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Aboriginal Sites on Red River.” The discoveries therein set forth are of interest both to our history and to archæology.
We made mention of a square mound with the sides facing the cardinal points of the compass. This mound is situated about a mile from the mouth of Bayou L'Eau Noire, and is known as the upper mound. It does not seem likely that it was constructed for burial purposes. It is subject to overflow, and water has been seen to almost reach the summit plateau. It is most likely a mound of the domiciliary type which was abandoned and used as a burial ground. This was often the case in the event of migration.
The bones discovered were lying near the surface in bunches and in a few cases singly. In the bunched burials were skulls of children and adults. If the aborigines who dwelt on, and buried in, this mound were accustomed to placing tributes with their dead, the mortuary offerings must have been of a perishable character, for mementoes of no sort were found.
A short distance away is the lower mound on Bayou L'Eau Noire. The skeletons in this mound had been placed on the back.
The aborigines who buried here placed tributes with the dead; mussel shells were found at the heads and wrists of some. These were, perhaps, the chiefs and warriors. Near the bones of one was found an earthenware vessel. The ware is gray and apparently had undergone imperfect firing, which seems to be characteristic of much of the ware found on lower Red River.
At the ankles of a few were found pebbles, doubtless belonging to rattles. These must have been the medicine men or war dancers. One skeleton was found with the legs crossed. Near by was another lying at full length having beneath the right shoulder blade a pigment preparation of red oxide or iron. Over the humerus of another was a badly broken vessel. These were the only burials found here with tributes in association.
Apart from the human remains, though no doubt at one time with them, lay the fragments of broken pottery, barbed arrow heads and rattles. Among the broken vessels was found a large bottle of soft gray ware. It was curiously designed, and bore great resemblance to the pottery designs of the Aztecs. A similar bottle was discovered some time prior to this in a mound excavated in Mississippi.
The lower mound, on Saline Point, is in sight from the river bank. This mound is of circular basal outline. Few discoveries were made here. The only one worthy of mention was a small earthenware peace pipe.
The upper mound on Saline Point is situated in woods. The remains and evidences of cremation were found here. Du Pratz says that none of the Indians in Louisiana practiced cremation. It is very unlikely that the custom of these Indians had changed in his time. One of the cremations showed traces of fire, as it was associated with masses of burnt clay, and with wasp nests of the same, hardened by fire, and upon two of these nests were distinct imprints of matting. It is probable that the nests were originally on a wigwam and burned when the remains were cre-. mated. As a rule, all material showing fire was discarded. This, however, was an exception to the custom.
In many cases calcined bones were found. This condition was due, perhaps, to aboriginal disturbances. The mound contained all sorts of pottery, one of the pieces having a feature worthy of remark. The pot in question was incised with yellow designs. At the center of the base was a round hole which had been purposely made prior to firing. This vessel is a ceremonial vessel and the hole was made to “kill” the vessel in order to fire its soul that it might accompany the soul of its owner to the land of the spirits. This custom was practiced chiefly by the aborigines of Florida. Among other things were diminutive vases halffired, bearing rude decorations and evidently made as toys for the wee papoose.
Near Normand Landing is a symmetrical mound of circular base. Nothing of any consequence was found here, save a flint drill. A short distance further up the river is a cemetery on the Johnson place, situated a quarter of a mile from the river. The burials here were made on the level ground, no mounds being made. Part of a skeleton was found in order, the remainder of which had been disturbed when the burial was transferred from the bonehouse.
A mile southeast of the Johnson Landing is a mound situated on the Mayer place. It is in woods and surrounded by thick underbrush. No excavation was made here. At Moncla is another mound in view from the water in a cultivated field on prairie land said to be above reach of high water. The sides of
the mound are too steep to permit the use of a plow. The owner would not allow excavation because of the thought that treasure was buried there. This ridiculous idea is widespread and sometimes acts as a deterrent to the ignorant when permission to excavate is requested.
The last mound of the Avoyelles chain is about five miles in an easterly direction from the town of Echo. It is situated some distance from the river, but is near a former course of that stream. This mound is called the Island, for the reason that it forms an apex to some elevated ground which is not covered, in periods of high water. The burials here are all post-Columbian, since glass beads were found in association. · Such in detail are the discoveries of Dr. Moore, copied in part by his kind permission.
Marksville's charter of incorporation was signed in 1843 by the Governor of Louisiana, P. O. Hebert, and approved in 1845.
MARKSVILLE'S CHARTER. No. 126. An Act to incorporate the Town of Marksville, in the
Parish of Avoyelles. Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Louisiana, in General Assembly convened.
That the inhabitants of the town of Marksville, in the Parish of Avoyelles, he and are hereby made a body corporate and politic, by the name of the town of Marksville, and as such can sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, shall possess a right to establish a common seal, and the same to annul, alter or change at pleasure.
Section 2. Be it further enacted, That the limits of said town of Marksville shall be laid out in a square in such manner as to include six hundred and forty acres, making the Courthouse in said town the center as near as can be done with a just regard to the interests of the inhabitants of said town, under the directions of the Mayor and Aldermen of said town or a majority of them.
Section 3. Be it further enacted, That the municipality of sail town of slarksville shall consist of a Mayor and five Aldermell, thrce of whom together with the Mayor shall constitute a quoruit to transact business; no person shall be eligible to the ollice of Mayor or Alderman unless he possesses in his own right real estate in the said town of Marksville; and the said Mayor
and Aldermen shall be chosen by the qualified voters, as hereinafter provided for in this act; said Aldermen and Mayor to be elected on the first Monday in June of each and every year, and the members thus elected shall continue in office during the term of one year next ensuing, and until others are elected in their stead, according to the provisions of this act; and provided, that if from some accident or other cause an election should not take place on the day fixed by the provisions of this section, then an election shall be held as soon thereafter as possible, the Mayor or a majority of the Aldermen giving ten days notice of such election by advertisement in a newspaper, if any should be published in said Parish of Avoyelles, and in case no newspapers are published at the time, then notice in writing, stuck up in three of the most public places in said town of Marksville, shall be deemed sufficient notice of said election.'
Section 4. Be it further enacted, That the said Mayor and Aldermen shall constitute a board for the government of said town, and they shall have and possess the following powers, towit: First, they shall have the power to lay a tax upon all taxable property within their limits, not to exceed the amount of the parish tax upon the same property; second, they shall possess all the powers within said limits which have been heretofore exercised by the Police Jury of said Parish of Avoyelles; third, they shall have the power to prohibit houses of ill-fame and disorderly houses, and impose a fine not exceeding fifty dollars for each contravention of this act in relation to said disorderly houses or houses of ill-fame; fourth, they shall have power to remove all nuisances, tax all plays, shows, billiard tables and every other species of games not expressly prohibited by the laws of the State, in such sum as to them may seem just and proper; provided, that said tax shall never exceed one hundred per cent. on the State tax; fifth, they shall have power to appoint a Treasurer, Secretary and Collector, and such other officers as may be necessary for the administration of said town of Marksville, and to require such bond and security for the faithful performance of their duties as the said Mayor and Aldermen by their own bylaws may prescribe; sixth, they shall have power to remove all persons who may be seized with any contagious or infectious diseases, and establish a hospital in the neighborhood for their comfort and reception; seventh, they shall have power to prescribe fines for all breaches of this act of incorporation of the by-laws of said town of Marksville, not to exceed fifty dollars, and the same to sue for and recover for the use of said town or · corporation ; eighth, they shall possess all the powers that are prescribed by law for the government of corporations in general.
Section 5. Be it further enacted, That the Mayor shall be ex-officio justice of the peace within said limits, and shall be com
missioned accordingly; and in case of non-acceptance of said commission, he shall forfeit his office of Mayor; and the inhabitants of said town shall proceed to the election of a successor, agreeable to the provisions of this act; said Mayor shall have power to suppress all riots, routs and unlawful assemblies, affrays and tumults, and all breaches of the peace, and to arrest all offenders, in the same way that justices of the peace may or can do.
Section 6. Be it further enacted, That the Mayor and Aldermen shall, immediately after this election, take the necessary oath of office to discharge their several duties as prescribed by this act; and immediately thereafter to cause a correct survey and plan of said town to be made, which shall exhibit the position of the various lots therein, and their several contents, the length and: width of the streets, and their relative courses, and to make such alterations in the present plan of said town, if any there be, as may meet the exigencies of the occasion; provided, however, that nothing contained in this act shall interfere with the established rights and privileges of individuals.
Section 7. Be it further enacted, That any justice of the peace, residing in the Parish of Avoyelles, and he is hereby authorized to call the first meeting of the inhabitants of said town of Marksville, for the purpose of electing a Mayor and five Aldermen, by posting up a notification at three of the most public places in said town, at least fifteen days previous to holding of said election, and that every free male citizen over the age of twenty-one years, who has resided six months in said town, and shall have paid, or be liable to pay, a State, town, city or parish tax, shall have the right of voting at said elections of Mayor and Aldermen of said town; provided, that no person be entitled to vote unless he is a citizen of the United States.
Section 8. Be it further enacted, That the Mayor and Aldermen shall have power to make by-laws for the government of said town, and the same to repeal or modify; provided, said by-laws are not inconsistent with the laws of Louisiana, nor repugnant to the Constitution of the State of Louisiana nor that of the United States.
C. DERBIGNY, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
President of the Senate. Approved: April 6th, 1843.
A. MOUTON, Governor of the State of Louisiana.