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- The American Goliah - 2/10 -
or partially so, and represents a dead person in a position he would naturally assume when dying. The body lies nearly upon the back, the right side a little lower; the head leaning a little to the right. The legs lie nearly one above the other; the feet partially crossed. The toe of the right foot, a little lower, showing plainly, that the statue was never designed to stand erect upon its feet. The left arm lies down by the left side of the body, the forearm and hand being partially covered by the body. The right hand rests a short distance below the umbilicus, the little finger spreading from the others, reaching to the pubes. The whole statue evidently represents the position that a body would naturally take at the departure of life.
There is perfect harmony in the different proportions of the different parts of the statue. The features are strictly Caucasian, having not the high bones of the Indian type, neither the outlines of the Negro race, and being entirely unlike any statuary yet discovered of Aztec or Indian origin. The chin is magnificent and generous; the eyebrow, or supercilliary ridge, is well arched; the mouth is pleasant; the brow and forehead are noble, and the "Adam's apple" has a full development. The external genital organs are large; but that which represents the integuments, would lead us the conclusion that the artist did not wish to represent the erectal tissues injected.
The statue, being colossal and massive, strikes the beholder with a feeling of awe. Some portions of the features would remind one of the bust of De Witt Clinton, and others of the Napoleonic type. My opinion is that this piece of statuary was made to represent some person of Caucasian origin, and designed by the artist to perpetuate the memory of a great mind and noble deeds. It would serve to impress inferior minds or races with the great and noble, and for this purpose only was sculptured of colossal dimensions. The block of gypsum is stratified, and a dark stratum passes just below the outer portion of the left eyebrow, appears again on the left breast, having been chiseled out between the eyebrow and chest, and makes its appearance again in a portion of the hip. Some portions of the strata are dissolved more than others by the action of the water, leaving a bolder outcroping along the descent of the breast toward the neck. The same may, less distinctly, be seen on the side of the face and head. I think that this piece of reclining statuary is not 300 years old, but is the work of the early Jesuit Fathers of this country, who are known to have frequented the Onondaga Valley from 220 to 250 years ago; that it would probably bear a date in history corresponding with the monumental stone which was found at Pompey Hill, in this county, and now deposited in the Academy at Albany. There are no marks of violence upon the work; had it been an image or idol of worship by the Indians, it could have been easily destroyed or mutilated with a slight blow by a small stone, and the toes and fingers could have been easily broken off. It lay in quicksand, which, in turn, rested upon compact clay.
My conclusion regarding the object of the deposit of the statue in this place, is as follows:--It was for the purpose of hiding and protecting it from an enemy who would have destroyed it, had it been discovered. It must have been carefully laid down, and as carefully covered with boughs and twigs of trees which prevented it from being discovered. Traces of this new decomposed vegetable covering can be seen on every side of the trench, and it is quite evident this vegetable matter originally extended across and above the statue.
Above this stratum of decayed matter, there is a deposit of very recent date, from eighteen inches to two feet in thickness, which may have been washed in, and likewise turned on by plowing. A farmer who had worked the land, told me that he had "back furrowed" around it, for the purpose of filling up the slough where the statue now lies.
It is positively absurd to consider this a "fossil man." It has none of the indications that would designate it as such, when examined by a practical chemist, geologist or naturalist. The underside is somewhat dissolved, and presents a very rough surface, and it is probable that all the back or lower portion, was never chiseled into form, and may have been designed to rest as a tablet. However, as the statue has not been raised, the correct appearance of the under surface has not been determined, save by feeling as I pressed my hand as far as I could reach under different portions of the body, while its lower half lay beneath the water.
This is one of the greatest curiosities of the early history of Onondaga county, and my great desire is that it should be preserved for the Onondaga Historical Society. Efforts are being made by some of our citizens to secure this in the county where it belongs, and not suffer it to bear the fate of other archeological specimens found in this region.
Hoping to be able to write you more in a few days, I remain yours truly, JOHN F. BOYNTON."
IS THE BODY A PETRIFACTION?
"The majority of visitors disagree with the opinion of Dr. Boynton, that the figure is a statue, and pronounce it a petrified man. It is claimed that no sculptor would have invented such an unheard of position and design for a statue. No sculptor could have so perfectly imitated nature, especially in the minutiae which render the image such a wonder. It is claimed by the stone cutters and quarrymen who are constantly engaged in cutting the Onondaga County stone, that no single block could have been found of sufficient size, without a seam, from which to have chiseled out such a monster, (they claiming that the seam would have caused any such statue to split and fall apart under the necessary concussions required for cutting it to anything like its perfection in form.)
Other persons argue that no model of such a human being would have been likely to have been presented to any of the Indian or other inhabitants of America, within the past few centuries.
Many also ask for what reason should such an immense and expensive statue be hewn out and placed in so unfrequented a part of the country? How could it have been transported from the region of rocks to its present location, in a swamp entirely free from stones) especially since it is completely without any base or support of stone on which it can rest." "No statue is known to have been constructed," say the petrified advocates, "in reclining posture, unless the artist left some portion of the block of stone upon which the figure should rest, and be supported and strengthened for a durability of ages."
Other incidental suggestions are set forth as follows, by a writer in the Syracuse Daily Standard. "
The probabilities of its being a petrifaction have a better foundation, independent of outward appearances. First, is the fact that within a very short time, in the work of grading on section six of the Cazenovia & Canastota R.R., the skeletons of five mammoth human beings were exhumed, one of them eleven feet tall. The point of exhumation is not twenty miles distant from Cardiff. There are proofs of a giant race on this continent, and in this part of it; how far back, no one can tell. Second--There is now in the possession of the Onondaga Historical Association, a fish near one foot long, petrified to a perfect stone solidity, which was found near Cardiff, and the color of this petrified fish is very similar to the Cardiff giant stone. Mr. W.B. Kirk, of this city, when living at Cardiff many years ago, found near there a good sized Perch, that was perfectly petrified. Third--Five miles further down the valley, at what is known as the Onondaga Valley Cemetery, in taking up a human body for removal some years ago, it was found to be solid stone; still further north, but in the same range, the corpse of a child, on being taken up was found to be petrified--solid stone.--Still another case--the body of a man who had been buried a few years was taken up for removal, and being found a perfect petrifaction, the widow had it taken home, and it is yet retained in the house, and has never been reburied. We might give names, but do not feel at liberty to do so without first consulting family friends or relatives. These, and other samples that might be given, prove that petrification is not uncommon in the vicinity of Cardiff, where our ten feet two and a half inches, and well proportioned, giant was found."
A different statement still is made by Mr. Wright, father-in-law of Mr. Newell, who formerly owned Mr. Newell's present farm. Mr. Wright says that within a short distance of the present discovery, there is a spring of water which will within a few months turn into solid stone any small deposits of sand and gravel. Neighbors corroborate the statement. A wag has suggested that a factory be at once established there and petrified dogs, cats and small fry generally be furnished to order.
The unsettled point of what it is, undoubtedly furnishes an additional attraction regarding the mysterious stranger, as every person wishes to see for himself and become judge in the trial of Statue versus Fossil.
In this connection an interesting letter is subjoined from the Hon. George Geddes.
To the Editor of the Syracuse Standard:--I find a notice in your paper of this morning of the "Stone Giant" at Cardiff, in which the fact that I visited it yesterday is stated, with the remark that you are told that I believe it to be a petrifaction. Allow me room in your paper to say that this is stating my views a little stronger than I desire. I have formed no opinion as to the origin of this wonderful thing. I was not allowed to make an examination of it beyond the privilege of looking from over a railing into the pit where the giant lay, and this pit was shaded by a tent, and the railing surrounded by double and triple rows of people, all anxious to see. I do not complain that I was not allowed a more perfect examination; there were too many to see to allow the descent into the pit of any one. All questions by me of the gentlemen in charge were politely answered. My impressions were decided that I saw before and below me the figure of a giant in stone of some kind, but what kind I could not tell for in that light and position it did not resemble any rock that our system has in it. I thought it was quite unlike our limestone or our gypsum formations; and that if it was sulphate of lime, and the work of human hands, that it was more likely to have been built up, than hewn from a solid rock. But as I have said, I had no means or liberty to make a close examination. I wish to say in addition, that I have traveled far and spent much money to see things of not one-tenth the interest that this stone giant was to me, and thought I had made good use of time and money.
Respectfully yours, GEORGE GEDDES. Oct. 20th, 1869.
WHAT IS THE CHARACTER OF THE SURROUNDINGS
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