Fort Loudon Silver Mines
According to a history of Tennessee by James Adair, “Within twenty miles of Fort Loudon (built by the British in 1756-57 on the Little Tennessee River) there exist silver mines so rich that by digging about ten yards deep, some desperate vagrants found at sundry times so much ore as to enable them to counterfeit dollars to a great demand, a horse-load of which was detected in passing for the purchase of Negroes in Augusta.”
According to Ramsey, a Tennessee historian of the early 1800s, “A tradition still continues of the existence of the silver mines mentioned thus by Adair. It is derived from hunters and traders who have seen the locality and assisted in smelting the metal. The late Mr. Delozier of Sevier County testified to the existence and richness of mines of silver, one of which he had worked at in the very section of the Cherokee country, described by Adair.”
In 1762, Henry Timberlake explored and mapped the Cherokee country along the Little Tennessee River. He heard continuous stories of rich silver mines in the area being worked by the Indians, but he never learned of their locations and most of his maps, charts and notes were lost in an accident.