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Dare Stone at Brenau University determined to be authentic!

Dare Stone at Brenau University determined to be authentic!


This breaking news is a game changer! Some survivors of the Roanoke Colony did find refuge in the Nacoochee Valley.

The new president of Brenau University, Dr. Edward Schrader, is also a professional geologist.  He was determined to find out, once and for all,  if the so-called Dare Stones in the possession of his institution were authentic.   Apparently, he did not know that these stones had been authenticated by several experts in the past.   Back in 1939, both scientists at Harvard University and archaeologist Robert Wauchope declared the original Dare Stone and those found in the Nacoochee Valley of Georgia to be authentic. In 2012,  geologist Scott Wolter, on behalf of the History Channel, declared those stones in the possession of Brenau University in Gainesville, GA, to be authentic.  Several more stones, supposedly found in the Atlanta Area in 1940 were determined to be fake by geologists at Georgia Tech.  However, they were also  never accepted by Brenau.

The Dare Stone found near Roanoke Island

Schrader took the original Dare Stone, which was found in the region near the ill-fated Roanoke Colony, to the geology laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.  Its scientists were allowed to cut off a chip from the stone to see its cross-section profile. They determined that the engraved letters on the stone had been oxidizing for at least four centuries.  They could have not have been carved in the 1930s as a legion of critics claimed in the early 1940s.  Brenau College received so much national ridicule at the time that for seven decades, it hid the Dare Stones from public view.

The announcement of this major change in American history was made in the June 9, 2018 edition of the The Gainesville Times front page.  However, Schrader and the article’s writer, Joshua Silavent,  seem completely unaware of the real history of the 28 Dare Stones found in the Nacoochee Valley and along the banks of the Upper Chattahoochee River.  These were found up to 85 years BEFORE the discovery of THE Dare Stone near the Roanoake Colony.   The owners brought them to Breanau at the urging of archaeologist Robert Wauchope, who spent most of 1939 investigating the archaeological sites of the Upper Chattahoochee River Basin.  In fact, two of the most important stone tablets were found by Wauchope himself.  One was near her tomb and the other near the base of the hill on which Eleanor Dare and her Apalache-Creek husband lived.  These two tablets are in the possession of the Tulane University Department of Anthropology.

When Wauchope first arrived in the Nacoochee Valley in early 1939,  he went door to door to ask long time residents if they had any Native American artifact collections.  Most also had extensive collections of 16th and 17th European artifacts, which gave rise to the belief that De Soto had passed through the valley.  In addition, several families had strange stone tablets, written in Elizabethan English that had been found through the years, near the banks of the Chattahoochee River or in old Native American tombs.  Wauchope recognized the writing to be Elizabethan and urged the owners to take them to Brenau College.

Wauchope was soon hired to be the first anthropology professor at the University of Georgia.  HOWEVER, as soon as North Carolina state officials found out that he had found two of the most important Dare stones and could authenticate 26 others,  he was offered a position as director of the new University of North Carolina archaeological lab at double the salary, he made at the University of Georgia.  Once in Chapel Hill, NC  Wauchope remained silent as the 28 stone tablets that he had personally unearthed or found in old Nacoochee Valley family artifact collections were ridiculed nationally as being fakes.  The next year, he was inducted into the OSS (forerunner of the CIA) and spent the remainder of World War II in the Mediterranean Basin. 

To learn the fascinating secret history of the Dare Stones, go to this two part series in the People of One Fire Youtube Channel.

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Great information!!! At last they are validated. Wonderful.


    Very interesting! Brenau is my alma mater!

    • My parents’ first house in Gainesville was near Brenau Lake on the Cleveland Highway. The dam was leaking back then, so I don’t know if it still exists.


    Richard, after all this time we still don’t know the factors behind the demise of that English Colony. Personally I think the French, Spaniards, or the Dutch back in those days would have killed the whole Colony if it was up to them over the Gold, Silver, rubies of the South East Mountains? One of them most likely was the reason Dare was brought to all the way from North Carolina to get intel about the English Colony and its resupply ships plans.
    There are still factors that do not want the real history of the 16-17th Century’s to be taught. With that massive amount of wealth their families acquired by having access to that Gold / Silver of Georgia and North Carolina they could be called “the Kings of the world”? If it was not for Mr. Briggstock what written words would we have of the Nobles of the Apalache…. that have not be well reported in the U.S. history books.


    Thank you for this information and yet another clue to my mother’s possible ancestry. I found 4 surnames in the list of Roanoke Colony members. I just wrote a male cousin on my mother’s side to ask him to submit his DNA to the study. My assumption is that yet again YDNA is sought and not MtDNA.


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