big bone
"The most celebrated national and international Pleistocene megafauna site known to science"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Don Clare,  Lost River Towns of Boone County

Big Bone Methodist Church
(later, a Baptist Church)

The Methodist Church
Ladies Aid Society

A few words on the Big Bone Methodist's Ladies Aid Society, here.
Who's in the picture?  Here.


Big Bone Baptist
A 1943 history of the church is here(pdf)


Main Street, Big Bone, Kentucky
 Used through the cooperation of the 
University of Louisville Photographic Archives



This is the map from the expedition of Captain Charles Lemoyne de Longueil map.  I put the yellow dot on it so you can easily locate what would be Cincinnati. Note down around Big Bone, where it notes "Endroit -- ou` on a` trouve' des os d'Elephant en 1729". In English, that's "Place where one found the bones of Elephant in 1729".  This is the map that put Big Bone, well, on the map, and made it famous throughout the world. Not America; the world. The map is dated 1729, was published in 1744, and many - not all - believe it was actually from 1739, not 1729.



Portion of a larger map by Henry Popple, drawn in 1733.
Identifies Big Bone as "elephant bones found here."


Loading Tobacco, Hamilton



Local Residents holding findings from Big Bone Lick, 1913

newOne man's history of Big Bone, from 1876, is here.
"One of the pleasantest places to visit in this hot weather is the Big Bone Springs.  Colonel J. O. Campbell and Son, formerly of Burlington, have charge of the Clay House there, and are doing their best to provide for the comfort and amusement of their guests." 
from the Covington Ticket, July 15, 1876.

Many of the bones from Big Bone reside these days in Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences, now a part of Drexel University. They have a page on Big Bone at their website, here.

For what it's worth:  The US Post Office folks had a post office named "Big Bone Lick" from 1829-1831, "Big Bone Landing", from 1834-1835, and "Bigbone" from 1890 to 1941.

Big Bone State Park's web site is here.

There were at least four steamboats manufactured in Big Bone.  More here.

Daniel Boone artifact found near Big Bone?  Story here.

Wikipedia article about Big Bone is here. Wikipedia article about the park is here. A less flattering view of
 Big Bone is from
 R. E. Banta, here.

The contemporary Friends of Big Bone have a site, here.

You can read a proposal to build the Covington, Big Bone, and Carrollton Railroad, here.

The steamboat C. T. Dumont is hit by the tow Tom Rees in 1865 at Big Bone, more here.



Big Bone, c. 1930

Animals Found at Big Bone, to date
many of the bones found at Big Bone dated back to c. 18,000  B.C.

American mastodon
(Mammut americanum)

Columbia mammoth (Mammuthus columbi)

Harlan's musk-ox (Bootherium bombifrons)

An extinct bison (Bison antiquus),

Stag Moose (Cervalces scotti)

The five animals above represent holotypes found at Big Bone 
( A Holotype is a single specimen or illustration designated as the type for naming a species or subspecies or used as the basis for naming a species - a big deal.  Clicking on an animal's picture will take you to the Wikipedia site about it.)  The animals below have also been found at Big Bone.
 (Mammuthus sp)
A ground sloth (Mylodon sp.) An extinct horse (Equus cf. E. complicatus), Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), Harlan's Ground Sloth
 (Paramylodon harleni)
Columbia mammoth (Mammuthus columbi), Jefferson ground sloth
(Megalonyx jeffersonii)
deer bear
 (Ursus sp.)


This is not a "typical" bison, but an extinct version that was about 25% larger.  The first skeletons of it were found at Big Bone.  Read more here. Mastodon skeletons were first discovered in America at Big Bone.  Read more about them here.



Newer views at the Big Bone State Park


  Promotional Brochure from the Friends of Big Bone.  Visit them on the web here.



Big Bone Mineral Water
ad from a 1904 issue of the Maysville Public Ledger

An 1856-57 chemical analysis of the mineral water is here.

The University of Nebraska's archeological museum published a
 newsletter of it's dig at Big Bone Lick in the 1960's.  You can read it here(pdf)
However, mostly they only found "newer" bison bones, and since they excavated with a bulldozer (!),
their archeological "credentials" are highly suspect.

Why isn't there a great museum at Big Bone?  One man's rant, here.

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