Locally, legend has it that the hill received its name during the Blackhawk War of 1832. When Blackhawk brought his people into the Kickapoo Valley, panic spread among the white settlers. The story goes that all the settlers in the area fled to the hilltop refuge, somehow dragging cannons with them to defend against the invading Sauk-Fox contingent. It is an interesting story although little if any of it is true.
First of all, there were virtually no white settlers in the Kickapoo Valley in 1832, especially in the northern part around La Farge. Although a panic did spread across southern Wisconsin from the lead-mining district in the southwest on over to the four Lakes region (Madison), there wouldn't have been any panic in the Kickapoo because settlement was still more than a decade from happening. Secondly, Blackhawk and his people crossed the Kickapoo much further to the south on their way towards the Mississippi River, where they would eventually be massacred at Bad Axe. Blackhawk and some of his warriors may have ventured farther north into the valley looking for the Winnebago, who had villages and camps in the Kickapoo at that time. He did not find any allies though, as the Winnebago villages in the southern part of the valley were abandoned, probably indicating an avoidance by the Winnebago in getting involved in Blackhawk's troubles. The pursuing federal army troops and Illinois militia did have some cannon in their arsenal, but why they would have drug them up on Ft Wales, is anyone's guess. Indeed, another prominent Kickapoo Valley folk story is that those Blackhawk War artillery pieces are supposed to be buried at several places around La Farge, including on Bear Creek, at Lawton's Flat and in the areas around West Lima and Sabin. Despite numerous searches by many, some armed with metal detectors, no cannon have ever been recovered.
Although the picnicking and the parking are things of the past, the little hillock called Fort Wales still looks down on La Farge. With the brush pruned back and its crown of trees felled, the hill would almost resemble a mesa from the west. Steeped in legend, the little hill continues its vigil over the Kickapoo Valley and La Farge.