McCoy’s Fort in West Virginia

McCoy’s Fort was a defensive fort at the home of William McCoy (my 6th great grandfather). It is located approximately one mile north of Williamsburg in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. Family records indicate that my 6th great grandfather built his two-story log house around 1769 and most likely became a fort around 1774 during the Indian conflict known as Dunmore’s War.

William McCoy was the son of pioneer settler James McCoy. He was a lieutenant in the militia under Captain Robert McClanahan. He advanced to captain after McClanahan’s death at the Battle of Point Pleasant in October 1774.

There are documents that indicate that McCoy’s Fort was attacked during the Revolutionary War after the failed attack on Fort Donnally on May 29, 1778. Fort Donnally is located approximately six miles south of McCoy’s Fort. It is documented that Militia from Renick’s Fort, which is located about six miles east of McCoy’s Fort, came to the aid of McCoy’s Fort, which was successfully defended. It is believed that six Indians died in the attack on McCoy’s Fort.

The American victories at Fort Donnally and McCoy’s Fort preserved the New River-Greenbrier settlements and the time period of peace that followed allowed increased settlement in Western Virginia and Kentucky.

The McCoy family built a larger house nearby and used their old fort for farm use. They enclosed the original two-story log structure within a larger frame barn sometime in the middle to late 19th century. This seemed to help preserve the fort, until strong winds in 2006 and 2012 destabilized the outer barn and historic log structure within it’s walls. In 2013 both structures were dismantled by the Williamsburg District Historical Foundation, with the support of the Simmons family. The Simmons family have owned the property since 1903. The original logs were documented and stored for reconstruction and public interpretation. McCoy’s Fort was listed as an Endangered Property by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia in 2012. In 2013, the site was used for a public archeology program.

McCoy’s Fort was part of a frontier defense and included scout patrols, local militia, and many forts. Other nearby forts included Arbuckle’s Fort, Fort Donnally, and Fort Savannah at Lewisburg.

Suggested Readings:

Cole, J. R. History of Greenbrier County. Lewisburg: J. R. Cole, 1917.

Downes, Randolph C. Council Fires on the Upper Ohio: A Narrative of Indian Affairs in the Upper Ohio Valley until 1795. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1968.

 

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

 

McBride, Kim and Stephen McBride “McCoy’s Fort .” e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 30 September 2014. Web. 21 April 2017.

 

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