Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A story at Grave Creek Mound, Ohio

This gigantic tumulus, the largest in the Ohio valley, was opened some four or five years ago, and found to contain some articles of high antiquarian value, in addition to the ordinary discoveries of human bones, &c. A rotunda was built under its centre, walled with brick, and roofed over, and having a long gallery leading into it, at the base of the mound. Around this circular wall, in the centre of this heavy and damp mass of earth, with its atmosphere of peculiar and pungent character, the skeletons and other disinterred articles, are hung up for the gratification of visiters, the whole lighted up with candles, which have the effect to give a strikingly sepulchral air to the whole scene. But what adds most to this effect, is a kind of exuded flaky matter, very white and soft, and rendered brilliant by dependent drops of water, which hangs in rude festoons from the ceiling.
To this rotunda, it is said, a delegation of Indians paid a visit a year or two since. In the “Wheeling Times and Advertiser” of the 30th August 1843, the following communication, respecting this visit, introducing a short dramatic poem, was published.
“An aged Cherokee chief who, on his way to the west, visited the rotunda excavated in this gigantic tumulus, with its skeletons and other relics arranged around the walls, became so indignant at the desecration and display of sepulchral secrets to the white race, that his companions and interpreter found it difficult to restrain him from assassinating the guide. His language assumed the tone of fury, and he brandished his knife, as they forced him out of the passage. Soon after, he was found prostrated, with his senses steeped in the influence of alcohol.
“’Tis not enough! that hated raceShould hunt us out, from grove and placeAnd consecrated shore—where longOur fathers raised the lance and song—Tis not enough!—that we must goWhere streams and rushing fountains flowWhose murmurs, heard amid our fears,Fall only on a stranger’s ears—’Tis not enough!—that with a wand,They sweep away our pleasant land,And bid us, as some giant-foe,Or willing, or unwilling go!But they must ope our very gravesTo tell the dead—they too, are slaves.”
From Western Scenes and Reminiscences. By Henry Rowe Schoolcraft. 1853

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