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.
Fort Mountain State Park
Located 8 miles east of Chatsworth via Ga. Hwy. 52, is Fort Mountain State Park. Fort Mountain derives its name from an ancient and mysterious rock wall which stands at the highest point of the mountain. Situated in the Chattahoochee National Forest, close to the Cohutta Wilderness area, this park offers a variety of outdoor activities. Here hikers, mountain bikers and horse lovers will find some of the most beautiful trails in northern Georgia. Awe-inspiring mountain vistas, wild blueberry thickets, and sparkling mountain streams all add to make this a memorable destination for outdoor adventures.
Other ammenities in the 3,712-acre state park include:
17-acre Lake with Swimming Beach
Fishing and Peddle Boat Rentals (in season)
7 Picnic Shelters
Group Shelter (seats 80)
Miniature Golf (seasonal)
181 Fort Mountain Park Road
Chatsworth, Georgia 30705
Open daily, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park