Massacre at Fort Upper Tract, Augusta County, VA

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Augusta County, Virginia
Pendleton County, Virginia
Pendleton County, West Virginia


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About Fort Upper Tract

Fort Upper Tract was a stockade erected in 1756 under the direction of Col. George Washington. It stood a short distance west of the South Branch of the Potomac in what is now known as "Upper Tract", in Mill Run District, Pendleton County, West Virginia. Col. Washington was concerned about the lack of defenses against the French and their Indian allies, and in writing to then Gov. Dinwiddie in 1756, "We have built some forts and altered some others as far south on the Potomac waters as any settlers have been molested; and there only remains one body of inhabitants, at a place called Upper Tract, who need a guard. Tither I have ordered a party" - that is, a guard of garrison.

The defense of Fort Upper Tract was intrusted to Capt. James Dunlap who had commanded a detachment in the Big Sandy Expedition. A band of French and Indians appeared in the Valley and on April 27, 1758, they captured and burned the fort, killing twenty-two persons, including Dunlap himself. The next day, the same party laid siege to Fort Seybert and massacred many of the settlers of that area, also.

Overview of Massacre at Upper Tract, Augusta County, VA

On April 27th and 28th, 1758, Bemino, the renowned medicine man of the Delaware Indians during the French & Indian War (1754-1763), led the Delaware and Shawnee Indians (led by Killbuck, a Shawnee chieftain) against the British positions at Ft. Upper Tract and Fort Seybert in what is now Eastern West Virginia (then Augusta County, Virginia). The Indians destroyed both forts and many soldiers and settlers in the vicinity were killed and captured. A few managed to escape. One account of the Massacre is at the following site:

List of those Killed at Ft. Upper Tract

According to the following Chalkley's record, the following persons were killed by Indians in the "Ft. Upper Tract Massacre" on 27 April 1758 in Augusta (later Pendleton) County, Virginia (later West Virginia):

Fort Upper Tract Sign
Fort Upper Tract Sign

Probable List of those killed (all appear to be settlers of South Branch, Potomac River; there were apparently no survivors from the attack)

(prob. April 27th 1758), Capt. James Dunlap, at South Branch, killed; Josiah Wilson, at South Branch, killed; John Hutcheson, at South Branch, killed; Thos. Caddon, at South Branch, killed; Henry McCullom, at South Branch, killed; John Wright, at South Branch, killed; Thos. Smith, at South Branch, killed; Ro. McNully, at South Branch, killed; Wm. Elliott, at South Branch, killed; Mrs. Elliott, at South Branch, killed; Ludwick Falck and wife, at South Branch, killed; Adam Little, at South Branch, killed; _____ Brock, at South Branch, killed; John Ramsey, at South Branch, killed; Wm. Burk, at South Branch, killed; _____ Reeney, at South Branch, killed; Wm. Woods, at South Branch, killed; John McCully (prob. McCollum), at South Branch, killed; Thos. Searl, at South Branch, killed; James Gill, at South Branch, killed; John Guy and a stranger, at South Branch, killed.


"A History of Pendleton County, West Virginia", by Oren F. Morton
"Biennial report of the Department of Archives and History of the State of West Virginia", West Virginia Dept. of Archives and History, 1906, pg. 216. Bemino - medicine man of the Delaware Indians French and Indian War
Encyclopedia of the French & Indian War in North America, 1754-1763, by Donald I. Stoetzel