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Hamilton was the established in the Northwestern Territory. It was formed January 2, 1790, by proclamation of Governor St CLAIR named from Gen. Alexander HAMILTON. Its original boundaries were thus defined: Beginning on the Ohio river, at the confluence of the little Miami, and down the said Ohio to the mouth of the Big Miami; and up said Miami to the standing stone forks or branch of said river and thence with a line to be drawn due cast to the Little Miami, and down said Little Miami river to the place of beginning.’’ The surface is generally rolling; the lands clay, and in the valleys deep alluvion, with a substratum of sand. Its agriculture includes a great variety of fruits and vegetables for the Cincinnati market.
Area about 400 square miles. In 1887
the acres cultivated were 68,458; in pasture, 19,468; woodland, 10,774;
lying waste, 5,619; produced in wheat, 163,251 bushels; rye, 34,390;
110; oats, 116,500; barley; 34,390; corn, 468,501; broom corn, 2,345
brush; meadow hay, 16,573 tons; clover hay, 3,915; potatoes 190,398
tobacco, 25,460 pounds; butter,7,413; cheese, 9,950; sorghum, 15
maple syrup, 454; honey, 7,413 pounds; eggs, 327,650 dozen; grapes,
pounds; wine, 3,091 gallons; Sweet potatoes 11,314 bushels; apples,
peaches, 2,327 ; pears 1,195; wool, 9,405 pounds; milch cows owned,
milk, 3,779,048 gallons. School census, 1888, 99,049; teachers,
miles of railroad track, 545.
|Townships and Census||1840||1880||Township and Census||1840||1880|
|Cincinnati (city)||46, 382||255,139||Storrs,||740||*|
Before the war much attention was given to the cultivation of vineyards upon the hills of the Ohio for the manufacture of wine, and it promised to be a great business when the change in climate resulted disastrously.
The Great Dam at Cincinnati in the Ice Age.
The country in the vicinity of Cincinnati owes its unsurpassed beauty to the operations of Nature during the glacial era. It was the ice movements that gave it those fine terraces along the valleys and graceful contours of formation on summits of the hills that were so attractive to the pioneers. Here it was that great ice movement from the north ended. As has been remarked, “Those where the days of the beautiful lake rather than the beautiful river.”
No single cause has done more to diversify the surface of the country, to add the attractiveness of the scenery and to furnish the key by which the conditions of the Ice Age can be reproduced to the mind’s eye than glacial dam. To them we own the present existence of nearly all the waterfalls in North America, as well as nearly all the lakes.
A glacial dam across the Ohio river is suppose to have existed at the site of Cincinnati during the Ice Age, and the evidence supporting the theory is so full and conclusive that its existence can almost be assumed as an absolute certainty.
The evidences of the former existence
of this dam and the lake caused thereby were first discovered and the
of the scientific world attracted thereto, in the summer of 1882, by
Frederick Wright’s recently published volume, “The Ice Age in North
a work scientific, but plain to the commonest understanding, intensely
interesting and in inestimably valuable contribution to the sum of
“The ice came down through the trough of the Ohio, and meeting with an obstruction crossed it so as to completely choke the chan-nel, and form a glacial dam high enough to raise the level of the water five hundred and fifty feet—this being the height of the water shed to the south. The consequences follow-ing are interesting to trace.
“The bottom of the Ohio river at Cincin-nati is 447 feet above the sea-level. A dam of 553 feet would raise the water in its rear to a height of 1,000 feet above the tide. This would produce a long narrow lake, of the width of the eroded trough of the Ohio, submerge the site of Pittsburg to a depth of 300 feet, and make slack-water up the Monongahela nearly to nearly to Grafton, W. Va., and up the Allegheny as far as Oil City. All the tributaries of the Ohio would likewise be filled to this level with the back-water. The length of this slack-water in the main valley, to its termination up either the Alle-gheny or the Monongahela, was not far from one thousand miles. The conditions were also peculiar in this, that all the northern tributaries head within the southern margin of the ice-front, which lay at varying distances to the north. Down these northern tributaries there must have poured during the summer months immense torrents of water to strand bowlder-laden icebergs on the summits of such high hills as were lower than the level of the dam.”
“Prof. E. W. Claypole, in an article read before the Geological Society of Edinburgh, and published in their “Transactions,’’ has given a very vivid description of the scenes connected with the final breaking away of the ice-barrier at Cincinnati. He estimates that the body of water held in check by the dam occupied 20,000 square miles, and during the summer months, when the ice most rapidly melting away, it was supplied with water at a rate that would be equivalent to a rainfall of 160 feet in a year. This conclusion he arrives at by estimating that feet of ice would annually melt from the portion of the State which was glaciated, which is about twice the extent of the glaciated portion. Ten feet over the glaciated portion is equal to twenty feet of water the unglaciated. To this must be added an equal amount from the area farther back whose drainage was then into the upper Ohio. This makes forty feet per year water so contributed to this lake-basin. Furthermore, this supply would all be furnished in the six months of warm weather and to a large degree in the daytime, which gives the rate above mentioned.
The breaking away of
barrier to such body of water is no simple affair. As this writer
“The Ohio of to-day in flood is a terrible danger to the valley, but the Ohio then must have been a much more formidable river to the dwellers on its banks. The muddy waters rolled along, fed by innumerable rills of glacier-milk, and often charged with ice and stones. The first warm days of spring were the harbinger of the coming flood, which grew swifter and deeper as the summer came, and only subsided as the falling temperature of autumn locked up with frost the glacier fountains. The ancient Ohio river system was in its higher part a multitude of
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glacial torrents rushing off the ice-sheet, carrying all before them, waxing strong beneath the rising sun, till in the afternoon the roar of the waters and their stony burden reached its maximum, as the sun slowly sank again diminished, and gradually died away during the night, reaching its minimum at sunrise.
“But with the steady amelioration of the climate, more violent and sudden floods en-sued. The increasing heat of summer com-pelled the retreat of the ice from the Ken-tucky shore, where Covington and Newport now lie, and so lowered its, surface that it fell below the previous out-flow point. The waters then took their course over the dam, instead of passing, as formerly, up the Lick-ing and down the Kentucky river valleys. The spectacle of a great ice-cascade, or of long ice-rapids, was then exhibited at Cin-cinnati. This cataract or these rapids must have been several hundred feet high. Down these cliffs or this slope the water dashed, melting its own channel, and breaking up the foundations of its own dam. With the de-pression of the dam the level of the lake also fell. Possibly the change was gradual, and the dam and the lake went gently down to-gether. Possibly, but not probably, this was the ease. Far more likely is it that the inciting was rapid, and that it sapped the strength of the dam faster than it lowered the water. This will be more probable if we consider the immense area to be drained. The catastrophe was then inevitable—the dam broke, and all the accumulated water of Lake Ohio was poured through the gap. Days or even weeks must have passed before it was all gone but at last its bed was dry. The upper Ohio valley was free from water, and Lake Ohio had passed away.
But the whole tale is not yet told. Not once only did these tremendous floods occur. In the ensuing winter the dam was repaired by the advancing ice, relieved from the melting effects of the sun and of the floods. Year after year was this conflict repeated. How often we cannot tell. But there came at last a summer when the Cincinnati dam was broken for the last time when the winter with its snow and ice failed to renew it, when the channel remained permanently clear, and Lake Ohio had disappeared for-ever from the geography of North America.
How many years or ages this conflict be-tween the lake and the dam continued it is quite impossible to say, but the quantity of wreckage found in the valley of the lower Ohio, and even in that of the Mississippi, below their point of junction, is sufficient to convince us that it was no short time. ‘The Age of Great Floods’ formed a striking episode in the story of the ‘Retreat of the Ice.’ Long afterwards much the valley have borne the marks of these disastrous torrents, far surpassing in intensity anything now known on earth. The great flood of 1855, when the ice-laden water slowly rose seventy-three feet above low-water mark, will long be remembered by Cincinnati and her inhabi-tants. But that flood, terrible as it was, sinks into insignificance beside the furious torrents caused by the sudden, even though partial, breach of an ice-dam hundreds of feet in height, and the discharge of a body of water held behind it, and forming a lake of 20,000 square miles in extent.
“To the human dwellers in the Ohio valley—for we have reason to believe that the valley was in that day tenanted by man—these floods must have proved disastrous in the extreme. It is scarcely likely that they were often forecast. The whole population of the bottom lands must have been repeatedly swept away; and it is far from being unlikely that in these and other similar catastrophes in different parts of the world, which characterized certain stages in the Glacial era, will be found the far-off basis on which rest those traditions of a flood that are found among almost all savage nations, especially in the north temperate zone.’’
Madisonville, eight miles northeast of Cincinnati (in a cross valley about five-miles in length, (connecting Mill creek with the Little Miami back of Avondale, Walnut Hills and the observatory), is an extremely interesting region, as con-nected with the glacial period. This valley, or depression, is generally level, from one to two miles wide, and about 200 feet above the low water-mark in the Ohio, and from 200 to 300 feet below the adjacent hills. It is occupied by a deposit of gravel, sand and loam, belonging to the glacial—terrace epoch. In the article, “Glacial Man in Ohio,” by Prof. Wright, in Vol. 1., page 93, is given a map of this region. The article also speaks of the discoveries of Dr. C. L. Metz of two palaeolithic implements, which prove that man lived in Ohio before the close of the glacial period, say from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago before which there were no Niagara Falls and no Lake Erie.
pointed weapon about three inches long.” The other paleolithic was found by Dr. Metz, in the spring of 1887, in an excavation in a similar deposit near Loveland, some thirty feet below the surface, and near where some mastodon bones had previously been found. It was an oblong stone about six inches long, four and a half inches wide, which had here been chipped all around to an edge. Similar discovers have since been made in Tuscarawas county.
Dr. Metz has favored us with the
articles upon discoveries in the mounds and earthworks of the lost race
which inhabited this region after the glacial era. They are all
the surface, being built upon the summits of the glacial-terraces or
the present flood plains.
The PREHISTORIC MOMUMENTS OF HAMILTON COUNTY.
The territory comprising Hamilton county appears to have been one of the great centres of the aboriginal inhabitants. This is evi-denced by the great number of earthworks, mounds and extensive burial places found throughout the county.
Mounds and Earthworks.—The mounds and the earthworks are found most numerous in the valleys of the Little and Great Miami, and in the region between the Little Miami and Ohio rivers. Of the mounds, 437 have been observed in the county, the largest of which is located on the Levi MARTIN estate, about one mile east of the village of Newtown. The dimensions of this mound from actual measurements are as follows: Circumference at base, 625 feet width at base, 150 feet; length at base, 250 feet; perpendicular height, 40 feet.
—Of the earthworks, or enclosures, fifteen in number have been located,
the principal ones being the “For-tified Hill” near the mouth of the
Miami river, figured and describes by Squire and Davis in their
Monuments of the Mississippi Valley “[see Plate IX., No. 2, Vol I.,
Contributions to Knowledge], and the very interesting earth-works
on the lands of Mr. Michael Turner, near the junction of the East Fork
and Little Miami river in Anderson township, and which the writer takes
the liberty to des-ignate as the “Whittlesey and Turner group of
This group of works was first described by T. C. Day, Esq., in a paper
en-titled “The Antiquities of the Miami Val-ley,” Cincinnati Chronicle,
November, 1839, and subsequently, in 1850, were surveyed and described
by Col. Charles Whittlesey in Vol. III., Article 7, Smithsonian
to Knowledge. Of this work, Mr. Day says: “The site of this stupendous
fortification, if we may so call it, is a few rods to the right of the
road leading from Newtown to Milford, and about midway between them. It
is situ-ated on a ridge of land that juts out from the third bottom of
the Little Miami, and reaches within 300 yards of its bed. From the top
of the ridge to low water-mark is probably 100 feet. It terminates with
quite a sharp point, and its sides are very abrupt, bearing evident
of having once been swept by some stream of water, probably the Miami.
It forms an extremity of an immense bend, curving into what is now
the third bottom, but which is evidently of alluvial for-mation. Its
height is forty feet, and its length about a quarter of a mile be-fore
it expands out and forms the third allu-vial bottom. About 150 yards
the ex-treme point of this ridge, the ancient workmen ‘having cut a
directly through it, it is thirty feet in depth, its length, a
curve, is 500 feet, and its width at the top is eighty feet, having a
base of forty feet. At the time of its formation it was probably cut to
the base of the ridge, but the washing of the rains has filled it up to
its present height. Forty feet from the western side of the ditch is
the low circular wall of the fort, which describes in its circumference
an area of about four acres. The wall is probably three feet in mean
and is composed of clay occasionally mixed with small fiat river stone.
It keeps at an exact distance from the top of the ditch, but approaches
nearer to the edge of the ridge. The form of the fort is a perfect
and is 200 yards in diameter. Its western side is defended with a
cut through in the same manner as the one on the eastern side. Its
and depth is the same, but its length is greater by 200 feet, as the
is that much wider than where the other is cut through. The wall of
fort keeps exactly the same distance from the top of this ditch as of
other, viz: forty feet. Its curve is exactly the opposite of that of
other, so as to form two segments of a circle. At the southeastern side
of the fort there is an opening in the wall thirty-six yards wide, and
opposite this opening is one of the most marked features of this
monument. A causeway extends out from the ridge about 300 feet in
100 feet in width, with a gradual descent to the alluvial bottom at its
base. The material of its construction is evi-dently a portion of the
excavated from the ditches... “To defend this entrance they raised a
of earth seven feet high, forty wide and seventy-five long. It is
about 100 feet from the mouth of the cause-way, and is so situated that
its garrison could sweep it to its base.” The mound above re-ferred to
was explored by the writer under the auspices of Prof. F. W. Putnam,
of the Peabody Museum of American Archeology and Ethnology, Cambridge,
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and we quote from their Sixteenth Annual Report: “The large mound provide a most interesting structure, unlike anything heretofore discovered. It contained a small central tumulus, surrounded, carefully built stone-wall and covered in by a platform of Stones, over which was a mass of clay. On this wall were two depressions in each of which a body had been laid, and outside the wall In the surrounding clay were found sev-eral skeletons, one of them lying upon a platform of stones. With these skeletons were found a copper celt, ornaments made of copper and shell, and large sea-shells. With each of three of the skeletons was a pair of the spool-shaped ear ornaments of copper, and in every instance these ornaments were found one on either side near the skull.”
Large, Earth Enclosure. —From the base of the graded way heretofore described extend two embankments forming the segments of an oblong oval, enclosing an area of about 10 acres. These embankments extend in an east-erly direction, gradually approaching each other until the opening or gateway, 150 feet in width, remains. To protect this gateway a mound is erected just within the opening, having a diameter at base of 125 feet and a perpendicular height of seven feet. Within the above enclosure are fourteen mounds and one large circular embankment, having a diameter of 300 feet and a gateway to the south sixty feet wide. Near the northern side of this circular enclosure was a small mound covering a stone cist containing a human skeleton.
Altar Mounds. —On the southern side of the oval was a group of eight mounds. Several of these mounds contained ‘Al-tars” or basings of burnt clay, on two of which there were thousands of objects of interest, which are described as fol-lows by Prof. Putnam in his report Two of these altars, each about four feet square, were cut out and brought to the museum. Among the objects from the altars are numerous ornaments and carvings unlike any-thing we have had before.
“One altar contained about two bushels of ornaments made of stone, copper, mica. shells, the canine teeth of bears and other animals, and thousands of pearls (50,000 have been counted and sorted from the mass). Nearly all of these objects are perforated in various ways for suspension. Several of the copper ornaments are covered with native silver, which had been hammered out into thin sheets and folded over the copper. Among these are a bracelet and a bead, and several of the spool-shaped ear ornaments.
“Gold in Mound,—One small copper pendent seems to have been covered with a thin sheet of gold, a portion of which still adheres to the copper, while other bits of it were found in the mass of material. This is the first time that native gold has been found in the mounds, although hundreds have been explored. The ornaments cut out of copper and mica are very interesting, and embrace many forms. Among them is a sheet of mica.
Several ornaments of this material resemble the heads of animals whose features are emphasized by a red color, while others are the form of circles and bands. Many of the copper ornaments are large and of peculiar shape; others are scrolls, scalloped circles, oval pendants and other forms. There are about thirty of the singular spool-shaped objects or ear-rings made of copper. Three large sheets of mica were on this altar, and several finely-chipped points of obsidian, chalcedony and chert were in the mass of materials.
“There were several pendants cut from a micaceous schist and of a unique of work. There are also portions of a circular piece of bone, over the surface of which are incised figures, and flat pieces of shell similarly carved. Several masses of native copper were on the altar.
Meteoric Iron and Terra-Cotta Figurines.—But by far the most important things found on this altar were the several masses of meteoric iron and the ornaments made from this metal. One of these is half of a spool-shaped object like those made of copper, with which it was associated. Another ear-ornament of copper is covered with a thin plating of the iron in the smile manner its others were covered with silver. “Three of the masses of iron have been more or less hammered into bars, as if for the purpose of making some ornament or implement, another is apparently in the natural shape in which it was found.” “On another altar in another mound of the group were several terra-cotta figurines of character heretofore unknown from the mounds.
“Unfortunately these objects as well as others found on the altars have been more or less burnt, and many of them appear to have been purposely broken before they were placed on the altars.
Many pieces of these images have been united, and it is my hope that we shall succeed in nearly restoring some of them.
“Enough has already been made out to show the peculiar method of wearing the hair; the singular head-dress and large button-like ear-ornaments shown by those human figures are of particular interest. On the same altar with the figurines were two re-markable dishes carved from stone in the form of animals; with these was a serpent cut out of mica, On the altar were several hundred quartz pebbles from the river, and nearly 300 astragali of deer and elk. As but two of these bones could lie obtained from a single animal, and as theme were but one or two fragments of other bones, there must have been some special and important reason for collecting so large a number of these particular bones.
“A fine-made bracelet
of copper amid covered with silver and several other ornaments of
copper, a few pearls and shells and other ornaments were also on this
Near the last group of earth-works are two parallel ways or
100 feet apart and extending one-half mile in length north-westwardly
the lands of Mr. Gano MARTIN.”
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Small Earth Enclosures.—Of the smaller earth enclosures, the one in the Stites Grove, near Plainville, is in the best state of preservation, inner ditch, across which in a causeway leading to an opening in the embankment to the southeast. Numerous ancient burial places are found in the county, and the mortuary customs are varied, indicating that the territory has been occupied by various tribes at different periods. We find the stonecist burials, burials under flat stones, burials in stone circles, burials in the drift gravel beds, burials in pits in the horizontal and also in the sitting position, original moved burials, intrusive mound burials and evidences of cremation.
Ancient Cemetery, Near Madisonville, O.—The most extensive and interesting of the ancient burial places is the one known as the pre-historic cemetery, near Madisonville, Ohio, which has become noted for its singular ash-pits as well as for the skeletons buried in or at the bottom of the leaf-mould covering the pits. One thousand and sixty-five skeletons, 700 ash-pits, upwards of 300 earthen vases, numerous implements of bone, horn, shell, copper and stone have been found.
The Ash-pits are discovered after twelve to twenty-four inches of the leaf-mould has been removed and the hard pan or clay is reached, when the pit is discovered by a circular discoloration or black spot. There ash-pits as they have been well named, are circular excavations in the hard pan of the plateau, from there to four feet in diameter and from four to seven feet deep. The contents themselves are of peculiar interest, and the purpose for which they were made is still a mystery. The average pit may be said to be filled with ashes in more or less defined layers. Some of the layers near the top seem to be mixed with the surrounding gravel to a greater or less extent; but generally, after removing the contents of the upper third of the pit, a mass of fine gray ashes is found, which is formed a few inches over two feet in thickness.
Sometimes this mass
ashes contains thin strata of charcoals, sand or gravel.
the mass of ashes and sand, from the top of the pit to the bottom, are
bones of fishes, reptiles, birds and mammals. With the bones are
the shells of several species of unionidae. These are also found
in these pits large pieces of pottery, also a large number of
made of bones of deer, and elk antlers have been found. Those
of elk antlers are in most cases adapted from digging or agriculture
and often so large and so well made as to prove that they are effective
implements. Among other objects made of bone are beads, small
or bird-calls, made form hollow bone of birds, also flat and
pieces with “tally” notches and marks cuts upon them, short round
of antler carefully cut and polished together, with arrow points drills
scarpers and other chipped instruments of stone. A few polished
and several rough hammer stones have been found in the pits.
Corn-Pit.—A number of objects copper, particularly beads, have been taken from these pits, as have also several pipes of various shapes cut out of stone. One pit discovered August 26, 1879, known as the “corn-pit,” is of peculiar interest. The dept of this pit was six feet, its diameter three feet. The layers or strata from above downwards were:
1st, Leaf-mould 24 inches; 2d, Gravel and clay 15 inches; 3d, Ashes containing animal remains, pottery shards, unio shells 10 inches; 4th Bark, twigs and matting 4 inches; 5th Carbonized shell corn 4 inches; 6th, Layer of twigs, matting and corn leaves 2 inches; 7th, Carbonized corn in ear 6 inches; 8th, Boulders covering the bottom of the pit 6 inches.
Immediately along-side of this pit was another the same depth, 3 feet 7 inches in diameter; containing leaf-mold, 24 inches; ashes with animal remains, fragments of pottery, shells, etc., 4 feet.
The bottom layer of all the pits was invariable ashes, and in the ashes were found, in good state of preservation, bone implements, representing fish hooks, fish spears, bone and horn digging tools, bone beads, solid cylinders of bone two to three inches in length, one-fourth to one-half inch in diameter, bone awls, needles, fifes, grooved ones, cut pieces of antler of deer and elk, copper beads, perforated unios, together with numerous animals remains; of these many were identified as belonging to the deer, elk, bear, buffalo, raccoon, opossum, mink, woodchuck, beaver, various species of birds and water fowls, turkey, fish, together with various species of unio shell.
Pottery.—The skeletons were buried in the horizontal position, and are generally found at a depth of from eighteen inches to three feet; with the skeletons have been found a number of vessels of pottery; the most common of these are small cooking-pots with pointed bottoms and four handles. Most of the vessels are simply cord-marked, but some are found ornamental within the incised lines, or with circular indentations. Several have been obtained on which were small and rudely made medallion figures representing the human face.
Lizard Ornamentation.—On one pot a similarly formed head is on the edge so as to face the inside of the vessel. One vessel lent to the Smithsonian Institute has luted ornates representing the human face on either side between the handles. A half dozen small vessels have a very interesting form of decoration; these are known as lizard or salamander pots. On some of these vessels the salamander, which is fairly modeled, is on the surface of the broad, flat handles on opposite sides, on others these ornaments are places between the handles. And on one they from the handles. In all, the head of the salamander is on the edge or lip of the vessel, and in one or two is carried a little to the inside. A few other forms of vessels are represented by single specimens. Such are an ordinary pot attached to a hollow stand a few inches high, two vessels
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joined together, one above the other, the upper without a bottom, the two having eight handles, and a flat, long dish with two handles and a flat, long dish with two handles at each end.
The pre-historic cemetery, near Madisonville, occupies an area of about fifteen acres covered with vast forest trees. Many of the skeletons and pits are found beneath the roots of large oak, walnut or maple trees.
Mardelles or Dug-outs.—In the county are two of the circular excavations designated as “mardelles” have been found. The best preserved of this class of works is the one situated on the lands of the John TURNER estate, two miles northeast of the village of Newtown.
This pit has a
of sixty feet at the top, depth in the centre twelve feet; six feet
the edge of the pit is a well-marked embankment conforming to the
edge of the pit. The embankment is two feet high, eight feet wide
at the base, and is interrupted by a gate-way or opening fifteen feet
at the east. There are many interesting objects in the county
warrant a detailed description, we can, however, but briefly call
to the terraced hill at Red Bank and the old road-way in Section 11,
The hill at Red Bank, just north from the railway station, has an elevation of about 300 feet, and is terraced on its eastern and southern slopes. The terraces are five in number, and are undoubtedly the work of human hands. This hill is surmounted by a small mound. The ancient road-way in Section 11, Columbia Township, near Madisonville, is cut along the face of the steep hill extending from the creek in a south-westwardly direction to the top of the hill ending near the DARLING homestead. The road-way is upward of 1,600 feet in length, having an average width of twenty-five feet, and is overgrown with large forest trees.
Men.—Evidences of preglacial men having existed in Ohio have been
by the finding of rudely chipped pointed implements Madisonville and at
Loveland in the glacial deposits as before stated. The discovery
of the altar mounds in the Little Miami Valley similar to those
and explored by Squire and Davis in the Scioto Valley, near
would indicate that the territory that is now known as Ross and
counties was once the great centre of the pre-historic population of
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