Sour Grapes and Saddle Sores
George Hirst
Gary Hulin Visit
April 20, 2005

Most people in Stark County know that there were Indians in the county a long time before early settlers came. All of our histories mention the Indians. A lot of people have found arrowheads and other artifacts all over the county. There is also evidence of Indian presence all over the State.

In 1975, 30 years ago, Gary Hulin purchased land north and west of Modena, built a home and three years ago, moved there from Henry. He is a native of central Illinois , born in Williamsfield, He taught school in Henry for many years. He has been a collector of Indian artifacts all of his life and has quite a collection. This column is not about the collection alone but what Mr. Hulin knows about American Indian life and times.

There are mounds in Stark County and much evidence of Indian presence. He toldme that on the Bloomington Moraine, (a glacial result, remember?) are signs such as mounds, burial sites and artifacts. There are at least 216 temporary or more permanent identified camp sites from Bradford to west of West Jersey. Most of them are along the Spoon River or Walnut Creek. The oldest camps going back over 10,000 years and the newest in existence at the time of the French traders who were active in this area during the 18th century.

In Hulin's collection there are artifacts from all the Indian Cultures from Clovis and Folsom to arrowheads from the last presence of the Indian in Illinois. One more evidence of the settled nature of the folks is to remind you of the Cahokia Mounds near St Louis. Monk's Mound is 700 feet wide, 1100 feet long and 102 feet high. It was built by hand not by Caterpillar tractors! It is estimated that there were 20,000 people living in the area at that time. This would have been a huge late Mississippian camp site.

When the Wisconsinian Glacier melted and trees and grass grew in the area, the theory is that Buffalo followed the source of nutrition into the area and the Paleo Indian followed the buffalo. The date of that event was 11,000 years ago. I remember speculation about how Clovis and Folsom arrowheads got here. Many of the Clovis and Folsom points were made of a material called knife-river flint. The material was quarried 20 miles west of Bismark, North Dakota.

I asked where the Indian got the material for arrowheads. Mr Hulin told me that the glacial till contains bit rock rock which produces concoidal fractures--sharp edges when broken. The people of that day lived off the land and often ruined the land with their way of life, so they moved on

The Indian history in Stark County is quite a story. Mr Hulin is in the process of writing a book entitled, Path in the Prairie Grasses that should help getting that part of our ancestry on our minds

Not only is Gary Hulan an avid collector of Indian Artefacts and Indian history. He also carves birds of wood. He owns\ a total of 250 acres in Stark County. Incidentally, his land is on a fork of the Spoon River. Forks of rivers were a place where Indian tribes established camp sites. Though all of that he is a subistute teacher in Kewanee and Stark County schools. Susan, his wife is a nurse and works in Peoria. Which is why this article was delayed. He is a hard person to find. Dodie and I had a good time with him.

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