Fort Preston (2)

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Fort Preston (2) (1774-1794) - A colonial fort first established in 1774 by Capt. William Russell during Lord Dunmore's War against hostile Indian tribes. Named by Capt. Russell for Col. William Preston the area commander. Also known as Russell's Fort, Cowan's Fort and Bickley's Fort. The fort remained in use until the end of Indian hostilities in 1794.


Originally seven militia forts were to be constructed in 1774 during Lord Dunmore's War against hostile Indian tribes. Capt. William Russell was to command four of the forts on the Lower Clinch River and Capt. Daniel Smith was to command three forts on the Upper Clinch River. These forts were to be erected by the local militia men supervised by Colonel William Christian who had been sent out to the frontier by Col. William Preston who was commanding officer of the Fincastle County Militia. The forts were generally named for the landowners where they were located and/or the military commanders. Many of them had multiple names as landowners and commanders changed.

Even though Lord Dunmore's War ended in 1774, the Indian attacks continued until 1794 when the Indian renegade leader, Benge, was killed near Big Stone Gap.

Capt. Russell
Lower Clinch River Forts

Capt. Smith
Upper Clinch River Forts

  1. Fort Preston (2)
  2. Fort Christian
  3. Fort Byrd
  4. Fort Blackmore

Russell's Fort, Cowan's Fort, Bickley's Fort
Glade Hollow Fort, Daniel Smith's Fort
Moore's Fort, Snoddy's Fort
Blackmore's Fort

  1. Fort Elk Garden
  2. Fort Witten
  3. Maiden Springs Fort

Fort Preston was originally named for Col. William Preston who was the area commander but the name was not accepted locally and it came to be called Russell's Fort. Capt. Russell kept his military headquarters at this fort and his personal residence. As the property changed hands the names of the new owners became the name of the fort, hence the Cowan's Fort and Bickley's Fort names.

This was a small fort but it did come under attack and it was the location where Ann Bush Neece survived being tomahawked and scalped.

The fort was in use until the end of Indian hostilities in 1794.

Current Status

Exact location unknown, Russell County, Virginia.

Location: Russell County, Virginia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 36.877359 Long: -82.273827



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