The Fort. The American Castle.

It’s a very popular myth that the American fort was a bastion of defence against the native American horde. Constantly stormed and attacked it provided the bulwark against them. It was a place of safety that theses villagers and settlers would leave their log cabins like the Log Cabins for sale in Northern Ireland at and flee to the welcoming bosom of the forts high stockade walls. Or it was the home of the Calvary, sweeping out on horseback , bugles blazing, ready to save the wagon train from indigenous people doom. It is like the castles of the medieval Europe aa stronghold and symbol of an oppressive power and refuge against the tide. The beleaguered inhabitants beset on all sides.

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The reality of the American fort is quite different. They were not all forts with high stockade walls at all. True, some were of the high stockade type, but the word fort does not always relate to fortifications in that sense. Many were simple collections of buildings and outposts, sparsely manned that would offer support to fur traders and farmers looking to sell their wares. They were not all homes to military troops. Many were built as refuge by locals in times of need, a community panic room as it were. This was not just to because of native Americans, it was also to protect them from marauders in the lawless lands and from environmental factors such as harsh winters which were very common in the north of the country and the Rocky Mountains. There were the great dust bowls of the plains and hurricanes are always a factor to be considered, A solid structure and people around you to support is very important and in the realm of the isolated community such as many of these people were the fort was a lifeline.

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They were built for most military purposes as way of keeping the peace. In most cases the Native American populace were happy to welcome and trade with these new visitors and settlers or respect each other’s boundaries. The Fort was created to ensure that mutual respect was shown by both sides at all times and to discuss deals and disputes amicably without resorting to violence. It was only when the settlers encroached on these lands that the native Americans retaliated. The Fort was a place to meet and talk and discuss peace. It was also the place where goods and services were distributed to the indigenous populace as well as the settlers.

As lands were steadily encroached upon the forts did become more military in outlook and appearance whist other behind them fell not disrepair and were not used. These camps that were more military were chore. They were dull postings which meant boredom, hard manual work and were mile from any town. No solider want to be posted to one.