by: Eddie Trapp
In southern Illinois near the confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers is the town of Cahokia with approximately 17,000 inhabitants. It’s right across the Mississippi from St. Louis, Missouri. Ten miles from Cahokia is the site of one-time largest Native American village north of Mexico. In the 1200’s the village was larger than any European city. Now the area is called Cahokia Mounds State Historical Site and contains eighty huge mounds. These mounds were used by Native Americans from 600 A.D. until the 1400’s. To build the mounds thousands of people worked decades to move 55,000,000 cubic feet of soil in woven baskets, forming about eighty huge mounds.
The largest of the mounds is Monk’s Mound, covering fourteen acres and is ten stories tall. On top of this mound was a 5000 square foot building that was an additional fifty feet high. The name of this mound comes from a group of Trappist monks that lived there for a while. Archeologists have discovered post holes arranged in a circle on the mound that once contain posts lined up to mark solstices and equinoxes, giving rise to the name Woodhenge since it is similar to Stonehenge in England. Inhabitants wandered north to the Great Lakes and south to the Gulf, trading copper, chert (We call it flint.), and whelk shells. Chert found near Cahokia, called Mills Creek chert, is a tougher type of “flint” than most, making it valuable for hoes necessary for farming.
Cahokia had a population of only 1000 before 1050 but soon grew to 40,000. In 1250 the number dropped to 15,000 which at that time equaled London and Paris. The village was larger than any U.S. city until the 1780’s when Philadelphia reached a population of 40,000. At the height of Cahokia’s population they experienced problems with sewage and not having enough food, causing a decline. I will add visiting this interesting place to my list of things to do.
From my ledger, 1985. Friday, September 6. Edgewood Varsity came to town for our first football game of the year. We won 21-18. Bart Tatum made two touchdowns and Dale Elmore caught a twenty five yard pass from quarterback Jason Holcomb for the other. Only eighteen on the team with Daniel Sansing and Walter “Fuzzy” Reynolds playing as freshmen.
Saturday, September 7. Stanley Mathews came last night to see his cousin, Dale Elmore, play football and wanted to go hog hunting this morning. We loaded dogs in the dark at 5:00 and it was still dark when we unloaded them southeast of Klondike near the old church by Honey Creek. Dogs were Prissy, Ann, and a bulldog, Snuffy, given to me by Steve Ingram. Walked south and crossed South Sulphur River. On south to Merrit Creek and walked east along the bottom where there were only a few puddles during this dry summer. Saw ten cottonmouths near the water holes. Made a big round and back to the pick up at 10:30.
In the afternoon I went to the Charleston Store and talked to Gobel Templeton. He’s having memory problems and asked me if school was starting Monday, was he supposed to teach this year, and could I help him get his social security started. Dan Worden and Jerry Jackson were there leaving to go to Benton, Arkansas to a rodeo.
Thursday, September 12. Rivercrest Junior High came to Cooper for a football scrimmage. Our seventh grade won 2-1. Chris Grammer scored on 44 Slant as he and Cade Alley alternated at quarterback and tailback. Chris had been watching pro teams on television and spiked the ball on his touchdown. Fullback Jason Toon scored our other touchdown on 32 Dive from the three yard line. In the eighth grade game we won 1-0 with Bam Morris scoring our only touchdown. We would have had another but wide open Bret Williams had the ball bounce off his shoulder pad on Throw Back Pass.
Friday, September 13. Cooper Varsity at Rivercrest. I drove the band bus. Our Bulldogs won 34-0. Bart Tatum made four touchdowns, two on offense and two on defense. This afternoon John Watkins had a wreck with another vehicle in front of Mrs. Virginia Wright’s house east of town. Broke noses of Brad Richey and Eric Lair and totaled both rigs. Randy Wright had a wreck in the very same place one time. Some boys, when meeting their friends in that valley, change sides of the highway. Sometimes one of them decides to go back to the right side, causing a wreck.
Monday, September 16. When I got home from school I saw where Bret had been playing with our water hose, sprayed a strong stream of water, and “dug up” a lot of gravel in the driveway. I was standing out in the driveway really fussing. Jean’s mom and dad were there and told me, “Just wait. It gets worse.” I went inside to find that Greg, two years younger than Bret, had shot him in the top lip with a pellet gun. Bret already had a broken tooth and the BB broke it some more. Bled a lot. Jean was still at work. They ran out in the yard screaming and like to scared Mr. and Mrs. Watkins to death. Jean got home and we carried Bret to the Sulphur Springs Hospital, thinking the BB could still be in his gums. An x ray did not show the BB so it must have fallen out.
Sunday, September 29. Sunday school and church then lunch at Jean’s folks. Watched Cowboys beat Houston 17-10. Cowboys tied their record and the NFL record by getting twelve quarterback sacks. Moon was Houston’s quarterback.
Monday, September 30. Kenda Boles, Tammy Preas, and Kristy Boggs had a cuss fight at school and got a paddling. John Brewer and Chock Goldsmith had a fight and got a paddling. After school I walked east to Post Oak Creek to build a deer stand for archery season. More later.
Three elderly men were talking and wondered what their grandkids would say about them in fifty years. The first said they would tell how he had always carried them fishing and hunting. The second said they would talk about how he had carried them to the mountains. The third said he wanted his to say, “He sure gets around good for his age.”