Collection: Native Cemeteries and Forms of Burial East of the Mississippi

Burial Customs of Southern Ohio

The origin and age of the earthworks of southern Ohio and the adjoining sections of Kentucky and West Virginia have remained unsolved questions. The works are remarkable for three reasons, namely, their size, number and forms. By their size and number it is quite evident they were erected by a sedentary people, a numerous people who occupied the country for a long period, and by their forms it is shown these same people possessed certain recognized customs and beliefs which caused them to erect the great circles and squares, octagons and other figures, so accurately and skillfully constructed. And so

Biloxi and Pascagoula Burial Customs

The “Siouan Tribes of the East,” whose burial customs so far as known are detailed on the preceding pages, were carefully studied some years ago, at which time all available notes were gathered and presented in a single volume. A few years before the preparation of this most interesting bulletin a discovery of the greatest importance was made by another member of the bureau staff, Mr. Gatschet, who, while engaged in Louisiana in 1886, discovered a small band of Biloxi, some of whom spoke their old language, which Gatschet soon found was Siouan. The Biloxi therefore belonged to the great

Santee Burial Customs

Siouan tribes extended southward into the central portions of the present State of South Carolina, and the Santee were undoubtedly members of this linguistic family. One of their villages probably stood on the shore of Scott Lake, in the valley of the Santee about 10 miles southwest of Summerton, Clarendon County. Here, near the shore of the lake, is a conical mound of earth, and scattered over the surrounding area are many fragments of pottery and other traces of an Indian settlement, but the surface has been modified by the waters of the Santee during periods of flood, and consequently

Timucuan Burial Customs

Long before the Seminole reached central Florida the peninsula had been the home of other native tribes who have. left many mounds and other works to indicate the positions of their villages. The northern half of the peninsula, from the Ocilla River on the north to the vicinity of Tampa Bay on the south, and thence across to about Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic coast, was, when first visited by the Spaniards, the home of tribes belonging to the Timucuan family, of whom very little is known. They were encountered near the site of the present city of St. Augustine

Seminole Burial Customs

The Seminole, the immigrants from the Creek towns who settled in Florida during the eighteenth century, were little influenced by the whites until very recent years. Living as they did in the midst of the great swamps of the southern part of the peninsula, with no roads penetrating the tangle of semitropical vegetation, and with even the location of their settlements unknown to the occupants of other parts of Florida, they were never visited, and seldom seen except when they chose to make journeys to the traders near the coast. Consequently the burial customs of the people, as witnessed 40

Creek Burial Customs

The Creeks had burial customs resembling those of the Chickasaw, and, in some instances, deposited the remains of their dead beneath the floors of their habitations. To quote from Bartram: ” The Muscogulges bury their deceased in the earth. They dig a four-square deep pit under the cabin or couch which the deceased lay on, in his house, lining the grave with Cypress bark, where they place the corpse in a sitting posture, as if it were alive; depositing with him his gun, tomahawk, pipe, and such other matters as he had the greatest value for in his life time.”

Chickasaw Burial Customs

The Chickasaw lived in the hilly country north of the Choctaw, and although of the same stock they were ever enemies. Many of their customs differed and instead of the elaborate burial ceremonies of the Choctaw, “They bury their dead almost the moment the breath is out of the body, in the very spot under the couch on which the deceased died, and the nearest relations woeful lamentations; the women are very vociferous in it, but the men do it in silence, taking great care not to be seen any more than heard at this business; the mourning continues about

Illinois Burial Customs

The term Illinois Indians as used by some early writers was intended to include the various Algonquian tribes, encountered in the “Illinois country,” in addition to those usually recognized as forming the Illinois confederacy. Thus, in the following quotation from Joutel will be found a reference to the Chahouanous – i. e., Shawnee – as being of the Islinois, and in the same note Accancea referred to the Quapaw, a Siouan tribe living on the right bank of the Mississippi, not far north of the mouth of the Arkansas. Describing the burial customs of the Illinois, as witnessed by him

Natchez Burial Customs

When referring to the burial customs of the Natchez, that most interesting of the many tribes of the lower Mississippi Valley, the early writers by whom the tribe was visited seldom alluded to the rites which attended the final disposition of the remains of the less important members of the nation, but devoted themselves to describing the varied and sanguinary ceremonies enacted at the time of the death and burial of a Sun. Swanton has already brought together the various accounts and descriptions of these most unusual acts, and consequently they need not be repeated at the present time. Nevertheless

Five Nations Burial Customs

Writing of the Iroquois or Five Nations, during the early years of the eighteenth century, at a time when they dominated the greater part of the present State of New York, it was said: “Their funeral Rites seem to be formed upon a Notion of some Kind of Existence after Death. They make a large round Hole, in which the Body can be placed upright, or upon its Haunches, which after the Body is placed in it, is covered with Timber, to support the Earth which they lay over, and thereby keep the Body free from being pressed; they then