Fort Martin

(Source: Report of the Commission to Locate the Site of the Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, Clarence M. Busch, State Printer of Pennsylvania, 1896. “The Frontier Forts in the Cumberland and Juniata Valleys,” Jay Gilfillan Weiser, pp. 489-490.)


This fort was erected prior to the termination of the Revolutionary struggle. The writer, from data at hand cannot with any authority, give it the dignity of a fort. It doubtless was a mere blockhouse or rendezvous for the settlers in that vicinity and built with the private funds of the owner of the property, who, doubtless, was Mr. Martin. The writer is indebted to Doctor C. N. Hickok, of Everett, Pennsylvania, for the following substantial account:

Fort Martin was somewhere on what is now known as the Whetstone farm in West Providence township, Bedford county, about five and one-half miles east from Everett near the Old Chain Bridge Crossings of Juniata. This farm was the old homestead place of the first Judge Martin, one of the important celebrities of this locality, in the colonial days, before the erection of Bedford county. I fear the exact site of the fort is lost, though about where it was located can be determined. It was one of the line of defences "On the Packer's Path" between Forts Lyttleton and Bedford near the midway between the two.

In the early history of this township, West Providence, owing to the beautiful hills and the fertility of the valleys, it was a frequent resort for the aborigines, and the soil is teeming with arrow-heads, spear-heads and pieces of pottery which have been discovered by the inhabitants of this township. And they have been found in such great quantities that it demonstrates clearly that the forests of this section were once the camping and hunting ground of the savage. The legendary and traditionary details of this locality are meagre, and notwithstanding that we have made an attempt to ascertain its true history, yet it leaves us in much doubt and uncertainty. It has been stated upon authentic data that there were a number of settlers within this township a number of years prior to the Revolutionary War. There is a nook in the rocks along the west bank of Shaver's creek which is locally known as Fort Defiance. Whether this is the same fort in question or not, I am unable to say, but tradition tells us that the early white settlers constructed a rude fortification to which they fled for safety from the savages. The last vestiges of the rude structure have long since been torn away. There were several ancient pack-horse trails doubtless, the earliest routes of travel through this country and through this township, and traces of them are still visible in uncleared lands.

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