Fort Ashby was built on John Sellers’s farm within the present hamlet of Fort Ashby, Mineral County, in the fall of 1755, during the French and Indian War. The fort site is located near Patterson Creek, on the north side of Dan’s Run Road just east of the road’s intersection with U.S. 28. An old log building at the site, currently operated as a part-time museum, was probably a barracks within the fort. Fort Ashby was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
A large number of settlers were killed by Indians along Patterson Creek during the summer and fall of 1755. To dissuade the remaining settlers from fleeing to coastal cities and to protect them, George Washington ordered that Fort Ashby and Fort Cocke south) be built. Both were to be built in a quadrangular shape with 90-foot-long walls, bastions in the corners, barracks, and a magazine. A Virginia Regiment company commanded by Capt. John Ashby built Fort Ashby during late October and early November, 1755.
During April 1756, a large party of Indians surrounded the fort and demanded its surrender. Captain Ashby refused and the Indians soon departed. On April 17, 1757, George Washington ordered Fort Ashby abandoned by the Virginia Regiment. Afterward, the fort was probably garrisoned by the local militia until the Indian troubles ended. Whatever the case, Fort Ashby disappeared from all official military correspondence and was not mentioned again in surviving records. George Washington did not mention the fort in his diary during a visit to the area in 1782, which suggests that the fort was no longer in service.
Read the National Register of Historic Places nomination.
This Article was written by Greg Adamson
Last Revised on April 23, 2013
Ansel, William H. Jr. Frontier Forts Along the Potomac and its Tributaries. Parsons: McClain, 1984.
The Papers of George Washington. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1984.
McBride, W. Stephen & Kim Arbogast McBride. Frontier Forts in West Virginia. Charleston: West Virginia Division of Culture & History, 2003.