A Simplified History – Part 3
Families in Western Pennsylvania were oftentimes split in allegiance. Many did not care one way or the other about the war, as long as their way of life continued. Others actively participated in the war. Many colonists felt they should main loyal to the British crown, others joined the rebellious “Patriots” early in the war. By 1778 many of these men had returned from the war to help at home. Many returned to civilian life and joined the militias in the area. Others became rangers, serving 9 month tours. With the Tory unrest in the early spring of 1778 many residents had decided to leave the region.
As General Roberdeau came west of Carlisle, he saw a mass exodus occurring and knew he had to do something. In order for his lead mine to be a success, not only would he need miners and smelters but he would need tradesmen and there would need to be resources coming from the farms and woodlands to support the mine. He would required a fortification and men to defend the mines. He understood that he had to find a way to protect the populous.
Fort Roberdeau was constructed to protect the economic resources of the region. The fort was built not only to support a lead mine, and to protect the people who worked the mine. It was also built to lend a sense of safety to the area. The construction of the fort helped strengthen the hearts and minds of the local population and supported the local militia.
The fort also supported rangers who were Continental troops. Clugage’s Rangers is listed in the Pennsylvania Line rolls. The troops commanded from the fort helped in protecting the farmers and other local citizens from Bedford all the way to Bellefonte during a very desperate time.