Ten miles north of Dahlonega, GA, at the intersection of US 19 and State Road 60, is a stone pile in a triangle where the roads cross, known as the Stone Pile Gap. “This pile of stones marks the grave of a Cherokee princess, Trahlyta,” reads the Georgia Historical Commission marker standing guard.
“According to legend her tribe, living on Cedar Mountain north of here, knew the secret of the magic springs of eternal youth from the Witch of Cedar Mountain. Trahlyta, kidnapped by a rejected suitor, Wahsega, was taken far away and lost her beauty. As she was dying, Wahsega promised to bury her near her home and the magic springs. Custom arose among the Indians and later the Whites to drop stones, one for each passerby, on her grave for good fortune. The magic springs, now known as Porter Springs, lie 3/4 miles northeast of here.”
Twice the Georgia Department of Highways has attempted to move the grave during road construction. Both times at least one person died in an accident while moving the pile. Legend says that removing a stone from the pile will bring the curse of the Witch of Cedar Mountain upon the thief. The stone grave remains today in the same place it has always been.
The springs in question were (again!) discovered in 1868 by Joseph H. McKee, a Methodist preacher, on land then belonging to Basil S. Porter. McKee and William Tate, a Baptist preacher, tested the water (in their fashion) for minerals and advertised their findings. People came from miles around pitching tents or taking home gallons of water, and claimed cures of rheumatism, dyspepsia, dropsy and many other diseases, even leprosy.
Sources: “Inns and Inn Keepers of the Gold Fields of Lumpkin County, Georgia,” by Sylvia Gailey Head, Gold Rush Gallery, Inc., 2001
Related Posts: “The Legend of Uktena”