One of the three forts established by the Commons House of Assembly to regulate the Indian trade, Fort Moore was built at the center of a major Indian trade path between the coast and lands far to the west. Completed by 1716 near an old trading center known as Savanna (or Savano) Town, the fort was established to regulate the trade between native groups and colonial traders, whose unscrupulous dealings had led to the Yamassee War (1715–1718), which nearly destroyed the colony. It may have been named for Governor James Moore, an early promoter of Native American trade and advocate of making South Carolina the bulwark of England’s southern colonies. Constructed near the banks of the Savannah River (nearly opposite the future settlement of Augusta, Georgia), the fort had four wooden walls with bastions on the corners, a storehouse, and barracks for its garrison. In Fort Moore’s early decades, its garrison fluctuated but generally consisted of colonial militia that included a commander, a lieutenant, a sergeant, twenty-four privates, and a few artillery pieces.
For most of its history, Fort Moore served as the province’s major Indian trading center for deerskins and other animal hides. In addition it was an important meeting site between colonial authorities and Creek, Choctaw, and Cherokee delegations. Governor James Glenn met a large delegation of Creeks there in his 1746 visit to the upcountry in order to resolve trade disputes. During the late 1740s the fort was rebuilt because its original structure had severely deteriorated. During the first Cherokee War (1759–1761), Fort Moore became a haven for many settlers seeking refuge from bands of Cherokee raiders. Following the defeat of the Cherokees, however, authorities in Charleston chose to abandon Fort Moore since the hide trade had declined significantly and Augusta had long overshadowed it.
Crane, Verner. The Southern Frontier, 1670–1732. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1928.
Easterby, J. H., ed. The Journal of the Commons House of Assembly. Vol. 9, March 28, 1749–March 19, 1750. Columbia: South Carolina Archives Department, 1962.
Meriwether, Robert L. The Expansion of South Carolina, 1729–1765. Kingsport, Tenn.: Southern Publishers, 1940.