Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

The same stratum of black soil has been observed in excavating at Aurora and at other points near. It seems that a large area of fertile land existed here in interglacial days.


September 11 I briefly reviewed the vicinity of the flint quarries near Nehawka, in company with C. C. Cobb of York. The only new point observed during this trip was in a deep ravine which has been recently washed out to a depth of sixteen feet, not far from the bed of the Weeping Water creek. About half way from the creek to the base of the hill where the flint quarries are found this ravine cuts a cross-section at right angles with either. At a depth of sixteen feet below the present surface I found a number of flint spalls as they were struck off the nodules and rejected. I also secured a piece of limestone reddened by heat which rested at the same level. This proves the great age of these quarries. They have existed long enough for the hill to erode and bury this burned rock sixteen feet deep at a point 200 feet from the present foot of the hill and 100 feet from the present bed of the stream. The stream now has a level of ten feet below where this burned rock was found. No spalls were found below the sixteen foot level, but above that level to the surface the soil was evenly strewn with broken bits of rock, burned and natural, as well as numerous flint chips.·

This cut made by nature is an interesting study. It shows the substance of a cross-section nearly twenty feet deep and it is rich black soil all the way down.


September 24 I visited A. H. Whittemore, of Adams. Mr. Whittemore wrote me some time ago of his collection of stone-age implements found near Adams, and I visited him for the purpose of looking over his collection; and I sueceeded in getting his interest aroused to such an extent that he will attend to the archeology of his particular locality. I

brought to the museum one of the finest specimens of Quivera tomahawk I have ever seen. It was found near Beatrice. It shows much wear and appears to be very old. A few very fine blades of Nehawka flint were found in the same locality. This is evidence that the people who worked the Nehawka quarries trafficked with the people on the Blue river, and probably were contemporaneous. No specimens of catlinite are found about the ruins along the Blue valley. If these ruins are Quivera in type, the Indians which Coronado met evidently knew nothing of the catlinite quarries. Mr. Whittemore loaned us a pipe made from a very fine grained sandstone which Dr. Barbour calls Dakota cretaceous, intimately cemented with red oxide of iron. This material evidently was found in the drift and used occasionally for making pipes. This pipe is a small disk pipe. A similar disk pipe` was found near Genoa and is in the Larson collection. Three or more have been found along the Elkhorn river, and are in the Hopkins collection.


In "Indian Sketches" by John T. Irving, Jr., you will find a very graphic account of a trip among the various tribes of Nebraska Indians made in 1833 by Edward Ellsworth. He made a treaty with the Otoes on the Platte, and visited the Pawnees in three of their important villages. It has not been difficult to find the ruins of the Otoe village near where Yutan now stands, and the ruins which are found near Fullerton may be identified as one of the villages visited. What I have called the Horse Creek site, twelve miles west of Fullerton, is certainly the Skidi village which Irving describes, but the Choui village, situated south of the Platte, has thus far not been identified. I have made inquiry of those living in Polk and Hamilton counties without avail.

Tuesday, October 22, I went to Marquette to begin the search for the ruin of the Choui village which was visited by Ellsworth in 1833.

Mr. Charles Green and his brother when they visited the Museum during the state fair of 1907 informed me that flint arrows had been found near their home and invited me to explore the vicinity. At a point nearly north of Marquette on sections 32 and 33 of town 13, range 6, on the farm belonging to G. A. Reyner, is a point which corresponds geographically with the Irving description of the surrounding country, but there is no evidence of a ruin to be found near the place described. A few graves are in evidence on the surrounding hills, but no earthworks or chipped flints can be found in the valley where Irving says the village was situated. I explored the south bank of the Platte to a point two miles up stream from the Grand Island bridge, but could find no evidence of the old Choui village. It still remains to explore on down stream into Polk county.

Irving says they forded the river with the wagons and ox teams. He says that after traveling toward where Fullerton now stands for a few hours they came to a "lone tree" and refreshed themselves at the only stream they had found on the trip. This stream must have been Prairie creek, but the "lone tree" could not have been the historic Lone tree which once stood on the bank of the Platte river. The very early settlers in Merrick county may have seen a lone tree on the banks of Prairie creek north of Central City, at the roots of which a small stream flowed. There must still be considerable evidence of this Choui village on the surface unless it be swept into the Platte. As this stream has changed its banks but little in the later years, there is hope that the ruin may yet be found. Irving says it was situated at the base of a range of hills, fifty yards from the Platte.

You will find circular depressions about forty feet in diameter where this village stood. There should be broken flints and pieces of pottery scattered thickly over the surface. I, shall continue my search for this ruin and will be very thankful for any information you may be able to give.

Living on the very bank of the Platte river about six miles southwest of Phillips is an interesting gentleman by the

[ocr errors]

name of Charles White, but known throughout this vicinity as "Buckskin Charlie." He has a small collection of Indian implements and quite a variety of firearms and other curios. This gentleman is well posted on Indian history and tradition, having scouted with the Indians on the frontier nearly all his life.


It has been a matter of interest that the exact location of the Choui village should be definitely determined, and a second trip was prompted by additional information secured from Mr. C. P. Peterson of Lincoln, after the foregoing was put in type. The general location was known to be on the bank of the Platte river, nearly due west from Osceola, but there exists no record of its discovery.

I have mentioned Ellsworth, who negotiated a treaty with the Choui band of Pawnees in 1833, and John T. Irving, who wrote of the trip, gave a good account of the surrounding country. George Catlin visited the village in 1833 and painted portraits of a number of the leading warriors, among which was the portrait of Shon-ka-ki-he-ga (the Horse Chief), who was head chief of the Choui (or Grand) Pawnees. The head chief of the Choui band was also head chief of the confederated band of Pawnees in later years, so this is doubtless the chief of the Pawnees in 1833.

Henry Dodge negotiated a treaty with this band at this village in 1835, and says the head chief was called Angry Man, while Irving does not mention the name of the chief at all. From the descriptions given by these early travelers the geographical surroundings may be recognized at this time. Just when the village was built is not known, nor is it known just when it was abandoned, but, from the authority at hand, I suspect it was not occupied in 1840. Choui band moved to the vicinity of the Loup river, near the other bands, as all the strength of the Pawnee tribe was necessary to resist the Sioux.

About that date the

The ruin of the Choui village is in Polk county about eighty rods northeast from the end of the Clarks bridge over the Platte river. It lies in section 17, township 14 north, range 4 west. The land is owned by W. S. Headley, who purchased it in 1892. Samuel Baker bought the land from the railroad company in 1870, and broke out the field, which has been in cultivation ever since. The village occupied about forty acres. It was destroyed by their enemies before 1833 and rebuilt by the Pawnees. There is an abundance of charcoal intermixed with the soil on this village site. This shows that the village must have been destroyed by fire at last, although we have no record of it. A number of iron implements have been found and the charred ends of the tipi posts are still being plowed out.

No flint chips were noticed, which leads me to conclude that this village was built after the contact with white traders had been so close that practically all the members of the band used steel arrow points and knives. This condition was brought about very rapidly when once the red men saw the white man's implements. If the Choui band had occupied this village site before they discarded the flint, the whole surface would be strewn with flint chips, thrown off in making their arrows. The ruin seems destitute of potsherds. This seems to indicate that kettles made by white men had taken the place of the Indian-made pottery. The Pawnees had ample opportunity to procure white man's implements, as traders traversed the Platte valley even before the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804.

The importance of this village ruin is found in the known condition in 1833. This is about as early as a written account of any village in the state is to be found. By studying the ruined conditions of this village, seen by travelers and described in 1833, we may determine the approximate age of other ruins. When I visited the ruin near Linwood I had nothing for a comparison. Now I have a much greater respect for that village ruin, which is doubtless older than this

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »