Through the Ice Age, there was a mile high block of ice atop the landscape. When it melted, Lake Ancona formed with a clean sand bottom. It eventually drained and Lake Pontiac was formed. As the climate became drier, Ice Age megafauna moved in. Local finds of a tusk and tooth from a wooly mammoth are on display here today, along with a 50 pound copper nugget transplanted by the ice from the Mesabi Range iron ore area of northern Minnesota. Buffalo (American Bison) covered the area during the Pleistocene Era (1 million to 10,000 years ago), and again 500 to 300 years ago, only to finally disappear in the early 1800s.
The mounds are gone now, as are most others that were located in the County. In the early twentieth century, a banker named Payne from Springfield excavated the Billet Road mounds and stripped them of all their manmade items and the story they could have told. A mound north of Fairbury along the river was excavated while digging a basement for a house. It contained one individual and burial goods.
Unlike their counterparts who went on south to settle Central and South America, North American natives produced no written language. Other than petroglyphs, or picture art, that depicted events, surreal imagery and early art, no translatable written record was left us. Names of individuals, their tribal names, battles, migrations, food issues, weather; none of this direct information is known. Not until the onset of European migration westward from the east coast did any historical records begin appearing to gain insight into the first 12,000 years of human history in Livingston County.
Over 600 generations of Native Americans have called the (Livingston County) area home since the last glacier melted 12,000 years ago. Families of European descent have lived here 10 generations or less.