Monday, October 17, 2011

Poking Around Fort Dobbs

It's a beautiful time of year in North Carolina. The stifling heat of the summer has given way to a glorious autumn, with the trees changing colors faster than the squirrels scampering to hide food for the winter. Sue and I love to ride around and find things to look at. We have passed by the Fort Dobbs sign so many times in our 13 years in North Carolina, that state law now required us to make a mandatory visit. Well, that's not quite true, but we did decide to visit the Fort yesterday. It was closed.

Now, that's not as bad as one would think. Having arrived at the site of the Fort, we were greeted by an empty parking area and a deserted site. Fort Dobbs has no walls, or fortifications, it is simply the remains of the fort grounds, with a reconstructed homesite, and no gates. So we roamed around, soaking up a bit of sun while we did.

The Forts history dates back to 1755, when Governor Dobbs requested that a fort be built at the Western "frontier" of the state. It's hard to imagine that this was about as far West as most of the settlers from the East had come in 1755, but it is true. There were many settlers beyond that frontier, but they were strictly on their own. The area beyond this point was Cherokee country. The Fort was built for defense against Indian attacks from the Cherokees, who had aligned themselves with the French, in what became known as the French-Indian Wars.

The Fort was built in 1756 and stood as a garrison on the site. It was more like a big box type of wooden structure, with a roof, than a conventional fort. It housed 50 men.

The fort came under attack late on the night of February 27, 1760 by more than 60 Indians. The settlers suffered two casualties, and one death, while the reports indicate that 10-12 Cherokee were killed, or wounded.

Not much remains of the Fort, just some outlines in the earth where the garrison once stood. By 1761 the garrison was moved further West, and by 1766 Fort Dobbs was in total ruins. The land is pristine and virtually untouched since the days of the fort. I hope it stays that way.

For a quick overview of the site, and the role it played in local history, this link will take you to the official web site for Fort Dobbs;

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