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

Menominee Burial Customs

The Menomini (Menominee Tribe), whose home when first encountered by Europeans during the early years of the seventeenth century was west of Lake Michigan, evidently possessed many customs quite similar to those of the Ojibway. Their dead were usually deposited in excavated graves, but they also had some form of scaffold burial. “The Menomini formerly disposed of their dead by inclosing the bodies in long pieces of birchbark or in slats of wood, and burying them in a shallow hole. When not in the neighborhood of birch or other trees, from which broad pieces of bark could be obtained, some

West of the Alleghenies Burial Customs

The burial customs of some western Algonquian tribes were, in many respects, quite similar to those of the New England Indians. It will be recalled that soon after the Mayflower touched at Cape Cod a party of the Pilgrims went ashore and during their explorations discovered several groups of graves, some of which “had like an Indian house made over them, but not matted.” They may when erected have been covered with mats. The similarity between this early reference and the description of certain Ojibway graves, two centuries and more later, is very interesting. Writing from “American Fur Company’s trading

Choctaw Burial Customs

Thus the greater part of the southern country was claimed and occupied by tribes belonging to the Muskhogean group, who were first encountered by the Spanish explorers of the early sixteenth century, and who continued to occupy the region until removed during the first half of the nineteenth century. For three centuries they are known to have remained within the same limited area. On the west were the Choctaw, whose villages extended over a large part of the present State of Mississippi and eastward into Alabama. And to this tribe should undoubtedly be attributed the many burial mounds now encountered

Powhatan Confederacy Burial Customs

It is to be regretted that more is not known concerning the burial customs of the Algonquian tribes of Virginia, those who constituted the Powhatan confederacy, people with whom the Jamestown Colonists came in contact during the spring of 1607. Several accounts are preserved, but unfortunately all are lacking in detail. Capt. Smith included burial customs under the general caption of their Religion, and in 1612 wrote: ” But their chiefe God they worship is the Divell. Him they call Oke and serve him more of feare than love.. They say they have conference with him, and fashion themselves as

Naticoke Burial Customs

The Nanticoke, who lived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, were connected, linguistically, with the Delaware, and before the latter removed westward beyond the Alleghenies they were neighboring tribes. The Nanticoke were encountered by Capt. John Smith and his party of colonists from Jamestown in 1608, living on or near the river which continues to bear their tribal name. For many years they were enemies of the colonists, but remained in the region until about 1730, when the majority of the tribe began moving northward, stopping at the mouth of the Juniata, and elsewhere in the valley of the Susquehanna,

Cherokee Burial Customs

Far to the southward, occupying the beautiful hills and valleys of eastern Tennessee and the adjoining parts of Georgia and Carolina, lived that great detached Iroquoian tribe, the Cherokee. Here they lived when the country was traversed by the Spaniards in 1540, and here they continued for three centuries. But although so frequently mentioned by early writers, and so often visited by traders, very little can be learned regarding their burial customs. Nevertheless it is evident they often placed the body on the exposed surface, on some high, prominent point, and then covered it with many stones gathered from the

Stone Lined Graves

Stone graves-that is, small excavations which were lined or partly lined with natural slabs of stone-have been encountered in great numbers in various parts of the Mississippi Valley. They are discovered scattered and separate; in other instances vast numbers are grouped together, thus forming extensive cemeteries. While the great majority were formed by lining properly prepared excavations, others were created by erecting one upon another, forming several tiers, and covering all with earth, so forming a mound. In and about the city of Nashville, on the banks of the Cumberland, in Davidson County, Tennessee, such burials have been revealed in

Stone Lined Graves – Tennessee

A mound in which were many intrusive stone graves, and therefore resembling the one examined on Swallow Bluff Island, stood on a high hill about 2 miles from Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee. It was about 20 feet in height and 400 feet in circumference. The mound was examined and “about four feet from the top, we came to a layer of graves extending across the entire mound. The graves were constructed in the same manner as those found in the cemeteries, that is, of two wide parallel slabs, about two and one-half feet long for sides, and with the bottom,

Stone Lined Graves – Jo Daviess County, Illinois

A very remarkable example of rectangular stone inclosure was discovered in a mound on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi, in the town of Dunleith Jo Daviess County, Illinois. This is the extreme northwest corner of the State, and the mound was one of a large group. Its height was about 10 feet, with a diameter of 65 feet. To quote the description of the interior: ” The first six feet from the top consisted of hard gray earth. This covered a vault built in part of stone and in part of round logs. When fully uncovered this was found to

Stone Lined Graves in Mississippi

It is a region possessing much natural beauty, ideally suited to a large native population, such as it undoubtedly sustained during the days before the coming of the French. Many similar groups of graves are scattered along the bluffs bordering the Mississippi and are less numerous inland. The salt springs of Jefferson County, Missouri, a little more than halfway between the mouth of the Saline on the south and the Missouri on the north, served to attract the Indians, as did the springs near the former stream, already mentioned. About a mile inland from the small village of Kimmswick, up