Big Pool in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
“...a place of Arms...would be absolutely neccessary”
Throughout the 18th Century, the major colonial powers of France and Great Britain were vying for control of North America. By the 1750's the British extended their settlements westward over the Appalachian Mountains and the French moved south out of Canada, setting the stage for war. In Maryland, Anglo-Americans settled the fertile lands of the Potomac River valley along the Conococheague, Licking, Little Tonoloway, and Big Tonoloway Creeks. Mainly English, Scots-Irish and German immigrants, these settlers organized self-sufficient communities centered on agriculture.
In 1754 the French established Fort Duquesne (present day Pittsburgh, PA) at the forks of the Ohio River. British armies were twice defeated, in 1754 and 1755, while attempting to capture Fort Duquesne. Encouraged by these victories, the French, who had enlisted the aid of Delaware and Shawnee Indians, launched raiding parties against the frontier inhabitants in the fall of 1755. The French hoped these devastating raids would keep the British on the defensive and force them to cede the disputed territories to France. Panic soon gripped the entire Western Pennsylvania,
Early attempts to protect the frontier, such as the construction of Stoddert's Fort (near present day Hancock, MD), proved inadequate. Governor Horatio Sharpe decided a strong fortification was needed in Maryland. After a prolonged debate with the colonial legislature over financial support Sharpe began construction of a large stone fortification—Fort Frederick.
Construction of Fort Frederick began in June of 1756. Work continued until December of 1757, when the Maryland Assembly, leery of the high cost of building the fort, cut off funding. In its completed form the fort included two enlisted men's barracks and an officer's quarters—or “Governor’s House”—all surrounded by a stone wall three to four feet thick. Considered spacious and commodious for the time, the barracks could house near 400 men when necessary, although they were intended to accommodate 200 “comfortably”. Sharpe also recruited five companies of Maryland troops to garrison Forts Frederick and Cumberland, and to patrol the frontier.
In 1757, Fort Frederick was the scene of an important conference between Maryland authorities and 60 Cherokee warriors under Chief Wahachey of Keowee (in present day South Carolina). The Cherokees agreed to aid Maryland in the war with the French, and assisted the Maryland Forces, as well as troops from Virginia, in protecting the frontier.
In 1758 British General John Forbes led a successful campaign that captured Fort Duquesne. Fort Frederick became an important supply depot and staging area for Forbes' army. At various times, stores within the fort included 483 bushels of oats, 1028 bushels of Indian corn, 4320 pounds of hay, 33 wagonloads of musket balls, artillery shells, and cannon balls, and road-building tools.
With Fort Duquesne's capture the threat to the the frontier was eliminated. In early 1759 the last of the Maryland Forces were mustered out and Fort Frederick was left the responsibility of a single caretaker. In 1763 the fort was pressed into brief service during Pontiac's war. Maryland Militia was sent to the frontier and Fort Frederick provided a safe haven for local residents. Soon the threat had passed, and the fort was again abandoned.
This 18th Century map illustrates the great expanse of territory claimed by France. Outlined in yellow are the British Colonies. Notice the small area the French were willing to permit to British claims. Courtesy National Park Service.
Governor Horatio Sharpe
Portrait of Cherokee Chief Cunne Shote. While not with the group that accompanied Wahachey to Fort Frederick, his dress is typical of Cherokee headmen in the mid-eighteenth century. Francis Parsons, "Cunne Shote, Cherokee Chief" from the collection of Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Modern artist's interpretation of the Maryland Forces, 1756-1759. Owing to the reluctance of the Colonial Assembly to provide funding for military defense, surviving documentation suggests Maryland's troops received a variety of uniforms, if any at all.
Erected by Fort Frederick State Park.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Forts and Castles • Native Americans • War, French and Indian. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1756.
Location. 39° 36.766′ N, 78° 0.407′ W. Marker is in Big Pool, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from Fort Frederick Road south of Big Pool Road (Maryland Route 56), on the right when traveling south. Located south of the Visitor Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 11100 Fort Frederick Rd, Big Pool MD 21711, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Old Fort Frederick" (here, next to this marker); “...to protect, preserve...and provide access thereto for the public.” (here, next to this marker); Gettysburg Campaign (within shouting distance of this marker); The National Road (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Frederick (approx. 0.2 miles away); Nathan Williams (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fort Frederick Officers’ Quarters (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Fort Frederick (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Big Pool.
Regarding “...a place of Arms...would be absolutely neccessary”. I find "Fort Frederick was left the responsibility of a single caretaker" and cannot insert "in" just after "left", because of what is on the marker.
Also see . . . Fort Frederick State Park. Maryland Department of Natural Resources website entry (Submitted on July 25, 2016.)
Credits. This page was last revised on February 22, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 25, 2016, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 369 times since then and 42 times this year. Last updated on February 13, 2021, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 25, 2016, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.