1907 Rockwall Report


Report is Made of the Investigations in Rockwall County– Ruins of Ancient Walls Found Beneath the Ground.

To the Times Herald.

The writer was in Rockwall Monday and can report a great interest of its citizens in excavating the buried wall that seems to inclose Rockwall and its environments. The excavation commences at the old well, which was dug over fifty years ago, when the wall was first discovered. The space uncovered is about ten feet long by four feet wide, and it has the appearance of any wall made of brick, even and mortared between, although the brick is not of modern size, as they are longer, and have the appearance of being patted out by hand, and in places where there had been a deficiency in thickness, it had been chinked by a piece fitting in. There was a scale of what seemed to be stucco that the excavators had removed, necessarily, with their picks. This, was, I should judge, about three to five inches thick. One can hear all sorts of stories about this wall in different localities. Some of the wise ones think it is a freak of nature, and some, a volcanic substance that nature provided to fill up a fissure running in a straight line for miles and circling a radius of six miles in length. But, there is no volcanic substance in that wall.

There was a story brought just before I left Rockwall on Monday, from another point, where there was some more investigating with a pick, that they had uncovered an arched gateway. We did not stay to investigate it, as we intended to do the next morning, but had a hasty call home to investigate the death of a very ancient and magnificently large animal that found its last resting place about one and a half miles east of the Fair Grounds in Vilbig Bros.’ sand pit. With the co-operation of Dr. J. M. Martin and wife, who are deeply interested in this branch of science and patriotic for Texas concerns, I was able to reach this interesting place early Tuesday morning by automobile.

This was a sight, indeed. The whole fossil of the tremendous animal was complete before it had been dislocated from its sand bed. Now, the fossil is much broken, and parts have been dragged away in the sand. This animal is what geologists call a mammoth. It is larger than the mastodon, and differs in many points. Its tusks, which measure ten and a half feet long and girth, twenty-six inches at the base, curve upward, while a mastodon’s are smaller in girth and curve downward. The head is much larger, and in many respects, differs from the mastodon. The mammoth has been found frozen in the icebergs of the North Sea in a good state of preservation, consequently, a good description has been given and preserved by scientists. This is the description given by a Russian engineer by the name of Benhendorf, who discovered one in the frozen North near the shores of the Lena: Picture to yourself an elephant with a body covered with a thick fur, about thirteen feet in height and fifteen feet in length, with tusks eight feet long, thick and curving upward and outwards at the ends, a stout trunk of six feet in length, colossal limbs of a foot and a half in thickness, and a tail, naked to the end, which was covered with thick, tufty hair. His parchment-like large naked ears lay fearfully turned up over the head. About the shoulders and back, he had stiff hair about a foot in length, like a mane. Under the outer hair, there appeared everywhere a wool, very soft, warm and thick and of a yellow-brown color. As compared with our Indian elephants, [missing text] and narrow, but the trunk and mouth was larger.

According to the description of Benhendorf of the dimensions of his Russian mammoth, this Texas specimen is much larger. A party of scientists from Chicago university are exploring India for the ancestor of the elephant, which it is generally thought to be. This was Darwin’s theory. Steel says the fossil mammoth is about one-third larger than any elephant of modern times. This fossil belongs to the past teriary period. We have another fossil of the ammonites of the Silurian age, just found by one of our party at Garland. It belonged to the Silurian sea period, when Dallas was on the shores of this sea or the Gulf coast. It derives its name from the resemblance to the horn, which decorated the front of the temple of Jupiter Ammon, and the bas reliefs and statues of that pagan deity.

– August 18, 1907, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. II, p. 3, col. 6-7.


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