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“Tub Mills” on the 18th Century Virginia Frontier

When you travel in our southern mountains, one of the first things that will strike you is that about every fourth or fifth farmer has a tiny tub-mill of his own. Tiny is indeed the word, for there are few of these mills that can grind more than a bushel or two of corn in a day; some have a capacity of only half a bushel in ten hours of stead grinding. Red grains of corn being harder than white ones, it is a humorous saying in the mountains that “a red grain in the gryste (grist) will stop the mill.”

Jarrett’s Fort on Wolf Creek

Just like Byrnside’s Fort, Jarrett’s Fort was one of the chain of small private forts through the Revolutionary War era Greenbrier Valley, which served mostly a defensive purpose, as a place to house local inhabitants in times of danger, as well as to garrison Virginia militia “Indian Spies,” who were tasked with patrolling the likely travel corridors for Indian war parties.

Restoration Progress on Byrnside’s Fort, a.k.a. Willowbrook

In the past couple of months there’s been a lot of progress on restoration of “our fort,” – Byrnside’s Fort, which is technically inside the larger home of Willowbrook. We temporarily stopped interior work in an attempt to get the outside painted and sealed before winter. Most of our followers will be happy to see …

Read moreRestoration Progress on Byrnside’s Fort, a.k.a. Willowbrook

John Bradshaw: Greenbrier Indian Spy and Vet of the Battle of Yorktown

In Frontier Defense: Colonizing Contested Areas in West Virginia, archaeologists Kim and Stephen McBride, who specialize in the frontier forts of Kentucky and the Virginias, explained that: The use of “Indian spies” or scouts was another crucial element of the frontier defensive strategy. During the French and Indian War, spies functioned in an offensive capacity, …

Read moreJohn Bradshaw: Greenbrier Indian Spy and Vet of the Battle of Yorktown

The site of Fort Clendenin and the origin story of Charleston, WV

This is the actual site of Fort Clendenin – also called “Fort Lee” – on the North bank of the Kanawha River in present day Charleston, West Virginia. The spot is located exactly at the corner of Brooks Street and Kanawha Boulevard, in downtown Charleston, West Virginia, and is now the site of a somewhat …

Read moreThe site of Fort Clendenin and the origin story of Charleston, WV

The actual site of Fort Washington – now downtown Cincinnati – circa 1789

If you’ve read the Allen Eckert books, or studied the expansion of the American frontier in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, then you’ve read about Fort Washington. It was located in an important spot. And because of that, it’s completely gone, with a large city built over it: Cincinnati, Ohio. The large well-constructed log …

Read moreThe actual site of Fort Washington – now downtown Cincinnati – circa 1789

The bloody history of the Graham Cabin

This impressive log cabin was built 1770-1772 by Col. James Graham. It was the site of a bloody attack in 1777. This special structure is one of the few other surviving frontier blockhouses of the 18th century Virginia frontier, all of which lie within a fairly small radius of the Greenbrier Valley: the Graham Cabin, Byrnside’s Fort, and the Estill Blockhouse (the latter two being in modern day Monroe County on Indian Creek). The Graham cabin is on the Greenbrier River.

Was this “wall gun” used by Dick Pointer during the attack of Donnally’s Fort?

This old “wall gun” has been owned by the Greenbrier County Historical Society’s North House Museum since 1989. It was originally sold to them by Edwin A. Pattison, as having been used by Dick Pointer during the attack on Donnally’s Fort – the second largest Indian/Settler battle which ever occurred within West Virginia’s present-day boundaries. Of course it was Virginia at the time.