NEW CREEK BLOCKHOUSE

FROM “FRONTER FORTS ALONG THE POTOMAC AND ITS TRIBUTARIES”

BY WILLIAM H ANSEL, JR.

There is a tradition that a frontier defense was constructed nearly a mile west of New Creek on a tributary stream shown on modern maps as Block Run formerly known as Blockhouse Run, on Lot No. 4 of the Fairfax New Creek survey made by Guy Broadwater in 1749. This lot consisted of 400 acres and was conveyed to Christopher Beeler by Thomas Lord Fairfax on January 10, 1752. The fortification consisted of a log blockhouse but without a stockade around it. Tradition suggests it might have been built by a settler named Ogden, but there is no record that such a person by that name owned land on New Creek in the 1750’s. It is possible, however, that Ogden may have been a tenant living on the land of Christopher Beeler.

Little or now information is available concerning this blockhouse. By 1755, when the French and Indian War began in earnest, the New Creek Valley was well populated and there was obviously a need for a place to be resorted to in the event of Indian attacks. Fort Nicholas at present Cresaptown, Maryland, and Fort Ashby on Patterson’s Creek were the nearest havens for the New Creek settlers in time of danger, but each was too far away to offer much aid when the enemy made unexpected attacks. Colonel Washington and the Virginia authorities paid scant attention to the New Creek settlers during the war and the Valley was seldom mentioned in official correspondence. So far as known, no troops were ever stationed on this creek and no fort of any kind was built there by the military. In a sense, the settlers in this area were left to shift for themselves with the exception that Captain Thomas Cocke and his company of the Virginia Regiment infrequently patrolled the headwaters of New Creek, and Captain John Ashby and his company of Rangers were there at rare intervals.

No information can be found that would suggest that the Indians ever made a raid on New Creek, and there is no indication that nay settlers were ever killed or captured there as was the other case on Patterson’s Creek, the South Branch and numerous other streams in the region. This is the more surprising when it is considered that an old Indian trail now followed by United States route 50, crossed New Creek about midway of its total length thus giving the savages an easy route for attacks up and down the stream. It is probable that Indian depredations took place on New Creek, but no written records were ever made and preserved concerning them.

Among the settler who may have retreated to this blockhouse when the Indians were prowling in the neighborhood were Christopher Beeler, Nicholas Kenwood, John Lindsey, John Ramsey, Solomon Hedges, Peter Steenburger, William Smith, William Anderson and William Ramsey, all of whom acquired real estate along the New Creek either from Lord Fairfax or others before or during the course of the war.

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