounds located on the Beloit Col-
lege campus, another group three-fourths of a mile north of
Beloit, those at "Indian Hill" at the mouth of the Catfish
River, the enclosure at Fulton, and mentions some of the
other mound groups formerly existing near the latter place.
Rev. Stephen D. Peet, in Prehistoric America (v. 2) fig-
ures and describes the principal mound groups in the Rock
River valley between Beloit and Lake Koshkonong. He pre-
sents a map prepared by James Wilson, Jr., C. E. of the In-
dian mound groups located along the Rock River and its
tributary, Turtle Creek, in the vicinity of Beloit. Twelve
mound groups are located on the Wilson map which appears
to have been carefully prepared. Dr. Peet's book was pub-
lished in 1895.*
In 1908 the Messrs. A. B. Stout and H. L. Skavlem pub-
lished in The Wisconsin Archeologist (v. 7, no. 2) their re-
port on "The Archeology of the Lake Koshkonong Region/'
* Lower Rock River Winnebago Villages, Wis. Archeo. 2-3.
* Papers first printed in The American Antiquarian.
18 WISCONSIN ARCHEOLOGIST. Vol. 9, No. 1
This report contains descriptions of the mounds and vil-
lage sites at Newville, at the foot of Lake Koshkonong, and
which are within the river region covered by the present in-
Mr. H. L. Skavlem in 1914 published a description and
plat of the mound group at "Indian Hill" near the mouth of
the Catfish River. This is a correction of the survey made
by Dr. Lapham in 1850. (Wis. Archeo., v. 13, no. 2).
A report on the Indian mounds and village sites on the
banks of Turtle Creek was published by Robert H. Becker
in 1913. (Wis. Archeo. v. 12, no. 1). In 1919, Mr. Ira M.
Buell published a report, "Beloit Mound Groups," in which
he presented the results of a re-survey with illustrations of
the Indian mound groups on the banks of the Rock River
and Turtle Creek near Beloit. (Wis. Archeo., v. 18, no. 4).
He mentions the surveys made in previous years of some of
these groups by Lapham, Lathrop, Peet, Collie, Riner,
Riggs, Becker and Hyde.
A paper on the "Winnebago Villages and Chieftains of
the Lower Rock River Region" in Wisconsin and Illinois
was published in The Wisconsin Archeologist (v. 2, no. 3,
n. s.) in 1923.
Other references to Lower Rock River Indian history and
prehistory occur in the Wisconsin Historical Collections, in
other volumes of The Wisconsin Archeologist, and in the
several histories of Rock County. Both Mr. H. L. Skavlem
and the late Mr. W. P. Clarke have published descriptions
of Mound groups at Janesville, Afton and elsewhere in the
Rock River valley in past issues of the Janesville Gazette.
INDIAN SITES AND MOUND GROUPS
Black Hawk Village Site
(Cent. Sec. 7)
The site of the camp ground, occupied by the Sauk chieJ
Black Hawk and his warriors in 1832, is described by Geo.
W. Ogden in the History of Rock County, published in 1856 :
"We left Milwaukee in the month of September, 1836,
with an ox team wending our way westward for the Rock
ARCHEOLOGICAL MAP OF THE LOWER ROCK RIVER
The numbers correspond with those on the map cdioming
1. Black Hawk Village Site
2. Quarry Mound
3. Newville Cache
4. Rock River Village Site
5. Pierce Village Site
6. Newville Village Site
7. Riverview Resort Village Site
8. Ridgeview Village Site
9. South Bank Camp Sites
10. Oak Ridge Village Site
11. River Bend Shell Heap
12. Edgerton Camp Sites
13. Miller Camp Site
14. Devil's Oven
15. Brown Camp Site
1 6. Southworth Farm Village Site
17. Indian Ford Camp Site
18. Indian Ford Heights Camp Site
19. South Indian Ford Camp Site
20. Indian Ford Flats Village Site
21. Rainbows End Corn Field
22. Indian Hill Mound Group
23. Catfish Village
24 Stone Farm Village Site
25. Murwin Camp Site
26. Hubbell Village Site and Mounds
27. Beggs Camp Site
28. Northwest Sections Camp and Village
29. Four Mile Bridge Village Site
30. Parish Camp Site
31. Elmhurst Village Site
32. Three Mile Creek Camp Sites
33- Wixon Hill Site
34- Riverside Park Village Site
35. Sutherland Graves
36. Crystal and Hiawatha Springs Village
37- Stonehenge Camp Site
38. Broege Island Camp Site
39- Riverbank Camp Sites
40. West Bank Camp Sites
41. Pearl Street Cache
42. Round Rock Village
43- South Palm Street Camp Site
44- Spring Brook Mounds
45- Bailey Mounds and Corn Fields
46. Eastern Avenue Village Site
47- Kellogg Corn Field
48. West Janesville Mounds
49- Rulondale Camp Site
50. Afton Mound Group
51. Afton Mill Camp Site and Mounds
52. Holzapfel Camp Site
53- Antisdell Village Site
54- Mouth of Bass Creek Camp Site
55- Bass Creek Site
56. M. E. Church Picnic Ground Camp Site
57- River Heights Camp Site
58. Willard School Camp Site
59- Riverside Camp Site
60. Coates Camp Site
61. Woodstock Mounds
62. Oakley Farm Camp Site
63. Inman Camp Site
64. Rasmussen Camp Site
65. Rice Camp Site
66. Clam Shell Site
67. West Bank Camp Sites
68. Big Hill Camp Site
69. Poe Mound
70. West Beloit Camp Sites
71. Roth Mounds
72. The Oaks Camp Site
73- Yost Park Village Site* and Mound
74- Baldwin Mound
75- Weirick Mound Group
* Standing Post Village.
76. Beloit Country Club Camp Site
77. Henderson Effigy
78. U. S. 51 Camp Site
79. Adams Mounds
80. Water Tower Mounds
81. Beloit College Mound Group
82. Turtle Village
Indian Village and Camp Sites of the Lower Rock River in Wisconsin. 19
River Valley. We reached Rock River at the foot of
Lake Koshkonong. Here we concluded to stop and com-
mence our future home. My claim included the camp
ground of Black Hawk and from indications the Indians
must have remained several weeks living on clams, fish, wild
rice and game. We found heaps of clam shells, three or
four feet across and a foot deep. And even at the present
day (1856), I frequently run my plow through these heaps
of shells. This old camp ground covered nearly two acres.
The tent poles were then standing together with his flag
pole painted in a fantastic manner. These poles remained
standing several years. Here were several recent graves,
also one skeleton placed in a wood trough with another
turned over it, inside of a small pen laid up of small poles all
on the surface of the ground. I have plowed out at various
times large shells at least a foot and a half in length, shaped
like the periwinkle (undoubtedly sea-shells) but how they
came there is the question.
A large number of ancient mounds are here. I have,
however, leveled several of them with my plow and turned
out various relics, such as human bones, heads, pieces of
wampum, stone battle axes, etc. The Indians in consider-
able number remained around in this vicinity for several
years (after 1836) and even until very recently they have
made annual visits to fish and gather rice."
Mr. H. L. Skavlem describes this village site :
"At the south end of Lake Koshkonong the river is again
confined within its ordinary channel. Near the center of
Section 7, Town of Milton, the shore on the south side is low
and marshy for some distance back from the river.
It gradually rises to a dry and sandy plane. Back of this
to the south and east are moranic gravel ridges rising from
40 to 70 feet above and enclosing this almost level plateau,
forming a beautiful amphitheatre of several hundred acres.
Here is where the pioneers located Black Hawk's camp in
1832. Vestiges of the shell heaps mentioned by Mr. Ogden
are still discernible in the plowed fields and the mounds de-
scribed as being leveled by his plow can still be located."*
This village site, located south of the Rock River at the
foot of Lake Koshkonong, was an important one being sit-
7-1 Wis. Archeologist, 74.
20 WISCONSIN ARCHEOLOGIST. Vol. 9, No. 1
uated on the Indian trail which ran down the east shore of
the lake, and which forded the river at this point. A fork
of this trail followed the south bank of the river.
There were Winnebago camps on this site for many years
before its temporary occupation by the Sauk Indians of
Black Hawk's band, in 1832. Small numbers of Winnebago
continued to camp here for some years after 1836.
Large numbers of stone, and some bone, shell, copper and
other implements and ornaments have been collected from
the fields of this site in past years, the character of some of
which appear to indicate that it was also occupied by some
Algonquian people before its Winnebago residents erected
their rush and bark covered wigwams here.
Among the specimens collected there were stone celts,
grooved axes, adz-celts, chisels, grooved hammers, mauls,
notched sinkers, balls, rubbing stones, grinding stones, flint,
blanks, arrow and spearpoints, knives, scrapers and per-
forators, of many different shapes, bone awls, flakers and
scrapers, copper knives and spearpoints, a hematite celt and
cone, pieces of cut antler, lumps of galena ore. A slate gor-
get, stone beads, shell disk beads and an oval shell pendant,
stone discoidal, fragmentary pottery pipe, rectangular cat-
linite pipe, sea-shell pendant, lead disk bead, bone tube, wam-
pum beads and two stone plummets. Some of these spec-
imens were in the collection of W. P. Clarke, the former
Milton collector. The unearthing by the plow of a cache of
several large sea shells has been mentioned. Burned hearth-
stones were scattered over the site. Potsherds were once
commonly found. Some of these were cord-marked and
crushed-rock tempered, some were unornamented sand-tem-
pered sherds, and others were ornamented with indented and
incised markings and made of shell and sand-tempered clay.
Years ago much more might have been learned from an ex-
amination of this site. Mr. Clarke found that both flint im-
plement manufacture and stone celt or axe making had been
engaged in on this site.
Near this site on a hill crest Messrs. Stout and Skavlem
found two conical mounds, and about 300 feet west of these
on a slight ridge another. Five hundred feet beyond were
* Wis. Archeo., v. 7, no. 2, p. 50.
Indian Village and Camp Sites of the Lower Rock River in Wisconsin. 21
two nearly leveled earthworks of the same class. About one-
quarter of a mile to the southeast, near the farm buildings
(N. W. % of S. E. 14 Sec. 7) were three linear mounds.
These mounds they have named the "Ogden Group."*
(NW. % Sec. 7)
A solitary conical mound, about 45 feet in diameter and 3
feet high at its middle, is located on a river field of the W.
Splitter farm near Newville. It is in a grassy pasture near
the marshy bank of the Rock River. This pasture is on the
west side of the new highway from Newville to Fort Atkin-
son. The mound is about 60 feet from the highway and 150
feet from the edge of a small abandoned limestone quarry.
It shows indications of having been dug into at its middle.
Of the results of this digging nothing was learned. We
mention this mound because it appears to have been missed
in earlier surveys of the archeological remains of this re-
Flint chips and fragments and some hearthstones were
found in this field which is very likely a camp site. Being
under sod other evidences of this could not be found. Some
flint implements and burned stones have also been found in
the cultivated fields on the opposite side of the road. In
times of high water the pasture field would be subject to at
least partial overflow.
Winnebago Indians camped along this shore in early
years of white settlement. The cabin of Joseph Thibault, a
trader, was located two miles north of this site on the east
shore of Lake Koshkonong.
(NW. % Sec. 7)
A cache or hoard of leaf -shaped flint blanks was found
some years ago by Louis Pierce of Newville on the present
August Rutz farm, on the highway from Newville to Mil-
ton. These were found in a small area having been un-
earthed and scattered by the cultivation of the land. They
had probably been placed beneath the surface of the soil by
their former Indian owner to keep the material in good con-
dition for later use in implement making. A few speci-
22 WISCONSIN ARCHEOLOGIST. Vol. 9, No. 1
mens from this deposit of blanks are in the collection of his
brother, W. S. Pierce, at Newville. These specimens are
about 2 ] /2 inches in length.
Similar caches of blanks and blades have been found on
many Indian village sites in Wisconsin. Several are in the
collections of the State Historical Museum at Madison.
Rock River Village Site
(SW. 14 Sec. 6 and NW. % Sec. 7.)
Mr. H. L. Skavlem has described this village site in The
Wisconsin Archeologist issue of April-June, 1908.*
"Here are abundant indications of an extensive aborigi-
nal village site and long continued occupation.
On the extreme edge of the steep river bank, which here
rises from ten to twenty feet abruptly above the water, are
extensive shell and refuse heaps several feet in depth and
extending along the edge of the river bank for several hun-
dred feet. Lake erosion of the river bank shows this "kjok-
ken modding" in some places to be over 3 feet in depth and
extending back and some distance up and along the sides of
the larger tumuli. Remains of shell heaps and the burned
stones of fireplaces are scattered over an area of at least a
hundred acres. Broken pottery, large quantities of flint-
arrow and spear points, spalls and chips, hammerstones,
stone axes, mauls, celts and gouges and numerous copper
spears, axes and knives, have been collected on these
grounds. Iron, brass and copper materials of trade origin,
appear to be of rare occurrence."
This village site begins north of the creek bed which
forms the eastern boundary of the Pierce Village Site. It
occupies the fields of the Morris Cooper (formerly Benja-
min Cooper) farm on both sides of the road, and extends
on to the more elevated lands of the Herman Krueger farm
beyond on the Lake Koshkonong shore. Mr. Skavlem's de-
scription applies more particularly to the latter part of this
On the Cooper farm the richest part of the site occupies a
level field about two city blocks in extent on the south or
river side of the road. It is elevated only a few feet above
the waters of the river. It extends from the hillside slope in
* 7 2 Wisconsin Archeologist, 73, 50-51.
Indian Village and Camp Sites ,of the Lower Rock River in Wisconsin. 23
the rear of the Krueger home westward to the line of sum-
mer resort cottages known as "Koshkonong Retreat" and
most of which face the creek bank.
Across this field and the adjoining lands formerly ex-
tended the group of eleven conical mounds described by Dr.
Arlow B. Stout in 1908 as the "Rock River Group."* Most
of these mounds have now been plowed out of existence or
removed. Two remain near the Cooper house and in the or-
chard west of it. One is indicated by a slight dark eleva-
tion in the Cooper river shore field, and one is located by the
side of the road (the Milton-Fulton town line) in a grove of
oak trees near the "Shadow Hill" shack of the Retreat cot-
tages. This mound is 24 feet in diameter and about 1% feet
high. An oak tree about one foot in diameter stands on its
top. Human bones were recently disturbed in digging a
hole for a telephone pole in the mound near the Cooper
Evidences of aboriginal occupation are abundant in the
river shore field. Hearthstones and flint refuse are abun-
dant. Here and there along the river bank and in the field
itself are traces of former clam shell heaps and pits of small
size. One appears to have encroached on one side of a for-
mer mound. The largest was located on the river bank
just east of one of the Retreat cottages. All of the former
shell heaps the plow has demolished and scattered.
Deer and other animal bones and pieces of turtle shell
were in some of these heaps. The part of this village site
in the Cooper field on the north side of the road also shows
traces of former shell deposits.
The number of flint implements, chiefly arrow and spear-
points, collected from the Cooper fields has been very large.
Mr. Morris Cooper states that in the past twenty-nine years
fully one thousand of these have been gathered here. Three
collections of these have been made one of which is the prop-
erty of Horatio Marsden at Albion and another remains in
his own possession. Of his collection about 250 specimens
are displayed in a frame in his house. Seven of these are
perforators of the simple stemless form and the balance ar-
row and spearpoints of the triangular, stemmed, notched
and barbed forms. Twelve are small triangular points. A
* 72 Wisconsin Archeologist, 73, 50-51.
24 WISCONSIN ARCHEOLOGIST. Vol. 9, No. 1
fine notched spearpoint with a finely serrated edge is about
three inches long. Another is of about the same shape and
length without the serration. These points are made of
white, grey, bluish-grey, red, light brown, pink and flesh-
colored flint, fragments, and chips of which material are
scattered over the surface of the site. Three of the notched
points are made of light brown quartzite.
On October 17 we excavated a small refuse pit located
within a few feet of the "Koshkonong Retreat" cottages.
This was located on the river bank. This small pit about
three feet in diameter and two feet deep was entirely filled
with closely packed valves of partly decomposed clam shells.
This heap must have once extended above ground. Near it
small pieces of shell are scattered by the plow over an area
about sixty feet long and ten or more feet wide. Test pits
were dug elsewhere in this vicinity but no other shell depos-
its were encountered.
One hundred and fifty potsherds dug from or collected
from the surface of the western third of this site on October
11 and 12 are evidently fragments of vessels of both large
and small sizes. All are crushed rock tempered. Of these
sherds, the majority, are thick and made of brown clay.
Some are made of red clay, some of these are thick, others
thin. Some are of dark colored clay, surfaced on one or
both surfaces with red clay.
Of six rim pieces, four have straight and two outward
turned rims. Three thick brown clay rims show no orna-
mentation. One (brown ware) is surfaced on both sides
with red clay. Its rim is ornamented with small indenta-
tions and its outer surface with faint markings.
One piece (brown ware) is ornamented below the rim
with small elliptical diagonal indentations. One (thin red
ware) is unornamented.
Three sherds (dark brown clay) are ornamented with
rows of parallel incised lines unequal distances apart. One
shows twelve such lines.
Forty-one sherds (brown ware, and brown ware surfaced
with red clay) are ornamented with coarse or fine twisted-
One sherd (brown ware surfaced on the outer surface
with red clay) is ornamented with two parallel rows of small
Indian Village and Camp Sites ,of the Lower Rock River in Wisconsin. 25
One sherd (thin, red clay) is ornamented with several
parallel rows of small oval indentations.
One sherd (brown ware) shows cord impressions and a
single incised line below them.
One sherd (thin, red clay), the best ornamented of the
lot, is ornamented with a series of twisted-cord impressions
above which is an incised curved line above which are sev-
eral parallel lines of small circular impressions probably
made with a hollow plant stem.
So far as known no perfect vessel has as yet been ob-
tained from the black, sandy soil of this field.
Test pits dug at a number of points on this village site
show that in places the village refuse (flint chips and frag-
ments, pieces of broken bone, shell fragments, etc.), the
relic-bearing layer, extends at least from three to four feet
beneath the surface.
The Lake Koshkonong west shore trail passed over or
near this site, which appears to have been an early Algon-
quian place of residence.
Pierce Village Site