The South Branch was being settled by whites in the 1730s and '40s. According to Samuel Kercheval, these settlers "On the Wappatomaka [South Branch]...discovered...considerable openings of the land, or natural prairies, which are called the 'Indian old fields' to this day [i.e., 1833]. Numerous Indian graves are to be seen in the neighborhood". This was the site of Fort Pleasant, built in 1756 during the French and Indian War. Fort Pleasant was one of the principal fortifications in Colonel George Washington's chain of forts on the Virginia frontier. Less than a mile to the east of the fort, the "Battle of the Trough" was fought in the spring of 1756, on the banks of the South Branch, during which several local settlers were killed.