Ancient Graves of White County

“The Susquehanna Democrat” – published Wilkesbarre 1 August 1828 (Luzerne County, PA)

Contributed by Paula Radwanski

“Ancient Burying Ground”

While at Pittsburg, Pa., in May, the Rev. GWINN, an aged and respectable member of the General Conference, related to me some circumstances respecting ancient burying grounds, in the section of the country in which he resides, which appeared to me of an interesting character. Having a desire to retain the facts, he very kindly gave them to me in wiring with permission to make any use of them I pleased. My informant said that he had examined those grave yards himself, and could attest to what he had written – the substance of which I forward you for insertion in the Herald if you think it worthy a place.
New Bedford, Mass.
June 26, 1826

In White County, Tennessee, near the town of Sparta, there have been discovered three burying grounds, where a very small people are deposited in tombs (coffins) of stone. The greatest length of the skeletons is nineteen inches. Some being worn smooth and short, while others are full and long. Many of the tombs (graves) have been opened, and the skeletons examined. The graves are about two feet deep; the coffins are of stone, made by laying a flat stone on the bottom, one at each side, one at each end and one over the corpse. The dead are all buried with their heads to the east and in order, laid on their backs and they hands on their breasts. In the bend of the left arm is found a cruise or mug, that would hold nearly a pint, made of ground stone, or shell of grey colour in which is found one, two, or three shells, supposed to be sea shells. One of these skeletons had about the neck, ninety four pearl beads. Near the one which I examined is the appearance of an ancient town. The bones found in these graves are strong and well set. The whole frame appears to be well formed. These grave yards are in extent from half an acre to an acre and a half. In the same neighbourhood is a burying ground where the dead are buried in the same manner as above described, where the skeletons are from seven to nine feet long.

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