Historic Structures

Fort Hunter Mansion, Fort Hunter Pennsylvania

Date added: November 26, 2013 Categories: Pennsylvania House Mansion

The first settler at this place was Benjamin Chambers, a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian, in 1720. Three brothers joined him and in 1735-6 one or more went south to Cumberland County, where they founded Chambersburg. Joseph and Thomas Chambers seem to have remained and built buildings and two grist mills and a saw mill. At any rate the Land office records show that the whole property was resurveyed in 1763 to William Foulke and Samuel Hunter in trust for the heirs of Joseph and Thomas Chambers. In 1773 it was divided and resurveyed to William Foulke and John Garber and patented, the northern part to Foulke and the southern part to Garber. By the County records both tracts were sold in 1787 by John Garber to Archibald McAllister of Londonderry, Dauphin County, for "L 4000 in gold and silver coin", with the houses, grist mills, saw mills, edifices and buildings, barns, stables, orchards, etc. In 1814, Archibald, who was a Captain in the Revolution, built the Mansion, or at least he built the front part of it. The rear part appears to be much older.

Samuel Hunter was one of the heirs of the Chambers' operated the mills. The place came to be known as "Hunter's Mill" and when the Indians became troublesome, about 1755, a frontier fort was built at Hunter's Mill, whence the name Fort Hunter.

After the Indian Wars (1755 to 1763) the stocked had probably disappeared by the time thet McAllister came in 1787. He started an Inn cabled The Practical Farmer. It is thought that this Inn was conducted in the farmhouse near by, on the Creek. The Due de la Kochfoucauld Liancourt was a guest here in 1796. In his diary he states that McAllister lived in a house "Within the precincts of the old fort." This was probably the building now forming the rear wing of the Mansion.

The succession in ownership of the Mansion was as follows;- Archibald's son, John Carson McAllister fell heir to the property end his estate deeded it in 1870 to Daniel D. Boas, of Harrisburg. After Mr Boas' death the Mansion passed to his children, and his daughter fHelen Boas Reily, wife.of John W.Reily (lived there for a number of years. It than passed to another member of the family, Margaret Wister Meigs, wife of Edward B.Meigs, Washington, D.C., by inheritance and purchase.

The following inscription on a bronze tablet was erected by the State Historical Commission at the place marked with an X in the plot plan:
"A short distance West of this stone stood Fort Hunter; otherwise known as the Fort at Hunter's Mill. This Fort, consisting of a block house surrounded by a stockade, was built during the winter of 1755-56. It was used as a base of supplies and as a rendezvous for troops during the period of the Indian Wars. And traces of this Fort were removed when the present building was erected in 1814. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission. 1916"