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Fort Culbertson, also known as Fort Byrd and Fort Field, was located along Joshua’s Run on Culbertson’s (now Crump’s) Bottom in present Summers County. It was built by Maj. James Robertson, who named it Fort Byrd, and his militiamen in July or August 1774. Robertson and his militiamen were from Fincastle County, a county of Virginia created in 1772 and dissolved in 1776. The construction of Fort Byrd followed orders from Col. William Preston, the surveyor of Fincastle County, who told Preston to “Construct a small stockade fort for the protection of the settlers and reception of a company [of militia].”

At the time of construction, the Virginia frontier had erupted into what is known as Lord Dunmore’s War, which pitted Virginia frontier settlers and militia against Indians of the Ohio Valley, particularly Shawnee and western Iroquois (often called Mingo). When Dunmore’s War ended in October 1774, following the Battle of Point Pleasant and the Treaty of Camp Charlotte, Fort Culbertson, or Byrd, was under the command of Fincastle County Militia Capt. Joseph Martin.

The fort was garrisoned again by Virginia militia during the American Revolutionary War when it was again needed to protect local settlers from Indian raids. In 1777, the fort, now known as Fort Field, was under the command of Montgomery County Militia Capt. John Lucas. In April and May 1778, the area around Fort Field was invaded by “several large Parties of the Enemy [Native Americans].” These raids led to the abandonment of this region by most settlers, and as Col. William Preston stated, “we are obliged to abandon the Posts at Culbertson [commanded by Captain Joseph Cloyd] and Island Creek.” Fort Field was apparently burned by Indians after its abandonment.

This Article was written by Stephen McBride and Kim McBride

Last Revised on February 06, 2023


Thwaites, Reuben Gold & Louise Phelps Kellogg. Documentary History of Dunmore's War, 1774. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society, 1905.

Thwaites, Reuben Gold & Louise Phelps Kellogg, eds. Frontier Defense on the Upper Ohio 1777-1778. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society, 1912.

Johnston, David E. History of the Middle New River Settlement and Contiguous Territory. Huntington: Standard Printing & Pub. Co., 1906, Reprint, Commonwealth Press, 1969.

Kellogg, Louise Phelps. Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779 Draper Series, 4. Madison: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1916.

Maslowski, Robert F. and Joli L. Woody. "Sites in Crumps Bottom, Bluestone Reservoir." Proceedings, New River Symposium. Boone, North Carolina: April 12-14, 1984.

Trail, Stephen D.. History of Forts Farley, Lafferty, Cook, and Culbertson. in Summers County Historical Society, In The History of Summers County, West Virginia. Marceline, Missouri.: Walsworth Press, 1984.

McBride, W. Stephen, Kim A. McBride & J. David McBride. Frontier Defense of the Greenbrier and Middle New River Country. , Report no. 375. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996.

Cite This Article

McBride, Stephen and Kim McBride "Fort Culbertson." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 06 February 2023. Web. 24 May 2024.


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