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Monument at Fort Wheeler on Fishing Creek
in Columbia County, Pennsylvania

Fort Wheeler
Built by
Moses Van Campen
1778
This tablet erected by
Moses Van Campen Chapter
Daughters of the American Revolution
Berwick, Pennsylvania,
1915

Fort Wheeler was built on the western frontier of Pennsylvania during the American Revolution.  It was built on the property of Joseph Wheeler, father of Elizabeth Wheeler Drake Goodan.  Even though some newspaper articles written at the time the monument was erected assign the ownership of the property to Isaac Wheeler, there can be no doubt that it was the property of Joseph Wheeler.  In his will, Joseph describes one parcel of land as being "down by the old fort".

During the days of the American Revolution, the colonists living on the Pennsylvania frontier needed protection from not only the British, but the Indians as well. The British were paying $8.00 for the scalps of the settlers.  Raids on the settlers were a common occurrence.  So the colonial government charged Moses VanCampen with the task of building a fort for the protection of the settlers around Fishing Creek.

When the alarm was sounded, sometimes a child ran shouting through the community, all the settlers would run to the protection of the one of several forts scattered along the frontier.  The arrangement was certainly not foolproof.  It is believed that most if not all of the settlers abandoned the forts for extended periods and moved to safer areas of the state.  During the 1781 tax collection, Daniel Goodan can be found in Augusta Township, probably living in Sunbury, PA.  He paid taxes on property he owned in Wyoming Township "where he used to live".  Many of his Fishing Creek neighbors can be found living near him in Augusta Township.

The site of the fort is hard to find today.  No one in the small college town of Bloomsburg, PA seems to know that there ever were outposts of civilization nearby called forts.  Today a dog kennel operates on the property near the site of Fort Wheeler.  Because a gravel company once operated near the site of the fort, the topography has even changed.  Those living in the house on the site, take care of the monument the best they can.  But, it is indeed a forgotten place that one must work to discover.
To find the monument marking the site of the old fort, one must go out of Bloomsburg on US11.  Taking a country road to the left, head toward Lightstreet.  The site of old Fort Wheeler is very near Interstate 80.

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Copyright  April 2000  Evelyn Smith