Mound Builders in Defiance County, Ohio


            EARLY NATIVE AMERICAN MOUNDBUILDERS  IN DEFIANCE COUNTY, OHIO

Historical Map of the City of Defiance with the burial mound locations listed.  There were 5 total in the city, but nothing was located.

History of the Maumee River Basin, 1905
      A mound was found on the high south bank of the Maumee River, a few rods west of the middle north and south line of Section 27 of Defiance Township, (nearly a half mile above the present waterworks pumping station) by Joshua Hilton, who purchased the farm embracing this land in January 1822. This mound was about four feet above the surrounding land, about thirty feet in diameter and was covered with oak trees 18 to 20 inches in diameter. Mr. Hilton and his son, Brice, who gave the writer this information, opened this mound in the year 1824. A small quantity of bony fragments were found which readily crumbled between the fingers on being handled. Human teeth were found, some of which were of large size. Some dark stone gorgets were also found, about four by two inches in size pierced with slanting holes of “goose quill” size. This mound was excavated and used as a cellar by the family, the first house, built of logs, being at a convenient distance from it. The site of this mound was undermined by river many years ago.
Old photo shows the burial mound that is eroding down the bank near the pumping station in Section 3 at the mouth of Garman Run.  Today, nothing is left of the burial mound.

History of the Maumee River Basin, 1905
       Along the Auglaize River, five mounds have been determined, two in the western part of Putnam County, near Dupont, and three in Defiance Township. One situated on the high east bank near the south line of Section 3, about four miles southwest of the Defiance Court House is now nearly obliterated by infringement of the public road and undermining by the river. (See picture) This mound was opened by curious neighbors previous to 1870. Decaying bones of eight or ten persons, who had evidently been buried in sitting posture, were found with charcoal.
  I highlighted the fact that the burial mound had bodies placed in a sitting position that is diagnostic of the early Iroquois who were the builders of the mounds along the southern tier of the Great lakes.  Generally there is also either cremations or evidence of charcoal in the grave.

      A smaller mount, about two feet high and fourteen feet in diameter, was situated on the high west bank of the Auglaize, near the middle north and south line of Section 34, two and one-fourth miles southwest of Defiance Court House. It was explored in the summer of 1878. About six inches below the surface of the central part of a circular group of stones varying from two to five inches in diameter were found that had been taken from the river channel near by. They rested upon a layer of clay two inches thick, like the surrounding land in quality, which had been subjected to great heat while wet and was consequently, very hard and brick-like. Beneath this layer of clay was a layer of ashes two inches thick, and eight or ten sticks of thoroughly charred wood about two feet long and two or more inches thick in their largest parts. With the ashes were, also, bits of charred flesh and small bones, perhaps of some animal, but the kind could not be determined, and small fragments of crude pottery which easily crumbled. Upon removing the ashes and about one foot of hardened earth, human bones were found in an advanced stage of decomposition, consisting of parts of the calvarium and long bones of one person, head lying a little east of north. With these bones was found only one gorget four inches long, one and three-eighth inches wide and one-half inch thick, tapering on the sides toward the ends, and with two holes one and a half inches apart and equal distant from the ends.  These holes are of one-fourth inch diameter on one side and taper gradually and smoothly to one-eighth inch on the opposite side. The gorget is of Ohio shale such as is seen in the bed of the Auglaize River near by. About forty rods north, also on the high bank overlooking the river, was another mound of like size and contents, excepting the gorget.
     This mound shows evidence that the burial mound was the site of a charnel house (where the dead were paced prior to internment in the burial mound) that was burned and the burial mound erected over it.  Again, this is typical of the burial mounds in northern Ohio and Indiana.