“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Belfast Mills in Tazewell County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Smith’s Fort

Smith’s Fort Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 18, 2015
1. Smith’s Fort Marker
Inscription. Near here, in 1774, stood Daniel Smith’s fort, also known as Fort Christian. The fort was named for Smith, who was a surveyor and captain of the military company on Upper Clinch River.
Erected 1929 by Conservation and Development Commission. (Marker Number XY-17.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia, Clinch River Forts Circa 1774 marker series.
Location. 36° 59.491′ N, 81° 50.456′ W. Marker is near Belfast Mills, Virginia, in Tazewell County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 19 and Crossover A, on the right when traveling north on U.S. 19. Click for map. This marker can only be seen from the northbound lanes of Route 19. The southbound lanes are at an elevation above the northbound lanes and a long s-shaped crossover signed “Crossover A” climbs the wide rocky median to allow for U-turns. If you are traveling southbound, use Crossover A to reach the marker. Marker is at or near this postal address: 24078 Route 19, Cedar Bluff VA 24609, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 16 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Elk Garden Fort (approx. 7.9 miles away but has been reported missing); Battle at Cedar Branch
Smith’s Fort Marker on Northbound U.S. 19 at Crossover A image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 18, 2015
2. Smith’s Fort Marker on Northbound U.S. 19 at Crossover A
(approx. 8.7 miles away); Saltville (approx. 8.9 miles away); Frances Dickenson Scott Johnson (approx. 9.4 miles away); History of Saltville Valley (approx. 9.6 miles away); Sulphur Springs Church and Campground (approx. 15.2 miles away); Chilhowie (approx. 16 miles away); Farthest West, 1750 (approx. 16 miles away).
Regarding Smith’s Fort. Emory L. Hamilton, in his article “Frontier Forts of Southwest Virginia” published in the publication Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Number 4, 1968, states emphatically that this marker is wrong, and makes a very detailed case for his conclusion. There may have been a “family” fort on Smith property near here, but it was not Fort Christian, and a fort at this location was never mentioned in the military correspondence of 1774. Fort Christian is Glade Hollow Fort, he says, and provides proof.
Also see . . .  Frontier Forts of Southwest Virginia. 1968 article by Emory L. Hamilton in Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia. Scroll down to the section titled Daniel Smith’s Fort. Excerpt:

“To prove that this marker has an error, I herewith quote two letters written at the very time these forts were being built on the Clinch frontier. . . . It is approximately 40 miles from Russell’s Fort in Castlewood to [this] site of Smith’s Fort on Indian Creek, north of Lebanon, and this certainly does not agree with the distance [10 and 12 miles] given by both Russell and Christian from the Castlewood Fort to Fort Christian.”
(Submitted on October 23, 2015.) 
Categories. Forts, CastlesSettlements & SettlersWars, US Indian
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 152 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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