OLD TIME JERSEYMEN
Prehistoric Fellows of Great Size,
Interesting Discoveries Made Recently -Big Indian Skeletons – – Ernest Volk’s Excavations.
Old-time Jerseymen were big fellows, if the exhibits they have secured have any bearing on the kind of persons that wandered about several hundred years ago. It may not be generally known, but there is an old happy hunting ground within sight of the dome of the New Jersey Capitol, in Trenton. Many skeletons and lots of Indian pottery and relies have been secured during the last eighteen years be-v low Trenton. Six skeletons of Indians, measuring more than six feet, have been found by Ernst Volk, of South Clinton avenue, this city. He has secured many specimens for universities and says authoritatively that the last skeletons discovered were members of the Leni Lenape tribe, and they were great warriors in their day. He is now scraping their bones, preparatory to giving them a coat of shellac, so that the professors at Cambridge can have a glimpse of them.
Volk has found a rich field for his researches in the Delaware Valley. His recent discoveries in the vicinity of Trenton give some new ideas about the primitive Jerseyman. He has these ancient citizens stored away up in his bedroom, in his little home located in that part of Trenton known as the Old Borough. He regards these old warriors as friends and knows as much about them as they did themselves.
When making examinations for the Columbian Exposition Ethnological department INIr. Volk confined himself to the lowlands next the Delaware river and along the ancient channel of Archpoachgussink Creek. Here was found almost the entire collection which is now in the Field Columbian Museum in Chicago. He concluded that as the lowlands were overflowed at certain portions of the year a change of location was necessary.
Surrounding the lowlands, beginning at Spring Lake and extending to Bordentown and beyond, is what is known as the Terrace. It forms the valley of Crockwicks creek, and is from forty to sixty feet above the lowlands. On this Terrace an examination showed traces of prehistoric man. Mr. Volk told the curator of Peabody Museum,-at Cambridge of this new field, the word was sent to have it thoroughly examined.
Lately work has been pushed with all vigor, and especially since the finding of a grave or trench containing six skeletons. The skeletons were taken from a grave three feet below the surface. They are of remarkable height and the cheek bones are not high. The skeletons were found in a trench eight feet long by two feet wide. The bodies had been laid out straight. The skull is the best preserved portion.
The religion of the Lenape taught him that the soul, after going to the sky and traveling the Milky Way, could return at pleasure. Consequently warlike implements were never buried with the dead, A noticeable feature in connection with all Indian graves is the broken pottery found. The only whole specimens of the pottery are found on deserted village sites. When a member of the tribe died all the ware he used was broken up by his friends and buried with the body. ‘
Mr. Volk is at present engaged in digging among the old Indian mounds on the farm of Andrew K. Rowan, on the White Horse road, known as the “ Lowlands.” He has made some very important discoveries and he has :recently shipped several specimens of the ancient American Indian in splendid condition, one of which was a chief of the Leni Lenape tribe, who, when living, stood about six feet four inches. The skeleton, which was supposed to be about three hundred years old, was perfect, and was discovered by Mr. Volk on the Rowan farm. Buried with the body was all the paraphernalia pertaining to his chieftaincy, also in a most wonderful state of preservation—New York Herald.
4/10/2019 This is interesting, as I am currently in Trenton New Jersey theming the lasertag arena at the Colonial Bowl. When i am out of town I usually look at the state i am in to find out if there is anything that is in my vicinity. I am staying at the Red roof Inn and two days from flying home. I would love to check out the local museums and see if there are any leads on these finds. This will have to wait for another trip, as i do not have time away from my work in spite of working til 8:00 pm almost every night since i have been here.
Newark Sunday Call – 1894.10.28