FORT ASHBY - The second annual Fort Ashby Day was held recently in the community of Fort Ashby. As a part of that celebration, a formal presentation of property deeds was held that enlarged the "foot print" of the historic Ashby's Museum and Fort Site.

For the News Tribune
FORT ASHBY - The second annual Fort Ashby Day was held recently in the community of Fort Ashby. As a part of that celebration, a formal presentation of property deeds was held that enlarged the "foot print" of the historic Ashby's Museum and Fort Site.
      In 1927, the Potomac Valley Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution raised $200 to purchase the "old fort" in the community of Fort Ashby in order to save it from being torn down.  The site included the old log structure and a 10-foot perimeter around the building.  It was literally a "postage stamp" sized piece of property with no room for expansion. The log structure was thought to be the only remaining part of the frontier fort ordered built by George Washington in 1755 during the French and Indian War.  
      The ownership of the property changed hands within the DAR organization when in 1968, the Fort Ashby Chapter DAR was organized and became joint owners with the Potomac Valley Chapter.  Then in 1988 when the Potomac Valley Chapter dissolved, full ownership went to the Fort Ashby Chapter DAR.  
In 2014 with DAR membership dwindling and the cost of maintaining the building increasing, a new non- profit called Friends of Ashby's Fort Inc. was established by the chapter to support the fort.  
     Membership in the friends group is open to everyone, not just those with ties to the American Revolution. As a result of the establishment of this new means of support for the museum and fort site, the family of the late Edgell Franklin and Erma Pyles Sr. offered to deed a portion of their property directly behind the fort museum to the Friends of Ashby's Fort Inc.  
In addition, the DAR chapter leadership arranged for the donation of the property to the right of the fort museum to the Friends of Ashby's Fort from Attorney Rock Wilson of Popcorn Properties LLC in Pennsboro, West Virginia.
With the acquisition of this additional property, the footprint of the fort museum and original fort site has grown to just under one half acre. The DAR chapter also voted to deed the museum property to the friends group.  
     With the ownership of the site now secured within the community of Fort Ashby for perpetuity and the footprint enlarged, many new ideas and plans are in progress. The first step in these plans is to complete the archeological dig that began in 1998 to document the original site of the fort.
     Dr. W. Stephen McBride of McBride Preservations Services, LLC specializes in historical archaeology of the United States,  especially military sites of the 18th and 19th centuries, and will be conducting a class through West Virginia University’s Potomac State College in Keyser.
This course, titled "Archaeology Field Methods (SOCA 293A), begins June 26 and runs through Aug.t 4. Participants in the class will meet at Ashby's Fort in Fort Ashby to excavate the site in search of artifacts. The class will meet Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the fort site.
     The Friends of Ashby's Fort, Inc. are offering three $600 scholarships to interested individuals who may want to take the course.
     To register, contact Enrollment Services at 304-788-6820 or at 800-262-7332 or the college website at www.potomacstatecollege.edu.
     For information about the Friends of Ashby's Fort Inc., call 304-788-9088 or 304-298-3836, visit www.fortashby.org or the Friends of Ashby's Fort facebook page.