Prickett’s Fort Served as Shelter for Early Settlers

Morgantown Dominion Post
16 April 2012

PRICKETT’S FORT STATE PARK, off Interstate 79 exit 139, is a re-creation of the colonial fort built in 1774 by Jacob Prickett, the first permanent white settler in present day Marion County.

Earl Core, in “The Monongalia Story,” reports that Prickett had homesteaded near the site for little more than two years before building the fort.

The creek where Prickett built his trading post, and later the fort, became known as Prickett’s Creek. He reportedly had operated the trading post as early as 1759.

Core described the fort as “one of the strongest forts in the Monongahela valley,” built at the mouth of Pricketts Creek five miles below Fairmont and about 1,000 feet back from the riverbank.

It contained at least 10 cabins and “had substantial blockhouses on each of its four corners.”

The Pricketts Fort Foundation says on its website that the fort “provided a place of refuge from American Indian attack for early settlers.” It was built within 10 miles of three major American Indian trails.

The fort now standing contains two-story blockhouses in the four corners of 12-foot high log walls. Lining the weathered stockade walls are 14 tiny cabins, some with earthen floors, for shelter, with a meetinghouse and storehouse in the common. Up to 80 families could shelter there.

There are two gates: One double gate facing north and a smaller gate facing west.

Just south of the Fort stands the Job Prickett House, built in 1859 by Capt. Jacob Prickett’s great-grandson, Job. It is an original brick structure that has been restored to show the progress that took place at the Fort between the 18th and 19th centuries.

The house, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, contains many of the original furnishings, tools and handmade objects used by the Prickett family.

The Prickett family lived on the original Prickett homestead from the 1770’s until the 1960’s.

Jacob Prickett is one of several well-known frontiersmen, including Zackquill Morgan, who are buried in a cemetery at the site.

EVELYN RYAN researches and writes this column. Send ideas and suggestions to