Giants of Ohio and the Mound Builders

This article is by

Mary Sutherland, author of Living in the Light

Estimates of the number of mound works in Ohio alone at the end of the Colonial period topped ten thousand. Today, less than one-twentieth of these exist in reconstructed form. ,

The first record of giants in Ohio can be traced back to 1829. A near by mound was being used to furnish the material to build a hotel in Chesterville. As they dug into the mounds, the workers dug up a large human skeleton. The local physician examining the skeleton said that the skull could have easily fit over a normal man’s head with no difficulty. Another peculiarity of the skeleton was the additional teeth it had compared to modern man.

In the Ohio River Valley, Indian Mounds abound. In 1872,Seneca Township, Noble County, Ohio, in what is now called ‘Bates’ Mound three skeletons were found. All three skeletons unearthed were at the very least eight feet tall in height with bone structure proportional to their height. Another amazing discovery about these skeletons is that they all had double rows of teeth.

Later, in 1878, another discovery in the county of Ashtabula County, Ohio. Mounds were excavated on land belonging to Peleg Sweet, a man of large features. In the first mound, they unearthed a skull and jaw which were of such size that the skull would cover Sweet’s head and the jaw could be easily slipped over his face. Excavating further, they discovered these mounds contained the graves estimated between two and three thousand. Many of the skeletons found were of gigantic proportions.

According to Indian Legend there were two different races of strange humans that pre-existed their culture. One was the Archaic people who had slender bodies with long narrow heads.. The other group was the Adena people who had a massive bone structure with a short head. The Archaics were living in the Ohio River Valley prior to the Adenas. In what is assumed to be around 1000 BC, the Adenas moved into the area , coming up from the South, to claim dominion over the land. After a great war, the Archaics were destroyed by this more advanced and powerful race. From the Adenas the art of mound building was established .
David Cusic, a Tuscorora by birth, wrote in 1825 that among the legends of the ancient people there was a powerful tribe called Ronnongwetowanca. They were giants, and had a “considerable habitation.” He states that when the Great Spirit made the people, some of them became giants. They made themselves feared by attacking when most unexpected. After having endured the outrages of these giants for a great long time, the people banded together to destroy them. With a final force of about 800 warriors, they successfully annihilated the abhorrent Ronnongwetowanca. There were no giants anywhere after this, it was said. This was supposed to have happened  around 2,500 winters before Columbus arrived in America, i.e. circa 1,000 B.C.-the time that the Adena seem to have arrived in the Ohio Valley.

Modern day archaeology and anthropology have literally sealed the doors to the true history of our ancestors.  Archeological discoveries have become a one way door. What was discovered went to the Smithsonian Institute and others like it where the contents have been virtually sealed off to all but the elite few. But by digging through the archives of old newspapers, remaining documents, diaries and Indian legends we can form some idea as to what laid in our past.  The Scientific American, in 1883, published the following account:

Two miles from Mandan, on the bluffs near the junction of the Hart and Missouri Rivers, says the local newspaper, the Pioneer, is an old Cemetery of fully 100 acres in extent filled with bones of a giant race. This vast city of the dead lies just east of the Fort Lincoln road. The ground has the appearance of having been filled with trenches piled full of dead bodies, both man and beast, and covered with several feet of earth. In many places mounds from 8 to 10 feet high, and some of them 100 feet or more in length, have been thrown up and are filled with bones, broken pottery, vases of various bright colored flint, and agates … showing the work of a people skilled in the arts and possessed of a high state of civilization. This has evidently been a grand battlefield, where thousands of men … have fallen. …Five miles above Mandan, on the opposite side of the Missouri, is another vast cemetery, as yet unexplored. We asked an aged Indian what his people knew of these ancient grave yards. He answered: “Me know nothing about them. They were here before the red man.”

From the Ironton Register, a small Ohio River town newspaper, dated 5 May 1892,:

Where Proctorville now stands was one day part of a well paved city, but I think the greatest part of it is now in the Ohio river. Only a few mounds, there; one of which was near the C. Wilgus mansion and contained a skeleton of a very large person, all double teeth, and sound, in a jaw bone that would go over the jaw with the flesh on, of a large man; The common burying ground was well filled with skeletons at a depth of about 6 feet. Part of the pavement was of boulder stone and part of well preserved brick.

Evidence for the occupation of this region before the appearance of the red man and the white race is to be found in almost every part of the county, as well as through the northwest generally. In removing the gravel bluffs, which are numerous and deep, for the construction and repair of roads, and in excavating cellars, hundreds of human skeletons, some of them of giant form, have been found. A citizen of Marion County estimates that there were about as many human skeletons in the knolls of Marion County as there are white inhabitants at present!

The History of Marion County, Ohio 1883
compiled from past accounts, published in 1883

Mastodonic remains are occasionally unearthed, and, from time to time, discoveries of the remains of Indian settlements are indicated by the appearance of gigantic skeletons, with the high cheek bones, powerful jaws and massive frames peculiar of the red man, who left these as the only record with which to form a clew to the history of past ages.

The History of Brown County, Ohio
(complied from past accounts, published in 1883)
She said also that three skeletons were found at the mouth of the Paw Paw Creek many years later, while Nim (Nimrod) Satterfield was justice of the peace. Jim Dean and some men were digging for a bridge foundation and found these bones at the lower end of the old buffalo wallow. She thought it was Dr. Kidwell, of Fairmont, who examined them and said they were very old, perhaps thousands of years old. She said that when the skeletons were exposed to the weather for a few days, their bones turned black and began to crumble, that Squire Satterfield had
them buried in the Joliffe graveyard (Rivesville). All these skeletons, she said, were measured, and found to be about eight feet long.

Now and Long Ago-A History of the Marion County Area
by Glen Lough (1969)
(This citation on West Virginia courtesy Dave Cain.)

Collected Accounts of James Mooney (1861-1921), tells of the visit of very tall people from the west:

James Wafford, of the western Cherokee, who was born in Georgia in 1806, says that his grandmother, who must have been born about the middle of the last century, told him that she had heard from the old people that long before her time a party of giants had once come to visit the Cherokee. They were nearly twice as tall as common men, and had their eyes set slanting in their heads, so that the Cherokee called them Tsunil´ kalu´, “the Slant-eyed people,” because they looked like the giant hunter Tsul´ kalu´. They said that these giants lived far away in the direction in which the sun goes down. The Cherokee received them as friends, and they stayed some time, and then returned to their home in the west…

A document dated March 3 1880 records an excavation in Brush Creek Township, Muskingurn County. A site was excavated on the farm of J.M. Baughman. In this particular muond was discovered the bones of men and women, buried in couples . The length of their skeletons exceeding eight and even nine feet! The excavation was started in early December 1870.

What is most interesting and IMPORTANT here is the discovery of a large stone tablet inscribed with an ancient eastern form of writing. These are what is now refered to as the Brush Creek Tablets. *See Morman Tablets

Modern anthropologists have put forward the theory that once the giants existed in great number, and were the dominant race prior to the advent of modem and smaller races of men and women. Being warlike, they diminished their number in great wars (as the thousands of mound burials in the Ohio River Valley attest), and were eventually subjugated by the smaller, but more numerous races. Although the giants of yesteryear’s may have been destroyed, the genes still rise in modern man ie. children born with 6 toes or fingers, double rows of teeth and giant sizes .

We can find another example of the existence of giant ‘bearded’ men, through the tradition of the Chippewa, Sandusky, and Tawa tribes.,
“In this connection I would say that Mr. Jonathan Brooks, now living in town, stated to me, that his father, Benjamin Brooks, who lived with the Indians fourteen years, and was well-acquainted with their language and traditions, told him and others that it was a tradition of the Indians that the first tribe occupying this whole country, was a black-bearded race, very large in size, and subsequently a red bearded race or tribe came and killed or drove off all the black beards, as they called them.”
The Firelands Pioneer (1858)