historical information
lake Russell wildlife
management area (LRWMA)
Roman's Den

This Is A Part of The GAGenWeb  and The USGenWeb Project

Shown below is history of "The Roman's Den" as posted at the site. This historical site is located in  "Lake Russell Wildlife Management Area" of "The Chattahoochee National Forest".

The Romans Den

GA06 - 525

The past belongs to the future, but only you can preserve it.

Please protect this site by leaving the area undisturbed. Report vandalism to the

District Ranger or the Forest Supervisor, Gainesville, Georgia (770)536-0541.

Any person who excavates, disturbs, or collects artifacts from any historic or archaeological site on National Forest lands without specific authorization is subject to citation and prosecution under the Antiquities Act of 1906, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, 18 U.S.C. Sect. 1361, or Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations.



At this site, Samuel Romans and William Smith hid to avoid fighting in the Civil War. It was reported that they were part Indian and therefore could not vote. They felt that if they could not vote they should not have to fight.

Please read the story inside this sign and leave it there for others to discover. A copy can be printed from our website under the Adopt-a-Site link.




Placed by volunteers with the U.S. Forest Service

Friends and Families of the Lake Russell Wildlife Management Area.


Foot traffic only on this historic site!


Roman's Den Saga Continues to Intrigue Area

From the Toccoa Record, February 14, 1976

On the west side of Currahee Mountain on a stone ridge, is a cave known as Roman's Den for more than a hundred years. Samuel Roman and William Smith (Bill) chose this cave as an ideal place to hide. Some say it had been dug previously to live in while some say it was an old mine, and still others contend it was dug by Roman and Smith. This den is composed of three rooms, one room in front, a spring in the back, and one in the rear. The front room is about eight feet square while the two in the back are about nine feet high and oblong.

There was a cloudburst many years ago which washed a considerable amount of dirt through a stump hole in the top of the den. The two back rooms were almost filled with dirt, which prevents exploration of same. The stump hole was for ventilation.

The entrance of the cave faces west, near a ravine which extends a short distance to a creek known as Brady Creek, which is on James and Mahulda Brown Brady's land (1822 - 1900). This den is on their land and about two miles from their house. Three of their boys were in service. The door of the cave was cut and made to fasten inside, so camouflaged with cedar trees that no one would ever suspect it being there. As the trees wilted, they were replaced with new ones. Carved over the door were the words "God is love."

Their beds and cooking utensils were in the front section of the den. The boys never cooked by day, they remained inside and rested. At night they came out "by the light of the moon" for fresh air and exercise. During this time their families, who lived a mile north would bring food and other necessities. They faired well for quite a while. Some pilfering was in evidence. There was a cellar on the opposite side of the creek, built of logs, back in the bluff, covered with rocks and dirt, where they stored their excess food and belongings.

They didn't have to worry about a 'shave and a hair cut' as long hair and beard and mustaches were in style like those of today. They had the appearance of some of the youth of today.

After having lived in a cave for about a year, food became scarce, not only for Sam and Bill but for everyone. One night whhile out searching for food, the boys stumbled upon Mr. mattew's smokehouse. It was locked and the only way to get in was to undermine the log structure. They did this, and away they went with as many hams as they could carry.

Mr. Matthews discovered his smokehouse had been wrecked and some of his meat taken. He was furious and declared he would kill the culprits if he ever found them. He offered a $100 Confederate bill for the apprehension of the thieves.

A friend of Sam and Bill who had been in serviced had been dismissed for disability. He had visited the den and knew of the ham. However, the $100 bill sounded good to the third party. He went over to Fort Hill , and squaked on them.

Bull Horn Terrell was guard at the mustering ground. He carried his logging chains and went to the hideout with a few men.

Roman and Smith were asleep in their temporary quarters. Terrel broke the door open and brought the two out. They were chained together at the ankles with the logging chain, which was handmade and very heavy.

The boys were forced to walk the five miles back to the Fort Hill at the foot of Chrrahee Mountain where the Purr's lived. This was tough traveling, going over mountains, rocky ledges, through streams and boggy bottoms. Their ankles must have left a stream of blood among the way.

When they reached Mr. Terrell's house, the first thing Sam spied was a gun on the wall. Being a sly guy and having a brilliant mind, as quick as a wink, he said "Mr. Terrell, I'm sorry, I know I was wrong. I should never have done such a thing. I want you to pray for me please. You are a good man and I need your help."

Mr. Terrell was soon on his knees praying very fervently. Soon, Sam reached up and got the gun. He pulled the trigger which failed to fire. Terrell heard the click and opened his eyes. This misfire saved Terrell's life but certainly got Roman in trouble.

To punish him, he was placed on a pole. Two men ran around the circle bouncing him up and down. To furhter humiliate him, a man was sitting in the circle beating a dishpan with a stick and laughing for dear life. Sam was becoming more furious by the minute.

Finally Roman's sentence was pronounced. He was to go to jail in Athens.

One morning Sam and a guard mounted two horses and headed for their desination. On the way they became thirsty and drank from the cool clear spring. While there Roman put some rocks in his pocket. A few miles down the road they spied a left turn in the road. Sam said "Hey, mister, wheere does that road go?" Just then the guard turned his head to see the road and instantly Sam threw a rock and hit the guard in the head rendering him unconscious. He fell from his horse. Roman pulled his horse to the left and away he went to North Carolina where he remained.

Before leaving Fort Hill mustering ground, Sam carried Mr. Terrell's logging chain up on a ridge to the west of Currahee Mountain. Here he buried the chain under a rock. He drew a plat and gave to Marion Edmonds the map showing him the directions to the hidden object.

Bill Smith went to Oklahoma where he became a millionaire in a short while. He struck oil on his property. Smith wrote back to his friend for a while after leaving. Once he told him, "last night oil ran out all over my potato patch, just ruined my potatoes."

In the 1850 census of Habersham County, Samuel Roman was 19 and living with David Mashburn. By the beginning of the War Between the States in 1861, Sam was 31. Smith was about the same age.


This document can be printed from our website http://lrwma.home.mindspring.com under the link "Adopt-a-Site". Please leave it for others to enjoy.


ęCopyright 2004-2009 Howard Farmer. All information contained on these pages is furnished by and for the free use of those researching their family origins. Any commercial use, without the consent of the host of these pages or the author of the information contained on these pages is prohibited--COPYRIGHT IS RETAINED--by the author/contributor of the material and publication to any medium, electronic or non-electronic, without consent is in violation of the law.

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