« ForrigeFortsett »
ing evidence of having been used for hearths, or supports for the earthen vessels while being used for cooking food; collections of fish scales, bones of buffalo, deer, badger, bear, fish and birds, but no evidence whatever of human bones. The long, or marrow bones of all animals were found broken or split, supposed to have been done for the purpose of extracting the marrow for food, which circumstance is also noted in the Kjokkommoddings, or
One peculiarity noticed by Mr. Hemenway was that each of us digging in different localities found the ornamentation of the pottery dissimilar. For instance, all Mr. Haney found was ornamented with horizontal circular rings; all the Judge found was ornamented with zig-zag lines with dots in the angles. All that we found had perpendicular lines like a muskmelon, etc. This was finally accounted for by the supposition that each family had its own particular method of ornamentation, by which they recognized their property.
"These vessels were quite capacious, the diameter of one having been fourteen inches at the mouth, (or as large as a ten pound tobacco pail). About one and three-quarter inches below the mouth they abruptly widened out about six inches all around, making the largest diameter twenty six inches.
"Taking occasion to remark to the Judge that we had found no bottoms to the vessels, set him to thinking, and the result was that he decided that the bottoms had been rounded in such a manner that they never tipped over, but let them be set down as they might they oscillated till they finally, when still, sit in an upright position. For the purpose of handling, the vessels were provided with handles on two opposite sides similar to our jug handles.
“Besides the before-mentioned articles, Col. Johnston found a thin strip of copper two inches long by three-quarters wide, and and we found an ornament of the same material, triangular in form, one inch wide at the base, and one and one-half inches from base to apex, the form being the same as the face of a flat iron, the center being perforated to attach some additional ornament, and the apex also, to attach a string to fasten in the ear.
"Now the question arises, when, how and for what purpose was this mound built. Was it a burial ground, a fort or a village ? At first the Judge thought the former, Mr. James Haney the second, and we took the last proposition. To say when, is inipossible; the time has been long, long ago, as we have evidence by the decay of the bones and shells. Why it was built? We think it the remains of a village. That the huts or wigwams were built in a circle, and the piles of burnt stone we unearthed each represented a hearth in a hut, on which the pottery set while cooking, and around each of which a separate family warmed and fed themselves. We think with Mr. H. that each family had a separate distinct mark on their vessels by which they were known from their neighbors in the next hut or wigwam.
"We think that the bones found show no evidence of human bones, and consequently it could not be used for a burial ground. Another evidence lies in the fact that all the bones are broken to obtain the marrow. The scales and bones of fish and animals, the charcoal, ashes and burnt hearth-stones all point conclusively to the fact that this was their abode. The central enclosure was used for their games, dancing and pleasure, or perhaps in case of attack from wild beasts or their fellow men, as a place for the aged, the young and the women to flee to while the warrior met their encroachments outside the circle of dwellings. Add to this the fact forty rods south of this village we find some eighty-three burial mounds or tumuli, out of which we procured parts of human skeletons, and nothing else, with the long bones entire, and we are convinced of the fact that this was once a town filled with people, enjoying the pleasures of families and all knit together as one tribe of people.'
Commenting on the above, Mr. J. G. Ratcliffe, for many years a resident of that valley, and a close observer of those mounds, wrote in 1875:
"These remains extend up the Iowa River, from near New Albin, for a distance of at least twenty miles, and consist of sites of ancient villages or forts; tumuli or burial grounds; lookout or signal stations on the tops of the bluffs; and rude hieroglyphics; these last consisting of men on horseback, buffalos, peculiar circular figures, etc., being now mostly obliterated through the agency of the weather, the friable nature of the rock (potsdam sandstone and rude boys.
“Of the village or forts: these consist of circular (in one case only triangular) enclosures or embankments of earth and stone. They were located generally at intervals of a couple of miles apart on the benches or second bottoms of the valley, but sometimes (as was the case with one on a farm formerly owned by me) were down on the river flat. The enclosures were generally from seventy-five to one hundred yards in diameter, The
embankments being now about twenty-five to thirty feet in width and two or three in height, were originally, I think, much higher, and probably built of sods, serving the purposes of a modern stockade as a means of defence against enemies, and high enough for a support for one end of their tent poles, while at the base on the inside were their kitchen hearths, whereon was cooked the spoils of the chase, the embankment warding off the inclement storms to which the climate is subject.
"In exploring these embankments we found in addition to the pottery, bones, fish scales, etc., mentioned as found by Judge Murdock and party) large stone mortars and pestles, for grinding corn, two or three kinds of stone axes, celts, etc.; also numerous flint and chert arrow heads, and skinning instruments. These mortars are about fourteen inches in diameter and about five
inches in thickness, hollowed out like a soup plate, hand made, from a hard syenite stone, but sometimes from a common sandstone. Tre pestles are of three kinds and the most common kind are about the size of, and almost identical in shape with a large sized biscuit, being about three and a half inches in diameter by ore and three quarter inches in depth, can be readily clutched in the hand, and are worn off very smooth by constant abrasion; these are quite numerous.
Another kind is similar to a common potato masher, except that the handle is a little larger and shorter, the whole instrument being eight or nine inches in length. Also one of a shape between these two with grooves for the fingers. This kind is very scarce. I have never known of but one being found here.
"The stone axes, celts, etc, are crude instruments when compared with ours; and yet they are crude in material more than in workmanship. There is a symmetry of form and a proportion of materials to the work to be done which invites our admiration, and suggests the question 'whether the civilized men of the present day placed in the same situation and with the same materials and tools could or would do any better'. The stone ax is much the size and shape of one of our axes with the steel worn away and blunted. Instead of an eye there is a groove cut around the head of the ax, around which the handle was withed. The Sioux Indians of the present day withe their handles on in this manner with strips of green rawhide, which on drying makes a firin and elastic handle. The material with which these axes were made is a very tough kind of porphyritic granite or green stone and is not found nearer than the Lake Superior region and the Canadas.
"Mr. John Haney informed me sometime since that many years ago, when he and his brothers first started their mill, that they very successfully used one of these wedges or celts of this material for a mill pick for dressing the buhr stones. The stone celts and skinning instruments are similar to the axes except that with the same cutting edge they have the top part rounded off to grasp with the hand or sink into a club. Some of these are quite diminuitive; I have some specimens that are not over two and a half inches in length, while others are as large as a blacksmith's sledge. Another specie of skinning instrument is a large flat stake; one of these found on the Iowa is about six inches in length by four and one-half in breadth, and three-fourths of an inch in thickness, and resembles very much one described in Harper's Magazine for September, 1875.
"A year or two ago a band of wandering Winnebagoes happened along the Iowa, fishing and begging as is their wont. The attention of one of the old men was called to an old vlllage site and he was asked what it was. He replied an Indian garden. His knowledge of this subject was coextensive with that of one of the same tribe to whom I showed a large mastodon bone, which was ex
humed near New Albin in grading the railroad. On asking him to what animal it belonged he answered "buffalo," that being the largest animal of which he had any knowledge.
"Before leaving the subject of these forts or village sites, I would say in this connection that on a trip over on the Kickapoo River in Wisconsin, last year, I found them quite numerous, and of peculiar shape. The engineer of the Narrow Gauge Railroad there surveyed and platted some of them, when to his surprise he found them take the shapes of a bear, birds and other animals, showing artistic design in their construction."
THE ADVENT OF THE WHITE MAN.
The first permanent settlement within the boundaries of Allamakee County of which we have any record was at the old Government Indian Mission in Fairview township, which was opened in 1835 with Rev. David Lowrey and Col. Thomas in charge. The building was erected the previous year; and as early as 1828 a detail of men from Ft. Crawford (Prairie du Chien, which place was settled by Indian traders more than a century before) had built a saw mill on the Yellow River a short distance below this point to get out lumber for building purposes at the Fort. Indeed, it would have been strange if this region had not been well traversed by white hunters and trappers for many years previous to this time; and it is said that somewhere along our river border a white man had established his home as early as 1818, but had after a time abandoned it. Of this the writer has nothing authentic, however, and the earliest individual or private settlement of which we have knowledge was by one Henry Johnson, at the mouth of Paint Creek, about the year 1837—and this was the origin of “Johnsonport."
The third settlement was made by Mr. Joel Post and his wife, Zerniah, in 1841, they establishing a half way house of entertainment on the military road, between Ft. Crawford and Ft. Atkinson. Their place was in the extreme southwest corner of the county, and is now the thriving town of Postville. Mrs. Post is still living in that place, and her memory register preserves the names of many distinguished guests who have enjoyed the hospitality of her home. Among these may be mentioned Capt. N. Lyon, Lt. Alfred Pleasanton, Gen. Sumner, and other officers who afterwards became noted.
From this time on there seem to have been no other settlements made until the Indians were removed in 1848, although portions of the county were explored in 1847. When Reuben Smith located on Yellow River, in June, 1849, he reports that there were seven or eight settlers then near Mr. Post's.
In 1848 Patrick Keenan and Richard Cassiday settled in Makee township, and William Garrison and John Haney at Lansing.
In 1849 there were many new settlements made in various parts of the county, including those of Geo. C. Shattuck at Waukon, W. C. Thompson in Lafayette, some parties along Yellow River and others to the north of the Iowa, so that in the latter part of this year the population was enumerated and reported at 277. When Mr. Shattuck located at Waukon his nearest post office was Monona, just over the line in Clayton County. The only one in this county at that time was at Postville, established in January of that year.
From an interesting sketch of the early settlement of the county, prepared by G. M. Dean and read before the Early Settlers' Association, of Makee township, in January, 1880, we make the following extract, as showing very clearly the condition of things in those days:
"In 1834 the United States, through its military authorities at Fort Crawford, Prairie du Chien, built on what is now section 19, township 96, range 3, called Fairview township, in this county, a mission school and farm. At this time Col. Zachary Taylor, afterwards President of the United States, commanded the post, and Jefferson Davis, since President of the so-called Southern Confederacy, was on duty there as Lieutenant. General Street was Indian agent; all the agents at that time being army officers, and the Indians being under the control of the Secretary of War. The mission was for the purpose of civilizing and christianizing the Indians, and was opened in the spring of 1835 with the Rev. David Lowrey, a Presbyterian in faith, as school teacher, and Col. Thomas as farmer. But the effort to make good farmers, scholars or christians out of these wandering tribes proved abortive, and poor 'Lo' remained as before, 'a child of nature,' content to dress in breech-clout and leggins, lay around the sloughs and streams, and make the squaws provide for the family.
“After their removal, the government having no more use for the Mission, put it on the market and sold it to Thomas C. Linton, who occupied it as a farm a few years and sold it to Ira Perry, and on the death of Mr. Perry in 1868 it became the property of his son, Eugene Perry, the present owner. The building is a large two-story stone house, the chimney of which was taken for a 'witness tree' when the Government survey of public lands was made at a later day. It is still standing in a good state of preservation, and has sheltered the families of its respective owners up to this date.
"This house has become historic in many respects. It is one of the very prominent land-marks in the history of the development of Allamakee County, and we earnestly hope its owners will let it stand as long as grass grows or water runs, and thus preserve to those who may come after us at least one thing that may be considered venerable.