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Discovery of Early Colonial Mining Colony in Southern Appalachians

Discovery of Early Colonial Mining Colony in Southern Appalachians

An ancient village  unearthed in 1834 in the Nacoochee Valley of Georgia represents an enigma.  The structures are typical of late 16th century barracks in French forts built in the late 1500s and 1600s.   The only artifacts mentioned in the article are Native American, which apparently belonged to the Native wives of the miners.

(Pictured Above) In 1828,  laborers working for a gold mine owned by South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun on Dukes Creek in the Nacoochee Valley, uncovered a Spanish or Spanish Sephardic mining village along Dukes Creek. Some Spanish lettering was seen on metal tools.  It consisted of detached cabins built out of heavy timber.  In addition to mining tools, the laborers found a Spanish cigar mold.  Apparently, the miners were also growing tobacco and making cigars from it.  The architectural evidence suggests that the colonists of these two settlements were different nationalities.

PS –  The Spanish mining village is described in the book by Charles C. Jones, Jr.  –  Antiquities of the Southern Indians.  (1873)


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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.



    Well, I thought that I knew something about Dukes Creek Gold Mines but this is new to me.
    Also, I did not know that John C. Calhoun had any interest in Dukes Creek. I thought that his operations were the Calhoun Mine, the Loud Mine and other mines in Lumpkin County.
    You may want to pass this on to Christopher Worick, Gold Mine Research and President of the Lumpkin C. Historical Society. He may already be known to you. His email is

    • I am trying to find that location! It appears to be an archaeological site visited by Robert Wauchope in 1939. If so it is a very large Native American village where Hwy 75 crosses Dukes Creek.


    So, Donald Panther Yates may not have been so far off on his hypothesis of Cherokee and other Tribes having some infusion of Jewish DNA in their lineage?? Interesting when so many people have said he was thoroughly debunked on this idea? I wonder where they got that notion from?? hmmmm


      Hey Michelle, Good to see you’re still active on POOF.

      I’m still doing research on the Cherokee.
      On the article: Cheriqué Province, Panama . . . Is it the origin
      of the Cherokee’s name?
      you left a comment that has been in the back of my head for some time.
      Your comment on: January 14, 2016:
      “In the book “Iroquois Culture and Commentary”
      by Doug George-Kanentiio pages 19-22 they speak of their origins. The tell us that they were originally a people of the Desert in the American Southwest. They eventually began
      to migrate eastward up through the plains and across the Mississippi River into the Ohio Valley where part of their people departed from them and eventually became known
      as the Cherokee. This is their oral history.”

      I’ve been busy focusing on the Caucasus, Middle Eastern region in search of the (possible) origin of the Cherokee, I haven’t had time to do research into the American

      You pointing out the information in the book “Iroquois
      Culture and Commentary” by Doug George-Kanentiio
      has made me think if the author and the information
      on the origin of the Aniyunwiya (The Principel People) in
      the book:
      “A Brief History of Catoosa County: Up Into the Hills”
      by Jeff O’Bryant – 2009

      Page 21:
      Chapter 1: The Principal People

      “They originally migrated from northern Mexico and
      portions of Texas to the Great Lakes region, but
      wars with other Native Americans, both the Iroquois
      and Delaware tribes, forced them into the Southeast.”

      have some truth in their claims.
      For now I have done a quick search on the linguistic maps of North America and sure enough I have found a map and a
      name which could prove there actually is some truth to the claims that the Cherokee migrated from the southwest (Northern Mexico) to the north east (Great Lakes Region).

      On the map:
      “Early Indian Tribes, Culture Areas, and Linguistic Stocks”
      by William C. Sturtevant – Smithsonian Institution, 1967
      In the Southwest – west of Mescalero you can find the (tribes-)name: “Chiricahua” (Chirica-hua)
      The “Chiricahua” is placed in the “Na-Dene” linguistic stock.

      Perhaps you can also take a look into it and do your own research. Remember: “Many hands make light work”.


        In the meantime I’ve done some more research on the “Chiricahua”. It seems that the name Chiricahua was
        given by the Spanish.
        They are also known as the Chiricagui, Apaches de Chiricahui, Chiricahues, Chilicague, Chilecagez, and Chiricagua.
        This automatically makes a possible connection bet-
        ween the Chiricahua and the Cherokee unlikely.

        The only link / connection is that the Spanish through
        the years since Columbus have given certain native
        tribes a similar name:

        Chiriqui / Cherique = Panama
        Charaqui / Cherokee = Southeast North America
        Chiricagui / Chiricahua = Mexico

        Why would the Spanish give similar names to native
        tribes who are separated by hundreds if not
        thousands of miles?
        Is there a connection between these tribes after all
        or is it just coincidence?


    Richard, Thank you for your articles. “chattah” means rock? and there must have been mining of Zinc/Gold a long time before the 15-1600 century in Georgia with the Paracusa-te/ Apalasi people. It is noted that “Ala-tama-ha” was the name of the river now called “Altamaha” in the 1770’s when William Bartram explored that area. “Ouaquaphenogaw”, which lies between Flint and Oakmulge rivers…”was a statement made by him and do you know what that word means in the Native Muskogee Creek langue?


    this discussion leaves some perhaps important info … the Mormon history tells of a branch of Jewish peoples coming over to the USA
    and they are supposed to be the Cherokee …. see for further ref Laban, Sword of Laban, Comet, Metacomet ‘he was a comet to his people and tablets found in Appalachian Mountains of older aicniet times with Jewish scripts / writing … L E C
    ps 2 the books by Harvard Geologist Prof Barry Fell Harvard esp Amierca BC detail ancient writings all across USA, Egyptian, Phoenician, Viking, etc etc
    dated to 2000 BC which I think clearly prove all the author claims (that he dated all times from language experts who KNOW the date of versions of the different languates ) and so provuing 2000 year history of early trade between Europe, Mideast etc These trading routes were stopped approx. ? 100 AD and forgotten … it is exteme criminal that the schools and esp anthropology communiyties ignore FELL’ WORK WHICH TO ANY THINKING PERSON HE Aproves ENTIRELY …

    • The only artistic, linguistic and genetic evidence, we are finding is from the Bronze Age Scandinavians and Irish. There is always the possibility that other peoples came from the Old World in smaller numbers. Actually, there were Spanish-speaking Sephardic Jews living throughout the Southern Highlands, when the Cherokees first arrived down here. They were gold, silver and gem miners. There are plenty of credible witnesses from the 1600s and 1700s, who described meeting them. Their arrival can be pin-pointed to between 1585 and 1625. That’s the range, which radio-carbon dating is finding.


    This same article could be written about Fort Mountain Georgia in Murray county.It has been so mined out inside it is hollow. The huge holes visible to me as a child have been covered in concrete and closed to the public. But it was mined for silver. For centuries by supposed Sephardic Jews. Also many artifacts are found there, along with terraces from the top to bottom on the west side.


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