Original Name: Wolf Hills (1760), Black’s Fort
Abingdon Convention & Visitors Bureau
The area we now call Abingdon was first surveyed by Dr. Thomas Walker and the Loyal Land Company, in the years 1749-1750. There was no immediate effort to settle the lands; and the next mention of the area was in 1760, when Daniel Boone and his exploration/hunting party were camped at a spring near the ground where a fort would later be built. The party was startled in the night when their hunting dogs were attacked by wolves from a nearby cave, giving Abingdon its first name, Wolf Hills.
Early settlers recognized the importance of this location, as the Indians had made this the passing point of two great Indian trails. Between the years 1765 and 1770, several men purchased land from Dr. Walker and the Loyal Land Company, one of whom was Captain Joseph Black. Captain Black built his residence just south of the property now known as Mont Calm, but with the assistance of neighbors, erected a small fort, called Black's Fort. It is believed that Black's Fort consisted of a blockhouse, surrounded by a palisade, with several smaller buildings within its perimeter.
The Fort was used for protection from Indian attacks until the summer of 1776. The Indians were planning a massive raid on all white settlements in 1776, and on July 4, of the eventful year, an attack on Black's Fort left several dead or wounded. As a result, messengers were dispatched to other settlements north and west of the area to warn of possible encounters with the natives. An Act of the Assembly of Virginia in the fall of 1776 established Washington County. By a provision of that Act, Black's Fort was designated as the county seat. Because it was located directly on the Great Road and as centrally located as possible in the new county, it was an excellent choice, though one not without contention. It wasn't until October of 1778 that the Town of Abingdon was established by Act of the Assembly of Virginia. However it's early history makes it the oldest English speaking settlement west of the Blue Ridge Mountains!
Abingdon became the county seat of Washington County at the time of its formation. The first court was held on January 28, 1777. It was one of the first counties in Virginia to be set up under the authority of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The first courthouse was built across from the Tavern from logs from the old Black's Fort. It was soon moved to its present location on Main Street. The Confederate Statue: A large statue was erected by Washington County citizens to stand at the courthouse. It honors the men who went to war and the women who supported them.