Fort Witten

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Fort Witten (1774-1794) - First established as a fortification in 1774 by Thomas Witten. Used until the end of Indian hostilities in 1794. Also known as Witten's Fort and Big Crab Orchard.

Fort Witten History

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 Witten was a small stockaded home garrisoned with a small detachment of militia.

Current Status

A marker is located at Route 460 Bypass at Route 19/460 Business, west of Tazewell. The old restored fort is now part of the Crab Orchard Pioneer Park and Museum at 3663 Crab Orchard Rd, Tazewell, Virginia.


Location: Tazewell, Tazewell County, Virginia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.099812 Long: -81.55812

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Fort Witten Picture Gallery

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