Historical and Biographical
GEOLOGY-WHY THE FARMER SHOULD UNDERSTAND IT-THE RICHES OF
BRAZIL-EFFECTS OF THE SOIL ON THE ANIMAL HUMAN RACES-
THE CAVERNOUS LIMESTONE OF SOUTHERN KENTUCKY-LOCAL GEOLOGY
-TIMBER AND STREAMS-PILOT ROCK-CLIMATOLOGY-THE PRE-HISTORIC PERIOD-MOUND-BUILDERS-THE ANTIQUITY-MOUNDS IN KENTUCKY AND IN CHRISTIAN COUNTY-THE INDIANS-CONJECTURES AS TO
THEIR ORIGIN-THEIR ATTEMPTS TO DESTROY THE WHITES-EXTERMINATION OF THE RED MAN-STRUGGLES UPON THE DARK AND BLOODY
GROUND-INDIANS IN HOPKINSVILLE, ETC., ETC.TO the trained eye of the geologist, the soil and its underlying rocks forecast unerringly the character of the people who will in coming time occupy it. This law is so plain and fixed, it has become a maxim in geology that a new country may have its outlines of history written when looked upon for the first time. The geological structure of a country fixes the pursuits of its inhabitants, and shapes the genius of its civilization. It induces phases of life and modes of thought, which give to different communities and States characters as various as the diverse rocks that rest beneath them. In like manner may it be shown that our moral and intellectual qualities depend on material conditions. Where the soil and subjacent rocks are profuse in the bestowal of wealth, man is indolent and effeminate; where effort is required to live, he becomes enlightened and virtuous. A continuously mild climate throughout the year, and an abundance of food springing spontaneously from the earth, has always in the world's history held back civilization, and produced a listless and inferior people. An able writer upon this subject says : " The tropics and the arctic-the one oppressed with the profusion of nature's bounties that appal mankind and produce enervation, is the antipodes and yoke-fellow of the bleak north and its long winter nights and storms and desolation. The richest country in the world in soil, perhaps, is Brazil, both in vegetable and animal life. So profusely are nature's bounties here spread, so immense the forests, so dense the undergrowth, all decked with the rarest flowers of sweetest perfume, they so teem with animal life, from the Swarming parasite up to the striped tiger, the yellow lion, and snakes spotted with deadly beauty, and the woods vocal with the myriad notes of feathered songsters, with the bird of paradise perched like a crowning jewel upon the very tops of the majestic trees, arid yet this wonderful country, capable of supporting, if only it could be subjugated to the domination of man, ten times all people that now inhabit the globe, is an unexplored waste, defying the puny arm of man to subjugate or even penetrate to the heart of its forbidden secrets. For hundreds of years civilized man has sailed in his ships along its shores, and in rapture beheld its natural wealth and profuse beauties, and colonies and nations and peoples have determined to reap its treasures and unlock its inexhaustible stores. How futile are these efforts of man, how feeble the few scattering habitations has he been enabled to hold upon the outer confines of all this great country! Brazil will, in all probability, remain as it is forever, and it is well that it is so. For, if by some powerful wand all that country could be conquered, and 50,000,000 of the same kind of people placed upon its surface that now constitutes this nation, with all our present advantages of civilization, it is highly probable that in less than 200 years they would lapse into the meanest type of ignorant barbarians, and degenerate to that extent that in time they would become extinct. Thus an over-abundance of nature's bounties, in food, dress and climate, brings its calamities upon man more swiftly than do the rigid seventies of the arctics of Northern Greenland or Siberia."
From the above weighty extract, the two subjects of supreme importance in all countries are those of soil and climate. The corner-stone upon which all of life rests is the farmer. Who, then, should be so versed as he in the knowledge of the soil? What other information can be so valuable to him as the mastery of the science of geology, or at least that much of it as applies to the part of the earth where he casts his fortunes and cultivates the soil ? He grows to be an old man, and he will tell you that he has learned to be a good farmer only by a long life of laborious experiments. Should he be told that these experiments had made him a scientific farmer, he would look with unbounded contempt upon the supposed effort to poke ridicule at him He has taught himself to regard the word "science" as the property only of book-worms. He DOES not realize that every step in farming is a purely scientific operation, because science is made by experiments and investigations.
An old farmer may examine a soil, and tell you it is adapted to wheat or corn or tobacco, that it is warm or cold and heavy, or a few other facts that his long experiments have taught him, and to that extent he is a scientific farmer. He will tell you that his knowledge has cost him much labor, and many sore disappointments. But how much more of money value would it have proved to him if in his youth he had studied the geological history, which would have told him all about the land he was to cultivate. We talk of educating the farmer, and ordinarily this means to send the boys to college, to acquire what is termed a classical education, and they copied back, perhaps, as graduates, as incapable of telling the geological story of their father's farms as is the veriest boor who can neither read nor write. It would have been of far more practical value to them had they never looked into the classics, and instead had taken a few practical lessons in the local geology, that would have told them the simple story of the soil around them, and enabled them to comprehend how it was formed, its different qualities, and from whence it came, and its constituent elements. Parents often spend much money in the education of their children, and from this they build great hopes upon their future- hopes that are often blasted, not through the fault always of the child, but through the error of the parents in not being able to know in what real, practical education consists. Any ordinarily bright child between the years of twelve and twenty could be taught the invaluable lessons of practical wisdom in a few weeks' rambling over the country and examining the banks of streams and the exposures of the earth's surface along the highways. A few weeks of such education would be more valuable than years now worse than wasted in the getting of an education from the wretched text-books and the ding-dong repetition of the schoolroom. How eagerly the young mind seizes upon such real education! How easy to show children (and such education they will never forget) that the civilization of States or nations is but the reflection of physical conditions, and that it is of importance that these subjects should be understood by all people, and that they should also understand the geological history of their country.
Effects of the Soil, etc.-The permanent effects of the soil on the people and on animals are as strong and certain as upon the vegetation that springs from its depths. As we have already stated, where the soil and subjacent rocks are profuse in the bestowal of wealth, and the air is deprived of that invigorating tonic that comes of the winters of the temperate climates, man is indolent and effeminate; that where effort is required to live, he becomes enlightened and virtuous; but, when on the sands of the desert, or in the jungles of Africa, or Brazil, or Greenland's icy mountains, where he is unable to procure the necessities or comforts of life, he lives a savage. It is told that at one time Prof. Agassiz was appealed to by some horse-breeders of New England, in reference to developing a certain strain of horses. He told them it was not a question of equestrianism, but one of rocks. To the most of men this reply would have been almost meaningless, yet it was full of wisdom. It signified that certain rock formations that underlie the soil would insure a certain growth of grasses and water, and the secret of the perfect horse lay here. Mr. Ben Bruce, the editor of The Live Stock Record at Lexington, Ky., and one of the ablest writers of the age upon blooded horses, says: "The influence of climate on the animal and vegetable kingdom has not escaped the notice of philosophers, and many learned treatises have been written to show the operations of this cause. Another cause not less powerful in its effects on men, animals and plants, has been co-operating with climate to modify all living things, which certainly has not attracted proper attention-the geological formations of the different portions of the earth. The attention of geologists and natural philosophers has been confined to the dead and buried, to the age of the earth, to mining, the formation of coal beds, and the nature of soils in their relations to production. We know of no one who has written in regard to the effects that are produced by geological formations on living things.
There is a remarkable difference observable in horses raised from different breeds and on different soils. The horses bred, for instance, in Pennsylvania, differ as much from the Kentucky thoroughbred horse, as the oak or hickory of the same species in those States. If you take horses or cattle from Kentucky to Pennsylvania and the Eastern States, their posterity begins to undergo a change in the first generation; and in the second it is still greater; and in the tenth or twelfth remove, they are not the same breed of animals. This change is produced by difference in climate and food. The latitude is nearly the same, and the great change must be caused by difference in soil, and consequently in the vegetation. Animal formation is modified by the vegetable formations of which it is the result, and the vegetable formations are modified by the elements of the soil from which they derive their nourishment. Not only the forms of animals, but their physical systems, their secretions and excretions, are affected by the difference of geological formations from which they derive, through its vegetation, the elements of their organization."
The importance of this subject, and our desire to impress its value upon the rising generation, must be our excuse for the space we devote to it in this work. A painful realization of the defects in the education of our young farmers and of their great losses, disappointments and even disasters in their pursuit of tilling the soil, that come of this neglect in their early education and training, prompts this forcing of a subject upon our readers, which at first glance they may consider dry or uninteresting. The most important subject to all mankind at this time is how to get for the young people the best education; how to fit our youths for the life struggle that is before them. For 2,000 years, the schools have believed that Latin and Greek were the highest type of information and knowledge, and next to these dead languages were metaphysical mathematics and theories of so-called philosophy. It is time these long drawn out mistakes were rectified, and the truths that are revealed in the investigation-the experimental facts of the natural laws that govern us-be made known and taught to those who will soon bear along the world's highway its splendid civilization. Here and there are to be found an intelligent machinist or a farmer, who understand the simple scientific principles that govern their work or occupation. Their knowledge is power. In every turn of life they stand upon the vantage ground, and their lives are successful in the broad sense of the term. They understand the soil they till, or the implements of industry they are called upon to make or use. They know where ignorance guesses, doubts and fears, and by not knowing, so often fails and falls by the wayside. The farmer will take his place among the earth's noblest and best, only when he forces his way there, by the superior intelligence, culture and elegance with which his mode of life is capable of surrounding itself. Understand your soil, your climate, and master the art of care and cultivation of those things for which it is best adapted, and at once your business will take rank with the most exalted of the professions.
The Cavernous Limestone.-Christian County lies in what is termed, geologically, the "Fifth Formation," and is underlaid mostly by the cavernous limestone. Prof. Peter, Clietnistto the State Geological Survey, says: This formation is made up of alternating layers of white, gray, reddish, buff, and sometimes dark-gray colored rocks, varying in quality from the most argillaceous claystone to the purest limestone. Limestone predominates, however, which, in the southern part of the State, contains numerous caves, of which the celebrated Mammoth Cave, of Edmonson County, is one, and causing many "sinks," in which the drainage water of the county sinks to form underground streams. Clear and copious springs mark the junction of this limestone with the underlying knobstone; and its lower strata contain in many places the dark, flinty pebbles which furnished the material for the arrow heads, etc., of the aborigines. Some of its layers are so compact and close-textured as to be fit for the lithographer; others are beautifully white, with an oolitic structure. In it are found valuable beds of iron ore, some zinc and lead ore, and large veins of fluor. spar. The so-called barrens of Kentucky are located on this formation; so called, not because the soil is not fertile, but because of the former absence of timber and the numerous sinks. This region, which, when Kentucky was first settled, was said to be an open prairie, is now covered with forests of trees, of medium growth, which have since sprung up. Its land is found to be quite productive.
This formation is geologically important, being the basis of the true coal measures-no workable beds of that mineral having ever been found below this formation in any part of the world. It surrounds the coal fields on all sides, and, like the other lower formations, is believed to extend continuously under them; appearing always in its relative position, in the beds of streams or bottoms of valleys which are cut down sufficiently deeply in the coal measures. In Kentucky, its principal surface exposure is in the central portion of the State. The counties of Adair, Allen, Barren, Green, Warren, Logan, Simpson; and much of Hart, Denison. Logan, Caldwell, Crittenden, Monroe, Butler, Grayson, Ohio, Taylor, Larue, Todd, Trigg and Christian are mainly based upon it. It comes to the Ohio River in Breckinridge and Meade counties in its Inver sweep and in Greenup County in its upper; skirting the western edges of our great Eastern coal field, around through Carter, Morgan and Rowan, Bath, Powell, Estill and Madison, Jackson, Laurel, Rockcastle, Pulaski, and down through Wayne, Clinton, and Monroe Counties to the Cumberland River.
Local Geology. * ---Christian County is about equally divided between the sub-carboniferous limestone formation, which is the basis of the southern, and the carboniferous lime and sandstones, which are the base of the northern half of the county. The line of the demarcation between the two formations passes nearly centrally through the county from east to west, with occasional deflections to the right or left. The northern part of the county is hilly and broken, and abounds in the finest of timber, coal and iron ores. The southern part is level or gently rolling, with the frequent sinks or basins which distinguish the "barrens" of Southern Kentucky. Near the line of deruarkation between the two geological formations, from east to west, is a continuous escarpment inclining northward or northwestwardly, showing most conclusively that in the early geological eras there must have been an up-throw or upheaval of the lithostrotion or sub-carboniferous limestone, or a down-throw of the coal formations, most probably the latter, since the strata of the cavernous limestones are nearly horizontal, while those of the coal measures are disjointed, and under different angles of inclination. Along this line of demarcation also are frequently found specimens of lead ore (sulphurets or galena) and fluor-spar, particularly in the counties of Caldwell, Livingston and Crittenden. where the same disturbance exists as in Christian. In fact, this disturbance is found around the entire rim of the carboniferous formation of the Western Kentucky coal field. On the road from Hopkinsville to Greenville. one and a half to two miles northeast of the former place, this clown-throw is quite plainly visible just before reaching the banks of Little River. The coal beds of North Christian are practically inexhaustible, while the iron, either limonite, brown hematite or pot ores exist in large quantities. In the State cabinet is a sample of these ores from a tract of land of 2,600 acres belonging to Maj. John P. Campbell, which show over sixty per cent of metal. The ores are scattered all over this tract as well as over the adjacent country.
Coal. --'The coal on McFarland's branch of Pond River, in the northeast part of the county, was a soft bituminous coal, of a pitch-black color, with some fibrous coal, exhibiting vegetable impressions between the layers. The coal near Pond River, also in the northeast part of the county, was a soft, friable coal, scarcely soiling the fingers; was of a dull pitch-black appearance, and quite free from pyrites and earthy impurities. Its composition, dried at 212°, was-
Volatile combustible matters 42.284
Carbon in the coke 50.309
Many of the banks opened in the county produce a coal of very superior quality, and in places veins have been struck four and five feet thick, which demonstrates what we have already said, that the coal beds of the county are inexhaustible. The developments of the last few years prove this very conclusively. Our space will not admit of more extended descriptions of the mineral wealth of the county, and has been but briefly alluded to by way of a hint to the people, of the unexplored riches lying beneath them. Nature has hidden away in those barren hills wealth almost beyond computation, and far exceeding that which she has spread upon the surface. Time, money and labor are only needed to bring it to light.
Soils.-The soil in the northern part of the county is poor on the hills and ridges, often quite rocky, but exceedingly fertile in the bottoms. The hills are well adapted to the growth of a fine quality of tobacco and all kinds of fruit. Here orchards and vineyards never fail of a good crop. In the southern part of the county the lands are level and very rich, with a sub-soil of red or chocolate-colored clay, which itself contains all the elements of plant food needed by the prevailing crops of the country. It is on these cavernous limestone or "barren " lands that the far-famed "Hopkinsville Shipping Tobacco" is grown in such perfection, making this section as noted for the production of "the weed" as Central Kentucky for the blooded horse. There are no minerals in this formation in the southern part of the county worth working.
The following analysis of soil from between the Quarles place and Oak Grove is given in the geological survey by Prof. Peter: One thousand grains, treated with water containing carbonic acid, yielded 3.822 grains of solid extract, dried at 212°, which, when treated with pure water, left of insoluble matter, which had been dissolved by the carbolic acid, 2.457 grains, of the following composition, viz.
Carbonate of lime 830
Carbonate of magnesia 115
Carbonate of manganese 642
Alumina, oxide of iron, and trace of phosphates 740
Sulphate of lime, a trace -
The soluble matter dissolved by the water, weighed, when dried
at 212°, 1.365 grains, out of which was burnt, with the smell of
burnt horn, organic and volatile matters 960
The residue contained-
Carbonate of lime 067
Carbonate of magnesia 196
With traces of alumina and phosphates.
The Timber.-The northern part of the county is heavily timbered, and though much of it has been cut away, there still remains sufficient for all practical purposes. The timber of the barrens consists of red oak, hickory, white oak, and such other kinds of hard woods as have grown up since the fires have been kept off by the settlement of the white race. These barrens were originally devoid of timber, and when first seen by the whites, presented all the "barrenness," without the monotony-which is broken by their rolling surface-of the prairies of the 'West. Along the streams, even in the "barrens," grow forests of the very best quality of timber.
Dr. Owen, the State Geologist, related the following, which he learned in the northern part of the county, among the heavily timbered hills:
"At Mr. Williams' I listened to on e of the legends of the county, which appears to be fully accredited by the people. This story, as related to me, details with much apparent accuracy the direction, size and condition of certain great lodes of lead, not yet worked in this part of the country; also, of certain mines of silver said to exist near the margin of the coal field. The relater of this information informed me that. nothing but his great age and ill-health prevented him from opening and operating the mines, whose existence he had communicated to me. Nothing, however, that I was able to observe at these localities, would warrant me in giving any encouragement to these fancies, but rather to discourage any hope of. these visions of wealth being realized. There may be all that the mineral witches declare there is, of lead and silver, but the miner -archeological and geological signs do not accompany them here, as they do at localities where lead and silver are found elsewhere."
Streams.-The principal streams of the county are Little River, Pond River and Red River, the latter merely passing through the southeast corner, and a number of smaller streams. West Fork and Pond River, with their tributaries, flow north into Green River; Little West Fork flows east and south into Red River;. Little River and its tributaries flow south and west into the Cumberland, and Treadwater and its branches flow west and northwest into the Ohio. Each of these streams affords fine sites for mills, furnaces and factories, and have since the first settlement of the country supplied the power to a number of grist and saw mills. They are all skirted with fine timber. In the southern part of the county are numerous and extensive caves, and many subterranean water-courses issue from them; occasionally, in bold streams, sufficient to turn a large mill. Dr. Owen mentions the following in the Geological Survey, to which we shall refer more at length in a subsequent chapter. He says: "Near the Davis Station, by John Bell's, there are several extensive caves, which have been excavated and weathered out of the cherty and earthy limestone of the sub-carboniferous group. In the early settlement of the country, James Davis lived for some time in one of these caves, which has much the appearance of having been once the channel of a subterranean stream; its entrance opens toward Cave Creek, which flows near by." This is but adding to the evidence we have, that in all the cavernous region of Kentucky subterranean streams flow, which, like Prentice's river in the Mammoth Cave, may have
"A hundred mighty cataracts thundering down,
Toward earth's eternal center; but their sound
Is not for ear of man."
Pilot Rock.-This is one of the natural curiosities common in Kentucky. It is about twelve miles from Hopkinsville, in a northeast direction, on the line between Christian and Todd Counties. Collins thus describes it: "The rock rests upon elevated ground, and is about 200 feet in height. Its summit is level, and covers about half an acre of ground, which affords some small growth and wild shrubbery. This rock attracts great attention, and is visited by large numbers of persons and sight-seers, particularly in the summer months. Its elevated summit, which is reached without much difficulty, affords a fine view of the surrounding country for many miles, presenting a prospect at once picturesque, magnificent and beautiful." James Weir, in a novel entitled "Lonz Powers," written some years ago, makes the Pilot Rock the scene of a thrilling incident. He has the band of outlaws capture a picnic party of young girls of the surrounding neighborhood and from Hopkinsville, and carry them away to their cavernous retreat in the hills adjacent. The people, however, say that the incident is wholly fiction, and contains no word of truth.
A natural bridge is also described by Mr. Collins, in his History of Kentucky, as being in this county, some twenty miles from Hopkinsville, near "Harrison's tanyard." This bridge, he says, is somewhat similar, but on a reduced scale, to the celebrated rock bridge in Virginia, which has been considered one of the greatest natural curiosities in the world. Many people living in Christian County say they have never heard of any such natural structure in this part of the country; but, notwithstanding their ignorance on the subject, there is such a natural curiosity in the extreme north part of the county, though, perhaps, less wonderful than Collins describes it.
Climatologic.-A few statistics from the Weather Bureau may be of interest to the general reader. Mr. Collins says that there is one feature in our climate upon which the weather prophets all agree with great unanimity, and that is in describing it as "fickle." Everyone who has paid any attention to this subject, as well as the fraternity of "weather prophets," will subscribe to this fact. Those versed in the science of climatology attribute this changeableness in a great degree to the fact that most of the storms approach this section in the winter from the west; and, as Kentucky is an inland district, swept over by winds ranging many hundred miles, its temperature is affected very considerably when the temper of those winds is intensely cold. Since the beginning of the present century, the mercury has twice been made to sink sixty degrees in twelve hours by these cold winds. The first of these was on the evening of February 6, 1807. Just after nightfall, rain set in, but it soon turned to snow; the wind blew a hurricane blast, and the next morning it was so intensely cold that it passed into history as "cold Friday." The mercury in the afternoon of December .31, 1863, stood at an average in Kentucky of about forty-five degrees above zero. A light rain fell in the afternoon, succeeded by snow and a strong wind, and on the morning of January 1, 1E64, the mercury had fallen from forty-five degrees above zero to twenty below. There are several other periods in the history of Kentucky when the mercury stood as low as on "cold Friday." February 10, 1818, it registered twenty-two degrees below zero; February 14, 1823, twenty degrees below; again in January, 1835; on January 19, 1852; on January 10, 1856, and on January 19, 1857. On the 3d and 4th days of January of the past winter (1884) it was intensely cold. In the office of the Signal Service at Louisville, the mercury went down a fraction over nineteen degrees below zero.
The coldest winter ever known in this latitude was that of 1779-SO, and is known in the annals of Kentucky as the " cold winter." The ground was covered with ice and snow from November to March, without thaw, and many of the wild animals either starved or froze to death. The sufferings of the few pioneer families then in the wilderness of Kentucky were terrible, and they were often on the very verge of starvation.
The Mound-Builders.--The Anglo-Saxons were not the first people to occupy this country, neither were their precursors the red Indians. There are throughout a large portion of the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys, as well as other sections of the country, remains of a former race of inhabitants found, of whose origin and history we have no record, and who are only known to us by the relics discovered in the tumuli which they have left. The Mound-Builders were a numerous people, entirely distinct from the North American Indians. Their footprints may be traced wherever the Mississippi and its tributaries flow. Says a writer upon the subject: "Traces of them are found in the fertile valleys of the West, and along the rich savannas of the South; upon the Ohio, the Kentucky, the Cumberland, the Licking, upon the streams of the far South, and as far north as the Genesee and the head waters of the Susquehanna; but rarely upon mountainous or sterile tracts, and almost invariably upon the fertile margins of navigable streams." These ancient people were industrious and domestic in their habits, and enjoyed a wide range of communication. From the same mound, antiquarian research has gathered the mica of the Alleghenies, obsidian from Mexico, native copper from the Northern Lakes, and shells from the Southern Gulf.
The most interesting fact, perhaps, connected with the Mound-Builders is that they bad a written language. This has been proven by some inscribed tablets found in the mounds, the most important of which belong to the Davenport Academy of Sciences. These tablets have attracted considerable attention from archaeologists, and it is thought they will sometime prove of great value as records of the people who wrote them. It is still by no means certain whether this written language was understood by the Mound-Builders, or whether it was confined to a few persons of high rank. In the mound where two of these tablets were discovered, the bones of a child were found, partially preserved by contact with a large number of copper beads, and as copper was a rare and precious metal with them, it would seem that the mound in question was used for burial of persons of high rank. The inscriptions have not been deciphered, for no key to them has yet been found; we are totally ignorant of the derivation of the language-of its affinities with other written languages.
Their Antiquity.-The Mound-Builders lived while the mammoth and mastodon were upon the earth, as is clearly proved by the carvings upon their stone pipes, but our knowledge of them is very incomplete and mostly conjectural. It is sufficient, however, to show that at least a portion of this country was once inhabited by a people who have passed away without leaving so much as a tradition of their existence, and some are only known to us through the silent relics which have been buried for centuries in the mounds heaped above them. Thorough excavation, careful survey, accurate measurement, exact delineation and faithful description may assist materially in the formation of sound and definite conclusions concerning these peculiar elevations. 'Were they sepulchers, temples or fortresses ? Beneath this sloping area, the Mound-Builder might have buried his dead; from it flung defiance to a foe; upon it made sacri6ce to the gods. These conjectures suggest many knotty questions, questions that have never been satisfactorily answered, and perhaps never will be, but they form at least a sound basis for extended and systematic investigation.*
The number of mounds in Kentucky has never been accurately estimated. It has been suggested that these elevations of earth were natural formations-the results of diluvia action, "but the theory was scarcely reconcilable with the facts, and has long since passed into the limbo of exploded hypothesis." The form, position, structure and contents of the mounds afford convincing proof of their artificial origin. The Altar Mounds, which are supposed to have been places of sacrifice, are found either within, or near an enclosure, are stratified, and contain altars of stone or burned clay, whereas the mounds of sepulture or the burial places are isolated, unstratified and contain human remains. The Temple Mounds, which are "high places" for ceremonial worship, differ from the preceding in containing neither altars nor human remains. in addition to these there are certain anomalous mounds-mounds of observation, signal mounds, etc., which defy all precise or satisfactory classification. The Temple, or terraced, Mounds are said to be more numerous in Kentucky than in the States north of the Ohio River, a circumstance which implies an early origin and application of the familiar phrase 'sacred soil.' The striking resemblance which these Temple Mounds bear to the teocallis of Mexico has suggested the purposes to which they were devoted, and the name by which they are known. Some remarkable works of this class have been found in the counties of Adair, Trigg, Montgomery Hickman, McCracken, Whitley, Christian, Woodford, Greenup and Mason. Mounds in. Kentucky.-One of the most perfect specimens of the Temple Mound, and one of the best preserved, even as late as 1820, was near Lovedale, in Woodford County. In shape it was an octagon, and measured 150 feet on each side. It was about six feet high, and had three graded ascents, one at each of the northern angles, and one at the middle of the western side. Another very interesting mound of this character, and one that has excited a great deal of interest, is in Greenup County. It is described as "a circular work of exquisite symmetry and proportion, consisting of an embankment of earth 5 feet high by 30 feet base, with an interior, ditch 25 feet across by 6 feet deep, enclosing an area of 90 feet in diameter, in the center of which rises a mound 8 feet high by 40 feet base; a narrow gateway through the parapet and a causeway over the ditch lead to the enclosed mound." Near this mound is what appears to be the remains of a fortification, and is thus described by Prof. Pickett:
"It forms part of a connected series of works, communicating by means of parallel embankments, and embracing the chief structural elements peculiar to this class of works. On a commanding river terrace stands one of the groups of this series-an exact rectangle, 800 feet square, with gateway, bastion, ditch and hollow-way, with outworks consisting of parallel walls leading to the northeast and the southwest, from opposite sides of the rectangular enclosure. The work has many of the salient features of an extensive fortification, and appears to have been designed for purposes of military defense ; and yet there is. nothing to forbid the supposition that its sloping areas were also devoted to the imposing rites of a ceremonial worship." These works, described by Dr. Pickett, seem to be but a corresponding part of a similar group on the opposite side of the river at Portsmouth, Ohio. Whether these works were of a religious or military origin, the architectural skill of construction, the artistic symmetry of proportion, and the geometrical exactness of design certainly suggest the idea that the originators, or builders, were not unacquainted with a standard of measurement and a means of determining angles.
Local Worlds.-In Christian County there are a number of mounds and earthworks that are supposed to be relics of the Mound-Builders, and several of which are still plainly discernible. A list of all the ancient monuments, mounds and earthworks in Kentucky, was made in 1824, by C. S. Rafinesque, at one time Professor of Natural Sciences, etc., in old Transylvania University at Lexington, and published in the second edition of Marshall's History of Kentucky. In this list Prof. Rafinesque puts the number of works in Christian County at 17: 5 "sites," and 12 "monuments." Some of these have been examined by citizens of the county, and a number of bones, and even perfect or almost perfect skeletons discovered. The writer has conversed with several persons who have been present at the opening of mounds in the county, in which skeletons were found, and their descriptions agree with archaeologists, that these bones and skeletons must have belonged to the pre-historic people. In subsequent chapters further reference will be made to these local works.
The Indians. --After the Mound-Builders came the red Indians. The means by which the latter came into possession of the country have been discussed at length by archaeologists, but with no satisfactory results. 'Whether the Mound-Builders lived their time upon the earth, and then passed away entirely, to be, in the long course of ages, succeeded by another race of human beings, or whether they were exterminated by the Indians whom the Europeans found in possession of the soil, we do not, and probably never will know. The Delaware Indians had a tradition, that many centuries ago, the Lenni-Lenape, a powerful race which swept in a flood of migration from the far West, found a barrier to its eastern progress in a mighty civilization, which was in trenched in the river valleys east of the Mississippi. The Lenni-Lenape formed a military league with the Iroquois. proclaimed a war of extermination against these people, and drove them southward in disastrous retreat. There is another tradition that the primitive inhabitants of Kentucky perished in a war of extermination waged against them by the Indians. Upon such traditions as these is based the theory that the Indians conquered the Mound-Builders, and drove them from the country or exterminated them altogether. The origin, also, of the Indian race is a question at once puzzling to those who have given it their study, and many theories have been advanced, all alike more or less unsatisfactory. One hypothesis is that they were an original race indigenous to the Western Hemisphere; another, that they are an offshoot of Semitic parentage, while some imagine, from their tribal organizations and faint coincidences of language and religion, that they were the descendants of the ancient Hebrews. Others still, with as much propriety, contend that their progenitors were the ancient Hindoos, and the Brabmin idea, which uses the sun to symbolize the Creator of the universe, has its counterpart in the sun-worship of the Indians. An able writer of the period says: "Although the exact place of origin may never be known, yet the striking coincidences of physical organization between the oriental types of mankind and the Indians, point unmistakably to some part of Asia as the place whence they emigrated. But the time of their roving in the wilds of America is probably thrice the period which has been assigned to them. Scarcely 3,000 years would suffice to blot out almost every trace of the language they brought with them from the Asiatic cradle of the race, and introduce the present diversity'of aboriginal tongues. At the time of their supposed departure eastward (3,000 years ago), a great current of emigration flowed westward to Europe, and thence proceeding farther westward, it met, in America, the midway station in the circuit of the globe, the opposing current direct from Asia. The shock of the first contact was the beginning of the great conflict, which has since been waged by the rival sons of Shem and Japheth."
These are some of the many theories and conclusions arrived at by archaeologists and writers upon the subject. But in the absence of all authentic history, and even when tradition is wanting, any attempt to point out definitely the particular theater of their origin must, as we have said, prove unsatisfactory. Their origin is involved in quite as much obscurity as that of the Mound-Builders who preceded them.
The Indians beheld, with alarm, the growing strength and increasing numbers of the Anglo-Saxons on the Atlantic border. King Philip well understood the nature of things and the ultimate result, when he struck the blow which he hoped would forever crush the power of the whites. Pontiac foresaw the coming storm when he beheld the French flag and French supremacy stricken down on the Plains of Abraham. To the assembled chiefs of the nations in council, be unfolded his schemes of opposition and depicted the disasters which would attend the coming rush of the pale-faced invaders. Fifty years after the defeat of Pontiac, Tecumseh organized the tribes of the West for a desperate effort to hold their own against the advancing tide of civilization. He fell a martyr to his cause, and his attempt to check the "star of empire" was a failure. The next great effort in the red man's "irrepressible conflict," was when the southern tribes arrayed themselves under the leadership of Tuscaloosa, and challenged their white foes to mortal combat. It required the genius of a Jackson, and soldiers worthy of such a chief, to avert a direful calamity, and the victories of Talladega, Emuckfau and Tohopeka, tell the story of this, the last grand attempt of the Indians to exterminate the whites. Since the battle of Tohopeka, March 27, 1814, there has been no Indian war of any considerable magnitude, none certainly which threatened the supremacy of the whites upon the continent, or even seriously jeopardized the safety of the States or Territories where they occurred. The Black Hawk war in Illinois, about the last organized effort, required but a few weeks' service of raw militia to quell. Since then campaigns have dwindled into mere raids, battles into mere skirmishes, and the massacre of Dade's Command in Florida and Custer's in Montana were properly regarded as accidents of no permanent importance, except. the sad story they carry with them of men cut off in the prime and vigor of life, and a dozen such would not in the least alarm the country.
Extermination of the Indians.-As a race, the Indians are doomed by the inexorable laws of humanity to speedy and everlasting extinguishment. But 200 years ago, the white man lived in America only by the red man's consent, and less than 100 years ago the combined strength of the red man might have driven the white into the sea. Along our Atlantic coast are still to be seen the remains of the rude fortifications which the early settlers built to protect themselves from the host of enemies around; but to find the need of such protection now, one must go beyond the Mississippi, beyond the Rocky Mountains, to a few widely scattered points in Arizona, New Mexico and Oregon. The enemy that once encamped in sight of the Atlantic, has retreated almost to the shores of the Pacific, and from that long retreat there can be no returning advance. East of the stream which he called the "Father of Waters," nothing is left of the Indian except the names he gave and the graves of his dead, with here and there the degraded remnants of a once powerful tribe dragging out a miserable life by the sufferance of their conquerors. Fifty years hence, if not in a much shorter period, he will live only in the pages of history and the brighter immortality of romantic song and story. He will leave nothing behind him but a memory, for he has done nothing and been nothing; he has resisted and will continue to resist every attempt to civilize him-every attempt to inject the white man's ideas into the red man's brain; he does not want and will not have our manners, our morals or our religion, clinging to his own and perishing with them. The greatest redeeming feature in his career, so far as that career is known to us, is that he has always preferred the worst sort of freedom to the best sort of slavery. Had he consented to become a hewer of wood and drawer of water for the "superior race," he might, like our americanized Africans, be enjoying the blessings of Bible and breeches, sharing the honors of citizenship and the delights of office, seeking and receiving the bids of rival political parties. Whether his choice was a wise one we leave the reader to determine ; but it is impossible not to feel some admiration for the indomitable spirit that has never bowed its neck to the yoke, never called any man "master." The Indian is a savage, but he never was. never will be a slave.
On this subject of Indian decay and extermination, an eminent writer says: "If the treatment of the Indian by the Anglo-Saxon had been uniformly, or even generally honest and honorable, the superior race might contemplate the decay and disappearance of the inferior without remorse, if not without regret. But unfortunately that treatment has been, on the whole, dishonest and dishonorable. He has been deceived, he has been cheated, he has been robbed; and the deception, cheating and robbery has taught him that the red man has no rights which the white man feels bound to respect. We have treated the Indian like a dog, and are surprised that he has developed into a. dog and not into a Christian citizen. There is no reason to suppose that the Indian is capable of a high degree of civilization, but that he is what he is, may be largely ascribed to white influence and examples, and to what he has suffered from the whites since the first European landed on American soil. Every spark of genuine manhood has been literally ground out of him by the heel of relentless oppression and outrage; he was always a barbarian, but we have made him a brute; we have made him a nuisance and a curse whose extermination the interests of society imperatively demand and are rapidly accomplishing. The crimes of the Indian have been blazoned in a hundred histories; his wrongs are written only in the records of that court of final appeal, before which oppressors and oppressed must stand for judgment." This is all true. We have robbed and cheated the Indian, and then chastised him for resenting it. In a speech in New York City, not long before his death, Gen. Sam Houston, an indisputable authority in such matters, declared with solemn emphasis that "there never was an Indian war in which the white man was not the aggressor." The facts sustain an assertion which carries its own comment.
But few people, however, and particularly the pioneers of the country, will agree with any defense, be it ever so feeble, of the Indian. Their hatred of him, often on general principles, is intense, and always was so, and the greatest wrongs have been heaped upon him merely because he was an Indian. When resenting the encroachments of the whites upon his hunting grounds, he has been characterized as a fiend, a savage and a barbarian, whom we might rob, mistreat, and even murder at will. This whole broad land was the Indian's. How it became his is no business of ours, nor is it material to this subject. It is ours now, and whether we obtained it in a more honorable way than did the Indians before us, is a question that may be discussed at great length.
The Dark and Bloody Ground.-To the Indian, "Kan-tuck-ee" was a land of blood. The very name by which he knew it signifies dark and bloody ground, and the long and hard struggles for its possession by the white and red races, well sustained the crimson title. Some of the most sanguinary battles known in Indian warfare, occurred in Kentucky. The battle of Blue Licks, the siege of old Fort Jefferson (in the present county of Ballard), the struggles around Harrodsburg, Boonesborough, Lexington, "Logan's fort," and Bryant's, Ruddell's and other stations, were severe and bitter, and in more instances than one fatal to the whites. There is no account of Indians ever having lived permanently in Kentucky, indeed their traditions warrant the fact that they did not. Says Dr. Pickett: "The old battle fields of Bourbon, Pendleton and Bracken Counties, clearly indicating occurrences beyond the pale of the historic period, confirm in some measure the traditional theory or belief of a protracted struggle for the possession of this border land. Doubtless the familiar appellation of the 'Dark and Bloody Ground,' originated in the gloom and horror with which the Indian imagination naturally invested the traditional scenes and events of that strange and troubled period.
To the Indian, this land was a land of ill repute, and wherever a lodge fire blazed, 'strange and unholy rumors' were busy with the name of 'Kan-tuck-ee.' An old Indian expressed to Col. Moore great astonishment that white people could live in a country which had been the scene of such conflicts. An old Sac warrior, whom Col. Joseph Hamilton Daviess met in St. Louis in 1800, gave utterance to similar expressions of surprise. Kentucky, he said, was filled with the ghosts of its slaughtered inhabitants; how could the white man make it his home ?" These superstitions doubtless kept them from ever locating and building villages in the State, as in other portions of the country. They came here to hunt, but the ghosts of the "unknown people" deter-red them from making it a permanent residence.
When first known to the whites, Kentucky was a favorite hunting-ground of different tribes of Indians. Annually, during the hunting season, the Delawares, Wyandots, Shawnees, and other tribes from beyond the Ohio, and the Catawbas, Cherokees and Creeks from the southern country, came to hunt the deer, elk and buffalo, which, in great numbers roamed the forests, grazed upon the natural pastures and frequented the salt-impregnated springs so common in the State. Their visits were periodical, and, when the hunt ended, they returned with the trophies of the chase to their own towns. But intensely infuriated at the encroachments of the whites, and the formation of settlements in the midst of their old hunting-grounds, expedition after expedition was hurled against them, and every means the savages could devise, aided by renegade white men, was employed to utterly destroy them. From the first exploration of the country by Daniel Boone up to the year 1795 (the time of the treaty at Greenville, Ohio), it was an almost continuous struggle between the Indian and the pale-face for supremacy in Kentucky. But the contest ended as it always had before, and has always ended since, in the defeat of the inferior race. " The anointed children of education have been too powerful for the tribes of the ignorant." Their council fires paled in the opening dawn of the nineteenth century, and then went out forever in the dark and bloody ground.
There is no record, or even tradition, of any Indian atrocities or outrages having been committed within the present limits of Christian County. The nearest approach to it is an incident given in connection with the settlement of Davis and Montgomery. But within the memory of many persons still living, there have been Indians in this county temporarily. A communication, the facts of which are vouched for by many citizens living here, and said to have been written by Hon. James F. Buckner, of Louisville, appeared recently in the Courier-Journal. It is as follows
"In the fall of 1838, I resided at Hopkinsville, Ky. The Cherokees residing in Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. through their head chiefs, at a place called New Achota, entered into a treaty with the United States Commissioners, by which they ceded to the United States all their lands east of the Mississippi and agreed to move west of that river. This treaty caused much dissatisfaction among the Indians. Many of them were far advanced in civilization and the arts, many were planters and farmers, had slaves and stock of various kinds, schools had been established among them, and churches of various denominations had been organized, and many young men prepared for the ministry at Eastern colleges. There was great dissatisfaction with the treaty. There were not wanting persons who encouraged it. The authority of many of the chiefs who signed the treaty was called in question. It had been ratified by the United States Senate by a close vote after a heated debate. Hostility to the treaty was spreading. The people of the contiguous States were anxious and impatient for the fulfillment of its provisions. Military companies in the States were being organized to execute the treaty by force of arms. President Jackson had issued his proclamation before retiring from office, setting forth the treaty and- demanding its enforcement. The Indians, 30,000 in number, seemed unwilling to move. The influence of John Ross, the distinguished head chief of the nation, was not sufficient to induce them to assemble at the points designated preparatory to leaving for their new homes in the West. They were unwilling to leave their old homes and the graves of their kindred. At this time, a collision between the State authorities and the Cherokees seemed imininent, but wise counsels prevailed. Gen. Scott, in command of the United States cavalry, was sent into the nations to collect the scattered tribes, to inform them of the conditions of the treaty, the wishes of the Government, and to arrange for their removal. They were divided into detachments of about 1,200 souls, together with their stock, all going by land through Tennessee to Hopkinsville; thence west, crossing the Ohio at Golconda; thence west to the Mississippi. The old and infirm were carried in wagons and on horseback. The able-bodied, with their slaves, of which there were many hundreds, were on foot. Each detachment was controlled by one or more of these chiefs or head men. An occasional detachment of United States dragoons brought up the rear to prevent straggling and to preserve order. Stations were established about fifteen miles apart along the road, where provisions were supplied by contractors, where detachments passed about every forty-eight hours. The Indians occupied the camp on the east bank of Little River, where the road from Nashville crossed near Gibson's Mill, less than one mile from Hopkinsville. The Indians were a source of great curiosity and interest to the citizens. The prominent ones, particularly the ministers and their families, were invited to the houses of citizens. The churches were thrown open to them and nearly every night when a detachment had encamped, services were held in some one of the churches in town.
"At the head of one of these detachments was Fly Smith, an old man, late a member of the Cherokee Council. He was accompanied by Stephen Forman, a Presbyterian Minister, who had been educated at Andover, Mass. On the morning, when the detachment was paraded to start on its journey, it was found that the old chief, Fly Smith, was sick and unable to resume his journey. His friends were compelled to proceed without him. Forman and his wife remained to take care of him. He was very old, broken in spirit and travel-worn; he died on that day. The next detachment came up in charge of Whitepath. His fame had preceded him, and there was great curiosity on the part of the citizens to see him.
He was accompanied by Jesse Bushy-head and his family. He was a Baptist Minister, well educated, a celebrated orator, and one of the most influential men in the nation. When the detachment halted at the camping-ground in the grove, the fires lighted, and the provisions issued, many citizens, myself among the number, sought out the tent of Whitepath. We were met by Bushy-head, and told the Chief was ill, and, as he believed, would die. He was old, feeble and much exhausted by travel. Physicians of the town offered to administer to him, but he declined. Kindness offered was of no avail. He had run his course. lie died the next morning. He had lately been President of the Cherokee Council, of which Fly Smith was a member. They were buried (He and Fly Smith) in the evening on the east bank of Little River, near the camp in a clump of cedars, and a simple monument placed over each grave. Addresses were delivered in the church by both Bushyhead and Forman to crowded audiences, in which sketches were given of the lives of these distinguished chiefs, with occasional allusions to the history and trials of the Cherokees; and while I have since heard many eloquent funeral sermons, yet none more impressive or eloquent than those spoken by these two Indian ministers over the graves of Fly Smith and Whitepath."
Many persons, as we have said, remember the circumstance above noted, and many can point out the spot where these noble red men sleep their last, long sleep. It is not very far from the city cemetery, and it is not far out of the way to say that side by side the white and red man sleep, while "six feet of earth make them all of one size."
Maj. John P. Campbell furnished provisions to the Indians at their Hopkinsville camp under Government contract. Money had been struck by the Government for this special purpose, and to prevent any imposition, it had all been made payable to John Ross, the head chief mentioned.
It was a considerable undertaking in those days to supply from 1,000 to 1,500 people with provisions at one time, but Maj. Campbell filled his contract to the letter. Many of the Indians were wealthy, and these traveled in their carriages, attended by their servant. At the stopping places, they would take up their quarters at the taverns or at private residences.- W. H. Perrin.
RETURN TO PERRIN'S INDEX PAGE
©2001 Western KY History.org
All Rights Reserved