White's Fort (Hayfield, Virginia)

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This article is about the French and Indian War fort. For the fort that became Knoxville, see White's Fort (Tennessee).
White's Fort
Alternative names White Hall
General information
Type Private residence
French and Indian War fort
Location Hayfield, Frederick County, Virginia
Country United States
Completed Oldest structure completed around 1735
Expanded in 1763
Destroyed Destroyed by fire c. 1919
Owner Dr. Robert White
Major Robert White, Jr.

White's Fort was an 18th-century residence and fortification located near the present-day unincorporated community of Hayfield, Frederick County in the U.S. state of Virginia. Alternatively known as the "White Hall," the first structure contributing to "White's Fort" was built between 1732 and 1735 by Dr. Robert White (1688–1752), a Scottish American physician, military officer, pioneer, and planter. "White's Fort" was later utilized as a fortification by White's son Major Robert White for the protection of European American settlers in the vicinity of Great North Mountain during the French and Indian War. The farm was also the birthplace of Alexander White (1738–1804), an inaugural member of the United States House of Representatives.


Dr. Robert White (1688–1752) arrived as one of the first "pioneer settlers" and physicians of Frederick County, Virginia between 1732 and 1735.[1] White "staked out" his farm which consisted of 375 acres (152 ha) along Hogue Creek south of the present-day unincorporated community of Hayfield, Virginia along U.S. Route 50.[2][3] White named his farm "White Hall."[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

The original structure that would be expanded upon to become "White's Fort" was erected between 1732 and 1735 to serve as White's primary residence.[3] White's eldest son, Major Robert White, inherited the "White Hall" property following the death of his father in 1752.[8][9][11]

In 1763, White expanded the residence at "White Hall" by erecting a taller stone structure 4 feet (1.2 m) from the original dwelling and an adjacent stockade to serve as a fortification to protect White's family and other families residing in the vicinity of Great North Mountain from attacks by Native Americans during the French and Indian War.[3][12] Following White's addition to the house built by his father, the buildings became known as "White's Fort."[3][12] In July 1763, White received word that Native Americans were approaching Frederick County from the Cacapon River in Hampshire County and thus warned his fellow settlers in the area to seek safety within his fortification.[3] One of the nearby residents, Owen Thomas, refused to abandon harvesting his crops and was subsequently killed by the approaching Native Americans.[3] The following year in June 1764, White again received word that Native Americans were present in the area and invited his neighbors to seek safety at his fort.[3] More than 20 of the settlers in the area heeded his call, but were attacked by Lenape tribesmen while en route to "White's Fort," after which most of them were killed.[3] Others in the party were captured or escaped, one of which was a woman who survived a scalping.[3] In his A History of the Valley of Virginia (1833), Samuel Kercheval remarks of White, "who had a small fort around his house as an asylum for the people in the neighborhood."[13]

White later acquired an additional tract of 374 acres (151 ha) along Hogue Creek from his brother John White on April 7, 1790.[8] It was on this property in 1790 that White erected the brick mansion that would later be known as "Hayfield."[8] The structures constituting "White's Fort" were destroyed by fire around 1919.[3]


  1. ^ Blanton 1980, p. 390.
  2. ^ Kerns 1995, p. 109.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ebert 1988, p. 119.
  4. ^ Kelly 1901, p. 222.
  5. ^ Kelly 1901, p. 223.
  6. ^ Kelly 1901, p. 224.
  7. ^ Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 739.
  8. ^ a b c d Quarles 1971, p. 308.
  9. ^ a b Foote 1855, p. 23.
  10. ^ Grigsby 1891, p. 71.
  11. ^ Quarles 1971, p. 309.
  12. ^ a b March 1993, p. 344.
  13. ^ Quarles 1971, p. 310.