Fort Frye, near Beverly and Waterford, Ohio
Here is another winter scene postcard. The card is a modern card produced by David Shelburne Films with the image from the award winning documentary “Opening the Door West.” [see: www.OPeningTheDoorWest.com]
The original Ohio Company was founded about 1748 by a group of Virginian explorers as a land speculation company to extend settlement in the colonies and foster trade with the native population. The company had a land grant from Britain and it was hoped that settlement would help block French expansion into the territory. The name was later changed to the Grand Ohio Company with a land grant along the Ohio River. A colony called “Vandalia” was to be established there but the American Revolutionary War interrupted colonization and it was never achieved. After the Revolutionary War in 1786 the company regrouped as The Ohio Company of Associates. The new company was comprised of mostly New England veterans who had been given certificates for land from Congress for their military service. Many Revolutionary War veterans settled in the Northwest Territories as a result. The Mound Cemetery in Marietta, Ohio has a large number of Revolutionary War veterans buried there. The graves are located throughout the cemetery but there is also a group memorial section shown below.
Revolutionary War memorial, Mound Cemetery, Marietta, Ohio
Fort Frye was built by the Ohio Company of Associates in 1791 near the settlements of Beverly and Waterford located on the Muskingum River about 20 miles up river from Marietta. It was constructed at the beginning of the Northwest Indian War following a massacre at another settlement, Big Bottom. The fort was meant to provide some protection for the settlers.
Unlike most forts of the time this one is triangular in shape instead of square or rectangular. The reason given for the shape was that the Ohio Company was in a hurry to get the fort built and this shape with the block houses placed at angles offered as much protection and allowed them to essentially cut off one side saving time and expense. The picture on the card shows the base of the triangle running along the riverside with the line of pickets or palisades 12 feet high surrounding the fort and extending to the water’s edge. There were strong, broad gates near the northern block house that led out to the fields and the main road. More or less opposite the northern gate was a second, smaller gate, called the “water gate” that offered access to the river and provided a way to escape by boat if necessary.
At each of the fort corners was a two-story block house with dwelling houses lining the longer sides. In between the buildings were defensive pickets. Some of the roofs were single sided so that rain would fall into the garrison and presumably into a cistern or water barrel. The fort was named after its builder, Joseph Frye, and used between the years 1791 and 1795. The commander was William Gray. During the Indian War these other forts were also constructed in this area along the Ohio and Muskingum rivers: Fort Harmar, Campus Martius, Picketed Point Stockade, and Farmer’s Castle. Farmer’s Castle is near Belpre, Ohio the others are in or closer to Marietta.
The Campus Martius Museum in Marietta has displays of the local native culture including this wall with illustrations of some of the more prominent inhabitants during the 1700s and early 1800s.
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