Early Native American Mound Builders in Marion County, Indiana

Early Native American  Mound Builders in Marion County, Indiana
Historic map of Marion County, Indiana showing the location of burial mounds within the city of Indianapolis.

Marion County, Indiana

History of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana, 1884

     In Washington Township, on the east side of the river, tradition places the site of another village older - how much it is impossible to say or guess, further than the vague direction of conjecture by the fact that the place is overrun by a wood of sixty years growth. Near the river is an old cemetery of the tribe, and near it are some unique remains of Indian residence, both uncovered occasionally by floods. These remains are “pits or ovens excavated in a very compact clay,” as Professor Brown describes them, about two feet and a half in diameter and the same in depth, and burned on the inner surfaces like brick. In them have been found coals and ashes, and around them fragments of pottery. Their condition and contents would indicate that they were a sort of earthenware kettle, constructed by the ready process of digging out the inside clay and burning the surface of the outside, instead of taking the clay for each in a separate mass, and moulding it and burning it and putting back in its new shape in the hole it came from in its old one. The Indians of this fertile region all cultivated corn and beans and pumpkins, and made sugar of “sugar water” in the early spring, by freezing it during the night and throwing away the ice, which contained no sugar, afterwards boiling it down and graining it. Flint arrowheads, stone hatchets, chisels, and other implements of the “Stone Age” are found occasionally in the soil and gravel, especially in the southern part of the county, near Glenn’s Valley, and these are said by Professor Brown’s Report to be made in many cases of talcose slate, a rock found no nearer this region than the Cumberland Mountains or the vicinity of Lake Superior. The curious forms of some of them make it impossible to determine their use. The Official Survey reports no mounds or earthworks of the mound-builders or other prehistoric race in the county except these relics of the “Stone Age.” There may be none now, but forty-five years ago there were two considerable mounds in the city near the present line of Morris Street, and the other a little farther east. The excavation of the canal opened one of them, and some complete skeletons and scattered bones and fragments of earthenware were found and taken possession of by Dr. John Richmond, then pastor of the only Baptist Church , as well as a practicing physician. The other was gradually plowed down, probably after being opened at the same time the first was, but no record or definite memory settles the question.

Indianapolis News, July 13, 1927, pg. 16-5
Finds Stone Age Tool - Relic Held by Memorial Worker was Twenty Feet Underground”

      Elmer Irwin who has been working on the foundation for the War Memorial, at Indianapolis, has an unusual relic which he says he found twenty feet beneath the surface. It is in the form of a stone ax or knife, and one end has been shaped so that it fits the hand.

The Indiana Magazine of History,
 Vol. IV, March 1910, No. 1

      The southeast part of the county was till more densely populated. From their metropolis and ancient circle at Strawtown on the White River, they followed up Duck Creek and formed a continuous line of settlements on its bank and through that portion of the county. There, a stone circle, several sacrificial mounds and burial mounds with highly polished implements, bear evidence of their ancient existence. Again, we find remains of that strange people in the southwest part of the county on the banks of Cicero Creek.