Mound Builders: Williams County, Ohio Burial Mounds


Five Burial Mounds on Nettles Lake in Williams County, Ohio From "The Nephilim Chronicles: A Travel Guide to the Ancient Ruins in the Ohio Valley."  The Most Comprehensive Travel Guide with Over 100 Mound and Earthwork Sites Photographed and Directions Provided in Ohio. 222 Burial Mound and Earthwork Sites were Photographed in Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky and Michigan.

The County of Williams, 1905
    Scarcely any of the few small mounds in William’s County have been properly opened. The examinations have rarely been systematic and hence much has been lost. Commonly the plow has been run over the mounds, regardless of the history a careful search, would reveal, until almost all traces of their existence have been obliterated. This ruthless leveling of the mounds has not been perpetrated; however, merely to gratify the konclastic propensities of the plowman, but their cupidity moved them. They wanted the corn the mounds would produce. Running the plowshare through the mounds was not a very successful method of obtaining knowledge of their contents.
      Of the works examined in this county, those most worth of mention are situated at the confluence of Silver Creek and the St. Joseph River, in Madison Township, one mile and a quarter east of Pioneer, on land now owned (1905) by J. F. Dohm. At an early period, these mounds - two or more in number, besides others of smaller dimensions - were discovered by P.W. Norris, G.R. Joy, and Own McCarty, early residents of that township. They dug into the mounds and brought to the surface four or five crumbling skeletons, the skulls and larger bones of which were quite sound, but the greater portion of the remainder soon crumbled to powder.

History of Northwest Ohio, 1917
       In the extreme northwest part of Williams County, and the state of Ohio as well as in Northwest Township. In this township is a little known body of water known as Nettle Lake. Of this neighborhood, the county history says: In the vicinity of Nettle Lake, on every side of it, are some eight to ten earthworks erected by an unknown race called Mound Builders, probably more than 1,000 years ago. It is quite generally, though erroneously, believed that these earthworks were the work of the Indians; but archaeologist are of the opinion that the mounds have a higher antiquity, and that they were erected by the Mound Builders, who might have been the remote ancestors of the Indian tribes, though this is disputed by many eminent scholars in this department of historic research. On Section 23 are a few of the mounds, two of them being of unusual size for this section of the state. Copper implements, such as arrow and spearheads, were taken from several of the mounds, and in one was found a piece of mica six or eight inches square, and about an inch thick. In several instances, it was definitely ascertained that many individuals were buried in the same mound. The Indians had no knowledge tradition or otherwise, concerning these people, save what was derived from their works, the same character of knowledge that we have.

        According to the Ohio Archaeological map, four additional mounds were located about a mile east of Nettles Lake. Two mounds located in the east half of Section 13, Northwest Township, and two more in the west half of Section 18 Northwest Township.

       A group of five additional mounds were located in the extreme northwest corner of the county and the state. Three of these mounds were in Section 17 in Northwest Township. The other two were just over the Michigan line located in Section 28, Camden Township, Hillsdale County, Michigan.

      The Ohio archaeological map also places a semicircular earthwork in the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 16 Northwest Township.

      A square earthwork fort was also located by the Ohio Archaeological Society of Section 1, of St. Joseph Township.

County of Williams, 1905
      On the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of Section 22, in Brady Township, on the land now owned by Frederick Charles, was a remarkable group of mounds, uniform in size, about six feet long, three feet wide, and two feet high, so arranged as to form half circles, about five hundred feet in diameter. Two of these half circles were complete, one within the other, and another commencing at the north, was about half finished. Quite a number of these mounds were opened, and about two feet from the original surface fragments of human remains and numerous stone implements were found.

County of Williams Ohio, Historical and Biographical, 1882
     On the northeast corner of the southeast half of Section 22 of Brady Township was a remarkable group of mounds.
      These mounds were uniform in size, i.e., about six feet long, three feet wide and two feet high. Commencing at the north, the first one extended north and south, the last extended due north and south, forming a complete half circle of about five hundred feet in diameter.  Two of these half circles were complete, one within the other, and one commencing at the north, about half finished - it would seem this was a fort.
     At present nothing remains to mark this ancient cemetery, except a fragment of bone or stone implement which occasionally finds its way to the surface.

County of Williams, 1905
     On the south half of the northwest quarter of Section 10 in Brady Township, on the land now owned by James F. Smith, was a solitary mound of considerable magnitude. On opening it, six full-developed skeletons were found and one of a child about eight to ten years of age. They were lying in a circle with their heads in the center, in close proximity to each other. Dr. Frank O. Hart, of West Unity, now deceased, secured the skulls from this mound and described them in a written article as follows:
      “They were very thick. The superciliary ridge is very prominent.  The orbital processes are profoundly marked. Average distance between temporal ridges of frontal bone, three and half inches; from temporal ridge of frontal bone to occipital joint, nine inches; length from beginning of frontal bone to occipital joint, twelve inches; from occipital joint to foramen magnum, three inches.”

County of Williams, 1905
      In a very early day, as we reckon the authentic history of Williams County, Clark Backus and a Mr. Sumner, both early settlers, while hunting in the southern part of Bridgewater Township, discovered on fractional Section 12, about two miles north of Montpelier, two large mounds which were six or seven feet in height and fifth or sixty feet in diameter. They afterward went back and opened one of the mounds, taking there from two skeletons, one very large and the other of ordinary sizeMr. Sumner had some conscientious scruples in this invading the sanctuary of the dead, and refused to assist in the opening of the others. He even insisted on placing the skeletons already exhumed back in their proper resting-place, and this was accordingly done. These earthworks have almost, if not entirely, disappeared before the onward march of the civilized plowman, but there is little doubt that they were sepulcher mounds and that the bones belonged to members of the race that is called - for want of a better name - Mound Builders.