It was a one-hundred-foot square ditched fortification, surrounded by palisade-topped earthen walls and with a bastion in each of its corners. The interior sheltered a guardhouse, a storehouse, a kitchen, a magazine, a barracks, and the commandant’s residence.
Fort Prince George was constructed in the fall of 1753 under the supervision of royal governor James Glen. The South Carolina Provincial Assembly considered a fortification amid the lower towns of the Cherokee vital to stabilize conditions on the frontier of the province. The fort lay on the east bank of the Keowee River near the Cherokee village of the same name. It was a one-hundred-foot square ditched fortification, surrounded by palisade-topped earthen walls and with a bastion in each of its corners. The interior sheltered a guardhouse, a storehouse, a kitchen, a magazine, a barracks, and the commandant’s residence. Completely rebuilt in 1756, Fort Prince George was garrisoned by a detachment from one of three British Independent Companies.
Since 1758 relations between the Cherokees and the crown had been deteriorating. A peace delegation of Cherokee chiefs was seized in Charleston and then sent to Fort Prince George as hostages. By January 1760 relations between the Cherokees and the crown had become strained to the point of war. Preparations were made inside the stronghold for an attack. On February 16, 1760, the commander of Fort Prince George, Lieutenant Richard Coytmore, was lured outside the walls for a parley and mortally wounded. His outraged men retaliated by executing several hostages confined in the fort. The fortification was besieged sporadically for the next four months, until a relief force under Colonel Archibald Montgomery arrived in June. The fort served as the starting point for the 1762 campaign against the Cherokee middle towns. In 1764 elements of the Sixtieth Regiment of Foot, also known as the Royal American Regiment, assumed garrison duty. Mounting tensions between Great Britain and her North American colonies, however, led to the abandonment of the outpost in 1768.
In the early 1960s Duke Power Company planned construction of a large nuclear power facility in the area of Fort Prince George. In late 1966 assistant state archaeologist John D. Combes began excavating the site until it was flooded by the waters of Lake Keowee in 1968.
Hatley, M. Thomas. The Dividing Paths: Cherokees and South Carolinians through the Era of Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
McKown, Bryan F. “Fort Prince George and the Cherokee–South Carolina Frontier, 1753–1768.” Master’s thesis, Clemson University, 1988.
Oliphant, John. Peace and War on the Anglo-Cherokee Frontier, 1756–1763. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001.
Williams, Marshall W. A Memoir of the Archaeological Excavation of Fort Prince George, Pickens County, South Carolina along with Pertinent Historical Documentation. Columbia: South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, 1998.