Pricketts Fort Showcases Weaponry Of The 18th Century Frontiersmen
Hear the name Pricketts Fort and you might conjure up the Calvary standing guard to protect the settlers on the western Virginia frontier. However, built by the community militia, at the confluence of Pricketts Creek and the Monongahela River, Pricketts Fort was not a military installation.
Named after its captain, Jacob Prickett, the fort provided early settlers a place of refuge from Native American attacks. This area was a mere ten miles from three major American Indian trails.
When the threat of Native American uprisings occurred, up to 80 families from the surrounding countryside would gather at the fort. This was referred to as “forting up.” Families would stay as long as the threat existed which could be a few days, to several weeks.
During this period Native American attacks on settlers were common throughout region; although the fort itself was never directly attacked. As a matter of fact, written documentation of any interactions between people living on the grounds of the fort and Native Americans is sparse.
Never the less, the gun played an important role in frontier life. The frontier was teemed with big game. Firearms allowed settlers to take it with comparative ease, ensuring their survival as well as that of their family and their community. Guns also had an impact on the colonial economies. At certain points in the 1700s, deer-hide shipments to Europe were a large and crucial part of Virginia’s commerce.
But just as importantly, guns, particularly rifles, helped settlers defend themselves from potential threats. Armed frontiersmen could fight and overpower Native Americans using superior weapons technology. Often, land ownership was at the root of these confrontations.
Not just a weapon, a firearm was a tool. A very expensive hand crafted tool. Firearms of the day were hand built, and usually a custom job.
In keeping with their mission of recreating 18th century lifestyles through demonstration of colonial crafts, collectible vendors and craftsmen will gather at Pricketts Fort to showcase products that are pertinent to the early frontier. Visitors will have an opportunity to inspect rifles, gunpowder horns, knives, tomahawks and decorative items, including leather pouches and Indian quilt work. Many of these items will be available for sale.
The show takes place in their visitor center and runs February 24 – 26:
Friday 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The cost is $3 at the door and admission is free for children under 5.
Their self-guided audio tour of the fort will also be available.
How much do you know about the early frontier?