Besides these we have --
Strophomena rugosa, in great profusion.
S. planæanvoxa, " " [should read planoconvexa]
S. deltoidea, " "
S. alternata, very numerous.
Orthis testudinaria, very numerous.
Orthis subquadrata, "
Orthis occidentalis, "
Orthis biferatus, Va. Lynx, "
Spirifer, not numerous.
Halysites, of Niagara group.
Favosites, of the Devonian.
Petraia, very numerous in Silurian rocks.
Encrinites, of several species.
Calymene Blumenbachii, and several other trilobites.
Astrea rugosa, rare.
Rhynchonella Wilsoni, rare.
Cyathophyllum turbinatum, rare.
In addition to these there are many other varieties which I am not
able to identify.
Nodules of iron ore are occasionally found among the drift and gravel
of the river banks, bearing evidence of having been water-worn, and
were brought here with the other drift materials. The quantity is too
small ever to be of any value. Pyrites, or sulphide of iron, is generally
diffused among all the rocks, but in very small quantities; it is found
between the layers, adhering to their surfaces, and occasionally crystals
are found in the blue clay. The most beautiful specimens I have seen were
found in the Niagara rock in Posey township. It has the color of gold.
There is a tradition that lead was once found upon a small tributary
of the East fork, one mile from Brookville.
It is still the belief of some people that lead exists there, yet no man
has been found who has himself seen the ore. The opinion is
founded upon the old story, that an Indian had communicated the secret
to some of the early settlers.
I have never been able to find it, and have no idea that lead will
ever be found there, or indeed in any other part of the county, unless
it be in very small quantities in the Devonian group.
A single piece of native copper has been found in the county, weighing
about six pounds. It was no doubt transported with the drift from Lake
Superior, as it was rounded, and bore other evidences of attrition.
In the northwest part of the county, in Laurel and Posey townships,
upon Sein creek and its branches, gold is generally disseminated in very
small particles. A common panfull of gravel and sand, when washed out,
generally shows from two to three particles of gold in thin scales. None
has ever been found larger than a grain of wheat. Though so generally
disseminated, it is doubtful whether the quantity is sufficient to pay
the expenses of washing it out. Gold has also been found upon Little Duck
creek, and in other places in the county. The yellow clay in the neighborhood
where gold is found, is mixed with quartz or chert, and whether the gold
belongs to this formation, or has been transported in the drift, it would
be difficult to say. Hornstone, in horizontal strata, is abundant in
the neighborhood of the localities where the gold is ound. Gold is here,
as elsewhere, found associated with black sand.
From forty to fifty years ago salt was made at four different places
in the county. It has been so long ago that it has almost become
traditional that salt was once produced here. A few of the older
inhabitants, who were then
very young, remember the fact, but I have yet found no one who can tell
me what amount was made, or how many gallons of the water it took to make a
bushel of salt. Three of the salt wells were on Salt creek, two on the
farm of George and David Hawkins, section 4, township 11, range 12 east,
and one on the farm of Alexander Hawkins, of the same section. The latter
is the well at which the largest amount of salt was made. The fourth well
was on Pipe creek, section 8, township 10, range 13 east, northeast
quarter, in Butler township. These wells are all situated in the blue
limestone and clay marls of the Lower Silurian group. On the hills near
them is found the magnesian and bituminous nodular series, which, as I
have before stated, occupy but a very few feet in perpendicular height,
and belong to the Upper Silurian. It is not probable that the water of
these wells is of such a character, or in quantities sufficient to render
the working of them profitable.
Many people have an idea that coal may be found in Franklin county,
and it has heretofore been impossible to convince them that there is none.
Next in importance to knowing what a district of country does contain,
is a knowledge of what it does not contain. If I could convince
those persons who believe in its existence here, that it does not belong
to our formation, and that any search for it will be utterly hopeless, I
should feel that some good had been accomplished.
The semi-crystalline rocks of the upper and lower Silurian system
were formed in the early ages of the world's history, when there was no
vegetation upon the earth, except a very few and widely separated sea-weeds.
Coal is universally admitted to be of vegetable origin, and its immense
quantity points to a period for its formation, when the earth was
densely covered with vegetation, tropical in character, such as tree
ferns, gigantic rushes, etc., similar to those now found in some parts
of Central and South America. The rocks of Franklin, and adjoining counties,
deposited at a period long anterior to that in which coal was formed,
and long before the earth was prepared to produce land plants, except
a few, of the most insignificant character -- this being the fact, it was
impossible that coal could have been formed here at that early period.
This should be sufficient to convince every one that it need not be
sought for in this county. Fragments of black bituminous shale, which
will burn feebly, are occasionally found here. This, no doubt, has been
the cause of misleading people as to the existence of coal in this
Clay of a good quality for the manufacture of bricks is found in
every part of the county. They are made on the uplands of the fine-grained
yellow and whitish clay of first rate quality. Many are also made near
Brookville, from the arenaceous loam of the river bottom lands, of very
good quality, but occasionally contain fragments of lime, which slacks
after exposure of the brick to the air, causing them to break, and rendering
them unfit for outer walls. With care to exclude the lime, these bricks
are as good, if not better, than those made from the upland clays.
Stone, known usually as the "blue Cincinnati limestone," is abundant
everywhere, and is the surface-rock, as has been said elsewhere, in the
southeastern third of the county. It is a valuable and very durable stone,
but, unfortunately, there are but few strata, of sufficient firmness to
work well, which exceed six inches in thickness. The thinner layers
are used in walling cellars, and all other rough work where beauty is
not essential. Many of the thicker strata are so shelly, and composed of
broken corals and fossil shells, that they are not suited to ordinary
stonework. Every stone which is sufficiently firm to bear hammer-dressing,
may be relied upon as being sufficently durable for any description of
masonry. The thin strata are extensively used for flagging the sidewalks
in the town, and have proved to be durable, and will, no doubt, outlast
several successive pavements of brick.
The localites where this rock is found are so numerous, and so generally
known, that to point them out would be superfluous. North of Brookville,
one mile and a half in a direct line, the rock of which we have been
speaking disappears under a stratum of (probably) magnesian limestone,
which varies from six to twenty inches in thickness. This stone is
extensively used for heavy masonry, and range-work of various kinds; its
qualities have been mentioned in a former part of this report, and need
not be repeated here. It is extensively quarried by Mr. Schrichte, on
the south-east quarter of section 17, town 9, range 2 west; also an the
lands of Jane McCarty, sections 8 and 9; on W. W. Butler's, section 8; on
the farm of W. J. Peck, sections 13 and 14; on Josiah Allen's, and James
Gavin's section 15; on the lands of John Skinner, Wm.
Brier, and Samuel Shepperd, section 7; William Frank's, section 18; on
lands of Z. B. Reed and J. P. Shiltz, sections 17 and 18; also on the
lands of C. T. Gordon, section 32; and those of M. H. Gordon, section
30, town 12 north, range 13 east. It is also found on H. H. Seal's farm,
section 36, town 10, range 2 west. South of Brookville it is found on
the lands of Hon. A. B. Line, J. H. Lanning and John Althero [should
read: Alther] -- all in
section 28, town 11 north, range 13 east; also on lands of E. Krause
and P. Conrad, section 17, town 10 north, range 13 east. It is found in
and around the town of Oldenburg, in great abundance, section 4, town 10
north, range 12 east; also on H. Schwegmann's farm, section 1, same town.
Besides the localities already mentioned, there are many others which
might be named; but to enumerate them all would render this report tedious
and unnecessarily long.
The most valuable building-stone in the county, or probably in the
State, is found in Laurel and Posey townships. It is of the same character,
and belongs to the same formation as the Dayton stone so extensively used
in Cincinnati and other places, and the same as that found at Greensburg
and St. Paul. This group has generally been referred to the Niagara series,
and probably correctly so,
S. G. R. -- 13.
but I am of opinion that the upper strata, at least, belong to the
Devonian formation. The few fossils I have been able to find in them
(the upper members) are referable, in my opinion, to that group. Let
this be as it may, the rocks are without doubt of great value as a building
material, and when they come to be generally known will be extensively
Two miles north-west of Laurel, D. H. Mook owns a valuable quarry,
which has been extensively worked. The strata are generally blue, especially
the lower series, are hard, easily worked to a fine edge, are durable, and
may be obtained of any required size or thickness. It is situated on the
south-east quarter of section 5, town 12 north, range 12 east. Immediately
west, in the same section, there is a fine outcrop of the same rock upon
the land of Wm. Depperman; this has not been worked to the same extent as
Mook's, but it contains a vast amount of valuable material.
On section 17, town 12 north, range 12 east, Messrs. Kemble & Payne
own a quarry of very fine quality of stone. In this quarry the upper
members are cream-colored cherty limestone. Stone of any desirable
thickness may be obtained there.
John H. Faurot has a fine quarry on the southwest quarter of section 18,
town 12, range 12; it has been but little worked. James Murphy also has a
fine quarry in the same section. Thomas B. and William D. Adams, whose
farm is on section 1, town 12, range 11 east, have a good quarry of the
same character of stone. It is upon this farm where gold has been found in
greater quantity than in any other locality in the neighborhood.
To these gentlemen, and especially to Thomas B. Adams, Esq., I am
greatly indebted for assistance in prosecuting my examinations in that
section of the county; and to the Rev. Wm. B. Adams my acknowledgments
are due for hospitable treatment and entertainment at his residence.
Martha Plow owns a quarry in section 6, town 12, range
12, which promises well, but has not been worked to any considerable extent.
J. A. Derbyshire has a fine quarry on section 20, town 12, range 12, and
G. W. Kimble another in section 19.
Alfred Deter has, adjoining the village of Bulltown, in Posey township,
a good quarry in section 13, town 12, range 11 east. This is the most
western quarry I have seen.
One of the finest quarries in this formation belongs to Jesse Cloud,
and is situate in the south-west quarter of section 7, town 12 north,
range 12 east. The strata vary in thickness from two inches to ten. The
thin flags are yellow, very hard, and upon being struck with a hammer give
out a clear sharp ring, similar to glass; they are very durable,
notwithstanding their argillaceous character.
Flagging, or stone for any other purpose, may be obtained here, or at
any of the neighboring quarries, of uniform thickness and of any
Besides these quarries there are a number of others in the vicinity
which might be mentioned, but I deem it unnecessary to name them all, as
they may be found in a belt two and a half miles in width by five or six
Franklin county was originally covered with a magnificent forest,
comprising most of the hard timber trees common to the latitude. A little
more than one-half of all the lands have been cleared, and are now under
cultivation; and in the remaining half a large amount of the best timber
has been sawed into lumber or made into staves, so that good timber in the
county is comparatively scarce, and is becoming more so every
The principal timber trees are:
White oak (Quercus alba). This is, and always was, the most
abundant tree in the county.
Burr oak (Quercus macrocarpa). Found in various parts of the
county, but nowhere abundant.
Chestnut oak (Quercus Castanea). Two miles north of Brookville,
upon a poor point, there is a grove of about
thirty chestnut-oak trees. These are all I have ever seen in Southeastern
Red oak (Quercus rubra). Very common.
Black oak (Quercus tinctoria). Common upon the hills.
Red beech (Fagus ferruginea)), and white beech (Fagus
Sylvestris). The most numerous of all trees except white oak.
Shellbark hickory (Carya alba). Very abundant.
Thick shellbark (Carya sulcata). Quite common.
Pig-nut hickory (Carya glabra). Common.
White ash (Fraxinum Americana). A very common and valuable
Blue ash (Fraxinum quadrangulata). Rather abundant, and the
most valuable of all ash timber.
Hoop ash (Celtis Mississippiensis), and hackberry (Celtis
occidentalis). Quite common, the latter tree the most numerous.
Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis). Plentiful along the borders
of all our streams.
Butternut (Juglans Cinerea). Quite common.
Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). One very abundant, now
Black walnut (Juglans nigra). Formerly abundant, but now
Sugar maple (Acer saccharinum). Abundant.
White maple (Acer dasycarpum). Common.
Red or swamp maple (Acer rubrum). Common.
Wild cherry (Cerasus Virginiana). Not abundant.
Sweet gum (Liquidamber Styraciflua). Common in the southern
part of the county; occasionally found in northeast part.
Cottonwood (Populus angulata). Quite common along our streams.
Linden-basswood (Tilia Americana). Very common.
Buckeye (Æscules glabra). Very abundant.
Coffee-nut (Gymnocladus Canadensis). Not very abundant.
Honey locust (Gleditschia triacanthos). Quite common.
Gum (Nyssa uniflora). Common.
Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva). Common.
White elm (Ulmus Americana). Abundant.
Mulberry (Morus rubra). Rather abundant.
Red cedar (Juniperus Virginiana). A few small groves in the
In addition to the timber trees above names there are many smaller
varieties, but as they are seldom used for building or mechanical purposes
I have thought it unnecessary to name them.
Our streams do not furnish, upon the average, more than one-third the
amount of water they did thirty or forty years ago. There were then many
water-mills upon the small tributaries of Whitewater that are now abandoned
on account of the failure of water. This failure is caused by the
destruction of the forests, and by draining the flat uplands. Whilst the
surface was covered with trees, brush and leaves, the water, after rains,
was prevented from flowing rapidly into the streams, so that the rises
were gradual, but since the side-hills have been cleared and set in grass,
and the level lands drained, the water rushes rapidly into the streams,
causing great floods, which wash the banks, overflow many of the bottoms,
and as quickly subside, leaving a deficiency of water as compared with
former years. These floods have greatly marred the beauty of the river
by washing away the banks, and leaving great accumulations of gravel and
sand in its widened bed. Formerly the stream was bordered by trees, and
the water was so transparent in the fall and winter that the bottom could
be seen at a depth of twenty feet. It is still a very clear stream, but by
no means equal to what it was formerly. The fall upon the average is six
feet to the mile -- some places more, some less -- but everywhere ample
power may be had to propel almost any amount of machinery.
The Whitewate canal, now abandoned for purposes of navigation, is
still used for hydraulic purposes, and fur-
nishes a very large amount of valuable water-power which is used to
some extent, but there are still a number of locks unoccupied which are
capable of furnishing almost any necessary amount of power.
There are few earth-works, except mounds, found in this county. Three
miles north of Brookville, and immediately west of the East fork, upon
the top of a hill near three hundred and fifty feet high, there is a
semicircular wall of earth three hundred yards in length. It is built
across a narrow ridge which is formed by two deep ravines, one on the
south, the other on the north, which, with the river on the east, isolate
the flat on top of the hill (containing fifteen or twenty acres,) from
the level country to the west, and was built, probably, to protect the
inhabitants from any enemy approaching from that direction.
There are quite a number of earthen mounds in the county, but none
of large size; I have seen none more than ten or twelve feet high; many
of them are not above three or four feet in height. Those on the highlands
bordering the river are uniformly upon the highest places, and always in
view of the river and its valley.
These mounds are so situated with reference to each other that a person
standing on a mound in the most northern part of the county, overlooking the
valley of the river, could see the next mound below him, and from the
second the third was in view, and so with all the others, thus forming a
chain of observatories, from which the approach of an enemy could be
telegraphed with great celerity from one to the other, either by smoke
or some other intelligible signal. Though these mounds were used as
burial places, I have no doubt they were also used as signal posts; and
very probably the signals were made by fire, for the clay of which they
are composed in some cases has been burned to near the color of common
The Mound Builders were a people posssessing rare good taste, which is
evidenced by the situation of their mounds.
These were always built in picturesque positions -- either on the highest
grounds, or, if in the valleys, upon the edges of the highest river
terraces, overlooking the water and the lower portions of the valley.
Two miles below Brookville, upon the farm of Mr. Roberts, there are,
within the distance of two furlongs, upon the edge of the highest river
terrace, nine small mounds. Besides these nine, which appear to have been
completed, there is one barely commenced and abandoned. The commencement
was made by digging up the earth to the depth of about twelve inches, which
was then thrown out from the center and heaped up around the circumference,
forming a circle within which the superstructure was to be ercted, and
which has very much the appearance of a shallow basin. It was in these
basins that the dead were burned, or rather partly burned, for they were
not usually entirely consumed. Not many mounds in this neighborhood have
been thoroughly explored; and, in such as have, few contain anything more
than bones and charcoal. In two of them bracelets of copper were found, and,
in some others, a pipe or two; one of these, found in a mound eight miles
below Brookville, was said, by those who found it, still to have retained
the scent of tobacco; if this be true, it conclusively proves that these
people used tobacco as well as their successors, the modern Indians.
There are upon many of the high points mounds of stone, which have been
erected by a different people from the Mound Builders. These contain vast
quantities of human bones, both of adults and children, as well as the
bones of squirrels, skunks, and other small animals. These were not
probably the burial places for the dead, but a collection of their bones
brought together from many places for final sepulture.
FOSSIL BONES OF MASTODON, &C.
Parts of skeletons of three mastodons (mastodon maximus) have
been exhumed in the neighborhood of Brookville; one of them about a mile
below, and the other three and a half miles; both found among the gravel
in the up-
per river terrace, some eight or nine feet below the surface. This
conclusively proves that these animals existed previously, if not at the
time, of the formation of the terraces. They were most probably destroyed
by the flood which transported the drift. The third skeleton was found
three and a half miles north-east of Brookville, on the farm of Mr. David
Barnard, in a piece of marshy ground which he was ditching. A tooth or
two, and some other bones of the mammoth (Elephas primigenius) were
found some years ago in Saltcreek township; one of the grinders, which I
once had in my possession, was thirteen inches wide, six inches deep, and
four inches thick, and weighed, when found, fourteen pounds, but after
being thoroughly dried weighed but eleven. Only about half the tooth had
been used in mastication, the balance not having, at the death of the
animal, appeared above the integuments of the jaw.
SOIL AND AGRICULTURE.
There is considerable variety in the soil of Franklin county. The
Whitewater bottoms are, or at least once were, as productive lands as could
be found anywhere; they contain a large per cent. of vegetable matter, or
humus, with clay, sand and lime -- in fact all the elements of fertility.
Some of these lands have produced pretty fair crops of corn for fifty
successive years without the use of any kind of manures. This constant
cropping in corn, however, is perceptibly exhausting them, and points out
the necessity of a rotation in crops, and the application of fertilizers,
if we expect them to maintain their fertility.
Forty years ago wheat could not be profitably produced in the alluvial
bottoms on account of the great amount of vegetable matter which the soil
contained. This has to a considerable extent been exhausted by the growing
of corn and these lands now produce good crops of wheat. In the eastern
part of the county, Bath, Springfield, and Whitewater townships, there is
a large amount of level and very productive land. Many parts of this
section were formerly considered to be of little value on account of their
character, but, since they have been cleared and drained, hey are considered,
taken all in all, to be the most desirable lands we have. The soil is largely
composed of vegetable matter with a subsoil of yellow clay.
I will forward a specimen of the soil from Springfield township, which
will give you an idea of the character of the soil in that section. Lands
there range from forty to eighty dollars per acre.
In Blooming Grove township the soil is gray, and in many cases nearly
white, with a yellow argillaceous subsoil found at about fifteen inches
below the surface. This clay, when brought up and mixed with the superficial
soil greatly enhances its productiveness. I have no doubt that if these
lands could be subsoiled, and this clay mixed with the soil, the result
would be a great improvement in their productiveness.
In the southern part of the county the soil is also grayish, with a
subsoil of arenaceous yellow clay. This soil is not so productive as
that in some other parts of the county, but produces fine apples, peaches,
and other fruits. In the western part of the county, the soil is gray, with
a subsoil of ferruginous-colored clay. This clay abounds in fragments of
hornstone. The soil is more productive than its appearance would lead
us to expect.
In the surface diluvial soils I have been unable anywhere to find even
a trace of lime. None of them effervesce in the slightest degree with
acids. If they ever contained lime (which will admit of doubt), it has
been leached out by the constant percolation of water during the
past ages. I have found it a hard matter to convince our farmers that
their lands contain no lime, and in many cases have entirely failed to
I have no doubt that lime could be beneficially applied to these
lands, provided the precaution be taken at the same time to apply manure,
muck, or to plow in a crop of green clover.
Our farmers are generally well situated, but little in debt; most of
them have good houses, and many even
elegant residences. There is a great amount of substantial comfort and
wealth among them. The county is remarkably healthy, and nothing seems to
be wanting that is necessary to render them happy and contented.
Interstratifed with the "Cliff" rock, there are strata of a crumbling
impure limestone, having every external appearance of the Louisville
cement rock. It has not been tested, ut there can be but little doubt
that it will prove to be of this character. I have sent specimens to Mr.
Speed, of the Louisville Cement Co., to be tested, but as yet have not
heard the result.
Brookville, Ind., Nov. 22, 1869.
1869 Table of Contents
Geology Library, Indiana