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horizontal extent. The labor of quarrying is light, in consequence of the rock being exposed in cliffs, so as to preclude the necessity of excavation. . “The Magnesian limestone of Yorkshire, England, selected by some of the most experienced geologists in the world as the best building-stone in England, is, if not the equivalent of the cliff limestone of Wisconsin, a rock very closely resembling it. The inference is, that some of the strata of the cliff limestone of Wisconsin may be expected to furnish building materials of a quality the most superior.” In many parts of the State, more recent explorations have been made, and quarries of various kinds of marble discovered, which promise to be abundant and valuable. According to Messrs. Foster and Whitney's report, they are found on the Michigamig and Mennomonee Rivers, and afford beautiful varieties, whose prevailing color is light pink, traversed by veins or seams of deep red. Others are blue and dove-colored, beautifully veined. They are susceptible of a fine polish, and some on the Mennomonee are within navigable distance of New York.
Several very singular monuments, or collections of monuments, are to be seen a few miles from Madison, the capital of Wisconsin. These are conical elevations of earth, standing on the prairies, or sometimes covered by a grove, of very regular shape, usually from five to ten feet in height, and from thirty to fifty in diameter, having a circular base. They are generally in groups, or collective ranges, some half dozen or more being placed in line, in contact or contiguity at the bases, extending usually from east to west. By what people discovered, at what time, or with what design, is still involved in doubt. It seems, however, that they must have been intended for receptacles for the dead.
The perfect regularity of shape and direction, forbid the idea of a natural formation. The Indians know nothing of them, have no traditions, and therefore the inference is drawn that they were the work of another race, before the tribes now here possessed the country. To our mind, however, the inference is not a legitimate one. The Indian traditions are of the creation, the deluge, the first appearance of man and woman upon the earth, great events connected with the formation and peopling of the world, and kindred to them; but of the extinction of tribes or nations by war, pestilence, and the inhumation of bodies slain by disease or battle, they transmit, we believe, no story. Had these mounds been constructed but a few centuries ago, the present descendants of the people who reared them, might be now informed of their date or object. These mounds were examined by Mr. Locke, who was astonished to find that some well-informed persons, in their neighborhood, should pretend to dispute their artificial origin. He remarks: “The same ambition to exercise an independent judgment might lead these individuals to dispute that the ruins of Herculaneum are artificial; the same argument might be used, that “they just come so in the earth.” I am convinced of the correctness of Mr. Taylor's account,” in which he describes them as being ‘in the form of animals’ effigies.” “There is another group of works about eight miles east of the Blue Mounds. They are on the great road from Prairie du Chien, through Madison, to Lake Michigan — a road so decidedly marked by nature, that I presume it has been the thoroughfare, ‘the trail,” the great ‘war-path,” eyer since the region in the vicinity has been inhabited by migrating man, and will continue to be his pathway until
1 In his report to Dr. Owen.
the hills and the rivers exchange their places.” In examin. ing some of these works, I did not discover a ditch or cavity from which the earth to construct them had been taken. They occupy commanding hill-tops and the gentle slopes into the valleys, being uniformly raised from a smooth and well-formed surface, always above inundation, and well guarded from the little temporary currents produced from showers.
“If these figures were originally intended to represent animals, they might have been much more distinct and specific than they now are. It is obvious that any minute delineations must soon be obliterated by the agency of the weather. Most of them have the upper part of the head, the ears, or antlers, apparently too large—at least it appears so in the drawings. They are the favorite resort of badgers, which, finding them raised and dry, have selected them for burrowing; and it is wonderful that they retain their outline so perfectly. But above all the creatures, civilized man will obliterate them the most speedily; and it is much to be regretted that the multitude of extraordinary figures, raised like embossed ornaments over the whole part of this country, could not be accurately measured and delineated before they shall be obliterated for ever. I had other duties to perform, and was enabled to take these measurements by an enthusiasm which awoke me in my tent at midnight, and assisted me to prepare my breakfast before day, and sent me into the cold bleak fields on a November morning, to finish the admeasurements of a whole group of figures before the usual time of commencing the labors of the day. Mr. Taylor has represented the effigies of birds, and one of the human figure, as occurring here; and I am happy, with a full conviction of the general accuracy of his representations, to call the reader's attention to his interesting paper.
“On one of the hills I saw an embankment exactly in the form of the cross, as it is usually represented as the emblem of Christianity. Some of the surveyors brought in sketches of works in the form of birds, with wings expanded, and I heard of others in the form of lizards and tortoises. From what I have seen, I should think it very probable that these forms are to be found. But in order that their existence should excite in the public that interest which, as relics of ancient history, they really possess, they should be so exactly surveyed and depicted that their representations can be relied upon with confidence. I object to the very careless and imperfect manner in which most of our antiquities have been examined, by which they have been rather guessed at, than surveyed.”
Other earthworks have been found scattered over different parts of the State. At Aztalan, in Jefferson County, there is an ancient fortification, 550 yards long, 275 yards wide, with walls four or five feet high, and more than twenty feet thick at the base. Another work, resembling a man in a recumbent position, 120 feet long, and 30 across the trunk, is to be seen near the Blue Mounds; and one resembling a turtle, 56 feet in length, at Prairieville. These artificial works are generally without order, but sometimes have a systematic arrangement, with fragments of pottery often scattered around. Some are so defaced as to make it difficult to trace the animal resemblance referred to, while others are distinctly visible. One is said to have been discovered near Cassville, resembling the extinct Mastodon.
CHAPTER W. LUMBER REGIONS OF WISCONSIN – RIVERS — LAKES, ETC.
WISCONSIN possesses peculiar advantages as a lumbering country. There are vast pine forests on the Upper Wisconsin and its tributaries, the Wolf river, the St. Croix, many branches of the Mississippi, and on Lake Superior. The other forest trees are spruce, tamarac, cedar, oaks of different species, birch, aspen, basswood, hickory, elm, ash, hemlock, poplar, sycamore, and sugar maple. The oak openings form a pleasing feature in the landscape, and comprise a large portion of the finest lands of the State. They owe their present condition to the action of the annual fires, which have kept under all forest growth, except the varieties of oak which can withstand the sweep of that element. A few years since the lumber of Western New York, and Pennsylvania, had undisputed possession of the market of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, above New Orleans. The course of this trade may now be considered as permanently changed. The extensive and valuable pineries of Wisconsin control, and will soon have entire possession of these markets, and also supply, to a considerable extent, the country on the lakes. The whole region between the Wisconsin and St. Croix rivers is interspersed with thick groves of large white pines, which are not excelled in quality by those of Maine, New Brunswick, the Alleghany or Susquehanna rivers, or of any other part of the world. While some of this pine timber