copper ornaments; trinkets, etc. Among other curious objects were a pair of scissors and a fragment of looking-glass."
An earlier exploration is thus described: "The governor [De Soto] opened a large temple in the woods, in which were buried the chiefs of the country, and took from it a quantity of pearls which were spoiled by being buried in the ground." [Footnote: Biedma. Hist. Coll. La., vol. 2, p. 101.]
Another chronicler says: "This house stood on a high mound (cerro), similar to others we have already mentioned. Round about it was a roadway sufficiently broad for six men to walk abreast." [Footnote: Garcilasso de la Vega, Hist. Fla., ed. 1723, p. 139.] (There are good reasons for believing this to be the Etowah mound near Cartersville, Ga.) [Footnote: Thomas, Mag. Am. Hist., May, 1884, pp. 405, 406.]
The town of Talise is described as being strong in the extreme, inclosed by timber and earth. [Footnote: Garcilasso, Hist. Fla., p. 144.]
Herrera speaks of "a town of 400 houses, and a large square, where the cacique's house stood upon a mound made by art." [Footnote: Hist. Am., Stoven's transl., vol. 6, p. 5.]
Father Gravier [Footnote: Shea's Early French Voyages, pp. 126, 136.] speaks of mounds of the Akansea and "Tounika" villages.
M. La Harpe says "the cabins of the Yasous, Courois, Offogoula, and Ouspie [along the Yazoo about 1700] are dispersed over the country upon mounds of earth made with their own hands, from which it is inferred that these nations are very ancient and were formerly very numerous, although at the present time they hardly number two hundred and fifty persons." [Footnote: Lu Rarpe, Hist. Coll. La., part 3, p. 106, New York, 1851.] (This seems to imply that there were numerous mounds unoccupied.) "In one of the Natches villages," says Dumont, "the house of the chief was placed on a mound." [Footnote: Mem. Hist. La., vol. 2, p. 109.]
Another writer says: "When the chief [of the Natchez] dies they demolish his cabin and then raise a new mound on which they build the cabin of him who is to replace him in this dignity." [Footnote: La Petit, Hist. Coll. La., vol. 3, pp. 141, 142, note. Also Lettres edifiantes et curioses, vol. 1, pp. 260, 261. See Du Pratz. Histoire Louisiane, 1738, vol. 3, p. 16.]
According to Bartram, in the Cherokee town of Stico the council- house was on a mound, as also at Cowe. [Footnote: Bartram's Travels, pp. 345, 367.]
The same writer says [Footnote: Ibid., p. 516.] the Choctaws raised mounds over their dead in case of communal burials.
It is apparent from Jefferson's language [Footnote: Notes on Virginia. 4th Am ed., 1801, pp. 142-147.] that the burial mounds of Virginia were of Indian origin.
These references, which might be indefinitely multiplied, are sufficient to bear out the assertion that history testifies that the southern tribes were accustomed to build mounds.
It is a matter of surprise that so little is to be found regarding the mounds in the older records of the Northern States. There is but one statement in the Jesuit Relations and no mention in the writings of the Recollects, so far has been found, and yet one of the missionaries must have passed a good portion of the winter of 1700 in the very midst of the Cahokia group. Colden notes that "a round hill was sometimes raised over the grave in which a corpse had been deposited." [Footnote: Hist. Five Nations, introd., vol. 1, London, 1755, p. 16.] Carver noticed ancient earthworks on the Mississippi near Lake Pepin, but knew nothing of their origin. [Footnote: Travels, ed. 1796, Phila., p. 36; ed. 1779, London, p. 57.] Heckewelder observed some of these works near Detroit, which he was informed had been built by the Indians. An account of them was published in a Philadelphia periodical in 1780 or 1790. This description was afterwards given briefly in his "History of the Manners and Customs of the Indian Nations."
These older records mention facts which afford a reasonable explanation of some of the ancient monuments found in the northern section of the country; as for example the communal or tribal burials, where the bones and remains of all the dead of a village, region, or tribe, who had died since the last general burial (usually a period of eight to ten years) were collected and deposited in one common grave. This method, which was followed by some southern tribes, has been described by Bartram, [Footnote: Travels (1791), p.516.] Dumont, [Footnote: Memoires Hist. La., vol. 1, p. 246.] Romans, [Footnote: Nat. and Civil Hist. Fla., pp. 88-90.] and others, but most fully by Jean deo Brebeuf. [Footnote: In his account "Des ceremonies qu'ils [les Hurons] gardent en leur sepulture et de leur deuil," and "De la Feste solemnelle des morts."—Jesuit Relations for 1636, pp. 129-139. See translation in Thomas's "Burial Mounds of the Northern Section of the United States," Fifth Annual Rept. Bur. Ethnol., p. 110. See also Lafitau, "Moeurs des Sauvages," vol. 2, pp. 447-455.]
It is a well-attested fact that northern as well as southern Indians were accustomed to erect palisades around their villages for defense against attack.
Some evidences of mound building by northern Indians may be found in the works of comparatively modern writers. Lewis C. Beck [Footnote: Gazetteer of the States of Ill. and Mo., p. 308.] affirms that "one of the largest mounds in this country has been thrown upon this stream [the Osage] within the last thirty or forty years by the Osages, near the great Osage village, in honor of one of their deceased chiefs." It is probable this is the mound referred to by Major Sibley, [Footnote: Featherstoubaugh, Excur. through Slave States, p. 70.] who says an Osage Indian informed him that a chief of his tribe having died while all the men were off on a hunt, he was buried in the usual manner, with his weapons, etc., and a small mound was raised over him. When the hunters returned this mound was enlarged at intervals, every man carrying materials, and so the work went on for a long time, and the mound, when finished, was dressed off to a conical form at the top. The old Indian further said he had been informed, and believed, that all the mounds had a similar origin.
Lewis and Clarke mention not only the erection of a mound over a modern chief, but also numerous earthworks, including mounds, which were known to be the work of contemporaneous Indians. [Footnote: Travels, Dublin ed., 1817, pp. 30, 31, 55, 67, 115, 117, 122-125, etc.]
L. V. Bierce [Footnote: Historical Reminiscences of Summit County, Ohio, p. 128.] states that when Nicksaw, an old Wyandotte Indian of Summit County, was killed, "the Indians buried him on the ground where he fell, and according to their custom raised a mound over him to commemorate the place and circumstances of his death. His grave is yet to be seen."
Another writer says: "It is related by intelligent Indian traders that a custom once prevailed among certain tribes, on the burial of a chief or brave of distinction, to consider his grave as entitled to the tribute of a portion of earth from each passer-by, which the traveler sedulously carried with him on his journey. Hence the first grave formed a nucleus around which, in the accumulation of the accustomed tributes thus paid, a mound was soon formed." [Footnote: Smith's History of Wisconsin, vol. 3, 1834, p. 245.]
The same author says [Footnote: Ibid., p. 262.] the tumulus at the
Great Butte des Morts (Great Hill of the Dead) was raised over the
bones of Outagami (Fox Indian) warriors slain in battle with the
French in 1706.
According to a Winnebago tradition, mounds in certain localities in Wisconsin were built by that tribe, and others by the Sacs and Foxes.[Footnote: Wis. Hist. Soc., Rept. I, pp. 88,