Muscatine Journal & News Tribune Monday, October 19, 1936
Transcribed by Lynn McCleary, March 20, 2015

Interesting Display of Relics to Feature Louisa Centennial
Indian Mounds Play Important Part in History

Muscatine Journal Photo: Pictured above are a few of the many interesting relics being displayed by Don Parsons, Wapello as a featured of the Louisa county centennial celebration at Toolseboro, Wednesday.

Wapello – An interesting display of relics of a prehistoric nature will be a feature of the centennial celebration of the centennial celebration of the organization of Louisa county scheduled all day Wednesday at Toolseboro, Don Parsons, Wapello resident, who was born at Toolesboro and has taken an interest in the mounds and relics found there since early childhood will be in charge.

Has Large Collection

Mr. Parsons has a collection of 2,483 pieces mounted which is on display in his shop. He has many others in his basement at his home. Among the mounted display are pipes, stone and copper axes, flint arrow heads and spears, the prized treasures of some prehistoric man. The mounds from where there were found are known as the Black Hawk mounds, named after the Sauk Chief Black Hawk although it is known they were built many years before the time of Chief Black Hawk, who was not in this section long enough to accomplish anything.

These mound builders ae known as the Hopewell Culture, a much more skilled people than the early Indians who sojourned here. The implements found in and near these mounds are more perfect in design and workmanship than those found elsewhere.

Model Still Intact

The mounds at Toolesboro are round at the bottom with burials starting on a level with the natural earth and drawing to a cone at the top. To see them today it is difficult to determine their shape as most of them have been opened or farmed. The one remaining mound which was the largest has not been molested and observers can see the exact shape as it was constructed. At Toolesboro there are 13 mounds in all in one string, six lying north of Toolesboro and seven lying south. North of this cluster of mounds, Mr. Parsons says there are at least 150 mounds scattered overran area of two miles.

There are no effigy mounds in this particular group; although the same Hopewell Culture in the northern part of Iowa have bear, bird and serpent mounds. In Illinois, the Hopewell Culture of which the Toolesboro mounds are classed by many archaeologists, are found crescent shaped mounds, also serpent mounds.

The Toolesboro territory was at one time a part of Des Moines and Muscatine county and mounds are still found in these counties. Those in charge of the opening of the mounds at Toolesboro were crude in the operation as M. Parsons has found many prized specimens in the earth which they threw back. Mr. Parsons was born at Toolesboro 42 years ago and when a small boy began his search after each rain or when the soil was being plowed. He has looked over every field in that locality, hence his large collection.

About a quarter of a mile west of the large mound which is still intact, is a field of 40 acres owned by Reid Hunt, on while long ago was an old fort built by prehistoric man. It covers several acres. It is round with eight outlets which are full of clam shells, broken arrow heads, etc. This fort stands on a high ridge which gave a good view from all directions. Formerly there was a spring near the fort which was on apparently level ground, but this has long since been dry.

Used Circular Plan.

The bodies that were buried in the Toolesboro mounds were laid in a circular method, like a wagon wheel with three skeletons to a spoke. Relics prized by these prehistoric people were buried in the center, representing the hub of the wheel. Other relics found included pottery which was buried at the right side of the head of the corpse and contained food for the dead.

M. Parson’s grandfather, Asher Sillick, aged 92, spent nearly all his life at Toolesboro. His grandmother, Fannie Sillick was born in the shadow of the mounds in the year 1840 and was 92 years at time of her death. She spent her entire life there. This grandmother, Mary Parsons, upon whose land some of the mounds were opened, lived there 72 years. His father and mother are both living and were about 15 years of age when the mounds were opened. They still live within two or three blocks of the mounds.

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