The Ancient Native American Mystery of Yamacutah

The Ancient Native American Mystery of Yamacutah


Yamacutah is a sacred Native American Shrine located along North Oconee River in Jackson, County, Georgia.

It was there that the Indians believed the Great Spirit once walked.

Local historian Gustavus James Wilson, who wrote of the shrine in his book “The Early History of Jackson County,” was one of the only documents of the story of Yamacutah. Wilson, 1827-1909, lived in Jefferson at the time of when he wrote of its history.

The site was protected by the Creek Indians until 1785, when “a treaty was signed” which ceded the lands to the white settlers.

In the book, Wilson wrote of two men who traveled from Virginia to Georgia in 1784. The explorers were Jordan Clark and Jacob Bankston who had heard of Yamacutah from a group of Choctaw Indians in Wilkes County, and upon searching for the shrine, they found it on April 22, 1784, according to the history.

What the explorers had described was a statue set atop an earthen mound about 6 feet high plus 17 feet in circumference.

The statue’s head “was well formed. The neck was unduly long and slender. The chin and forehead were retreating. They eyes were finely executed, and looked anxiously to the east… Four smooth paths led in four directions from the statue…And here, amid those gloomy solitudes the natives believed that our God, their Great Spirit, had walked as a man walks along his homeward pathway,” is what Smith had wrote.

The mound, in the center of a circular landscape that measured at 150 yards in diameter, had other rock monuments carved with designs such as moons and the sun, too.

Surrounding the holy grounds were the giant hardwoods and pines of a virgin forest.

Richard Thornton, an architect and city planner from Dahlonega, who has personally searched the forests of Jackson County for Yamacutah, stated, “It is not a myth,” in a recent interview. Thornton, who is also Creek Indian, said he once considered Yamacutah a myth.

“I didn’t even know the name Yamacutah. I just knew there was some mystical place where God came down to earth. I thought it was some tall story from my grandmother,” said Thornton, who himself has studied Native American history and was an architect for a Trail of Tears memorial in Oklahoma.

Wilson’s book also records that in 1785 there was a bitterly cold winter in which wildlife froze to death and a day of darkness in which the sun, while visible, gave no light as it appeared hidden by a fog.

Interestingly enough, these conditions actually happened due to volcano eruptions in Iceland at the time.

Researchers like Thornton, continue to try to solve this mystery.


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