St Johns River Indian Mounds - From RT46 to Below RT520

There is a mess of mounds along the St Johns River below RT46, down to below RT520. A few of the mounds are named and can be found on Topo Maps. If you search the Internet you can find reference to them (little information, but reference). They are as far as I’ve been told, remnants of when the Indians were here in the area. I have visited most of them with a friend (The Boonie Man) by boat. Most all of them can only be easily accessed by boat. I am only trying here to give as much information as I have about the mounds I have visited - I believe history should be accurate, so the actual facts I leave to those who know.
Some of them are just mounds of dirt and common Florida plants and trees. Others have been used for camping and other activities. I’m told that all of them have been gone over to access their archaeological value. If you should spot anything that relates to the history of the mound, don't touch or take it - it is history and should be preserved! There are many archaeological agencies in the State of Florida who would like to know about any finds, so notify them of what you have seen. There really shouldn't be anything left on these mounds, they have been gone over very extensively by archaeologists.

If you know anything more about any of the mounds, please email me and/or post a comment about it.

Please note: I have been trying to find out where Baxter/Persimmion Mound is. I have created a website which will show you what I have found, you can Click Here or go to https://sites.google.com/site/baxterpersimmonmound/

Here is a list of the mounds, with my description and pictures. Click on the pictures to see a larger version of each. I have listed them in order of location from below RT46 to below RT520.
  • Palmer-Taylor Mound - N28 41.883 W81 02.086.
    This mound is a short distance from the Econlockhatchee River; about .23 miles walk from the river’s edge. This mound shows little sign of human activity. It does have a few spots where it looks like someone has been doing some digging. One or two things left by other people, but as I’ve said basically just a mound of Florida natural plants and trees.
    Palmer-Taylor Mound


  • Buzzard Roost Mound - N28 41.499 W81 01.736
    This mound is on the south side of the Econlockhatchee River; about .21 miles walk from the river’s edge. It was a pretty wet walk the day we went to visit this mound. On this mound you will see signs of human activity, from an old charcoal grill to wooden planks nailed to trees. The mound is out in the open, with views in all directions. The cattle in the area had eaten the grass down pretty well all around the edge of the mound. The mound is made up mainly of palm trees and weeds.
    Buzzard Roost Mound


  • Noah Mound - N28 39.815 W81 01.188
    Got closer to this mound today as the water level was much more favorable for getting to it with our boat. It is just a mound in the river covered with tall, thick weeds. Being that the weeds didn't look to great for digging through, we just did a spin around it and left. Later some local cattle may get to it and "weed it out", making it more accessible. I'm told there maybe a survey marker on it, but that has not been confirmed as of yet.


  • Buck Point Mound - N28 39.184 W81 01.386
    Made it out to see this mound the other day. It was quite a wet trip from the boat to dry land, so if you want to visit this mound you might expect that. Much to our surprise, the mound at the coords provided didn't really look like an Indian mound, it was pretty flat. The mound in front of it, nearer the river, actually looked like it could be the actual mound. It is very possible that maps are showing the wrong location for this mound (have seen that in other cases), so if you find out more, let me know.


  • Heiffer Mound - N28 37.900 W81 00.353
    This looks like just a mound of dirt with weeds on it. We where both surprised when we found that this was a named mound. I am assuming that under all that dirt is a pile of shells and Indian artifacts. You can see some shells and I did find a piece of looked like pottery at the river’s edge. During one visit there was an airboat flag atop it, but that was gone during the last visit. We meet some locals nearby and they informed us of a more colorful name they have for the mound.
    Heiffer Mound


  • Saddle Mound - N28 37.784 W81 00.503
    This is a small mound in about .23 miles from Heiffer Mound. It is just a raised piece of land with some trees and weeds. It is a very pretty area, what there is of it. It is on the edge of what is currently (7/09) private property. We meet some Florida Forestry employees during one visit that informed us that this would be all public land in the not too distant future – that will be great! There is a USC&G Survey Marker located on the mound. Expect to encounter a lot of cow “paddies” when visiting this mound.
    Saddle Mound


  • Moccasin Mound - N28 37.833 W81 00.819
    This is a small mound about .6 miles from Heiffer Mound. It is just a raised piece of land with some trees and weeds. It is a very pretty area, what there is of it. It is located within the Charles H. Bronson State Forest. You can get to it from the river or hiking in from the trailhead located at the end of Philipps Road (N28 35.513 W81 02.540).
    Moccasin Mound


  • Orange Mound - N28 35.900 W80 58.223
    This mound does not appear on Topo Maps, but it does show up on many maps used to reference the area. It is a large mound, right on the edge of the river. I noticed from the boat that areas washed away revealed a shellfish shell base. We walked around it, as there are signs of human activity all through it. It is just about completely covered by palm and other trees.
    Orange Mound


  • Indian Fields Mound - N28 36.051 W80 56.703
    This mound does not seem to appear on maps, I was shown it by a friend. It rises quite a bit above the land around it, with a huge oak tree near the top. I was told it is considered an historical place, but like so many things in Florida, information about it is hard to come by. It is located in the Salt Lake WMA. You can get to it by boat (kayak) or by land. If you don’t mind crossing a creek, the closest access point is from the observation tower gate on Hatbill Road (N28 37.853 W80 56.851). You can take the long way in from the main entrance to the Salt Lake WMA (N28 38.401 W80 53.397). The area around it has quite a few wild grapefruit and orange trees, as this once was an orchard quite a ways back.
    Indian Fields Mound

  • Paw Paw Mound – N28 31.254 W080 54.275
    This one is a strange one as far as GPS coords are concerned. Topo maps show one spot, but as far as everyone who goes there, those are wrong - Topo map coords: N28 30.301 W80 54.271 – My coords: N28 31.254 W080 54.275
    No idea what is causing this problem, but it is generally accepted that the actual mound is located at my coords.
    This is a huge mound, right near the river. It is a major destination for airboaters, so expect to see some if you visit this mound. It has a variety of greenery, from oak trees, orange trees and palm trees. You will see a major human present affecting this mound. This is one that you can walk into quite easily from RT50. There is a USC&G Survey Marker located on the mound. I highly recommend a visit to this area; I have been here a number of times.
    Paw Paw Mound


  • Mulberry Mound - N28 21.801 W80 52.469
    This a huge mound located just below RT520. As far as I know, boat access is the only way in, but I suspect that it could be accessed by land during certain times of the year. Again, being so close to the river you will encounter a large present of human activity – fires, trails and at times litter. There is at least one memorial to a passed airboater. It is pretty much covered with all kinds of trees, even some wild oranges. Orange trees where suppose to be left by the Spanish.
    Mulberry Mound


    Map Locations of Mounds (click to enlarge)



























    Well that is about it on the named mounds, like I mentioned earlier; if you have more information or know of anymore named mounds in the area of St Johns River I’ve covered, please leave a comment. You can see some of my boat trips detailed in WIKILOC. I ask you to please “take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints” when visiting any areas in the wild.

13 comments:

rickc59 said...

Nice reading there. I've been enjoying that part of the river for years in canoe, kickerboat, & airboat. I've visited almost every mound you mentioned.

I believe Bear Bluff had Indian activity as well. It's the little mound with a small cabin less than a mile south of Hatbill Park. Never heard anyone refer to it as an Indian mound, but it has a lot of shell & pottery pieces.

There's also one I'd like to explore about 1 mile east (& slightly north) of Bear Bluff.

Also, do you know which tribe of Indians made the mounds...Timucua??

Tom Choma said...

Hi
I only wrote about mounds I actually visited, so hearing about others always interest me. I would like to get out to see more. I recently read about William Bartram who visited the area in 1765. He stayed twice on a mound right near Ruth Lake called Baxter Mound or Persimmon Mound. I found some hand drawn maps by another explorer, Clarence Moore who explored the mound. The only problem is that no one seems to know exactly where it is - plenty of speculation, but no facts. If you should know anything, or if anyone knows anything - please let me know. Tom

southernairboat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rickc59 said...

The possible mound near Ruth Lake may be located near: 28°36'4.54"N, 80°56'40.54"W (Google Earth)

I haven't had time to explore that one to confirm. I believe that's also a hunting area, so I'd keep that in mind. Probably be best to only be out there in the middle of the day during this time of year.

Another one you might enjoy is Nathan's Mound on Lake Cane. It's located about a mile north of hwy 50: 28°33'15.60"N, 80°57'40.13"W

Nathan's Mound is visited by humans & comes complete with a small shelter. Seems that a small handful of those humans leave a mess that we pick up every time we visit.

One more thing about Nathan's Mound is that it appears to be a more modern mound. I say that only because there seems to be less top soil & more exposed shell. The exposed shell up under the hammock of cabbage palms, cedar trees, & small oaks is very pretty IMO.

Also the southernairboat post above that was deleted was mine also. Seems to be some confusion on my part in dealing with multiple Google accounts ie., Adsense, Gmail, etc...sorry about that.

Rick

Tom Choma said...

First, no problem about the deletion - just curious what happened to it.
Second - thanks for the feedback, again, always want to learn more
Now - the area you mention at 28°36'4.54"N, 80°56'40.54"W I have been told is called "Indian Fields"
As far as Nathan Mound, I have been there (actually have some pictures posted in Google Earth), but never heard it called that - very interesting.
The few speculators about Baxter Mound put it up around Baxter Point Road off Hatbill - any ideas about that?

rickc59 said...

Not sure about Baxter/Persimmon Mound, but will ask around. I know some people that are pretty familar with this area, as well as a few that live out there.

I have a family reunion this weekend, but if I can make it out afterwards, I may investigate that Indian Fields area.

Rick

Tom Choma said...

I have created a webpage which shows what I have found about Baxter (Persimmon) Mound so far -
You can see it at -
http://sites.google.com/site/baxterpersimmonmound/

If you can give me any more information, it will be greatly appreciated

rickc59 said...

Thanks, I really enjoyed reading the results of your studies online.

I talked to a friend, Carl Nettles, about the area you marked on your Google Earth image (Is Mound Here?). He described it as a very large mound and mentioned a hole in the middle of it. Carl's father worked cattle and actually lived near or on it in 1939. He didn't know the name of the mound, but said the area was called Persimmon Hammock when his father lived there.

Carl also spoke of another elderly man (around 80) that's lived there all his life. He wants to talk to this man & see if he knows what the mound was called.

If you want to talk to Carl in person some time, he's the airboat captain at Loughman Lake Lodge during the week. He loves talking about the mounds & has been running that part of the river all his life.

Rick

Tom Choma said...

Again, so close and yet so far away - I live in Melbourne, but will try and get up to see Carl one of these days. I wish I had a boat to do more exploring of that area. I'm sure when the weather gets cooler I'll try and get in there from the Conservation Area. So far two people have pointed to the spot I marked - I just wish I could get that final answer. I'm sure that with the help of people like you the answer will be found. Like I said in my write up, that fellow Clarence Moore was on the mound, found bones on it - so the actual location has to be marked some where.
Thanks again for the info....Tom

Tom Choma said...

I found another book about William Bartram - in this book he makes note of "we returned to the rich hammock where we lodged last night" - the author had a footnote which stated "Baxter mound in Persimmon Hammock". Thus the author feels that Baxter Mound is in Persimmon Hammock - that is what Carl mentioned - very interesting.

The Andy said...

I've been looking for information about indian mounds in the area, and just found this page on your blog. I can't believe I didn't find it sooner, since your blog is still one of my go-to resources.

Great job putting this information together - I'm gonna have to see how many of these sites I can paddle out to!

duckwhacker said...

I think the persimmon mound had a hunting camp built on it in the early 1950s its still there today and still used as a hunting camp. I know the area very well and have been to most of the mounds but there is one more you may have missed its east of heiffer mound and I was told it was called three palm and when two of the palms died it was called one palm now no palms exist today. Great reading thanks.

Tom Choma said...

Thanks for the information, always happy to hear more about the mounds.