Abingdon is a town in Washington County, Virginia, United States, southwest of Roanoke. The population was 8,191 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Washington County and is a designated Virginia Historic Landmark. The town encompasses several historically significant sites and features a fine arts and crafts scene centered on the galleries and museums along Main Street.
Abingdon is part of the Kingsport−Bristol (TN)−Bristol (VA) Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City−Kingsport−Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area − commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.
The region was long the territory of varying cultures of indigenous peoples, including the Chisca and Xualae. From the late 17th-century, it was occupied by the Cherokee Nation, whose territory extended from the present-day area of borders of Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky through the spine of North Carolina and later into Georgia.
Between 1748 and 1750, Dr. Thomas Walker surveyed the land where the town of Abingdon is situated. It was on the Great Road that Colonel William Byrd III ordered cut through the wilderness on to Kingsport, Tennessee. In 1760, the famed frontiersman Daniel Boone named the area Wolf Hills, after his dogs were attacked by a pack of wolves during a hunting expedition. The site of the attack is on 'Courthouse Hill'. In the twenty-first century, the town sponsored a public art event, in which artists created 27 wolf sculptures, which were installed around the town. Most were later sold at an auction to raise money for Advance Abingdon.
Between the years 1765 and 1770 James Douglas, Andrew Colville, George Blackburn, Joseph Black, Samuel Briggs and James Piper settled in and around present-day Abingdon under purchases from Dr. Thomas Walker.
During Lord Dunmore's War, Joseph Black built Black's Fort in 1774 to protect local settlers in the region from attacks by the Cherokee of the Lower Towns. It consisted of a log stockade, with a few log cabins inside, where nearby settlers took refuge in event of attack. They retreated to the fort in 1776 when attacked by the war leader Dragging Canoe and his Chickamauga Cherokee forces. Hoping to push out the colonists, the Cherokee had allied with the British in the American Revolutionary War. The settlement was known as Black’s Fort prior to being named Abingdon. Black, Briggs and Walker donated the 120 acres of land upon which the original town was laid out.
It was at the intersection of two great Indian trails, which had followed ancient animal migration trails through the mountains. It was a prime location as a trade center and access point to the west and south. In 1776 the community of Black's Fort was made the county seat of the newly formed Washington county. In 1778, Black's Fort was incorporated as the town of Abingdon, said to be named for the ancestral home of Martha Washington in Oxfordshire, England.
Possible namesakes for the town include Daniel Boone's home in Abington, Pennsylvania, or Lord Abingdon, friend of settler William Campbell.
Martha Washington College, a school for women, operated in Abingdon from 1860 to 1932 in a former private residence. Since 1935 the building has been occupied and operated as a hotel, the Martha Washington Inn. The Barter Theatre, the state theatre of Virginia, was opened in Abingdon in 1933 during the Great Depression.
Abingdon is the final stop along the Virginia Creeper Trail, which allows pedestrian, cyclist and equestrian traffic. This trail is 35 miles long, extending from White Top Mountain through Damascus, Virginia, with the trailhead in Abingdon. The Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia, located in Abingdon, serves as a regional genealogy center, in addition to being a repository for Washington County history.
Wikipedia is wrong about Dunmore's War. It has little if any relationship to Blacks Fort.
I have studied a caravan from Opequon (O PECK un) to Wolf Hills in 1771. Elizabeth Colville Black Newell, her sister Sarah Colville Vance, two brothers, and other family and neighbors settled. Sources-Cecil O'Dell's Pioneers of Old Frederick County Katherine Downet Mattson's Samuel Newell of the Shenandoah Valley Lewis Summers' Annals of Southwest Virginia many others Can attach MSWord doc and jpg files if I learn how to eMail.