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Historic Fort Loudon celebrates Black Boys Rebellion

FORT LOUDON >> Ten years before the American Revolution, the Black Boys Rebellion took place in Franklin County's own backyard at the historic Fort Loudoun.

On the 250th anniversary of that rebellion, area residents will observe the historic anniversary with a public celebration Sept. 25-27.

The Fort Loudoun Historical Society will host the event to commemorate the actions of James Smith and his "Black Boys."

This event will tell the story of the conflict that occurred after increasing tension between settlers and Indians, which is the heart of the Black Boys Rebellion.

Smith and his troops defended the Conococheague Valley from attacks during a conflict in 1765. Smith was angered by attacks on his friends and neighbors using weapons and ammunition supplied by the illegal and reckless trade of arms between traders supported by British and the Indian tribes.

This led to a rebellion of as many as 100 men who clashed with the British at Fort Loudoun that year, ending with the British surrender of the fort.

Guests to the event will experience first-hand what 18th century life was like on the frontier, complete with cooking by the fireside, live animals, tours of the fort and opportunities to meet the re-enactors in the camps.

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau has teamed up with the site to hold a photo contest for visitors and will sponsor a drawing at the event for prizes.

The public is invited to the site starting at 6 p.m. on Sept. 25 to see artifacts on loan from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in the Patton House. Steven Warfel will present his lecture "The Archaeological Digging of the Fort Loudoun Site," beginning at 7 p.m.

The main event starts at 9 a.m. Sept. 26, Throughout the day, visitors will witness re-enactors portraying prisoner rescues and skirmishes between the sides, including one at the Widow Barr's House. The day will also include the firing on the fort by James Smith and his Black Boys, and ending with the British surrendering their firearms to The Black Boys.

On Sept. 27, guests may join the re-enactors for an 18th Century Church service at 9:30 a.m. followed by a scout into the forest a little later in the day.

Watch as the garrison of Highlander troops depart for Fort Pitt as the day comes to a close.

For additional information or for the full list of events, go to or contact Andy Newman at or Larry Gorecki at