Jefferson County, New York - Mound Builders Necropolis

Jefferson County, New York - Mound Builders Necropolis





A large mound is near a shanty in the sugar camp, toward Ruff's 
creek. This is 40 feet across and 3 feet high. A good deal of dig- 
ging has been done there, but seemingly without results. A smaller 
one is near the shanty. This ended the explorations on that side of 
the lake. The oldest inhabitant knew of nothing taken from mounds 
south of the La Farge mansion. In all 54 mounds were observed, 
and 6 obliterated ones reported, or 60 in all. Other unobserved or 
obliterated mounds might much increase this number, but it is not 
likely to reach the higher estimates made for the whole territory. 




At the north end of the lake is one spot deserving of a few words, 
and yet probably not connected with the general subject. In the edge 
of the swamp at the northeast angle of the lake, is an immense mass 
of rock which can be reached by a boat. In some of the depressions 
of this rock are many small flint chips, showing that it was a favorite 
spot for arrow makers. What weapons the makers of these mounds 
used is uncertain, but it is probable that the visitors to Squaw island, 
as some call it, were of another people. The spot commands a view 
of nearly the entire lake. 



Is this a hut circle or a Sun Temple or henge that is found in numbers in the Ohio Valley? The earthwork  has an outer wall and interior ditch like a henge.  The Iroquois didn't construct round dwellings.


In his report on Mound Explorations, Prof. Cyrus Thomas 
described some mounds of this class closely connected with larger 
mounds in the Welch group, Brown county, Illinois. The group 
" consists of six mounds, and a number of small saucer-shaped basins 
surrounded by low, earthen ridges, doubtless the sites of ancient 
dwellings or wigwams." Thomas, p.u8. He adds that " the dwell- 
ing sites vary considerably in size, some being as much as 70 feet 
in diameter, and some of them 3 feet deep in the center after 50 
years of cultivation." In describing those on the Big Mary river, 
111., he adds something on their situation and origin : 

These are situated upon a flat topped ridge, about 30 feet higher 
than the creek bottoms. They are low, with the usual depression in 
the center, but the outlines are rather indistinct. Mr Gault of Sparta, 
who has long resided here, states that when he first moved to this 
section, the Indians lived in houses or wigwams which, when de- 
cayed, left such remains as these. They hollowed out a shallow cir- 
cular cavity in the surface soil, then, standing poles around the 
margin of this basin, brought them together at the top, and having 
covered them with bark or other material in other words having 
constructed wigwams of the usual circular form covered them in 
whole or in part, specially the lower portion with earth. He also 
said that after a camp was abandoned and the wood rotted away, it 
left these rings of earth. Thomas, p. 141