County History Highlights (continued)

Hopewell Culture, Mound Builders and Munleongions

Since our family Indian connection is unknown for sure, please note the stories of the Hopewell Indians and the Munleongions, are purely a hunch on my part, or a possibility that there was any connection to our families. Likewise I have no account of the song below as having any connection. I have just always liked the song
"Running Bear and Little White dove"

Some of the earliest people to live in this region were the "Adena" Indians who may have thrived 3000 years ago. Not much is known about these people as they didn't keep records nor did those who followed. In WV there were "Hopewell" & "Fort Ancient" Indians and in Ohio the last ancient Indians were the "Cole". Most folks know these people as the "Moundbuilders". They built huge earthen mounds in which to bury their dead along with the artifacts of the deceased. The mounds are common in the Ohio and West Virginia area and even into the Mississippi River Valley. The "Adena" & " Hopewell" peoples were hunter & gatherers while the "Fort Ancient" were cultivators of crops. Little is known of the "Cole Culture" except that they were the last of the ancient indians. Some of these ancient Indians thrived in large communities before Rome, Italy was even a small village. Ironton Lake Vesuvius story, "Adena & Hopewell Culture links".

The Lost People of Appalachia, the Melungeons:

Some of the earliest settlers of the Appalachian area were not northern Europeans, but possibly of Turkish descent. They were brought here by the Portugese settlers and also by Sir Francis Drake who liberated them from the Spanish. These people thru the years intermingled with Blacks and Native Americans and began farming in the region. Later the Europeans drove these people from the choice farmlands that they had cleared and cultivated. They took refuge in the hill and mountain areas. Melungeon descendents are all around us.

Elvis may have been of Melungeon descent !

The Hopewell, a mid to late woodland culture making a brief appearence in North America from around 400 B.C. to 500 A.D., dotted the landscape along major waterways and tributaries, with a concentration in the Ohio Valley. From about 200 BC to AD 500, the Ohio River Valley was a focal point of the prehistoric Hopewell culture. The term Hopewell describes a broad network of beliefs and practices among different Native American groups over a large portion of eastern North America. The culture is characterized by the construction of enclosures made of earthen walls, often built in geometric patterns, and mounds of various shapes. Visible remnants of Hopewell culture are concentrated in the Scioto River valley near present-day Chillicothe, Ohio. The most striking Hopewell sites contain earthworks in the form of squares, circles, and other geometric shapes. Many of these sites were built to a monumental scale, with earthen walls up to 12 feet high outlining geometric figures more than 1000 feet across. Conical and loaf-shaped earthen mounds up to 30 feet high are often found in association with the geometric earthworks.

Between about 200 BC and AD 500, many Native American communities all across eastern North America--each with their own distinctive ways of life--shared in a common set of beliefs and practices that has come to be known as "Hopewell Culture."

One expression of these shared beliefs was the construction of monumental earthen mounds and enclosures. Additionally, these beliefs were expressed in a specific set of elaborate and finely crafted ceremonial objects that were exchanged all across the eastern Woodlands. Many of these objects were fashioned of exotic raw materials including copper from the Great Lakes, marine shell from the Gulf of Mexico, obsidian from the Rocky Mountains, and mica from the Appalachian Mountains. Visit the Virtual Museum to see some of these artifacts.
Some of the most flamboyant expressions of these beliefs and practices were concentrated in the major river valleys of south-central Ohio. One of the greatest concentrations of earthen mounds, hilltop enclosures, and geometric earthworks in the form of circles, squares and octagons is found in the Scioto River Valley near present-day Chillicothe, Ohio. Five of these major centers, along with a museum collection housing hundreds of Hopewellian artifacts, are now preserved and interpreted at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.

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