Fort Ashby in the Youghiogheny Glades page 4
children and return to her former home, or they could remain where they were.
Sarah's will won out, and so the Ashbys became the founders of the first community in southern Garrett County—a forted settlement consisting of more than forty families who not only took refuge in the stockade, but lived there together in peace and harmony and took part in their common defense.
Defense indeed was the first necessity facing the new community! Although the glade country was far from the Ohio, it was not beyond the orbit of the stealthy Indians. That same year (1774) at the union of two streams, now Cherry Creek and Douglas Run, Ashby's company of men, women and children erected a large, rude stockade fort with four towers. It enclosed ten acres (875 X 500 feet) and was sturdy enough to withstand any Indian attack if properly manned.
Every tree surrounding the fort large enough to conceal an Indian was cut down. Inside the stockade, where the domestic animals had protection at night, a tiny village took form. Crude cabins sprang up and all the necessities of frontier life were crafted by hand.
These cabins, which were simply rough log huts, were nevertheless clean and comfortable, and were built flush with the inner walls of the stockade. They were one room structures, containing a loft, with narrow slits serving as windows, closed when necessary by solid wooden shutters. At one end was a door; at the other a field stone fireplace with chimney, constructed of small wooden poles neatly plastered with glade mud inside and out.
Dorsey Ashby told the writer that there were about twenty of these cabins. For beds, the skins of animals were filled with dry leaves. Possibly nowhere else could there be found such quiet beauty combining the white glint of the clapboard roofs, the rugged layers of unhewn logs, the white-clay chimneys and the dark greens of the surrounding forest, through which ran the silvery stream.
The fort became not the end, but the center of settler life. From its protecting walls the various families were to fan out over the fertile acres and establish themselves—but always within a safe distance of the stockade. Their livelihood was chiefly hunting and fishing. This same pattern of living came into existence the same year at Morgan's Town, where Michael Kern built a similar stockade fort.
Families within a radius of some five miles, including Sunnyside and Aurora, resorted to Fort Ashby whenever there was a "sign" of Indians. Between 1774, the year of Lord Dunmore's War, and 1794, the Battle of Fallen Timbers, these and other fort settlements in the Alle
Rev. J. C. Breuninger
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland
22 x 15 cms
Editor: Felix G. Robinson
Western Maryland, 1750-1963