Todd County, Kentucky Indians

The relation of the Indians to the Mound-Builders has not been satisfactorily determined by scientists. Indian traditions are so vague, and so utterly lacking in the prime essentials for a scientific basis, that few archaeologists have taken them into the account. Some, however, have hazarded an hypothesis in accordance with the traditions mentioned above, while others (among whom the late Mr. Morrison, an account of whose researches in New Mexico have been published by the Smithsonian Institute), have taken the ground that the Indian is a descendant of these ancient people, and that the famed Montezuma, whose halls have furnished so rich a store of poetic illusion, was nothing but a dirty Indian in a mud hut. Whatever may be the truth in all this, the Indian still stands, by the great mass of evidence, an independent race, and the successor of the Mound-Builder, whose remains are found in this county as well as elsewhere in the State. Whether the traditions quoted sufficiently account for the fact or not, it remains unquestioned that the Indian did not choose to make his home in the ” dark and bloody ground,” and while the pioneers possessed the land only after a long and determined struggle, the early annals contain no record of the wigwam blaze or the council fires in this State. There are abundant evidences of their presence in Todd County, as there are of their predecessors, but the early settlement of the county seems to have been singularly free of those dangers and thrilling exploits so common in almost every settlement of Ohio at the same date. The nuclei of Kentucky’s early settlement were at Boonesboro and Harrodsburg, and against these and their deploying stations the natives engaged in a bitter and determined struggle; but these were maintained from the region north of the Ohio, and ceased to be especially alarming to local communities by the beginning of the present century. The rock formation exposed in this county furnished an abundance of the material from which the Indians formed their implements, and places are pointed out in Todd where the debris would seem to indicate that the savages at some time had engaged in the manufacture of arrowheads on a large scale here. Many of the finished products have. been found, some of unique design, but neither tradition nor reminiscence furnishes material ” to point a moral or adorn a tale.” The earliest settlers of the county did construct a fort on Spring Creek west of Guthrie, but it was probably on the general principle ” that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” Here women and children found security behind a strong stockade and bolted doors, while the men worked in the field with guns at their backs. There are no traditions of Indian hostilities perpetrated here, and while this peaceful issue contributed to the comfort and success of the. early settlers, it leaves the chronicler of those times no ” hair-breadth scapes mid the imminent deadly breach ” with which to embellish his pages.


Battle, J. H., W. H. Perrin, Counties of Todd and Christian, Kentucky : historical and biographical, Chicago : F. A. Battey Publishing Co., 1884.

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