The Bechtle Mound
From 20th Century History of Springfield and Clark County, Ohio by Hon. William A. Rockel
Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1908
The Bechtle Mound is located about four-fifths of a mile (4,200 feet) from the cemetery mound, nearly southwest. It is about hte same distance from the highest point of Gray's Hill, nearly south of the mound (from which we may now look), and also the same distance to the indian burying ground (gravel pit), in Snyder's prairie, north of west.
It is about one and one-tenth miles (5,775) feet to the mouth of the Lagonda (Buck) Creek, southwest; the same distance to the mouth of Mill Run, east, and to the hill on which Wittenberg College stands.
It is about one and three-fifths miles (8,450 feet) to the mouth of Mill Creek, southwest; to the Indian burying ground on Snyder's hill, northwest; and to the hill on which the public library stands, southeast, near which site stood another mound some forty years ago.
Other distances and directions can be compared, with equal or greater interest and satisfaction. These mounds were not placed here at random by an ignorant people, any more than the great pyramid of Egypt was placed in its situation by ignorance and superstition.
The mound is situated on the south side of the creek, distant 750 feet: its summit is 70 feet above the level of the water. It crowns the east end of a clayey ridge, which is some 500 feet in length and about 28 feet above the adjoining level surface. This level surface extends south to Main and High Streets, and from Factory Street to near the Hydraulic, on the west; an area of about half a square mile, chiefly red clay.
Possibly the beds of clay which were so extensively used in the manufacture of modern brick, were also utilized by the prehistoric people in their manufacture of pottery, and in the burial of their dead.
The mound has an elevation of 12 feet above the surface of the ridge on which it rests. Its north and south diameter is 69.8 feet at base. And its east and west diameter is 63.8 feet. The circumference is 210 feet; and its contents approximately are 1,750 cubic yards.
In shape it is nearly a cone; the south side is somewhat irregular. The top is depressed in the center, caused possibly by the interior sinking, as no knowledge of any extended excavation exists.
Large trees still surround it and have a growth of several hundred years; but that does not indicate any age of these earth works; for all accepted authority places the Mound Builders' era too far in the remote past to make timber growth a factor of much importance. The latest authority places the era at 800 years ago, A. D. 1092.
According to the classification, this is a sepulchral mound, but the theory is advanced that the site was A KING'S THRONE and dwelling place, a signal station, and at his death, the mound was erected over the remains. So, it may also be classed as a memorial or monumental mound.
One of the most noteworthy features is the fact that, as an observation station, it affords a fine view of the river valley nearly to Westville, with Tremont, Eagle City, the bridge over Mad River and farms between; also of the creek and its valley, for several miles; the city and public buildings; and the fine residences on the ridge along West High Street; part of the Milldreek Valley, and hills beyond; the river valley for miles towards Dayton; and the vicinity of Enon, Snyder's and Cold Springs, near Tecumseh's birthplace.
The Mounds Near Enon and in Harmony Township
The mound near Enon, the railroad cut at the south boundary of the Masonic Home grounds; this mound and the cemetery mound are all in a nearly direct line southwest and northeast, so that smoke or light can be easily seen at either place, day or night, if such signals were made.
The springs near this mound, with those along the creek to Market Street and beyond, one or more near every street that terminates or crosses at the creek, their relation to the construction of these earthworks, and their value in the service of a dense population in their vicinity, could be interestingly reviewed in support of the opinion that Springfield and the vicinity was a favorite and endearing locality to the Mound Builders, as well as to its present inhabitants.
And concerning a mound on the Newlove farm in Harmony Township, Prof. Snavely gives the following description:
"To describe one of the most interesting of these hunting grounds is the object of this paper. Between the old London road, three miles east of Harmony and on the national road, eight miles east of Springfield, on the Newlove farm, is what people now generally call an 'Old Indian fort.' A half-mile northeast, just beyond the eight-mile stone, the national road was cut trhough a large Indian mound, part of which still remains. Nearly a half mile south of this mound and about the same distance east of the 'old fort,' are several artificial depressions, or large pit-holes and near these was once an Indian trail whose direction was from northwest to southeast.
"To the south of the 'old fort,' about a half mile among the hills,s tands the Newlove residence, built many years ago, and here is the key to the whole situation. This valley is about three-fourths of a mile long nearly due north and south, and is nearly closed at the north end by the eastern elevation curving abruptly to the west, and by boggy land between it and the western elevation.
"It is at this end of this valley, and on the west side, that the earthworks are situated. It may also be stated here that the boggy land extends for a long distance east and west from this point, and borders Beaver Creek, which flows west between here and the national road and joins the Lagonda (Buck) creek six miles below.
"The abrupt curve of the eastern elevation of the valley also slopes gradually toward the creek, ad makes the only natural fordable place for several miles up or down the stream. This ford was used often, not only by the Indians, but by the early settlers, and, no doubt, by teh buffalo, deer and other wild animals as well.
"The 'old fort' or rather enclosures, consist of two elliptical embankments, and resemble somewhat, on a large scale, the tracks of a horse's front feet, made while standing or in a leap against the side of the hill. Both are of the same area, but the bank and ditch of the one north are not so high or deep as the one south, and it is on more level ground. The western half of the noe north is under cultivation. The remainder of both is covered with heavy timber, as are both sides or borders of the valley. Both 'toe' to the south of west, or rather the longest diameters are in that direction. The openings or entrances face toward the east — a little north of east — and can be seen plainly from the top of the mound a half mile northeast, and from the crest of the hill range between.
"The construction of these earthworks is the most remarkable because it has a striking miniature resemblance to the construction of that part of the earthworks at Newark — the southern elliptical enclosure in which the fair grounds are now located. The area contained by that is over twenty-five acres, while one fo these contains over one acre.
"The southern enclosure consists of an elliptical ditch twenty feet wide and from five to seven feet deep, the excavations having apparently thrown upon the outside, making an embankment from four to six feet high, and at present from twenty to twenty-five feet wide. The distance from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the embankment, therefore, is from nine to thirteen feet. The ends of the ditch to not meet at the east by some thirty or forty feet, nor do the ends of the embankments by twenty-five or thirty feet, making a wide entrance to the island-like inside, which gradually slopes or ascends to the opposite end, upon which is a small mound.
"The outside circumference is 1,020 feet. The long diameter is 325 feet and the short diameter is 234 feet. A rectangle of three or four acres would likely contain both enclosures, as the one north is a duplicate of the one south, but shallower. The distance of each enclosure bank (at their nearest approach to each other) is but twenty or twenty-five feet.
"Those who, for the first time, view this 'old Indian fort' as a means of defense against an outside enemy, are disappointed, because the most ignorant combatant would hesitate to go or remain inside, if an enemy were upon the outside. It has too much the appearance of a trap. In fact it is a trap. The whole surrounding landscape of nearly two square miles, is a huge trap, or typical ambush, the culmination of the Indian hunting grounds, and at the same time the West Point of most of his military training; for whether game or enemies were decoyed or driven into similar localities and enclosures, in the succeeding contest and almost certain slaughter, the native Indian was at home in all the detail of conquest and capture."
"These descriptions of Prof. Snavley's appeared in the newspapers several years ago and are used by his kind permission.
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Early Clark County
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Indians in Clark County
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Springfield in 1852
Springfield in 1863
SHS 1951 Yearbook
Then & Now