Ironton Register, Thursday, July 1, 1858
OLIVE FURNACE, JUNE 26, 1858
MR. EDITOR: A human skeleton was found one day this week in one of the mounds which abound in this vicinity, similar to those in other parts of Ohio and of the West.
Formerly a part of this mound had been dug away for obtaining iron ore, to the depth of six or eight feet, leaving on one side a perpendicular bank. On this, some little boys were digging for amusement and were surprised by thus coming to what they at once termed “the frame of an old Red Skin.” – The more warlike among them essayed to demolish his remains by arming themselves with clubs, most irreverently dissevering and burying his bones from out their long and peaceful abode, where hitherto they had rested unmolested perhaps for centuries. But others of the party, being more curious, gathered up some of the fragments, afterwards exhibiting them to me, desiring some practical demonstrations, of the oral lessons in anatomy they had previously received. Among these were the skull, the lower jaw with some of the teeth some disconnected vertebrae, one of the ulna, and other bones. These were entire, but much darkened, some parts quite in a state of petrifaction. The curiosity of the little discoverers was greatly excited, and at their request I accompanied them to the spot from which these relics of the past were obtained, which is on a beautiful eminence near the dwelling of Mr. McGugin of this place. I there saw in a promiscuous heap, the rest of the skeleton, and discovered it to have been imbedded in red sand stone, within three feet of the surface.
No further examination as yet has been made. But I heard various conjectures made by these young antiquarians, as to how many more were entombed there, and what Indian curiosities or valuables might have been buried with the owners. One little fellow speaks for all tomahawks that may be found, another claims all the silver and precious metals hid there, very liberally promising me the “largest half” of his imaginative hidden treasure, when it shall have been found. I was puzzled by many questions about these mounds, and the race who constructed them, such as: Did they make these mounds exclusively for burying their dead? What kind of people were they? When was the country first inhabited by them? At what period, and how did they finally take the departure? Are they now extinct? Or do their descendants still live west of the Rocky Mountains, or elsewhere? Conjecturing answers, as best I could, and affecting to be wise, I succeeded in leaving our juvenile interrogators much better satisfied, than was my own mind, regarding these facts of the past.
Mr. Editor, if any of your correspondents can give well authenticated and satisfactory answers to the above questions they will much oblige yours, FLORA FREE
(This whole matter embraced by the above “questions,” is all conjecture, and has been the subject of much speculation among antiquarians. Ed. Reg.)