The Moon-Eyed People / Prince Madoc of Wales
Legends of Fort Mountain:
The Moon-Eyed People
While some legends equate the moon-eyed people withe the descendants of Prince Madoc, Cherokee legends tell of the moon-eyed people that inhabited the Southern Highlands before they arrived. These people are said to have been unable to see during certain phases of the moon. During one of these phases, the Creek people annihilated the race. Some believe these moon-eyed people built the fortifications on this mountain.
Other versions of the Cherokee legend tell about people with fair skin, blond hair, and blue eyes that occupied the mountain areas until Cherokee invaders finally dispersed them. Some tales said the moon-eyed people could see in the dark, but were nearly blind in daylight. Other legends describe them as albinos.
Delaware Indian legend tells of their migration eastward from the far west and meeting a race of very tall, robust, light-skinned people they called the Allegewi, until they prevailed with the support of the Iroquois, who were also moving eastward. Some surviving Allegewi went to Cherokee territory and stayed with them for a time and are remembered as Tlvni Kula, "moon eyed" people, who were tall, fair-skinned, with light hair and grey eyes, and carried strange weapons and tools.
Legends of Fort Mountain:
Prince Madoc of Wales
Welsh and Cherokee legends coincide here on Fort Mountain. Welsh legends tell of Prince Madoc, who sailed first to Mobile Bay in 1170 AD. After a brief exploration, Madoc returned to Wales, only to sail again for the New World with numerous settlers in a fleet of ships. They never returned to Wales. In the New World, they built stone forts, including this one on Fort Mountain, and warred with the local Cheyenne before deciding to move west sometime around 1186 AD. Madoc's travels, first told in print about 1584, had been told in Welsh songs and stories since the twelfth century.
In 1782, ninety-year-old Cherokee chief Oconostota told John Seiver of Tennessee about the Welsh who had once "...crossed the Great Water and landed first near the mouth of the Alabama River near Mobile..." Oconostota told that these whites had built the fortifications in this country. Other American legends tell of encounters with indians who possessed pale eyes, red hair, beards, and spoke Welsh.
Legend attributes three stone forts to Prince Madoc's people. One near DeSoto Falls, Alabama, is said to be nearly identical to the setting, layout, and method of construction of Dolwyddelan Castle in Wales, the birthplace of Madoc. From Alabama, Madoc moved to this site and hastily constructed these fortification. Retreating from Fort Mountain, these Welsh settlers built minor fortifications in the Chattanooga area before moving to the Duck River near Manchester, Tennessee, and building the fortifications now known as the Old Stone Fort.