History of Old Vincennes and Knox County, Indiana
History, authenticated and systematically compiled, that deals directly with pioneer life of the great northwest territory, is as charming as the most beautiful romance and as fascinating as any picture ever drawn with the facile pen of fiction. The historian, in the development of a field that invites his thought and inspires his pen, unearths facts that lie buried beneath the dust of ages, which shine forth as the light of truth reveals the story of their being with a delightful brilliancy that the recital of fanciful tales cannot impart.
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Old Vincennes! As one stands within its modernized confines and views its immediate surroundings, or looks searchingly beyond the landscape that environs the ancient city, the shadowy light of far gone years, which wrought a magical influence and seemed to have lived with the invisible spirits of the mighty, breaks forth from the dark- ness of ages and enchants his vision with its mysterious beauty. The murmuring waters of the Wabash, "the venerable hills, rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun," proclaim that he is standing on hallowed ground that he is within the precincts where the gods of the aborigines thundered their terrors; where heroes have bled in battle, and heroines of beauty and virtue have blossomed into girlhood and bloomed into womanhood amid scenes of wild and savage splendor; where military genius has been immortalized in deeds of glory, and where the forests, with a gleam of their pristine beauty and grandeur still lingering, recall the abodes of brutality and cruelty. Looking out from the portals, as it were, of the old town, on either side the eye falls upon a great treasure-house of antiquity, which awakens awe and invites silent communion with the venerable forms of unseen and unknown beings and a steadfast contemplation of their imperishable works. The enchanting scene provokes an enquiring mind to penetrate into the mysteries of nature and the handiwork of a forgotten race and search out the unchangeable beauties in remnants of a woodland world. Before the advent of the red man, and even before the Mound Builders peopled this locality, it is conjectured that a race designated as Fishermen were here, as evidenced by discoveries of bone heaps and tumuli of a character peculiar to that race. There is no doubt that the Mound Builders at one period of the world's existence inhabited this locality in large numbers, as indicated by the numerous mounds to be found in all sections of the county. But whence these mysterious people came, or whither they went, has always been a matter of historical conjecture.