Fannin County, like many other regions of the United States, have legends, myths and tall tales.. The Native Americans have their tales and spiritual myths to help them understand the great mysteries.. For the most part, these tales are based in some truth that give the stories the necessary impact to survive the test of time.
In the 1830's, the Cherokee land in Fannin County was given out in lots, it was only offered to residents of Georgia who had been living in the state for three years or longer. In the 1860's Fannin County started being populated by North Carolinians. These were experienced mountain folk, who's families and ancestors worked their way down the Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountains from Pennsylvania. This hardy stock of pioneers were the Scot's or Highlander's.
Natural mountaineers in their homeland, the Highlander's brought with them a special type of experience and European custom. The pressure of government in this country as well as the oppression of the British in their Scottish homeland, the Highlanders tried to hold onto the old ways, while accepting new ideas. They brought Christianity as their guiding faith while keeping many pagan customs and practices of holistic medicines and such. They mingled with the local natives, exchanging ideas, technology, arts, customs and other practices. The popularity of the curative mineral springs located in Fannin County blended well with concepts presented by these natural practitioners. Traditions and medical practices hundreds of years old have made up a unique perspective on the mountain culture healing practices....from herbs, to potions, spells, crystals and stones. Mountain folk practitioners and herbalist had a special place during this era and have become a fascination in the world of modern health.
Fairy Crosses are probably the most tangible, myth-legend in Fannin County. They are referred to as crosses, due to their shape. The mineral name for "fairy crosses" is staurolite. The staurolite is considered to be the Georgia state mineral. Fannin County stands as one of the most significant finds of fairy crosses in the Blue Ridge mountains. Fannin County has also been referred to, by noted mineralogist, as having the finest specimens of staurolite in the world.
The Tears of Fairies The legend of "fairy crosses" have come down through history from the first meeting of John Smith and Pocahontas, which states that the Indian Princess gave John Smith a good luck charm necklace made out of a "fairy cross". It's also known that President Theodore Roosevelt carried an amulet made from a "fairy cross". Locally there are two popular tales concerning the "staurolite". One states that "staurolite" or "fairy crosses" are the tears of the Cherokee, who wept over the loss of their homeland during the exodus on the "Trail of Tears". The other tale stems from an older legend concerning an ancient race of mountain fairies. This second tale tells of the fairies getting together at their favorite meeting place for dancing and gaiety, only to find out during one rendezvous some 2000 years ago, that the Son of the Great Creator died upon a cross. So moved by the loss of one so great in the spirit world, the fairies were crushed in heart and cried. As they wept, their tears fell to the ground and were crystallized into what we know as "fairy crosses".
What do we know about "fairy crosses?" Well, no two fairy crosses ever found are alike. There are three types. The Maltese Cross is a well formed, perfectly even cross, most difficult to find and highest prized by collectors. The second is the Saint Andrews' Cross, a more common find, with the angled line through the cross instead of a horizontal line. Third is the Prismatic Cross, easiest and more commonly found, a less than perfect shape but crossed just the same. From a theoretical point of view, staurolites were created under great pressure and high temperature some 60 to 500 million years ago, either formed from within the earth or arriving on a meteorite. No matter what tale agrees with you the most, staurolite is becoming scarce due to its popularity..."fairy crosses" are as ancient as Fannin County can get.
People were able to dig for the stones at Hackney Farm in Fannin County Georgia but the farm has been sold and the new owners won't let anyone on the property anymore. I will keep looking and if anyone knows of a place let me know and i will post it.
Original post can be found here .http://genealogytrails.com/geo/fannin/fairy_cross.htm