Графични страници
PDF файл

and interesting reflection to the inquiring mind. That nations are frequently urged to war and devastation by the restless and turbulent disposition so common to mankind, particularly among their leaders, is a question of little doubt. The glory and renown (falsely so termed) of great achievements in war, is probably one principal cause of the wars frequently carried on by people in a state of nature.




THE author deems it unnecessary to give a detailed account of all the particular places which exhibit signs of the ancient residences of Indians, but considers it sufficient to say that on all our water courses, evidences of their dwellings are yet to be seen. The two great branches of the Shenandoah, and the south branch of the Potomac, appear to have been their favorite places of residence. There are more numerous signs of their villages to be seen on these water courses, than in any other part of our Valley.

On the banks of the Cohongoruton, (Potomac,) there has doubtless been a pretty considerable settlement. The late Col. Joseph Swearengen's dwelling house stands within a circular wall or moat.* When first known by the white inhabitants, the wall was about eighteen inches high, and the ditch about two feet deep. This circular wall was made of earth-is now considerably reduced, but yet plainly to be seen. not more than half a mile from Shepherdstown.

It is

For what particular purpose this wall was thrown up, whether for ornament or defense, the author cannot pretend to form an opinion. If it was intended for defense, it appears to have been too low to answer any valuable purpose in that way.

On the Wappatomaka, a few miles below the forks, tradition relates that there was a very considerable Indian settlement. On the farm of Isaac Vanmeter, Esq., on this water course, in the county of Hardy, when the country was first discovered, there were considerable openings of the land, or natural prairies, which are called "the Indian old fields" to this day. Numerous Indian graves are to be seen in the neighbor

*Maj. Henry Bedinger informed the author that at his first recollection of this place, the wall or moat was about eighteen inches high, and the ditch around it about two feet deep. The wall was raised on the outside of the ditch, and carefully thrown up.

hood. A little above the forks of this river a very large Indian grave is now to be seen.* In the bank of the river, a little below the forks, numerous human skeletons have been discovered, and several articles of curious workmanship. A highly finished pipe, representing a snake coiled round the bowl, with its head projected above the bowl, was among them. There was the under jaw bone of a human being of great size found at the same place, which contained eight jaw teeth in each side of enormous size; and what is more remarkable, the teeth stood transversely in the jaw bone. It would pass over any common man's face with entire ease.f There are many other signs of Indian settlements all along this river, both above and below the one just described. Mr. Garret Blue, of the county of Hampshire, informed the author, that about two miles below the Hanging Rocks, in the bank of the river, a stratum of ashes, about one rod in length, was some years ago discovered. At this place are signs of an Indian village, and their old fields. The Rev. John J. Jacobs, of Hampshire, informed the author that on Mr. Daniel Cresap's land, on the North branch of the Potomac, a few miles above Cumberland, a human skeleton was discovered, which had been covered with a coat of wood ashes, about two feet below the surface of the ground. An entire decomposition of the skeleton had taken place, with the exception of the teeth they were in a perfect state of preservation.



On the two great branches of the Shenandoah there are now to be seen numerous sites of their ancient villages, several of which are so remarkable that they deserve a passing notice. It has been noticed, in preceding chapter, that on Mr. Steenbergen's land, on the North fork of the Shenandoah, the remains of a large Indian mound are plainly to be It is also suggested that this was once the residence of the Senedo tribe, and that that tribe had been exterminated by the Southern Indians. Exclusive of this large mound, there are several other Indian graves. About this place many of their implements and domestic utensils have been found. A short distance below the mouth of Stony Creek, (a branch of the Shenandoah,) within four or five miles of Woodstock, are the signs of an Indian village. At this place a gun barrel, with several iron tomahawks, were found long after the Indians left the country.§

On Mr. Anthony Kline's farm, within about three miles of Stephensburg, in the county of Frederick, in a glen near his mill, a rifle was found, which had laid in the ground forty or fifty years. Every part of this gun, (even the stock, which was made of black walnut,) was sound.


*William Seymour, Esq., related this fact to the author. William Heath, Esq., in the county of Hardy, stated this fact to the author, and that he had repeatedly seen the remarkable jaw bone.

Mr. Steenbergen informed the author, that upon looking into this mound, it was discovered that at the head of each skeleton a stone was deposited: that these stones are of various sizes, supposed to indicate the size of the body buried.

SMr. George Grandstaff stated this to the author. Mr. G. is an aged and respectable citizen of Shenandoah county.


Kline's father took the barrel from the stock, placed the britch on the fire, and it soon discharged with a loud explosion.


In the county of Page, on the South fork of Shenandoah river, there are several Indian burying grounds and signs of their villages. These signs are also to be seen on the Hawksbill creek. A few miles above Luray, on the west side of the river, there are three large Indian graves, ranged nearly side by side, thirty or forty feet in length, twelve or fourteen feet wide, and five or six feet high. Around them, in circular form, are a number of single graves. The whole covers an area of little less than a quarter of an acre. They present to the eye a very ancient appearance, and are covered over with pine and other forest growth. The excavation of the ground around them is plainly to be seen. The three first mentioned graves are in oblong form, probably contain many hundred of human bodies, and were doubtless the work of ages:†

On the land of Mr. Noah Keyser, near the mouth of the Hawksbill creek, stand the remains of a large mound. This, like that at Mr. Steenbergen's, is considerably reduced by plowing, but is yet some twelve or fourteen feet high, and is upwards of sixty yards round at the base. It is found to be literally filled with human skeletons, and at every fresh plowing a fresh layer of bones are brought to the surface. The bones are found to be in a calcarious state, with the exception of the teeth, which are generally sound. Several unusually large skeletons have been discovered in this grave. On the lands now the residence of my venerable friend, John Gatewood, Esq. the signs of an Indian village are yet plainly to be seen. There are numerous fragments of their pots, cups, arrow points, and other implements for domestic use, found from time to time. Convenient to this village there are several pretty large


There is also evidence of an Indian town in Powell's Fort, on the lands now owned by Mr. Daniel Munch. From appearances, this too was a pretty considerable village. A little above the forks of the Shenandoah, on the east side of the South fork, are the appearances of another settlement, exhibiting the remains of two considerable mounds now entirely reduced by plowing. About this place many pipes, tomahawks, axes, hommony pestles, &c. have been found. Some four or five miles below the forks of the river, on the south-east side, on the lands now owned by Capt. Daniel Oliver, is the site of another Indian village. this place a considerable variety of articles have been plowed up. Among the number were several whole pots, cups, pipes, axes, tomahawks, hommony pestles, &c. A beautiful pipe of high finish, made of white flint stone, and several other articles of curious workmanship, all of very


*Mr. Anthony Kline related this occurrence to the author. No man who is acquainted with Mr. Kline, will for one moment doubt his assertions. This rifle was of a very large calibre, and was covered sevral feet below the surface of the ground, and doubtless left there by an Iridian.

These graves are on the lands now the residence of the widow Long and appear never to have been disturbed.

hard stone, have been found. Their cups and pots trere made of a mixture of clay and shells, of rude workmanship, but of firm texture.

There are many other places on all our water courses, to wit, Stony Creek, Cedar Creek, and Opequon, as well as the larger water courses, which exhibit evidences of ancient Indian settlements: The Shawnee tribe, it is well known, were settled about the neighborhood of Winchester. What are called the "Shawnee cabins," and "Shawnee springs," immediately adjoining the town, are well known. It is also equally certain, that this tribe had a considerable village on Babb's marsh, some three or four miles north-west of Winchester.*

The Tuscarora Indians resided in the neighborhood of Martinsburg, in the county of Berkeley,† on the Tuscarora creek. On the fine farm, now owned by and the residence of Matthew Ranson, Esq. (the former residence of Mr. Benjamin Beeson,) are the remains of several Indian graves. These, like several others, are now plowed down; but numerous fragments of human bones are to be found mixed with the clay on the surface. Ranson informed the author, that at this place the under jaw bone of a human being was plowed up, of enormous size; the teeth were found in a perfect state of preservation.


Near the Shannondale springs, on the lands of Mr. Fairfax, an Indian grave some years since was opened, in which a skeleton of unusual size was discovered.‡

Mr. E. Paget informed the author, that on Flint run, a small rivulet of the South river, in the county of Shenandoah, a skeleton was found by his father, the thigh bone of which measured three feet in length, and the under jaw bone of which would pass over any common man's face with ease.

Near the Indian village described on a preceding page, on Capt. Oliver's land, a few years ago, some hands in removing the stone covering an Indian grave, discovered a skeleton, whose great size attracted their attention. The stones were carefully taken off without disturbing the frame, when it was discovered, that the body had been laid at full length on the ground, and broad flat stones set round the corpse in the shape of a coffin. Capt. Oliver measured the skeleton as it lay, which was nearly seven feet long.||

In the further progress of this work the author will occasionally advert

*Mr. Thomas Barrett, who was born in 1755, stated to the author, that within his recollection the signs of the Indian wigwams were to be seen on Babb's marsh.

†Mr. John Shobe, a very respectable old citizen of Martinsburg, statec to the author, that Mr. Benjamin Beeson, a highly respectable Quaker informed him, that the Tuscarora Indians were living on the Tuscarora creek when he (Beeson) first knew the county.

Mr. George W. Fairfax gave the author this information.

Maximus, a Roman Emperor in the third century, "was the son of a Thracian shepherd, and is represented by historians as a man of gigantic stature and Herculean strength. He was fully eight feet in height, and perfectly symmetrical in form. Abridged U. History, vol. ii. p. 35.

to the subject of Indian antiquities and traits of the Indian character.This chapter will now be concluded with some general reflections on the seemingly hard fate of this unfortunate race of people. It appears to the author that no reflecting man can view so many burying places broken up -their bones torn up with the plow-reduced to dust, and scattered to the winds-without feeling some degree of melancholy regret. It is to be lamented for another reason. If those mounds and places of burial had been permitttel to remain undisturbed, they would have stood as lasting monuments in the history of our country. Many of them were doubtless the work of ages, and future generations would have contemplated them with great interest and curiosity. But these memorials are rapidly disappearing, and the time perhaps will come, when not a trace of them will remain. The author has had the curiosity to open several Indian graves, in one of which he found a pipe, of different form from any he has ever seen. It is made of a hard black stone, and glazed or rather painted with a substance of a reddish cast. In all the graves he has examined, the bones are found in a great state of decay except the teeth, which are generally in a perfect state of preservation.

It is no way wonderful that this unfortunate race of people reluctantly yielded their rightful and just possession of this fine country. It is no way wonderful that they resisted with all their force the intrusion of the white people (who were strangers to them, from a foreign country,) upon their rightful inheritance. But perhaps this was the fiat of Heaven.When God created this globe, he probably intended it should sustain the greatest possible number of his creatures. And as the human family, in a state of civil life, increases with vastly more rapidity than a people in a state of nature or savage life, the law of force has been generally resorted to, and the weaker compelled to give way to the stronger. That a part of our country has been acquired by this law of force, is undeniable. It is, however, matter of consoling reflection, that there are some honorable exceptions to this arbitrary rule. The great and wise William Penn set the example of purchasing the Indian lands. Several respectable individuals of the Quaker society thought it unjust to take possession of this valley without making the Indians some compensation for their right. Measures were adopted to effect this great object. But upon inquiry, no particular tribe could be found who pretended to have any prior claim to the soil. It was considered the common hunting ground of various tribes, and not claimed by any particular nation who had authority to sell.

This information was communicated to the author by two aged and highly respectable men of the Friends' society, Isaac Brown and Lewis Neill, each of them upwards of eighty years of age, and both residents of the county of Frederick.

In confirmation of this statement, a letter written by Thomas Chaukley to the monthly meeting on Opequon, on the 21st of 5th month, 1738, is strong circumstantial evidence; of which letter the following is a copy:

"VIRGINIA, at John Cheagle's, 21st 5th month, 1738.

"To the friends of the monthly meeting at Opequon:

"Dear friends who inhabit Shenandoah and Opequon:-Having a con

« ПредишнаНапред »