The Forts of Huntingdon County
Huntingdon County was home to many forts that played important roles in the frontier days before the treaty was signed between the settlers and the Native Americans. Many of these same forts played important rolls in the American Revolution, the Civil War and in WWI. Read more about the forts: The Frontier Forts in Cumberland and Juniata Valleys
Fort Anderson — A Blockhouse
This fort was erected in 1778. It was situated on Shaver's creek near the junction of the creek and the Juniata river, on the farm of William H. Lower, near where now stands the borough of Petersburg. Mr. John Gaffius stated to the writer when on the spot that it was close by a spring on the farm of Mr. Lower, and was on a bank west of the spring about seventy-five to one hundred feet and one hundred and fifty feet north of the public road leading from Petersburg to Alexandria. Mr. W. W. Striker stated that in 1848 the fort was pointed out to him by the old settlers as being about three hundred yards farther west than the above description and on the same side of the public road.
This fort was erected for a defence of the settlers in Woodcock Valley about 1778, when a number of other minor forts were built at or about the same time in this (Huntingdon) county. This fort is near Marklesburg, on the Broad Top railroad, in Penn township. Dr. J. H. Wintrode kindly took the writer to the site of this fort and we found that it was located on a high brow of a hill on the farm now owned by David B. Brumbaugh, about one hundred and fifty feet east of a public road, leading from Marklesburg to Huntingdon. There is not a vestige of the fort left to mark the place. Tradition places it upon the highest point of Brumbaugh's farm. In appearance, the site was the most commanding in Woodcock Valley, as one can have an uninterrupted view in all directions from this point of location.
Fort Lytle was erected in Porter township, Huntingdon County. The site of which was located on what is now known as the Knode farm, between Alexandria and McConnellstown, and about two and one-half miles from Alexandria.
This was also a blockhouse or a stockade erected about the time, in the same locality, and for purposes quite similar for which the preceding two forts were intended. They all had their places individually in the early history of the State and particularly in that concerning this section, namely, Huntingdon county, and while it would seem unwise to rank them in the degree of importance with reference to the more staunch and better known forts erected and held under the Provincial authority, with places and fortifications holding a large garrison and occupying a well known position in the history of the Indian times, they are, nevertheless, entitled to all the mention which the meagre data at hand justifies us in bestowing upon them and their character in the frontier line of defences and as places of resort and safety from the attacks of the savages.
This fort was located on land belonging to Robert McCormick, afterwards on the land of John M. Oaks, and which is now owned by John M. Johnson, and its site was about a quarter of a mile from where Neff's Mill now stands, in Huntingdon county. Mrs. Mary C. Oaks, widow of the late John M. Oaks, who now lives in Huntingdon, says that she can point out the exact location of the fort; that it was shown her by her grandfather, William Ewing, and she heard many stories of occurrences that took place there, during the times when the people had to protect themselves from the savages and tories. She says, that at about forty years ago, while living on the McCormick farm (about 1854) an old barn that had been standing many years was torn down and that she noticed peculiar notches in some of the logs. On inquiry, she was told that these logs had been in the fort and that the notches were portholes. Mrs. Oaks details many circumstances which seem to establish the claim that the fort stood there and was used for the protection of the people from the Indians.
This fort or blockhouse was another place of refuge for the early settlers of Stone Valley. It was located on the farm now owned by Wesley G. Myton, in Barree township, and about midway between Manor Hill and Salsbury. It was built in the angle formed by the public road and the old "Belle Isle" road, now vacated and about thirty-five rods southeast of the present farm buildings.
This fort, according to the Historical Map of Pennsylvania, in what is now Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, in the northwestern corner of that county. It is on a line directly south of where the site of Old Fort, or Potter's Fort, was located, directly across the mountains in Centre county, and is near the famous spring named after the Indian chief Logan, which spring is in Muffin county.
This fort was erected in the year 1755 by the express orders of Governor Morris. It stood in Huntingdon county, on or near the banks of the Aughwick creek, flowing northward into the Juniata river, and not many miles distant from that river to the southward. The Tuscarora range of mountains passed by it on the south, its location being on a line due north from where Fort Lyttleton was erected, and distant from that place perhaps about twenty miles. This line northward from Fort Lyttleton to where Fort Shirley stood, passes through the celebrated Jack's Narrows and turns slightly northwest to the town of Huntingdon, so that its location would indicate its connection with a chain of early posts, to which resort was had for defence from the encroachments of the Indians, and for the necessaries of life which the settlers and travelers then sought at such places.
Fort Standing Stone
This fort was erected in Huntingdon county in the year 1762, on the Juniata river, near the mouth of a creek named for the stone there erected by the Indians. The ground on which it stood is situated in the southeastern portion of the borough of Huntingdon, and west of where Second street now is in that town, and quite near to the river. The Hon. J. Simpson Africa, in a letter states that it was located on the northwestern bank of Standing Stone creek; a short distance above its mouth was an Indian village.