HINTON, Okla. (KFOR) — The old California Road used by gold seekers in the 1850s travels through here.
Plains tribes camped in their shadows for untold generations.
Set against the flat prairie, the larger mounds have names attached to them.
Historian Art Peters has found artifacts in their midst and written of their legends.
“Wagon Wheel Mound, there’s Saddle Mound,” he lists, “The ones you can see from I-40 would be Steen’s Buttes.”
These twin peaks carry the name of Dead Woman Mound for a settler family that wintered here in a cave at the hill’s base.
A child was too sick to travel.
Her mother grew ill as well.
The mother died and was buried somewhere nearby.
“We don’t know where the grave is,” he says, “but, obviously, she’s buried around that mound somewhere.”
Of the other named mounds in this area, Ghost Mound carries the scariest sounding title.
“The Indians named Ghost Mound,” says Peters.
Native American legends from different tribes tell of a young woman who climbed the butte to mourn the passing of a lover.
Her father came looking for her and surprised her.
Peters continues, “And as she whipped around to see who called her name she fell off the mound to her death.”
Native American ghost tales tell of sightings on Ghost Mound, but more often, visitors tell of a strange whistling when the wind blows just right.
Art says, “There’s a hollow place or a small cave in the upper parts of Ghost Mound. As the wind passes it sounds like somebody is blowing over a Coke bottle.”
It’s a sorrowful sound that fits with the legend and makes those stories a lot more believable on cold, dark evenings in late October.
Art Peters has written several books on mound legends and of the canyons that cut through that area.
He is the curator at the Hinton Historical Museum.
‘Is This a Great State or What?’ is sponsored by WEOKIE.