The following was taken from an article written by Union County native Leland Bond, date unknown.
"Preliminary to a discussion of the subject assigned I feel that some review of the early history of the County would be altogether proper....
Prior to its opening for settlement by the whites, the territory was occupied by certain tribes of Indians belonging to the Miami Confederacy and it seems to be generally conceded that they came into possession of it about 1660, having migrated westward because of unsettled conditions resulting from European attempts at colonization along the Atlantic Coast. These invading tribes found relics and evidence of a culture that anti-dates history, most important of which, are the numerous mounds appearing throughout the territory. How much time elapsed between the time of the occupancy of the county by the pre-historic tribes and the invading tribes from the east has not been ascertained. Prof. Frank M. Setzler in his report on "The Archaeology of the White Water Valley" says: "From records outside the State we gain the impression that a gap of more than a century must have existed between the time of the pre-historic tribes and the invading historic tribes. the connecting link between historic and pre-historic man - the builder of the mounds - in Indiana is missing".
Authorities disagree as to the purpose of the mounds, some asserting that they were erected as signal stations and fortifications, and others insist that they were for religious rites and ceremonials. The presence of human remains proves conclusively that they were used for burial purposes. [This is not always true - many mounds have been excavated without evidence of being a burial site]. Picture example of AN ADENA mound in the Mid-West
Two surveys of Union County Have been made for Archaeological purposes. The first was made by Dr. George Homshere, who made the report on the mounds in 1882. The second was by Prof. Frank M. Setzler, hereinbefore mentioned, who devoted a part of the summer of 1929 to the survey and whose report was published the following year. (Frank M. Setzler, later to become Curator of Anthropology, United States National Museum, carried on survey and excavation in southeastern Indiana in the Whitewater Valley (Setzler 1930, 1931). This area was chosen because of its nearness to the state of Ohio and the suggestion that some of the sites in the valley were related to the spectacular earthworks there.)
It was the privilege and pleasure of the writer to accompany Prof. Setzler throughout the county during the time he was engaged in his work, and in making his report he generously gave me credit for assisting him in locating the various sites reported.
It is to him that I am indebted for much that appears herein and to whom I wish to give the credit for whatever of value is hereto attached.
The measurements of the several mounds are those taken by Prof. Setzler, in most instances assisted by the writer, and are here copied from his report. To avoid confusion I shall report the mounds by Townships and use the same numbers as shown in his report. All the mounds are located in Union County are found within the limits of the three western townships where the general surface is quite uneven and rugged." Picture example of AN ADENA mound in the Mid-West
The following is a paraphrase of Mr. Bond's work.
Exact Locations of the mounds is being withheld to preserve what is left of these pre-historic treasures.
Earth Mound No. 1 - Breen Mound.
This mound is circular mound in a cultivated field and cultivation has reduced it until its present measurements are about 29 feet in diameter and three feet in height. Near the periphery are evidence of fire cracked stones and flint chippings. This is the only archaeological site found in Brownsville Township.
Earth Mound No. 1 - Burris Mound
On the west side of the East Fork of the White Water River. This mound measured 36 feet in diameter and 4 feet in height. Attempts at excavation have resulted in a large pit 14 1/2 feet in diameter and 3 feet deep at the top of the mound.
Earth Mound No. 2 - Crawford Mound has been completely destroyed and the earth was used for the purpose of making a fill, no evidence of any artifacts of human bones was found when the mound was leveled.
Earth Mound No. 3 - Corrington Mound. This mound has a diameter of 42 feet and a height of 4 feet and 8 inches. The center has been pitted by attempted excavation but it is in splendid state of preservation.
Earth Mound No. 4 - Eddy Mound. Is a well preserved mound measuring 41 feet in diameter and 4 feet in height.
Earth Mound No. 5 - Smith Mound. This is the largest prehistoric earthen structure within the limits of Union County. It is unusual in shape, being elliptical, instead of circular, measuring 48 feet and 6 inches east and west and 69 feet north and south, and being 6 feet and 2 inches height.
Earth Mound No. 1 - Taylor Mound. Almost destroyed by cultivation and erosion.
Earth Mound No. 2 - Hughes Mound. Due to cultivation this mound has been reduced to a little over 1 foot in height. According to Dr. Homsher there was excavated from this mound cooper bracelets and banded slate gorgets and human remains in rather good condition. At the time of excavation the mound was reported to have a diameter of 38 feet.
Earth Mound No. 3 - Jenkins Mound. Bad condition due to cultivation. It is hard to determine exact dimensions.
Earth Mound No. 4- Brookbank Mound. A well preserved circular mound may be found in a wooded blue grass pasture on which are a few stumps and some small trees which have prevented erosion. It measured 42 feet in diameter and 5 feet 8 inches in height.
Earth Mound No. 5 - Kendall Mound. The remains of what was once a rather large mound. Dr. Homsher reports this mound had a diameter of 60 feet and a height of 14 1/2 feet. Some years ago the top of this mound was leveled to some extent and a dwelling house erected thereon. Later it was excavated beneath the house for the purpose of making a basement. No skeletons or artifacts were reported to have been found.
Earth Mound No. 6 - Connell Mound. A circular mound 35 feet 6 inches in diameter and five feet in height.
Earth Mound No. 7 - Luker Mound. A circular clay mound; measuring 28 feet in diameter and 3 feet in height in a cultivated field.
Earth Mound No. 8 - Cory Mound. In a woodland pasture on a high hill. Circular earth mound measuring 33 feet in diameter and 4 1/2 feet in height.
Earth Mound - Moore Mound. This is a circular mound discovered by Mr. Bond while hunting. I am of the opinion that Dr. Homsher did not report this mound as Prof. Setzler depended upon the Homsher report for the locations of the mounds in this count. The presence of fire-cracked stone and the shape of the mound proved to me that its origin is not from natural causes. About 35 feet in diameter and 5 feet in height.
Earth Mound - Beck Mound. Another mound omitted by Prof. Setzler is located in Liberty Township. It has been almost destroyed by cultivation
A Brief History of Prehistoric Native Americans
"Mound Builders" were not the native Americans we call "Indians". They were a pre-historic culture or cultures that inhabited much of the area we know as the United States.
The "Mound Builders" can be divided into three groups. The first two are classified as "woodland". They are: 1) Adena 2) Hopewell 3) Mississippi.
The first evidence of this culture dates at 1000 B.C. and lasts until 700 A.D. it is known as the "Woodland Period". These people lived over a wide area from the Atlantic to the Mississippi Valley. The term "mound builders" refer to several cultures that span a period of about 20 centuries.
The Adena people were the first recognized group to emerge in 1000 B.C. and their culture lasted until about 1 A.D. It appears that at least some of the Adena were an unusually tall and powerfully built people. The skeletal remains of women over six feet tall and men approaching heights of seven feet have been discovered.
The Adeana mounds ranged in size from 20 - 300 feet in diameter. They had an advanced culture, this is known because of the sophisticated construction of their mounds. The mounds were constructed by physical human labor, moving earth one basket-load at a time. Horses were not introduced to North America until the coming of the Spanish.
Within their burial mounds have been found cremated remains placed in small log tombs and covered with earth, while others were not cremated. Those burial sites were also found to have items such as beads, pipes and ornaments made from mica and copper. Some sites took more than 100 years to complete.
These are the people that constructed the effigy mounds such as the "Great Serpent Mound" in southern Ohio . These people lived in village societies and built great circular houses. They were primarily hunter / gatherers but they also farmed crops such as corn, tobacco, sunflowers, squash and pumpkins.
Next was the Hopewell culture that lasted until 700 A.D. The Hopewell Culture existed in the Midwest from about A.D. 100-400. Although Hopewell influence extended from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians, their main territory was located in the area of Ohio and central Illinois. Just like their predecessors, the Hopewell were hunter / gathers and farmers. Their villages were constructed near rivers where they would construct large conical or dome-shaped burial mounds and elaborate earthen walls. The "Hopewell" people were craftsmen, highly skilled in potter, stone, sculpture and metalworking. They had extensive trade routes within their culture. Mound City national park near Chillicothe Ohio is an excellent example of the Hopewell culture.
The mounds of Union County are generally attributed to the Culture of the Hopewell.
The Mississippian culture lasted until about 1300 A.D. This culture extended from Mississippi Valley into Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. The Mississippian people constructed large flat-topped earthen mounds on which were built wooden temples and meeting houses and residences of chiefs and priests. (They were also known as Temple Mound Builders.) They built huge cedar pole circles for astronomical observations and were highly skilled hunters with bow and arrow.
The Mississippian people practiced large-scale farming of corn, beans, and squash. and like the Hopewell Culture, were skilled craftsmen. The Falcon and Jaguar were common symbols in their art. There is evidence that these people had close ties with Mexico.
The French explorer LaSalle found a isolated group of people who had a totally different language and customs from their "Indian" neighbors.
The explorer was told by the Indians that these were the last remnants of a people who had once occupied more extensive territory, but who were pushed back by enemies to their last stand, a stretch of about thirty miles on the east bank of the Mississippi. It is possible (although there can be no proof) that they were remnants of the ancient Mound Builders who once covered the entire Mississippi Valley. When LaSalle came back through the are all traces of this mysterious culture disappeared.
The fate of these ancient people is truly unknown. Experts believe that warfare and invading tribes contributed to the end of their way of life.
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