(Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series on a new effort to commemorate Fort Dewart.)
The 28th chief of a Scottish clan is planning to visit Fort Dewart in Bedford County during the weekend of Sept. 22.
According to Ian MacLean of the Clan Maclean Heritage Trust, Sir Lachlan Hector Charles Maclean will make a flight to America next year to help commemorate his ancestor’s contribution to the French and Indian War. Cpt. Sir Allan Maclean — the 22nd chief of the clan — helped build Fort Dewart in 1758 on behalf of the British Army. He named the redoubt after Duart Castle, his family’s ancestral home on the Isle of Mull in Scotland.
MacLean discussed the event this week at an informal meeting of more than a dozen trustees, historians and Folmont Property Owners Association members at the home of Terry Doran in Allegheny Township.
“The chief was so excited that he wanted to do a plaque himself,” he said. “We just want to support this thing going (forward).”
MacLean and his wife traveled in from Nova Scotia to help with preparations for the event. They were joined by Bob McLean of Clayton, N.C., who is president of Clan Gillean USA, a chapter of Clan Maclean International.
The head of Clan Gillean said their commemoration ceremony will be tied in with the Ligonier Highland Games, which also celebrate Scottish heritage.
“They are on board,” McLean said. “They love the idea of us coming.”
Fort Dewart is located in Juniata Township, along the border of Somerset County. The earthen remains of the construct are owned jointly by the Folmont association, which includes landowners in the townships of Juniata, Allegheny, Shade and Stonycreek.
Folmont members are working with MacLean trustees to have both Fort Dewart and Forbes Road recognized as a National Register Property with the National Register of Historic Places. They hope to finance the effort — which requires the aid of experts to do the paperwork — with proceeds from the event in September.
To help raise funds they have enlisted artist Larry Andrews of Cambridge, who has already begun a series of museum-quality prints that depict Sir Allan Maclean and the 77th Montgomery Highlanders.
At the meeting Andrews said he would donate 50 percent of his profits to the Folmont group, which plans to use one of his paintings on a new storyboard that will detail the history of the fort.
“It’s all historically accurate for the attire and setting,” he said of his paintings. “Those uniforms are dead-on.”
According to Folmont property owner Peter Folen, it’s important for people to realize that Forbes Road and its forts were a step toward westward development in America.
“Ultimately it was (the soldiers’) children and grandchildren that settled to the Mississippi and beyond,” he said.
“I still get chills thinking about it,” he added. “It’s really the last remaining artifact of Forbes campaign.”