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The Ice Folk And The Earth Folk
by [?]

The first Ohio stories are part of the common story of the wonderful Ice Age, when a frozen deluge pushed down from the north, and covered a vast part of the earth’s surface with slowly moving glaciers. The traces that this age left in Ohio are much the same as it left elsewhere, and the signs that there were people here ten thousand years ago, when the glaciers began to melt and the land became fit to live in again, are such as have been found in the glacier drift in many other countries. Even before the ice came creeping southwestwardly from the region of Niagara, and passed over two thirds of our state, from Lake Erie to the Ohio River there were people here of a race older than the hills, as the hills now are; for the glaciers ground away the hills as they once were, and made new ones, with new valleys between them, and new channels for the streams to run where there had never been water courses before. These earliest Ohioans must have been the same as the Ohioans of the Ice Age, and when they had fled southward before the glaciers, they must have followed the retreat of the melting ice back into Ohio again. No one knows how long they dwelt here along its edges in a climate like that of Greenland, where the glaciers are now to be seen as they once were in the region of Cincinnati. But it is believed that these Ice Folk, as we may call them, were of the race which still roams the Arctic snows. They seem to have lived as the Eskimos of our day live: they were hunters and fishers, and in the gravelly banks of the new rivers, which the glaciers upheaved, the Ice Folk dropped the axes of chipped stone which are now found there. They left nothing else behind them; but similar tools or weapons are found in the glacier-built river banks of Europe, and so it is thought that the race of the earliest Ohio men lived pretty much all over the world in the Ice Age.

One of the learned writers[*] who is surest of them and has told us most about them, holds that they were for their time and place as worthy ancestors as any people could have; and we could well believe this because the Ohio man has, in all ages, been one of the foremost men.

* Professor G. F. Wright.

Our Ice Folk were sturdy, valiant, and cunning enough to cope with the fierce brute life and the terrible climate of their day, but all they have left to prove it is the same kind of stone axes that have been found in the drift of the glaciers, along the water courses in Northern France and Southern England.

Our Ice Folk must have dressed like their far-descended children, the Eskimos, in furs and skins, and like them they must have lived upon fish and the flesh of wild beasts. The least terrible of these beasts would have been the white bear; the mammoth and mastodon were among the animals the Ice Folk hunted for game, and slew without bows or arrows, for there was no wood to make these of. The only weapon the Ice Folk had was the stone ax which they may have struck into their huge prey when they came upon it sleeping or followed in the chase till it dropped with fatigue. Such an ax was dug up out of the glacial terrace, as the bank of this drift is called, in the valley of the Tuscarawas, in 1889, perhaps ten thousand years after it was left there. It was wrought from a piece of black flint, four inches long and two inches wide; at the larger end it was nearly as thick as it was wide, and it was chipped to a sharp edge all round. Within the present year another of the Ice Folk’s axes has been found near New London, twenty-two feet under ground, in the same kind of glacial drift as the first. But it seems to have been made of a different kind of stone, and to have been so deeply rotted by the long ages it had been buried that when its outer substance was scratched away, hardly anything of the hard green rock was left.