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Mysterious Madoc

Author Olson searches
for lost chapter of American history

New evidence may prove
the existence of a Welsh prince

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(March 2008) – Author Dana Olson has devoted years to adamantly delving into research surrounding the legendary Welsh Prince Madoc. He firmly believes, “My story about the Welsh Prince and the White Indians is the missing chapter of American history.”

Dana Olson

Photo by Helen E. McKinney

Author Dana Olson has spoken at
the Irish Rover in the past about the
legend of Prince Madoc, a Welsh
prince who some say settled in
America in 1170 A.D.

So engrossed in the story was Olson that in 1987 he penned a book on the subject titled, “The Legend of Prince Madoc and the White Indians.” Since then he has continued in his quest to separate fact from fiction about Prince Madoc and reveal the untold story to many who have never heard it before.
Olson will present a Power Point presentation about Prince Madoc and the White Indians at 7 p.m. on March 17 at Karen’s Book Barn in La Grange, Ky. It is located at 127 W. Main St.
He said this program “will be different from other programs I’ve given in the past, because I will be presenting quite a bit of new evidence that has never been shown to the public before.”
Scholars suggest that Prince Madoc and a colony of Welshmen immigrated to America, making landfall in present-day Mobile Bay in Alabama in 1170 A.D. These “White Indians” navigated their way to the Falls of the Ohio and remained there for many years. It is thought they left the area after a great battle with the “Red Indians” on Sand Island and the surviving Welshmen settled along the tributaries of the Missouri River, assimilating into the Mandan Indian tribe.
In the 1830s American painter George Catlin substantiated this claim even further by declaring that he had found these missing Welsh Indians. Catlin documented his findings through paintings and sketches, firmly stating that they had been absorbed by the Mandan Indian culture. The tribe was almost completely exterminated by a smallpox epidemic in 1837.
Along their journey from Alabama to Missouri, the Welshmen constructed stone fortifications. Remains of European designed fortresses in America support this theory, lending proof to the early existence of Welshmen in America. Scholars believe neither prehistoric cultures nor Native Americans erected this type of stone enclosures.
Olson will discuss finds made in the Kanawha River Valley of West Virginia that have been linked to other stone fortifications in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. One major discovery was made in 1989 by archeologist Dr. Robert Pyle. Pyle unearthed a skeleton in Wyoming County that was proven to be that of a white European that predates the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus by several hundred years, said Olson.
One of the most recent “best discoveries,” according to Olson, has been made in Taylorsville, Ky. A stone wall was discovered on a hilltop known as Anderson Hill, and these remnants are the longest wall found to date. In pristine condition, the one-fourth of a mile long ancient stone wall may bring more credibility to the Madoc legend.
Other new evidence unveiled in Olson’s presentation will include discoveries made in the 1920s by two University of Kentucky professors, Dr. W.D. Finkhowser and Dr. W.S. Webb. The men confirmed the fact that they had unearthed a large number of stone laden graves in Christian County. They believed these stones held the descendants of Prince Madoc’s Lost Colony.

stone fortress

Photo provided

This view along the Ohio River near
14 Mile Creek in Clark County, Ind.,
may hold what may have once
been a stone fortress used for
defense and a lookout.

Olson believes the Prince Madoc findings have never been thoroughly investigated in this region of the country.
“In the beginning, I was looking for the truth about the crux of the saga. Since then, I have found out that there is a great deal more to this which opens up some doors to the information which belongs to the categories of Ancient History which helps explain why Prince Madoc and his people came to America.”
He knows there will always be skeptics who repudiate the existence of Prince Madoc and White Indians. But this will not stop him from uncovering and proving as much of the story as he can.
He is determined to bring to light the story that has long been ignored and its importance to our region’s history. Olson will be involved in the making of a documentary about Prince Madoc’s story this spring.
Filmmakers Ron Haskell and Paul Barlow will be shooting footage for a historical documentary produced through their company, Marconi Video, that will be shown later in the year at the Indiana Heritage Festival. Filming will begin in Mobile, Ala., moving north to DeSoto Falls, Ala., Fort Mountain in Chatsworth, Ga., then on to Old Stone Fort in Manchester, Tenn. The crew will then travel to Indian Fort Mountain near Berea, Ky., and Harrods Creek in Oldham County, Ky. Indiana sites include the Falls of the Ohio, Devil’s Backbone, Marble Hill and Wiggins Point.

• For more information on Dana Olson’s presentation, call Karen’s Book Barn at (502) 222-0918.

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