The Mysterious Fort atop Fort Mountain
I love a good mystery and no where do I know of one more intriguing than that presented by the 855-foot-long rock wall, or fort, which stands on the highest point of Fort Mountain. American Indians were not known to build such forts and its origin remains a mystery.
One of the most interesting theories finds support from a letter in the files of the Georgia Historical Commission, written by John Sevier, Revolutionary War hero and first governor of Tennessee. Sevier recounts a 1782 conversation with Oconosoto, a 90-year-old Cherokee Chief. According to Oconosoto the wall was built by a fair-skinned people with blue eyes and blond hair. "They were a people called Welsh, and they had crossed the Great Water," Oconosoto said. He called their leader "Modok."
This story fits with the legend of Welsh Prince Madoc, who departed Wales after the death of his father, King Owain Gwynedd. When Gwyned died he left his kingdom to his 7 sons, who were to fight over who would become the new ruler. Instead of fighting, Madoc chose to take 11 ships and 200 people with him to seek their fortune beyond the Atlantic. According to legend, Madoc landed in what is now Mobile Bay, Alabama. The ships were sent back to Wales for more people and supplies, and Madoc and the 200 Welsh people with him were never seen again. There is some archeological evidence to support this story.
Indian tradition tells of the "moon-eyed" people traveling north and eastward along the rivers of the southeast, pursued by hostile natives, until they finally made their home in the then unpopulated mountain fastness of what is now north Georgia. Other forts similar to that found at Fort Mountain are also known on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, and in other parts of north Georgia and Alabama. At Fort Mountain the Welsh settlers made their last stand. There they were pursued and slain by the Cherokees in large numbers, and the survivors were assimilated into the tribe.