Daniel Harrison House, circa 1749
Fort Harrison in Dayton, Virginia
Daniel Harrison moved to the Shenandoah Valley from Delaware around 1738 and settled on Naked Creek, Augusta County, in what is now Rockingham County. In 1749 he purchased a 120-acre tract of land on Cook's Creek and built his stone house - the front portion of today's structure.
The years leading up to the French and Indian War (1756-1763) were times of considerable danger for settlers in the Shenandoah Valley. As a captain in the militia and a large landowner, Daniel Harrison was a prominent leader in the community. His solidly built stone house was a natural fort when raiding parties of Indians roamed the area. He is said to have added a stockade to enclose the house, as well as an underground tunnel to a nearby spring.
Fort Harrison, as the house became known, was also the home of Benjamin Harrison, a son of Daniel's who served as a militia officer during the Revolution. Benjamin's son, Peachy Harrison, was the last Harrison to own the house. Peachy Harrison and his family lived in Harrisonburg, where he was a local physician.
335 Main Street
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 366
Dayton, Virginia 22821
Fort Harrison Awarded Grant from
Commonwealth History Fund
Fort Harrison is one of the eleven recipients to receive a grant from the Virginia Museum of History and Culture Commonwealth History Fund. The grant amount is $12,000.
The funds will be enable Fort Harrison to implement a geophysical study using highly specialized ground penetrating radar and magnetometry which can reveal features in the ground, such as the remains of buildings.
Built in 1749, the Daniel Harrison House is one of the earliest stone dwellings in the Shenandoah Valley. Analysis of the study will add to our current knowledge of the Harrison family when they settled here in the mid 1730s.
The Commonwealth History Fund was made possible through the generosity of Dominion Energy and other donors. The fund is expected to award up to $2,000,000 in the first five years.
The Board of Directors, Fort Harrison, Inc. is very excited to receive the funds, which will allow us to continue telling the story of Virginia and have a lasting impact on our community.