On The Rock at Hooper Bald
On Hooper Bald a mountain peak rising over a mile in elevation in Graham County there is a large rock that has some unusual writing on it. As far back as anyone can remember or has heard of, the writing has been there. Generation after generation of Graham County folks, especially the "old timers" recall seeing the writing when they were small children accompanying their fathers and grandfathers to Hooper Bald. They say their fathers and grandfathers told them of seeing the writing when they were small children.
People wondered who did the writing, which appears to be chiseled into the stone. Some thought the writing was Spanish and attributed it to DeSoto who is said to have passed through this area in search of gold.
In 1988 Marshall McClung sent a photo of the writing to the McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. Jeff Chapman of the Museum said that the inscription on the rock "PREDARMS CASADA, SEP. 1615," is probably of Spanish origin, and says that in effect that the person was claiming Hooper Bald as his own, was staking a claim, and would defend it to the point of bearing arms. The date, 1615, does not correspond to the time that DeSoto was supposed to be in this area. The writing is thought to have come from a band of renegade soldiers who had deserted DeSoto's army and struck out on their own in search of gold.
There is other writing on the rock beneath the surface of the soil, but it is difficult to make out.
Actually, Casada is the Spanish word for a married or wedded woman,
so it could simply be that a wedding took place on Hooper Bald among early
Spanish explorers and was commemorated by the stone carving, which was
traditional among some ethnic groups).