THE OH/WV Sternwheelers No. 1418, Questers Chapter, which is less than a decade old, delved into prehistory during its last meeting for the summer.
The Adena Indian Mound in the old Hodgen's Cemetery in Tiltonsville was the focus of a Questers' meeting last Tuesday. Erika Scarpone was the leader in the discussion telling about the mound.
The mound was built by the Adena culture, and that refers to the prehistoric American Indian peoples who lived in southern Ohio and neighboring regions of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana during the Early Woodland Period.
STANDING at the memorial near the Adena Indian Mound in Tiltonsville are, from left, Kim Gray, president of the OH/WV Sternwheelers No. 1418, Questers Chapter, and Cathy Cooper, vice president. The memorial is to honor those who served in all wars. Other Questers officers are Vincetta Blackburn, treasurer, and Linda Lancio, secretary. The Questers Chapter recently met at the cemetery and heard a presentation by Erika Scarpone about the historic site.
"They were the first people in this region to settle down in small villages, cultivate crops, use pottery vessels, acquire exotic raw materials, such as copper and marine shell, to make ornaments and jewelry and bury their honored dead in conical burial mounds," according to Ohio History Central of the Ohio Historical Society. It lists the Adena culture as existing from 800 B.C. to A.D. 1.
This was the first time for the Sternwheelers Chapter to visit the mound. Scarpone indicated she usually is in charge of a meeting during the winter, and she has wanted to have the group visit the historic site in Tiltonsville.
"They loved it," she added. "It's something I've been wanting to do."
The Questers don't concentrate only on prehistoric sites. Their programs have been to such places as the Ohio Pottery, old school buildings and the Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing.
In addition, members bring antiques they have collected in order to present programs. An objective of the group is to stimulate an appreciation of antiques and their collection.
During the programs, the presenters provide information about the sites or antiques. Scarpone said, "It's fun to search (for information) and a joy to find."
She said one of her friends referred to the Questers' presentations as "an adult show and tell."
They don't limit itself to discussions and items related to history during their meetings.
The group applies for grants for others working on history-related projects. At present, the group is seeking a grant to help with restoration of the Madonna of the Trail statue along the National Road (U.S. 40) in Wheeling.
This is in line with the purposes as described in the Questers' website. The group's aims are "are to educate by research and study of antiques and to donate funds to the preservation and restoration of artifacts, existing memorials, historic buildings, landmarks and educational purposes."
Dedicated July 7, 1928, the Madonna of the Trail statue at Wheeling Park was a Daughters of the American Revolution project in cooperation with the National Old Trails Road Association. Harry Truman, who later became president of the United States, was president of that association, and he spoke at the dedication.
Scarpone said when she gave the presentation concerning the mound, she referred to the writings of the late Robert Richardson. Richardson wrote two books, "Tilton Territory" and "A Time and Place in Ohio," as well as preparing special information about the cemetery.
Referred to as the Tiltonsville Cemetery Mound or the Hodgen's Cemetery Mound, the Adena mound is on the National Register of Historic Places.
According to information submitted for the National Register designation, some human skeletal fragments were discovered at the mound. "An archaeologist was informed of the find and determined that the cranial fragments were those of an Adena Indian."
That information goes on to explain the Adena people practiced head deformation by carrying a baby on a cradleboard and binding its head back against the flat surface of the board. "This produced a flattened occipital region and a marked brachycephalic measurement. Therefore, the skeletal fragments that washed from the mound could be readily identified as Adena because they contained an occiput."
The nomination also points out the Tiltonsville mound "is unusual for an Adena mound because it is located on the valley floor of the Ohio River rather than in the surrounding hills. This practice is not unique because other Adena mounds ... (including one in Adams County, which is listed on the National Register) have been located similarly, but it is the exception rather than the rule."
Scarpone said the Sternwheelers Chapter was begun in 2003 by Joan Powell, and it has 11 members. Meetings are held the last Tuesdays of the month, except during the summer.
"We're on hiatus for the summer," she added, noting meetings will resume at the end of September. "We always come up with interesting things. We always learn something."
Pokas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.