Moumdsville, a town and the capital of Marshall co., West Virginia, 12 m. below Wheeling, on the left bank of the Ohio, between two streams called Big and Little Grave creeks; pop. in 1870, 1,500. The post office name was formerly Grave Creek. It derives its present name from a mound in the vicinity, one of the largest of the ancient mounds in the United States, and one of the most interesting of American antiquities. It is connected with a series of earthworks of ancient construction, and is 820 ft. in circumference at the base, about 70 ft. high, and at the summit 63 ft. in diameter. In 1838 a shaft was sunk from the apex of the mound to its base, and a horizontal tunnel made from the exterior of the base to the centre. Two sepulchral chambers were found, one at the base, the other 30 ft. above it. These chambers had been constructed of logs and covered with stones, but had sunk in from the decay of the woodwork. One skeleton was found in the upper chamber, and two in the lower. There were also found in these chambers nearly 4,000 shell beads, several ornaments made of mica, copper bracelets, and articles carved in stone. Ten other skeletons in an advanced stage of decay were found in making the excavation.
It is asserted that among the articles dug from it was a small stone on which was sculptured an alphabetical inscription. This tablet is of dark, compact, silicious rock, and is oval, 17/8 in. long and 1½ in. broad. It is of rude workmanship, but the characters are all distinct. The inscription consists of three lines and of 22 characters, with an ideographic sign. Much diversity of opinion exists as to the nature and origin of this inscription. Dr. Wills De Hass of Virginia, in a paper read before the American ethnological society at New York, adduced evidence and arguments which seem to establish the authenticity of the tablet, of which strong doubt had been expressed. He maintained that similar ones have been found in the mounds composing the Grave Creek group, among others a small globular stone having five characters enclosed in a cartouche.