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Fort Bigham


Fort Bigham was a blockhouse and small stockade located about twelve miles from Mifflintown, in the Tuscarora Valley, on the plantation of Samuel Bigham. It was built by Bigham and three other Scotch-Irish settlers, John and James Gray and Robert Hoag about 1754 as a place of refuge and protection for themselves and their families from Indian attacks which were occurring with alarming regularity. [1]

“These forts were not military forts. They were very small, makeshift affairs that were built by and for the protection of only four or five families. The frontier people were farmers, each family owning a few hundred acres of land, and of necessity, there were spread out and scattered. To protect themselves a few settlers would get together and ...build either one extra large cabin or several small cabins and surround it with a stockade fence. When trouble came they would rush there for safety" [2]

On June 11th of 1756, Fort Bigham was attacked. It is not clear how many people were in the fort at the time of the attack but all but two were women and children as the other men had gone to look after their farms. Being undefended, the fort was captured and burned; some of the settlers were murdered and some were taken into captivity. [3]

“The Pennsylvania Gazette of June 24, 1756 gave this account: “The following is a list of the persons killed and missing at Bighmans’ Fort, viz: George Woods, Nathaniel Bigham, Robert Taylor, his wife and two children, John McDonnell, Hannah Gray, and one child missing. Some of these supposed to be burnt in the fort, as a number of bones were found there. Susan Giles was found dead and scalped in the neighborhood of the fort. Robert Cochran and Thomas McKinney found dead, scalped. Alexander McAlister and his wife, James Adams, Jane Cochran and two children missed [missing]. McAlister’s house was burned and a number of cattle and horses driven off. The enemy was supposed to be numerous as they did eat and carry off a great deal of Beef they had killed.” [4] Also captured were Francis Innis, his wife Margery and their three children, Nathaniel, Jane and Mary. [5]

This stone marker was erected close to the actual site of Fort Bigham on June 12, 1934 by the Juniata County Historical Society.

DIRECTIONS:
Take Rt. 75 South through Port Royal, Old Port and Spruce Hill traveling about 13 miles. The stone boulder is located on the right hand side of Rt. 75 under a copse of trees directly cross the road from the intersection of Rt.75 and SR 3006 [Mountain Road].




[1]History Of That Part Of The Susquehanna And Juniata Valleys Embraced In The Counties of Mifflin, Juniata Perry, Union And Snyder In The Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania, Volume I, Everts, Peck & Richards, Philadelphia, 1886, pg. 68-69.

[2]DeMay, John A., The Settlers Fort, of Western Pennsylvania Closson Press, Apollo, PA 1997, Pg. 1.

[3]History Of That Part Of The Susquehanna And Juniata Valleys Embraced In The Counties of Mifflin, Juniata Perry, Union And Snyder In The Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania, Volume I, Everts, Peck & Richards, Philadelphia, 1886, pg. 787.

[4] History Of That Part Of The Susquehanna And Juniata Valleys Embraced In The Counties of Mifflin, Juniata Perry, Union And Snyder In The Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania, Volume I, Everts, Peck & Richards, Philadelphia, 1886, pg

[5] History Of That Part Of The Susquehanna And Juniata Valleys Embraced In The Counties of Mifflin, Juniata Perry, Union And Snyder In The Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania, Volume I, Everts, Peck & Richards, Philadelphia, 1886, pg .787.






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