Ohio History Journal

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The white man, when he first crossed the Allegheny

Mountains and entered the Ohio Valley, found many

crude drawings of the figures of men and beasts on the

rocks, along the Guyandotte and Ohio rivers. Of course

it is not positively known whether these pictures were

the work of Indians or of some tribes that preceded the

Indians. On the Kentucky shore, about opposite the

foot of Bond Street, Portsmouth, Ohio, there still stands

one of these inscribed rocks, known as the "Indian's

head." A hundred years ago, this rock, and the Indian

head cut in it, could be seen when the river was low.

But, owing to changes in the channel of the river, the

rock is now visible only when the river is exceedingly

low. And the face, carved on the rock, is beneath the

water, even at its lowest stages. On September 9, 1894,

the Ohio River was so low that about two feet of the

rock was above the surface of the water; and the Indian

head was about ten inches below the surface of the

water. The head could be easily traced with the hand;

and, in the morning, when the rising sun shone fairly on

the water, above the sculpture, the Indian head was

plainly visible, beneath the waters. Doubt has been ex-

pressed as to this figure's being the work of ancient

tribes. There is a tradition that stone was quarried

from the hill above it, during pioneer days, and that a

quarryman carved the Indian face. Squier and Davis

in "Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley"

(1847) thus described it:

"It consists of a colossal human head cut in outline, upon the

vertical face of a large rock extending into the river. It is al-

ways under water, except when the river is at its very lowest

stages, and is not exposed oftener than once in four or five years.