Skip to comments.Ohio's Mysteries: The Old Stone Fort
Posted on 07/24/2012 5:51:29 PM PDT by Pharmboy
It's believed to be the oldest building in Ohio, and possibly the Midwest. But the mystery remains: who built it and why?
COSHOCTON, Ohio -- It's believed to be the oldest building in Ohio, and possibly the Midwest built nearly a century before the American Revolution. But the mystery remains: who built the Old Stone Fort and why?
On an ordinary plot of farm land on County Road 254 in eastern Coshocton County sits what is arguably one of the most important buildings in Ohio history.
It is believed that the Old Stone Fort was built sometime around 1679.
As important as it is, however, hardly anything is known about the Old Stone Fort.
For example, no one knows who built the fort or why.
It's generally believed that it was built by Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville.
He was a French Canadian and brother of the founder of New Orleans.
It's believed that he traveled the nearby Tuscarawas River and built the fort to guard against the English in the fur trade battles.
Then, there's the George Croghan scenario.
He was an Irish fur trader working for England who moved into the Native American territories to trade furs with the Delaware tribe.
He was not born until 1718, which would mean that if built by Croghan, the fort isn't as old as presumed.
There's also the theory that the fort was built by unknown settlers as a way to defend themselves against the native tribes.
There are rifle ports on all sides, and archaeological digs have found evidence of a stockade.
Then, there's yet another theory.
"I'm going to get tarred and feathered and ran out of Coshocton, because I don't think it was a fort," said Margaret Lowe.
Lowe has studied the fort all her life and said she believes it was not nearly as historic as a fort or outpost, but it may have just been part of a farm.
"I think it was probably, and again, this is written during one version, that it was used as a spring house. Another version was that it was used for a meat house," Lowe said.
Could it have been all of the theories over the years?
In the French Canadian version, the fort was built nearly 100 years before the American Revolution, and oral history handed down over generations say it was built as early as 1800.
In 1918, a farmer dug up a French compass while plowing near the fort. In 1880, there was a tornado in the closest town of Evansburg, destroying the town, but the fort survived.
The town, named after the people who lived there, was never rebuilt.
Over the centuries, the fort was rebuilt after falling into disrepair.
Part of the doorway is preserved at the local museum, and the wood looks ancient.
It is only 14 square feet inside, and doesn't appear to have been used as living quarters.
At one time there was a ladder heading up to a second floor, but now the fort is boarded up.
What the Old Stone Fort has given the neighbors is a sense of wonder.
"I would have loved to have seen the stockade around it," said Dan Markley, a local historian. "This fort, everybody has a different opinion as why it was here and it's just a mystery. If you could find just one person, somewhere along the line who could give you a true answer."
Another mystery surrounding the fort is the owner. It's not clear who owns the building today.
Locals want to know the history, but likely will take their theories to the grave, never having an answer.
Wait until the History Channel gets a hold of this...they’ll make a 1-hour program dedicated to aliens landing in Ohio and building the fort.
14 square feet inside? Wow, how thick are those walls? Or did they really me 14 feet square?
14 square feet inside? Wow, how thick are those walls? Or did they really mean 14 feet square?
My first thought was - doesn’t look like a fort.
I have a good idea....but I have to look up the map and name.
Well, they found remains of the stockade, so I imagine that’s what’s driving the ‘fort’ designation. It does have gun ports...I guess that’s why it’s a mystery.
How is this gentleman, who is thought to be the builder, French Canadian?
He may have been French, but he certainly wasn’t Canadian. :)
Interesting. Thanks for posting.
Whoever built that fort didn’t build it.
They can relocate it to my yard and the mystery will be solved- it will be my Man Cave
Looks to me to be what they used to call an “Indian House,” where a family could retreat to during an Indian raid. One of my ancestors built one near his log home in the wilds of western Virginia in the 1780s.
Ding ding ding!! We have a winner! Post o’ the day!!
I’m sure this will get me thrown out of the “Aliens Built it” Fan Club. But when I saw the picture it reminded me of some of the stone buildings the Vikings built in Greenland.
I’m sure though that when it comes to field stone buildings there are really only a couple of ways to build them. So they would all look similar after awhile.
More like a trading post....I’d say French....They had a whole line of forts along the Ohio
There’s an 1750’s stone/brick house north of Winston-Salem, NC built when the area was still subject to Indian attacks. There are several gun ports built into the walls.
This one was probably as much fort as it was trading house.
Booze and manufactured items plus food to trade for skins, pelts, etc. The buildings could be buttoned down if things got ugly.
I think you guys nailed it...
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