Early Native American Indian Mound Builders in Indiana: Grant County



GRANT COUNTY, INDIANA
EARLY NATIVE AMERICAN BURIAL MOUNDS
Historic Indiana Map showing location of  early Native American Indian burial mounds and giant human skeletons  in Grant County, Indiana

History of Grant County, 1877
    Several mounds of considerable size have been found in various parts of the country. Six of these mounds were found within the present limits of Marion, but only one remains, being just back of Buchanan & Sons marble shop on Third Street.     
    The first framed court house was built on a mound, which stood just eat of the present court house. This was about sixty feet in diameter and teen feet in height, which was among the largest found in the country, the average diameter being from ten to fifteen feet. The mound in the courtyard furnished the material out of which the brick was made for the present court house.
     Excavations into these mounds, show that they are composed of alternate layers of gravel and sand. One a level with or just below the surface of the surrounding ground, the skeletons of human beings in many instances have been exhumed. These seemed to have been buried in a sitting posture and the stature of some must have been seven feet. The bones when exposed seem much decayed, crumbling on the slightest touch. Articles of pottery ware, stone axes, pipes and various implements have been found, and some interesting collections have been formed of these antique relics.

Reminiscences of the Pioneers of Grant County, “Lest We Forget”
     About 1850 some surveyors who were digging for the Kirkwood gravel road, southeast of Fairmount, uncovered an Indian burying ground. The peculiar thing about this was that they were buried in a sitting posture, the heads being uncovered first. The bones were yellow with age, but the teeth were well preserved.
      Also, when Marion was first laid out, several Indian mounds were found. One was situated just back of the Buchanan’s old marble shop on Third Street, and the first court house was build on a mound. This one was the largest in Grant County being sixteen feet in height and sixty feet in diameter. These mounds contained many human bones, and an expert from Chicago said that the people must have been seven feet tall.

History of Grant County, 1886
    Several other well defined mounds were found near the residence of David Overman, and two near the entrance to the Old Quarter Cemetery, bones, charcoal, burnt clay and small pieces of pottery were found. In some instances the bones showed traces of the fire which evidently consumed the flesh. On the bluff east of the city, another has been excavated, but nothing of interest was found. 
Two of three proto-Iroquois mounds that are in the former IOOF cemetery in Marion, Indiana.  The owner of the cemetery had sold the mounds as burial plots and were scheduled to be destroyed. Public outcry saved the mounds for now, but when the DNR found about it they plan to send university grave robbers to excavate (destroy) the mounds to see if they are in fact "mounds" It is such madness!

Three well preserved mounds a(mounds in groups of three ocur across northeast Indiana and ae diagnostic of the early Iroquois)r were found on the farm of William Zeverich, on the farm of Milton Camblin, near the lake in Fairmount Township, which is supposed to be in the course of an old glacial river, numerous evidences still remain.

Early Native American Iroquois burial mound in Grant County, Indiana is overgrown with tall grass that  just makes its outline visible.

Indiana Department of Geology and Natural History, 1883
     A little north of Jonesboro, on the bluffs of the river, are two or three small tumuli, which contained a few beads, along with bones, ashes, and charcoal, so common in this class of works. Quite a number of axes, arrowheads, etc., have been found in the vicinity.
In Section 33, Monroe Township, and in VanBuren Township, near Black Creek, are a number of small mounds similar to those described. One or two small ones are situated on the bluffs, east of the river, near Marion. The largest in the county, however, were situated near where the court house now stands, and in the city cemetery.
      The largest of mounds found in Grant County is that one found two miles south and one mile west of Upland, in Jefferson Township. About forty years ago the mound was five or six rods in diameter and about fifty feet high. At that time it was covered with all kinds of timber.

Only a slight undulation in this field marks the spot of this large mound that was destroyed by the gravel company who owns this land.  Neighbors had told the gravel company that these were early Native American burial mounds, but the owner destroyed them for the price of fill dirt.  Additional mounds were also located at the tree line to the right, that were also destroyed by the gravel company.

The only mound that is intact of the group is this one that is across the road from the last.  The owners are dedicated to its preservation and will not let university archaeologist touch it.
    After people began settling near the mound they began clearing away the timber. The dirt was carried about a quarter of a mile. There is a basin near, rather deep, and at that time it was covered with trees, the same as the mound. The supposition of the old settlers was that the dirt in the mound was carried from where the basin is now.
     People owning the land cleared the mound and for years have plowed it down until at the present time it is merely nothing but a small hill. In plowing and digging the mound many relics of the mound builders have been found, such as darts, hatchets, gun-barrels and bows.
     The darts were just ordinary shaped ones like those found in later years. The hatchets were made of stone, mostly of blue granite. They were large and rudely shaped. The guns were old-fashioned flint-lock guns.
    The owner of the mound gave many people permission to dig into it. One day two men were given permission to dig. The dug a trench north and south about four feet deep. After ____ they found a part of a skeleton of a man, the thigh bone, ball and socket joint, and many small bones. When the small bones were exposed to the air they immediately crumbled. The ball and socket and thigh bones were taken to a physician in Upland and he estimated the bones were of a man at least nine feet tall and weighing not less than three hundred pounds and the man was not fleshy.

    A stone smoking pipe was found. The bowl of the pipe was two and half inches in diameter and the stem was six or seven inches long. It was made in the shape of a letter (L) and of blue granite stone.  (pipe is diagnostic of the early Iroquois)

   Under the place where the bones and pipe were found, was a bed of boulders, from the size of a hen egg to the size of a man’s head, being cemented together. The old settlers thought the mound builders had their valuables hidden under this bed of boulders. No one has been able to break the boulders with a pick. The pipe was taken to Marion and ten dollars was given for it.
    There is another mound a short distance down the river from the large one. This mound is much smaller than the one just mentioned. In it was found a silver wheel, made like a buggy wheel, and cut from silver. It was four inches in diameter.