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Along the fronts of the great glaciers, which centuries ago came from the north and covered a large part of the state of Iowa, there lived a race of people not unlike the present Eskimos. As the glaciers receded these people moved northward. They were short of stature, stout, flat-featured men and women. we know very little about them, except the accepted belief of their existence. They were succeeded by another race of people, whom for sake of a better name we call Mound Builders. We know more of the Mound Builders than of the race which preceded them. The mound builder was superior both in intelligence and civilization to the glacier man. All over the American continent are scattered the alluvial mounds of this extinct and prehistoric people. They are countless in number, often vast in extent, and varied in character. The mounds are of two general classes, enclosures and mounds proper.

The chief purpose of the enclosures was defense. Many of them are of vast extent. One at Aztalan. Wisconsin, covers seventeen acres. Its shape is that of an irregular parallelogram, with embankments twenty-two feet wide and from one to five feet in height. At Newark, Ohio, is a very intricate series of earthworks covering an area of two square miles. It consists of circles, octagons, and avenues with parallel walls nearly 5,000 feet in length. In places the parapets rise to a height of sixteen feet, with a ditch thirteen feet deep, making the altitude in the interior about thirty feet. Within this enclosure is the race course of the fair association of the present day, the banks of earth making grand stands, from which another civilization may view the contests of speed. These banks are todav covered with gigantic hardwood trees, manv of them black walnut.

A striking form of the sacred enclosure is th.at known as the "Animal Mound." These are particularly numerous in Wisconsin. The outlines of these works show the bas-reliefs of sacred animals: probably the totem of the different tribes, as the turtle, lizard, serpent, alligator, eagle, night-hawk and buff'alo. The one representing the turtle has a body fifty-six feet long, with a tail two hundred and fifty feet long, and with the general height of the body about six feet. The Gireat Serpent" in Adams county Ohio, is 700 feet in length, and the "Alligator'* in Licking county, of the same state, is 250 feet in length. In Dane county

24                                                                                     HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY

Wisconsin, there is a mound showing the figure of a man driving his dog team hitched to a sleigh. The fortified enclosures extend in a line from western New York to the Ohio river.

The mounds proper are most numerous in Ohio and extend southward into Kentucky and westward to the Des Moines valley in Iowa. In the latter state they are most numerous in the counties of Jackson, Louisa, Qayton, Scott, Boone and Webster. This class of mounds may be subdivided, according to the pur- pose for which they were used, into altar or sacrificial, temple, sepulchral and observation. The altar or sacrificial mounds occur only near the sacred enclosure. They are stratified in structure and contain symmetrical altars or hearts of burned clay or stone, on which were deposited various remains, which in all cases have been subjected to the action of fire. They contain charred bones, charcoal, carved pipes and small trinkets, indicating that they were used for cremating dead bodies and it may be for human sacrifice. Temple mounds are chiefly in the form of truncated pyramids, with graded avenues to their top, which are always level. In Kentucky there is one fifty feet in height. The Teocallis struc- tures in Alexico and Central America were faced with flights of steps and sur- mounted by temples of stone. The sepulchral mounds are the most numerous. They contain the remains of one or more bodies, together with trinkets, cups, and vases. The vessels were probably filled with food for the use of the dead upon their long journey. In general this class of mounds are not large. Where they are of any considerable size they are the burial place of a chief. One near Wheeling is seventy feet in height and nine hundred feet in circumference. There were found in this three bodies and over 3.000 shell beads. Sometimes urns are found containing charred human remains suggesting a possible cremation. The observation mounds are so called because of the belief that they were used for signal towers. Their site, however, may have been chosen simply because of the beauty of the spot for sacrificial or sepulchral purposes. They are found on points of land overlooking the river valleys and commanding an extensive view. Here a smoke by day and a fire by night could carry its message of war or peace.

The Mound Builders must have been a very populous and comparatively civilized agricultural people or they could not have created the vast structures which they did. It is estimated that in the state of Ohio alone there are 10,000 of these mounds. They were a people with settled habitations, dwellers, and not wandering nomads. They had a government, so far centralized as to have an executive head, with power sufficient to maintain order and discipline, and direct intelligently the building of such large public works. An examination of the crania show them to have been a homogeneous people, but differing from the Indian. Their cranial development was of low order. They were of a mild disposition, inofifensive and unwarlike in their habits, and content to toil like Egyptian serfs in the vast and profitless labors of mound building. If unmolested, they would have in time developed a partial civilization of an agricultural type, in the favorable environment of the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. Their disposition however made them an easy prey to warlike tribes, even if of an inferior civilization. Dr. Foster, in his book on the "Prehistoric Races of America," considers that these earliest inhabitants were in their cranial conformation and civilization closely linked to the people of Mexico, Central

First National Bank Ft. Dodge 1908

HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY                                                                                                                25

America and Peru. Their long occupancy of the Mississippi valley developed a domestic economy and civil relationship, that widely distinguished them from the Indian races. They were probably sun or fire worshipers, and may have even sometimes offered human sacrifice. The gigantic structures, which they built, could only have been erected by a people among whom food was cheap. That food was undoubtedly maize, the most prolific cereal in the world.

The remains found in the mounds show an advanced knowledge of both art and manufacturing. There are arrow heads, stone axes, fleashers and scrapers for stripping hide from slaughtered animals and cleaning it, pestles and mortars for grinding corn, and pipes. ]^Iany of these pipes are elaborately carved and fashioned in the shape of animals and the human form. The best examples of these, thus far found, have been in Scott county, Iowa. They were made in the image of elephants and other animals now unknown to Iowa, thus indicating that these people may have lived in Iowa at the time when the mastadon existed. In some of the mounds have been found discs of hard quartz, the circumferences of which are perfect circles. These were probably used in games of chance.. There have also been found implements used in the spinning of thread and manufacture of cloth. The cloth found in the mounds is closely woven. A specimen, now in the museum of the Davenport Academy of Science, shows great advance in textile art. The warp is composed of four cords, that is, of two double and twisted cords, while the woof is composed of one such double and twisted cord, which passes between the two parts of the warp, the latter being twisted at each change, allowing the cords 'to be. brought close together, so as to cover the woof almost entirely. The pottery ware exhibits graceful forms and elegant ornamentation, besides displaying much skill-in its, manufacture. On some the human face and form have been delineated w^ith much fidelity and grace. The features, as pictured upon this ware, differ greatly from that of the Indian. The native Indian seldom made pottery. At Saline Springs, Illinois, there is found evidence of the manufacture of salt by evaporation. These people were also skilled basket makers.

The most important domestic industry of the Mound Builders was the making of copper implements, such as knives, chisels, axes, awls, spears, arrow- heads and copper bracelets. The softness of the metal made it impossible to use in cutting stone, and consequently they did not erect structures of stone like the peoples of the south in IVIexico and Central America. They had no tin to use as an alloy in making bronze. However, they had some knowledge of the art of reducing metals.

The copper mines of the Mound Builders were in the Lake Superior region, where they mined the native copper. At Ontanagon and Kewanee Point on the south shore of the lake, and at Isle Royal on the north shore, are found the remains of their mining operations. Here w^as found a mass of native copper lying upon oaken sleepers and raised over five feet above its matrix. This mass of copper weighed six tons. Strewn about the place were the tools of the miners, their stone mauls and hammers, props, levers and ladders. These were not used by the present race of Indians, for when the Jesuits first visited them they had no knowledge or use of copper except occasional fragments. On the rubbish of one mine refuse heap early investigators found growing a hemlock tree, which showed 395 annular rings.

26                                                                             HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY

The commerce of the Mound Builders was extensive and in some degree well organized. In their mounds are found copper from Lake Superior, mica from North Carolina, iron from Missouri, obsidian from Mexico, and ornamental shells from the Gulf Coast. Their commerce and exchange must have covered a large portion of the LTiited States and Mexico. The same mica quarries, in North Carolina, which supplied these earlier races, is today the chief source of supply for the United States.

After the Mound Builders had been in possession of the countr\- for some time, savage races from the east and west came down upon them. The Algon- quins, pushing westward by way of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, met in the Mississippi valley the Sioux or Dakotahs, who had come down the Missouri from the Rocky Mountains. The Sioux were even more warlike than the Algon- quins. Between the two the Mound Builders were crushed. In vain they opposed. Their resistance may have been slight, or they may have fought long and valiantly, and behind their mounds made many a brave defense. Iowa was tl:e battle ground, but the records are lost. The mounds alone bear mute testimony to the deeds of the races that were. It is possible that the IVIound Builders may have fled to the southwest and there became the Cliff Dwellers of Arizona and New Alexico.

The mounds of Webster county consist of the two classes, observation and burial mounds. They are found on both sides of the Des Moines river and along the banks of the Lizard creek. They are especially numerous in the neighbor- hood of Lehigh and McGuire's Bend. Mrs. George Marsh and a number of others living in that vicinity have fine collections gathered from these mounds and about them. Numerous skeletons have also been found in the Webster county mounds, and one recently opened in Boone county, a few miles north of Boone, contained many fine specimens. In 1876 an exceptional find was made on the Marshall farm near the southern boundary of Humboldt county. A nvmiber of people had gathered here to celebrate the Fourth of July and as part of the ceremony decided to erect a flag pole upon a large mound near the house. In excavating for the pole they unsuspectingly opened a burial place of the ancient Mound Builders. In it they found the skeletons of thirteen people. The bodies had been buried in a sitting posture, and were arranged in a circle facing outward.

Major Williams, writing to the 'Iowa Northwest' in 1866. says: "We found many remains of ancient fortifications and mounds, which had evidently, from their location and construction, been at some remote period raised for defense, and positions of observation, giving evidence that this northern country was inhabited by a race of people living before the present race of Indians inhabited it. On viewing the location and tracing the lines, we found them arranged with some judgment. Others evidently were burial places. On directing the attention of the Indians to them, we were unable to find any, even among the oldest Sioux, who had any knowledge of them, either by traditions or otherwise. They all asserted that they were here when their people first came into the country. The most distinct of these ancient works will be found in the forks of the Boone, on and in the neighborhood of L. Mericle's place, on the west side of the Des Moines near where Mr. Beam lives, also on Indian creek about twelve miles north of Fort Dodge, on Lizard river and at Fort Dodge. Some of the mounds

Wahkonsa Hotel Lobby 1910

HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY                                                                                                       27

at Fort Dodge have been removed, and in digging into them they were found to contain the remains of human beings ; such as parts of skulls, teeth, thigh-bones, etc., and along with them pieces of burnt or charred wood and coals. From their location on high and dry ground, covered with sand and gravel, together with the appearance of the bones, their color, etc., physicians and all who examined them were of the opinion that a great length of time had elapsed since they had been deposited there, perhaps two hundred years or more. The ancient mound builders were in the habit of burning their dead, which is not the custom of any of the Indians of whom we have knowledge."

Some three or four miles north of the town of Lehigh is what is known as ''Boneyard Hollow." There a little wet weather stream enters the Des Moines river from the adjacent bluff, making a terrace. This terrace is flat-topped, eight or ten rods wide and five to ten feet above the normal stage of water in the river. The river is here bounded by bluffs fifteen to thirty feet in height, and extending some distance back from the river. It is a picturesque gorge cut in the carbon- iferous sandstone. The age of the terrace is probably that of the Wisconsin glaciers. Whether or not the terrace is later than the deposit of bones, which have been found in connection with it, is difficult to tell. Intermingled with the bones are found arrow points. This would indicate that man and the animals were contemporaneous. It looks as if there had been no disturbance of the ter- race or addition to its materials since they were first deposited there. Forest trees have grown to maturity upon the earth covering the bones. The bone deposits occur upon both sides of the stream, which has evidently cut its way through the deposit. The bones that have been discovered resemble those of the deer, elk and buffalo. Upon exposure to the air they immediately crumble. The teeth, Ijeing of a harder substance, are still fairly well preserved, and have been gathered by various collectors. Scattered among the bones there have been found, besides the arrow heads, numerous flint and stone implements. Some of the imple- ments were made of native copper, which must have been brought from some distance. It is the opinion of some people, who have visited the "Hollow," that this deposit was the kitchen refuse from a settlement of Mound Builders, and that afterwards they were covered with silt from the Wisconsin drift. Professor Samuel Calvin visited this locality a number of years ago, but was unwilling to give an opinion as to the origin of the deposit, except that it was old as compared with the historic period of Iowa. He however thought it was highly improbable that the deposit was either preglacial or interglacial.

Another interesting find, which, however, is not connected with the Mound Builders, was a deposit of bones found by Mr. Henry Engholm upon his farm in Deer Creek township. These bones were the skeletons of the American bison. They were found in a slough where they had evidently mired down while in search of water, or where they were driven to escape from some pursuing enemy. Mrs. C. B. Hepler has a very fine specimen of a skull of one of these bisons.

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