The Fort at Joseph Edwards
A Colonial Settler's Home and
| One of the early settlers of Hampshire
County in the Colony of Virginia was Joseph Edwards. Sometime around 1727-1742 he came from Pennsylvania through the Shenandoah Valley into the mountains to the west and settled along the Cacapon River. In the late 1740s George Washington came into the area surveying for Lord Fairfax and laid out several parcels for Joseph and his family. Later, during the early years of the French and Indian War (part of the Seven Years War), Joseph Edwards's property became the site of one of the many forts guarding the Virginia Frontier from the French and their Indian allies. The fort at Edwards's was manned by Col. George Washington's Virginia Regiment.
The Fort Edwards site is located along the northern boundary of Capon Bridge, in what is now West Virginia just north of U.S. 50. Only 20 miles west of Winchester, Virginia, the fort site is within a two hour ride from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, and within three hours from Pittsburgh and Richmond. Situated along the scenic Cacapon River in eastern Hampshire County, it remains surrounded by fields, forests and mountains much as it was in the 1750's when France and England were in their final showdown for possession of the North American continent.
The Battle of Great CacaponFrom this fort on April 18, 1756, a group of soldiers of Col. Washington's Virginia Regiment went in pursuit of a few Indians and some of them stumbled into an ambush of over 100 French and Indian raiders. The ambush killed seventeen men and sent chills through the Burgesses in Williamsburg. This battle near Fort Edwards was the largest of the French and Indian War to have occurred in present West Virginia.
Unlike other fort sites used by the Colony of Virginia during the same period, the Edwards site has remained virtually undisturbed for nearly 250 years. It offers a rare look at a fort site of this period and may also provide a window into the life of a frontier settler.
The FoundationThe Fort Edwards Foundation was formed in November, 1995, when plans for a seventy-unit townhouse development on the site of Joseph Edwards's home and fort reached an impasse, and the land became available for purchase. Recognizing the necessity to protect this important early Hampshire County site, a number of county residents decided to form a non-profit, tax-exempt foundation:
a. to preserve, protect and interpret this historic site and
b. to educate the public about the importance of this area during the mid-eighteenth century.
The Foundation presently holds title to twenty-three acres around the fort site and has built a Visitor Center for interpreting the site.It has also secured some funding for archaeological work and completed the first phase of a long term archaeolgoical investigation. Further Archaeology was done in 2004. The Foundation has completed a Comprehensive Resource Management Plan for the site that will guide further development.
Future plans for The Foundation include: