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A Great Indian Chief and two squaws

washington. 2

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AN INDIAN MOUND.
Wonderful Discovery Made
in Washington.
THREE SKELETONS EXHUMED.
Relics From an Ancient Tomb to Be
Exhibited at the World’s Fair
in Chicago.
Correspondence O f The Mubsiso Call.
Sixteen miles southwest of Colville, Ste
vens County, Wash., stands a conical-shaped
inuund of eattti which has been seen by
many prospectors and other wayfarers, but
as the minds of most of them have Deen
fixed solely on their own urgent business af
fairs they have passed and repassed it for
years without taking any iuterest whatever
In the curious pile. 1 saw rt for the first
time ten days ago and at once decided to
make nn investigation.
The mound is situated In a small and per
fectly level plain between a series of low,
rolling hills. It rises to a height of thirty
five feet and is turned at the top like the
small end of an egg. It is seventy-six feet
in circumference at the base, and slopes
gradually in ward to the apex. The mate
rial of which it is constructed is a mixture
of hard iron clay, adobe and shale. It seems
very strange to me that although its exist
ence has been known to scores of people for
many years no one has hitherto taken the
trouble to investigate its interior. It may
be that those who have seen it aud passed
it by have thought, it to be a mere freak of
nature, turned into slmoo by the whirling
eddy of some bygone flood, but to me it
showed plainly the handiwork of man, and
for ttiis reasou 1 determined to vioiate the
sanctity of its silence.
1 obtained picks, shovels, a crowbar,
drills and some cartridges from Douglas
lilount, a prospector who lives in a rough
log cabin, about four miles from the mound.
I also secured the services of two half
civilized Siwash bucks, and on the following
day we set to work on the. east side of the
pile. At first the Indians were slightly af
iected by a superstitious fear; but as the
work progressed ihey begau to share mv
enthusiasm and eagerness to reach the in
terior.
.After we had worked our way about four
foet into the mound, making an excavation
four feet by aix teet high, we found the wall
so hard that it was necessary to put in v
blaat. The charge was set, and three of us
retreated to a site distance to watch the re
sult. Bang! went the blast, and fuily one
third of the mound’s wall was blown to
fragments.
The work of clearing away the debris
consumed several hours, but when It was
di :ie 1 was well repaid for my labor and
expense. The aperture disclosed a circular
shaped chamber, the wails of which were
smooth as glass and decorated with enriom
figures in vermillioa red. Tince human
skeletons, i>artially covered with moldy
skins of buffalo and bear, leaned iv a squat
ting position Ujiuinst the wall on the west
side, their faces turned to the east. The
flesh that once covered these grayish-white
boi es had been long since turned to dust,
nnd the skins were so badly decayed that
the slightest touch caused them to break
into fragments. The skeleton in the center
was by far the largest of tho three, and by
close examination I came to the conclusion
that the trie must represent soum great
Indian chief and his two Kjoaws.
In front of the central figure stood a large
earthen urn, or rather a pot, which was
haif-iilie’l With queer looking ornaments of
various colored ht nes and arrow-heads of
bronze. There were also remains nf threii
long bow?, a leathern quiver filled with
arrows and a narrow bluded tomahawk of
bronze.
When my two Indian assistants first b>
held the three skeletons they were stricken
with superstitious (error and ran several
tiundred yards from the mound, wildly
waving their hands abovu their heads a- 1
they wrnt and uttering unintelligible howls
of fear and lamentation. I followed aud
finally Induced them to stop their ni:id
Hight, but they would ander no condition
return to the mound. At last 1 persuaded
them to remain where they were while I re
turned to the mound fur th« relics wDich I
had determined to car,ry with m« at any
cost. I secured the earthen pot, the stone
crsamert?, arrow and arrow-“, and
these are vow on their way to Chicago
where they can be seen in the. Washington
exhibit at the Columbian Exposition.
On closer examination of (he three
skeleton?, with 1 view to their preserva
tion, I found that the bones were so badly
decayed thuy would not stand the pro
cess of linking together. They crumbled
to dust and ashes at my touch as if they
had been calcined, and lor that reason I
left them where I found them. I have
informed several scientists who have made
these things a study of my disco very, and I
expect that through their investigation and
examination of the mound, the skeletons
and tho curious reins, some light will bo
thrown on the antiquity and history of this
place of sepulcher.’ As for me, I am not a
theorist; 1 can only state tiie f»cts as I
have seen them. J. A. F&ISBI&
Spokane, February 1.

The morning call. (San Francisco [Calif.]), 05 Feb. 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn94052989/1893-02-05/ed-1/seq-3/>


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