Hancock County, IL
An Ancient Burial Place
Discovery of Skeletons in a field in Hancock County, Illinois
Special to the Republic
Carthage, ill., Aug. 31 --- What is believed to have been a prehistoric battle-ground has been today discovered on the Sweeney farm near this city. While ploughing, Mr. Felt encountered a stone a short distance beneath the surface. There are no stones found in that field, nor any nearer than at a small creek a mile or more distant. So strange an impediment aroused Mr. Felt's curiousity, and he proceeded to dig out the stone, which was accomplished with some difficulty. It was a sandstone, about 18 inches in diameter and, possibly, 4 inches in thickness. He found several such stones, but of less size, apparently laid with some regularity, like a floor or covering to some receptical beneath. These he removed with considerable labor and care, when was revealed an almost perfect skeleton of a man of large size. The head lay to the northeast, with the face on its side towards the west. To the right of this skeleton and hnear the feet were the skull and decaying fragments of the bones of another skeleton. A little more digging to the northeast revealed another skeleton, lying partially under the first. The skull of the second skeleton found and a number of leg and arm bones were taken out and laid beside the excavation when they soon fell to pieces. The skeletons in the excavation also showed signs of disintegration and Mr. Felt was advised to cover them up until some one conversant with antiquarian research could be present, when it is contemplated to give the mound a thorough overhauling to see what else may be revealed.
The first or larger skeleton was well preserved, some of the teeth being almost perfect. The skull that had been taken out had crumbled into small pieces, but the cavity in the soil where it had lain was as perfect as a mould for a cast. But little of the skeleton was exposed and that in a very fragmentary shape. The first skeleton lay on its side with the face inclined to the west. The other lay with their faces downward. There did not appear to be any regularity in the interment either as to position or cardinal points. Evidently the bodies were thrown in hastily. The stone covering was possibly an afterthought, as was also the mound, which leads to the conjecture that the entombed persons were dignitaries or chiefs.
The "Sweeney farm mounds" are located near the south line of the farm and have been a familiar landmark since and even before a the quarter was entered by A.M. Samuels in 1838. One who has resided in that vicinity over 30 years says the larger mound, and the one we have to deal with was fully 10 feet high when he first knew it, with a diameter of 25 or 30 feet. From annual ploughing and natural abrasion its present height is not more than 3 feet. Some little distance to the north and west the ground is considerably lower, showing that the ??ll had been taken therefrom to build the mounds. The second mound is six to eight rods west of the larger one.
The field has been turned over to Carthage college authorities, who will rush an investigation, aided by Rev. Dr. Stephen D. Pect. Further interesting discoveries are expected.
[1 September 1891; St. Louis Republic - Submitted by K. Torp]
Source: The Holbrook News, Apr 4, 1913-transcribed by J.S.
An ancient coin believed to be Greek, has been found in one of the "mounds" of the prehistoric Americans, in Hancock county, Illinois. If it is really Greek it may throw a new light on a very uncertain chapter of the world's history.
Lye for Trees
Source: Presbyterian Banner and Advocate, Aug 11, 1860 -transcribed by J.S.
James Jenkins, Hancock County, Illinois, writes as follows:
"Last Spring, after making soap, I took the lye left in the kettle, after taking off the soap, and washed the bodies of three apple trees, and liking the effect, this Spring I washed fifteen more. It caused the old bark to scale off, and gives the trees a thrifty appearance. It kills all small sprouts that may be on the trunks of trees or about the roots, and kills all grass upon which it falls. It will not do to use on small trees, without first making it very weak."
Source: People's Voice, Aug 10, 1899 -transcribed by J.S.
Anna B. Rogers of Hancok county, Illinois, has bought of H.K. Rogers of the same place, a quarter section of land in Jackson township.