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