Did you know?
What Franklin County native fulfilled First Lady duties in the White House for bachelor president James Buchanan?
Harriet Lane Johnston. James was her uncle and guardian. She grew up in Mercersburg.
From 1730 to 1755, settlements along the Franklin County frontier sprang up. The influx of settlers pushed the Native Americans westward. Many Native Americans did not understand land ownership in the same way as Europeans, believing that the land belonged to the Great Spirit that they worshipped. Angered by the forced migration, Native Americans lashed out and attacked the settlers. In an effort to protect home and family, Franklin County settlers built private forts around their frontier dwellings.
Benjamin Chambers constructed a fort around his home, gristmill and sawmill, which were located near the Conococheague Creek and Falling Spring. Surrounded by water on three of its sides, Chambers Fort was 90-ft. wide and 300-ft. long and was defended by swivel cannons and blunderbusses. Other private forts of Franklin County were Fort Davis, Fort Maxwell, and Fort Marshall.
Fort Loudoun was a British provincial fort that served as a supply and munitions center on the colonial frontier from1756 to1765. The fort was a key supply depot of General John Forbes’ expedition to capture the French outpost at Fort Duquesne.
The fortifications settlers constructed as protection were not enough. In an effort to drive out and eliminate the settlers, Native Americans attacked Franklin County frontiersmen. Delaware Indians attacked the private Fort McCord, near Edenville, on April 1, 1756. Twenty-seven pioneers were killed or taken captive. Several of the female captives were rescued five months later in a daring effort by frontier militia led by Col. John Armstrong. Today, a Celtic Cross marks the site of the attack of Fort McCord.
Another fateful attack occurred on July 26, 1764 at a schoolhouse near Greencastle, the Enoch Brown Massacre. School master Enoch Brown pleaded for the lives of his student but was shot and scalped. Eleven children were tomahawked and scalped. One boy, Archie McCullough, was able to crawl to the nearby spring and survived the scalping. The warriors, who perpetrated the heinous masacre were rebuffed by their chief when showing the scalps of the young children. Brown and the students were buried in a common grave. Today a memorial stands on this hallowed ground to recall the ultimate sacrifice of these Franklin County pioneers.
Interested in French and Indian War History: Request a copy of Conococheague Institute’s Biking and Driving Tour of French & Indian War Sites in Southwestern Franklin County.