Mound Builders In Fulton County, Ohio


Story of the Maumee Valley, 1929
      Fulton County contained more prehistoric works than any of the Northwestern Ohio counties. Quoting  from authority, although it has no large streams, the topography is such that the county is well drained, the mean elevation being greater than that of the adjoining counties. On the broad, level tablelands of the central portion of the county, prehistoric evidence were abundant, particularly in present Pike and Chesterfield Townships. On the headwaters of Bad Creek in Pike Township, there were twelve mounds that practically formed a group. There were six recorded enclosures in Fulton, and forty-five mounds in the total earthworks numbering sixty-four, number of total mounds equal forty-five, earthworks six.

A Standard History of Fulton County, Ohio, 1920
      Of the works examined in this county, those most worth of mention are situated on the farm of the last Hon. D.W. H. Howard, in Section 9, Pike Township. These mounds were explored during the summer of 1892, through the efforts and under the direction of Hon, W. H. Handy, to whose excellent article upon the same we are indebted for the information here given concerning them. And much credit is also due to Mr. Howard, upon whose farm and in which orchard most of them are situated. During all of his left he jealously guarded these mounds against vandalism, permitting no one to in any manner interfere with them, further than to cultivate the round. The mounds are located on the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section nine, in Pike Township, and are built on a high ridge, containing five or six acres of land, and follow the highest outer elevation of the bluff with three exceptions.
       These mounds are in a group, twelve in number, of which eleven are located and clearly identified and the site of the twelfth is plainly indicated. One of them is built on the northern edge of the bluff, and a distinct, well-defined terrace appears on the north side of the mound. Another one is located in the public road, near by, and has been almost entirely bolstered. The others, while their outlines are somewhat indistinct, can be easily seen. The soil is a top-dressing of light sand, mixed, however, at the depth of six or seven inches with gravel. Long years after these mounts were built they were exposed to the winds and rain, and consequently they have lost much more by erosion than they have gained by decaying vegetation or otherwise. Beside, they were cultivated more or less for many years. The first excavation was made of a mound about thirty-five feet in diameter, and about ten feet from the center small pieces of charcoal were found. The soil was composed of six inches of mould, eighteen inches of white sand, with yellow sand mixed with some gravel at the surface. At about the center, two altars were uncovered, one a circle and the other a parallelogram, the circle lying directly south of the other, and being four feet in diameter, while the parallelogram was about four by six feet. On the circular altar were found some remnants of human bones that had been partially burned, among them being a jawbone containing four teeth. On the other were found the bones of many different animals, these also being partially burned. Very near the original surface, but with the baked earth covering him, immediately under the circular alter was found the skull and a portion of the skeleton of a man, lying on his face with head to the west. The part of the skull above the nasal bones was well preserved, and compared with the skull of an Indiana, found intrusively buried in the neighboring mound, was a distinctly different type of man.
       It was noticeable that the burned sand of the alters was as dry as the dust that blows in the street, while the original soil under the alters, and which had not been burned, was found to be moist. The ground of which the altars were composed has never been disturbed since the fires went out. This was demonstrated to a certainty, as no digging could ever have been done without disturbing the strata, and it had never been disturbed. The baked sand, the red burned ground, and the charcoal were in as perfect layers as if placed there by the hands of a mason. The mound mentioned as being located in the public road is, as stated above, entirely obliterated, but in an early day Col. Howard found in its center a circle of stones about four feet in diameter, containing within the circle about a bushel of charcoal and ashes. The stones were what are known as “nigger-heads.”
       Nearly all of these mounds were opened and examined by Judge Handy, and the report of two of     them we will give in the Judge’s own language. Of the one he calls Mound No. 7 he writes: “Sand soil, light yellow sand: about eighteen inches from the surface found longest thigh bones yet discovered. No traces of fire--no disturbance of soil theretofore--bones crumbled on exposure--highest of the mounds--found near center skeleton with his head to the north, lying on his back and limbs extended--near him found skeleton No. 2. with his head to the east and lying on his face. Both being large men--bones crumbled and could not be preserved--teeth perfect. We entered Mound No. 6 from the south. Soon after we commenced work here we discovered that the soil of this part of the mound had been disturbed. After digging about ten feet to the north and about fourteen inches below the surface, we found an iron tomahawk, English made. Close by we found the skull and part of the skeleton of an Indiana lying on his side with his feet to the south. His arm was extended to the tomahawk. Going west of this, we soon came to ground that had never been disturbed. Here we found an altar, eight feet and seven inches in diameter, and round. We cut the dirt away from this and cleared the mould from the top, and save a portion that had been cut off by the digger early in the morning, we had the altar as it stood when the last fires went out many centuries ago. This altar had upon it, partially burned, animal and human bones. We found many pieces of human skulls, both of grown people and children: parts of the bones of the arm and the lower limbs; the hip bone, ball and socket of a child: most of them charred; some of them having a bluish tint; the charred bones of many animals all in the red burned sand on the altar. The altar was nearly level on the top. It was built up, commencing at the bottom, as follows: Yellow sand about eighteen inches, but fire had burned the lift out of this; soil burned red, three inches; charcoal, two and one-half or three inches; red burned soil, four inches; sand and mould, six inches.
       “When we uncovered the altar in Mound No. 6 and exposed it to view almost in its entirety, we had before us the sacrificial altar of a great, lost, powerful people. We saw it as they saw it, ten or more centuries ago, when they covered up its fires forever. It told us much-it told us nothing. They burned human beings; they burned animals. Was it cremation? Hardly, for it was complete. Was it sacrificial? Probably. But to what deity or deities? Alas! We will never know. Who did these people succeed? What caused the destruction of the Mound Builders? Who followed them? A thousand years from now who will have succeeded us?”
       In every instance it was definitely ascertained that many persons were buried in the same mound. Mr. Howard was authority for the statement that the Indian had no knowledge, traditionary or otherwise, concerning these earthworks, and if the Mound Builders were the ancestors of the Red Med of recent date, such fact was unknown and unsuspected by the latter. Mr. Howard associated from boyhood with them and accompanied them to their reservation beyond the Mississippi; was always their friend; able to converse with them in their own language, to get into their inner lives, as it were; to appreciate and credit them with their virtues and condemn their faults, he easily became their confidant and possessed of their traditions. He stated at the time of the excavations that he heard old Chief Winnameg say “that the oldest man did not know who made the mounds, and the nobody knew, but he thought that a great battle had been fought there and the dead buried in the mounds.” It is a well-known fact that the Indians never prepared burial places for their dead like the mounds referred to; neither did they erect alters, where animals and human beings were immolated to secure the favor of the Great Spirit and afterward cover such altars with a mound of earth. These, and many other important considerations lead the majority of students of antiquity to the opinion that the Mound Builders were a distinct race of people, and that they inhabited a large portion of America long before the Red Men took possession.

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