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Long before the Georgia Gold Rush both white men and Indians knew of the existence of the precious material in the mountains of present day Lumpkin County. Spanish miners visited the area on a number of occasions before they were completely expelled in the 1730's by white English settlers who cut off their supply route from Florida.

Photo of General Store, one of two remaining buildings from Auraria's Gold Rush daysSometime before 1830 gold was discovered in Lumpkin County, although mining of gold in White County was already under way. Lumpkin County resident Benjamin Parks is often mistakenly credited with the discovery because he spent much of his later years retelling the story of how he found it. Men and material poured into the area from Canton to Blairsville, forcing out the Cherokee. The town of Auraria sprang up to serve the needs of the miners while the county was still a part of Indian Territory. At one time Auraria could boast of 1500 residents and a newspaper, the Western Herald. A nearby area known as Licklog would eventually become Dahlonega. In an 1834 novel, William Gilmore Simms described Lumpkin County as "the wildest region of the then little-settled state of Georgia-doubly wild as forming the debatable land between the savage and the civilized-partaking of the ferocity of the one, and the skill, cunning and cupidity of the other."

By the time Mr. Simms novel was published Fort Dahlonega had been completed. One of the infamous Cherokee Removal Forts, the structure stood near present-day downtown Dahlonega. It would be used to house Cherokee from the area before their forced removal on "The Trail of Tears." 
(Source:  http://roadsidegeorgia.com/county/lumpkin.html - Please view this link for more great historical information regarding Lumpkin & surrounding counties.)


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