Present Moments with some of your favorite historical authors
The Authors of Writes of Passage
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
This week I’m going to take you with me to Prickett’s Fort, located in Fairmont, West Virginia. I don’t remember exactly what day we made the visit to Prickett’s Fort, but I’m really glad we set aside an afternoon to take this huge step back in time.
First off, I’m going to tell you that we lucked out timing our visit to the fort. Just as we arrived, two busloads of school children were leaving to go back home after their field trip. Don’t get me wrong—I’m all for the ‘younguns’ learning history and having field trips, but trying to see and hear anything with sixty or seventy grade schoolers would have been impossible.
So here we go on another history lesson: Prickett’s Fort was constructed back in 1774 to provide settlers a refuge from American Indian attacks. This particular fort was built at the confluence of Prickett’s Creek and the Monongahela River within 10 miles of three major American Indian trails. The Fort covers a 110 by 110 foot square and was built by the community militia. Since Captain Jacob Prickett owned the land, they named it after him. (Nice gesture.)
Although the fort is reconstructed, it is representative of the original structures. Two-story blockhouses are set in the four corners of the 12-foot high log walls and were used by the Fort's defenders as lookouts. (You can see those in the picture at the top left--and isn't that a beautiful piece of God's country!)
Along the weathered stockade walls are 14 tiny cabins, some with earthen floors, which served as shelter for the women and children. (At upper right you can see how the rear of the cabin is situated flush with the wall of the fort.)
A meeting house and storehouse fill the common. (At left is one of the interpreters who talked and demonstrated weaving inside the meeting house.)
When the threat of American Indian uprising occurred, up to 80 families from the surrounding countryside would gather at the Fort. Referred to as "forting up," the families would stay as long as the threat existed, from days to weeks. After taking a peek in those cabins, I can tell you the conditions would have been mighty cramped!
After touring the fort and visiting with the blacksmith and one of the weavers, we visited the Prickett home. (That's his house at the right.) While the Fort was constructed in 1774, this particular home wasn’t constructed until 1859 by Captain Jacob Prickett’s great-grandson, Job Prickett. The house truly reflects the changes between the 18th and 19th centuries. Now, I’m not saying this house is someplace that has all the comforts we enjoy, but the country had truly made progress in those one hundred years.
May you find joy as you take pleasure in the comforts of home. ~Judy