Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fort McDowell


Dr. J. M. Spainhour's description of Fort McDowell in his writing of the story of Lydia Burchfield, is of interest. Fort McDowell, according the Spainhour, was located on the bottom lands of the Catawba River, a mile and three quarters from where the town of Morganton now stands. He says,

"The fort was a stockade, and had been erected in 1756-57 when the Indians had threatened the white settlers and was constructed of logs 25 feet long; the logs were halved and the edges trimmed to fit the one it joined. A ditch five feet deep was dug in the ground and the timbers standing erected with the flat side, but were securely fastened together by cross pieces, and the lower ends securely packed in the ground.

"The form (?) openings, one on each side and the end through which they passed, was made by one of the logs at each opening being suspended by strong pins into the adjoining logs near the top; the lower end loose, and even with the surface of the ground. The lower end could be moved, either out or in, and propped for ingress or egress, and; could be securely fastened when necessary from the inside. Loop holes were cut in the timbers on a level with the eye, through which they could watch the enemies approach and fire on them when they came within reach. Inside of this enclosure, log buildings were built and covered, in which they slept by turns, a strong guard on duty when danger was anticipated. Similar forts were constructed at Old Fort in McDowell; Fort Grider, not far from the courthouse at Lenoir; Fort Defiance, nine miles from Lenoir an the Yadkin River; and Fort Dobbs in Iredell; though none of them were as large as Fort McDowell, which was 80 by 50 feet."

This photograph is of the reconstructed Fort Davidson in Old Fort, McDowell County, North Carolina.


  1. Please note Davidson's Fort new web address

  2. please note Davidson' fort new web address