Indian mound tn history

The following essay was sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities in and the Tennessee State Museum. Download PDF.

The state of Tennessee is long and narrow, stretching miles from the high mountains of the Appalachians and the Great Smoky Mountains on the east to the Mississippi River on the west. The Tennessee and Cumberland rivers and their tributaries flow through the state and a number of rivers in West Tennessee are tributaries of the Mississippi River.

These physiographic provinces and river valleys provide a diversity in natural resources and environments that have affected human settlement and adaptation for millennia.

While there are many differences in the prehistoric Indian cultures found in East, Middle, and West Tennessee, there are general characteristics that they shared over time. Figure 1. Physiographic provinces of Tennessee Luther Our knowledge of the prehistoric Indians of Tennessee is a result of over years of archaeological investigations. Archaeology is the scientific discipline responsible for the recovery and interpretation of the remains of past cultures. Modern archaeology has three basic objectives: first, employing excavations and analysis based on scientific principles, archaeologists seek to develop temporal sequences of past cultures; second, archaeologists seek to reconstruct the lifeways of past human societies; and third, archaeologists address the evolution and operation of cultural systems—topics such as the origins of agriculture and changes in political organization.

Places where cultural remains are found are called sites, and these may be as simple as a location where several arrowheads are found and as complex as a ten acre village and mound complex. Scanty written information about the Indians of Tennessee and the Southeast come from chronicles of the sixteenth-century Spanish Hudsonseventeenth-century French Williamsand eighteenth-century British expeditions King As Euro-American settlers moved westward across Tennessee in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the many mounds and earthworks they encountered became a focus of speculative interpretation, often based on scripture or comparison to cultures in other parts of the world.

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The most pervasive was the theory of the Mound Builders which held that the ancient mounds were the remains of an extinct culture, likely the Canaanites and Lost Tribes of Israel Silverberg By the s, antiquarian collecting and speculation were replaced with more systematic excavations in Middle JonesPutnamThruston and East Thomas Tennessee and these clearly demonstrated that the prehistoric mounds and villages were constructed by the American Indians and that the occupants may have been ancestors of historic tribes of the Southeast.

By the s, excavations made it clear that many sites were occupied over time by successive Indian groups Harrington With the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority inthere began a massive archaeological recovery program using federal relief workers CWA, WPA in valleys to be inundated.

This period saw the establishment of professional archaeology in the state and increased enormously our understanding of the prehistoric Indian occupations locally. In the s a technique to date organic material charcoal, wood, bone, shell from archaeological sites was developed. Called radiocarbon dating Libbyarchaeologists were now able to determine how long ago sites had been occupied—and suddenly the Indian occupation of Tennessee became very long.

Among other things, these laws required that for any project on state or federal land, or that is funded by or permitted by state or federal agencies, the project must identify and mitigate the impact on archaeological sites. Consequently, there has been an enormous amount of archaeological work done in Tennessee over the past 40 years ranging from major reservoir projects such as the Tellico, Normandy, and Columbia, to road, bridge, sewer line, and transmission line projects.

Archaeologists divide the time humans have been in eastern Tennessee into periods. These periods are both references to some span of time, and to some stage in a continuum of increasing social complexity.The complex, which includes 17 moundsan earthen geometric enclosureand numerous habitation areas, was most likely built during the Middle Woodland period c.

The complex is the largest group of Middle Woodland mounds in the United States. The Pinson Mounds are located on a plateau-like upland above the wetlands that line the banks of the South Fork of the Forked Deer River. The river and its wetlands form the complex's southern boundary. The Pinson Mounds are located amidst three distinctive biotic zones: the oak forests atop the plateau, the cypress forests in the wet bottomlands, and the beech forests on the slopes between the uplands and the bottomlands.

The ground is mostly composed of Tertiary period rocks known for producing high-quality clay. The mounds complex can be roughly divided into three sections— the Inner section, situated at the center of the complex around Saul's Mound, the Western or Ozier section, and the Eastern section, which includes the geometric enclosure.

The Eastern and Western sections are both roughly 1, meters from the Inner section. The Western section is managed by the Tennessee Division of Forestry and includes a nursery and irrigation pond.

Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park is located appx. The Pinson Mounds complex covers approximately acres 1. Most mounds were probably constructed between and AD, based on radiocarbon dating and the predominance of Woodland-period artifacts found at the site.

The following are major features at the Pinson Mounds site:. After the Chickasaw ceded much of West Tennessee inland speculator Joel Pinson arrived in what is now Madison County to survey the area. Pinson "discovered" the complex which was named after him in The complex did not receive much attention until a Jackson -area journalist named J. Cisco began writing about it in the late 19th century.

Cisco's articles drew the interest of the Smithsonian Institution. In the Smithsonian dispatched the archaeologist William E. Myer to investigate the site. Myer suggested that the entire complex was built according to a master plan, and created a map for the site.

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Based primarily on the vast amount of pre- Mississippian culture debris found at the site and radiocarbon dating of charcoalFisher and McNutt concluded that the Pinson Mounds were probably built during the Middle Woodland period, c. Excavations by Dan Morse and Richard Polhemus in uncovered what they believed was an oval-shaped house, a large hearth, and various refuse pits.

The state purchased the prehistoric property in from the Williams and Saul families. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places that same year. In the s, John Broster of the Tennessee Division of Archaeology carried out extensive investigations of the site's Western section and the Mound 12 Sector.Originally inhabited by nomadic hunters and mound builders, the area received white settlers in the s, as Revolutionary War veterans arrived to claim land grants.

Several factors, including the location of deposits between the easily navigable Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, the availability of slave labor to operate the furnaces, and timber for fuel, produced a thriving iron industry that lasted for over a century.

Today, the county encompasses square miles; its population in was 12, representing a 30 percent increase since State and federal agencies control over 44 percent of the land in the county. Modern highways have replaced the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers as the primary transportation arteries.

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A Cumberland City ferry is the last remnant of a service rendered obsolete by the construction of bridges throughout the county. In a state-appointed commission purchased a acre plot on the Cumberland River from Robert Nelson and established the county seat of Dover.

By the frontier town had blossomed into a large river trade center and the second largest steamboat port on the Cumberland. During the Civil War, Union troops, who had occupied the town since the fall of Fort Donelson inset fire to Dover to prevent the town from falling into the hands of General Nathan Bedford Forrest; only four buildings survived the conflagration.

Today, a mayor and four aldermen govern the 2, citizens of Dover. The city oversees the operation of modern utility systems, and citizens enjoy the benefits of up-to-date medical facilities. An automotive assembly plant and a garment factory provide employment. Cumberland City, the second largest city, was established in Prior toit was known as Bowling Green, but changed the name to Cumberland to eliminate confusion with Bowling Green, Kentucky, which was also on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.

The town is perhaps best known for the Cumberland City Academy, which was founded in by W. Before statehood, Methodist circuit-riding preachers conducted campground meetings at the site of the McKendree Church, the oldest church in the county. Today, Cumberland City looks much as it did at the turn of the twentieth century, except for the presence of one of the largest coal burning steam plants in the world, constructed by the TVA in Adjacent to the steam plant is Stewart-Houston Industrial Park, which houses several modern manufacturing operations.

Many other county communities were once bustling towns. Bumpus Mills derives its name from Andrew Bumpus, who built a sawmill, gristmill, flour mill, and planing mill on Saline Creek in The mills thrived and were best known for the production of Bob White Flour.

Big Rock was a hub of activity for tobacco farmers at the turn of the century. A tobacco prizing warehouse established in by C. Joiner and William Martin attracted tobacco men from the area. Indian Mound was named for the prehistoric burial mounds located in the community. Early settlers recognized the mounds and recorded their presence in early court records and deeds. The community developed with the establishment of two iron furnaces.

When the furnaces closed, the population of the community declined. As the era of the iron industry passed, the economy depended more heavily on the earlier established farming and timber industry. Cotton was among the first crops grown in the early s, but it declined in production due to low yields caused by poor soil conservation practices. As early as the s trees were harvested for the production of charcoal to fuel the iron furnaces and steam boats. As the railroad expanded, local farmers provided crossties to meet increasing demand.

Even today, hundreds of acres of timber are managed by Westvaco and a number of sawmills continue in operation.

indian mound tn history

Stewart County contains a number of sites of recreational, educational, and historical interest. Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley offer opportunities for fishing and boating. Cross Creek Wildlife Refuge and the Land Between the Lakes provide nature lovers sightings of eagles, wild geese, turkey, and deer.

The Homeplace, a living history farm, furnishes entertainment and education for all ages. All Rights Reserved. Functionality and information are in compliance with guidelines established by the American Association for State and Local History for online state and regional encyclopedias.What's New:. Jobs and Careers. All rights reserved. Click here for BBB Business Review If you know any tidbits of information about this hometown, such as, how it got its name or some information about its history, please let us know about it by filling out the form below.

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indian mound tn history

Come back soon though, because we are constantly adding more to the site. Types of history that you may find on these pages include items such as the local weather history, Native American history, history of education, history timeline, American history, African American history, United States history, world history, Halloween history, Thanksgiving history, Civil War history and Civil War pictures, women in the Civil War, and Civil War battles.

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Join our online community today! General Information. Indian Mound, Tennessee's Hometown USA Community Community information including population statistics and demographics, businesses, real estate, travel, maps, events, history, trivia, classified ads, forums and more.

History and Trivia for Indian Mound, Tennessee. What's New: Jobs and Careers. If you know any tidbits of information about this hometown, such as, how it got its name or some information about its history, please let us know about it by filling out the form below.

Archives Museum. Public Records Cemeteries.Bear Spring is located five miles southeast of Dover on highway It is one mile from the Cumberland River. It was a thriving village during the 's and early 's. It is so named due to a folk legend concerning a pioneer family living by the large cave spring. They were awakened one night by the barking of their dogs and upon checking to see what the racket was about, the man of the house found a large bear in the spring and shot it. A newspaper clipping of states, "The furnace built at Bear Spring in took its name from the spring at the head of the hollow where the last bear was killed about the time those animals became extinct in Stewart County.

Ancient American Burial Mounds (Documentary)

The first iron furnace was built there in and the community served for a time as the headquarters of the county's iron industry. One of the well known personages who lived in this area for a time was John Bell, a Tennessee politician who was a candidate for president of the United States in The community of Bellwood, just west of Cub Creek, was a small place but at one time had four furnaces producing iron ore.

These furnaces were a target of Union gun boats during the Civil War. It also had a cross-tie yard and a stock barn. Cross-ties and dry goods were sent from this area down the Cumberland River.

The community got its name from a husband and wife team who settled on a farm here. When Yeatman died, Bell married Mrs. Wood and the two settled on a farm in the area, naming the community Bell-Wood. The Big A community is located on Old Highway 79 and received its name from an A shape made by the direction of roads. It is said the name was suggested by Mr. Bob Gafford when the school was built in Land for this school was donated by John Wyatt, whose family was the first settlers of the area.

The first teacher was Mr. Landon Bagwell. This was a farming community, raising tobacco, wheat, corn, and truck patches. A large limestone rock estimated to be one hundred feet high and the same in width and length is responsible for the name of the community of Big Rock. A cave opening in the rock leads to an underground lake, sporting blind fish. During the 's the community thrived with such industries as hardware, mills, tobacco warehouse, and others.

Many of the Samuel Feltner photos were taken at the rock - a popular gathering-spot on Sunday afternoons. Joiner, William Martin. Pate, Griffin Reynolds, W. Cherry, C. Bumpus Mills was named in honor of the first postmaster, Andrew Jackson Bumpus, who purchased the mill in and established a post office in A mill was established as early as by William Allen.As always, you can track all the latest Premier League line moves, betting percentages, market data and more with a Premium or Pro membership.

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indian mound tn history

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