According to local legends, an individual named William Powell settled in the northern end of Fort Valley during the mid-18th century. A wide array of stories has emerged about his life. Some of these are:

-He was a stage coach robber who used his ill-gotten gains to create counterfeit coins
-He was a fugitive from justice who squatted on the land and avoided local authorities
-He was an impoverished English nobleman who moved to the area to escape his creditors and eventually discovered a lost silver mine.

Each story claimed Powell left behind either a hidden mine or a buried pot of gold in the area. Thousands of individuals have unsuccessfully traveled to the area over the past two centuries to search for this elusive treasure.

These tales have had a powerful impact on Fort Valley. So many people associated him with the area that it became known to some as Powell’s Fort or Powell’s Fort Valley. A post office bearing this operated in the late 19th century. Some community organizations even embraced the term over the more traditional Fort Valley.