Page:Firemaking Apparatus in the U.S. National Museum.djvu/21

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FIRE-MAKING APPARATUS. 547 and, despite the assurances and belief of the Iroquois, is not very ancient, but was perhaps sugjgested by the white man. Indeed, Pere Lafitau, that keen and careful observer, in his "Moeurs des Sauvages Anieri- quains," written in 1724, on page 242, gives a description of Indian fire- making that includes the Iroquois. He says: The Hurons, tho Iroquois, aud the other peoples of North America do not make fire from the veins of tiiut, but rub two pieces of wood one against the other. Then follows a description of fire-making, taken probably from the Iroquois, that is as good an account of the Indian apparatus and the way of working it as exists in the literature of the subject. The drill was sufficient for its time for the reason that there was at that period rarely necessity for generating fire ; the art of fire j^reser- vation was at its height. The Gherokees, the most southerly of the Iroquois, Mr. James Mooney states, kept fire buried in the mounds upon which the council houses were built, so that if the house was destroyed by enemies the tire would remain there for a year or so. The Gherokees use the simple rotation apparatus, and, as far as Mr. Mooney can ascertain, never used the pump-drill. They have a tradition that fire originally came out of an old hollow sycamore tree {Platanus ocGidentaUH). Gapt. John Smith tells how the Indians of Virginia made tire. He says : Their fire they kindled presently by chafing a dry pointed sticks in a hole of a little square piece of wood, that firing itselfe, will so fire mosse, leaves, or anio such like drie thing that will quickly burn.* Writing in the tirst quarter of the next century, Beverley says: They rubbed Fire out of particular sorts of Wood (as the Ancients did out of the Ivy and Bays) by turning tho end of a Piece that is soft and dry, like a Spindle on its luke, by which it heats and at length burns ; to this they put sometimes also rotten Wootl and dry leaves to hasten the Work, t Loskiel says of the Delawares: Formerly they kindled tire by turning or twirling a dry stick, with great swiftness on a dry board, using both hands.! The Gherokees used lor a drill the stalk of a composite plant (senecio), and twirled it on a i)ieceof wood. The art has long been out of common use, but they employed the wooden drill to make tire for the Green Gorn Dance into the present century, though tiint and steel was then in vogue. Sometimes they passed the bow over drill. The tinder was of a fungus or dried moss. Mr. James Mooney collected this in- formation from some of the older men of the tribe in North Garolina, who have retained the ancient customs and traditions, which the part of the tribe removed to the West has entirely lost. The Greeks (Muskogean stock) had a regularly authorized fire-maker, who early in the morning made fire for the Green Gorn Dance. The

  • Smith. — The Natural Inhabitants of Virginia. English Scholars' Library. No. 16,

p. 68. t Beverley.— History of Virginia. 1722. 197,198. i Loskiel, — History of the Mission of the United Brethren. London, 1794. p. 54.