-About two miles north of the city of New Castle, on the old New Castle State Hospital grounds, are located the remains of an old Indian village that dates back to the early Indians known as the Adena Culture during the early part of the Woodland period. The mounds on the State Hospital property have been identified a those of the Adena culture and the burial site across Little Blue River valley as that of the Hopewell Indians.
According to several histories ( Alan Shepherd, Asahel Woodward and etc.) of those who lived in that area at the time, the Miami Indians used this area as their village camp site during their fall hunting seasons into this area up until about 1820.
Several other Indian mounds are located within the city limits of New Castle. One is the old Hobson site where the school Administration office is presently located and the other is located near the present Senior high school building in Baker park, of which this one was nearly destroyed during remodeling on the present building and grounds a few years ago. It was saved by a local citizen a couple of years ago who happened to be passing by when he saw what was about to happen, he alerted the construction crew of what they were about to get into. Today it is marked by bronze plaque- HCCGS
Following by Gene Welch
Reporter for the News Republican 1938
Sixty Indian relics unearthed by 30 years ago from two stone Indian mounds north of New Castle, which are the only stone Indian mounds known to exist in Henry County, have been preserved by Doctor Walter Van Nuys, superintendent of the Indiana Village for Epileptics. Van Nuys, who has been interested in Indiana Indian history for many years, preserved the relics as the results of a life-long hobby of local historical study.
The mounds from which the relics were taken are rare kin of the three recognized types of ancient mounds found in this country. While burial mounds and “fortification” mounds abound in Henry County, the village mounds are the only “stone” mounds ever discovered in the county.
The relics were uncovered in 1908 when State employees plowed up the soil on the Epileptic Village grounds just west of the Blue River. Turning up soil 18 inches deep in preparation for building the superintendent’s office and other buildings along the front of the Women’s colony workers uncovered two circles, each 60 feet in diameter, composed of chipped stone. The relics were found scattered through-out the peculiarly broken rocks.
An account of the formation of the two rare mounds was given Van Nuys several years ago by an aged Indian. The mounds were built up, the Indian said, by discarded pieces of rock which Indians used in heating water. Stones were heated in fires and placed in large earthenware vessels filled with water. The sudden temperature change cracked the rocks. They were then thrown aside, and gradually built up to form the mounds.
The collection as originally unearthed contained many relics; a number have been lost and only the 60 preserved today represent only a part of it. Varying little from the ordinary Indian relic collection, the relics are considered unusual because they were taken from the rare mounds. They include Indian food mashers, arrowheads, shells, curiously shaped stones and stone “skinners” used to separate flesh from animal hides.
Dr. Van Nuys hobby of spending hours of delving into Indian history has lead him to many interesting experiences. He has discussed the life of the Red Man with several aged Indians and former old residents of Henry County. He was a close friend of Dr. Amos Butler, former noted New Castle physician, who is also an authority on Henry County history.
Such a vocational study has given Van Nuys one of the rare anecdotes of Henry County Indiana life which have been handed down from mouth to mouth. That anecdote came several years ago from a former Richmond resident, then 90 years of age. The anecdote, told to Van Nuys in story-book fashion, related how the first seed corn was transported from here to Wayne County, Indiana.
As a boy of 8, the story-teller said, he started from his home near Richmond in search of two horses which had wandered from pasture. The search took him to where stands the Epileptic Village; A tribe of Indians were camped along the southern village boundary. Spending the night in the Indian camp inquiring about the horses, the youngster was offered roasting ears for supper-- the first ears of corn he had ever seen. ( See note: most likely from the Asahel Woodward corn-field) He gathered several ears of the new grain from a corn field along the east bank of Blue River and later took back to his native Wayne County the first seed corn ever planted there.
Editor’s Note: Asahel Woodward, one of the first early settlers in Henry county, tells about bringing in and planting corn at an old Indian hut about 1819 and planted the first crop in Henry county see: http://www.hcgs.net/asahel.html