The exact location of Fort Upper Tract is not known, but it was built during the French and Indian War within or near the present hamlet of Upper Tract, by the South Branch Potomac in present Pendleton County. According to letters among George Washington’s papers, Fort Upper Tract was built between August 21 and November 9, 1756, by a Lieutenant Lomax and 20 soldiers probably aided by local settlers. Washington, who was in charge of frontier defenses, directed that the fort be constructed of wood in a quadrangular shape. The fort was to have walls 60 feet long and bastions in all four corners. Barracks, a powder magazine, and other necessary buildings were to be built inside. The actual form of the fort is unknown.
According to a register kept by William Preston, the fort was destroyed in an Indian attack on April 27, 1758. Eighteen militiamen were killed at the fort. The attackers possibly included one or more Frenchmen. A letter in the Augusta County court records, written right after the fort fell, indicates that some of the rangers killed at the fort had been sent to reinforce Fort Upper Tract from Hog’s Fort in Brock Gap, about 22 miles to the east. Captain Dunlap, himself killed in the battle, had requested help upon spotting Indians in the area. The reinforcements arrived just before the fort was attacked. Local settlers Ludwick Fulk and William Elliot, their wives, and one stranger died with the militiamen.
No one in the fort survived to tell how it was captured. Fort Upper Tract apparently was never rebuilt.
This Article was written by Greg Adamson
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.
Chalkley, Lyman. Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia 1745-1800. Rosslyn, VA: The Commonwealth Printing Co., 1912, Reprint, Genealogical Pub., 1989.
Cite This Article
Adamson, Greg "Fort Upper Tract." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 07 February 2012. Web. 31 March 2015.