Man Uncovers a Pre-Revolutionary War-Era Fort Inside His Own Home

By: Georgia | Published: Jan 28, 2024

In Monroe County, West Virginia, a remarkable discovery was made by John H. Bryan, a civil rights lawyer and YouTuber.

Inside an old plantation house, he uncovered a Revolutionary War fort, a find that connects directly to the early days of the United States.

The Initial Purchase and Discovery

The New York Post revealed that Bryan, upon acquiring an old plantation house, suspected that it concealed a piece of American history. His belief that a Revolutionary War fort was buried within the home’s walls led him to purchase the property.

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A man with disheveled hair and wearing a white respiratory mask is seen taking a selfie inside an old wooden building. He is wearing a black T-shirt and appears to be in the midst of a restoration project, with exposed log walls and a partially dismantled white door in the background

Source:The Civil Rights Lawyer/X

“We closed on the place and literally drove the mile down the road, and I took a crowbar to it like 10 minutes later,” Bryan said, describing his eagerness to confirm his suspicions about the house’s historical significance.

Unveiling Bryrnside's Fort

Behind a thick layer of plaster in the home, Bryan discovered evidence of Bryrnside’s Fort, a log fortress dating back to the American Revolution, as reported by The New York Post.

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The image shows a dimly lit attic filled with various items, suggesting a space rich in history. The attic is framed by wooden beams and rafters, and the floor is covered with scattered objects, including piles of old books and cardboard boxes

Source: The Civil Rights Lawyer/X

This find was a significant historical revelation, providing a tangible connection to the nation’s formative period.

Sharing the Discovery on Social Media

Bryan took to social media to document his findings, creating a viral thread on X, formerly known as Twitter, that showcased the process of uncovering the fort.

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The photo shows the interior of a room undergoing renovation, revealing its historical character. The walls are made of exposed logs and there's a large stone fireplace in the center. Debris from the renovation is scattered across the floor

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His posts, filled with photos of the house’s transformation, captivated thousands of online followers, attracting widespread interest and engagement.

The Restoration Process

The Daily Mail reported that the restoration of the house revealed its original structure, with walls lined with perfectly preserved wide-plank oak.

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The image captures the interior corner of a room with significant deterioration. The exposed log walls show signs of decay and missing chinking, with a boarded-up window adding to the sense of abandonment. Plaster and wooden debris are strewn across the floor

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Bryan’s dedication to uncovering and restoring these historical elements transformed the modern home back into a piece of living history, showcasing the craftsmanship and materials of the Revolutionary era.

Discovering a Family's Past

The New York Post shared that in addition to uncovering the fort, Bryan found a vast array of antiques within the house and its grounds.

Close-up of a vintage photo showing a stern-faced man and woman from the 19th century. The man is dressed in a dark suit with a bow tie, and the woman wears a dark dress with a white collar. They are framed by an ornate gold and red velvet border

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These items, ranging from a Civil War-era dress to a family photo in a gilded frame, offered a glimpse into the lives of the families who had inhabited the home across centuries, preserving their legacy and connecting the present with the past.

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War Artifacts and Memorabilia

Among the discoveries were artifacts from World War I, including a gas mask and other memorabilia.

The image displays an assortment of World War I memorabilia laid out on an antique map. Visible items include a soldier's khaki canvas kit bag with buttons, a dark metal helmet, a brown leather wallet, a green fabric belt with a circular insignia badge, and military patches with blue and green colors. Coins from the era are also scattered around

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The Daily Mail notes that these items belonged to the father of the house’s last occupant.

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Public Reaction and Support

Bryan’s project garnered enthusiastic support and admiration from the public. The Daily Mail shares that followers of his social media thread expressed their appreciation for his efforts in bringing this slice of American history to light.

An aerial view of a two-story farmhouse with white siding and green shutters. The home features a wrap-around porch with decorative railings and a prominent stone chimney. A man in a red t-shirt and shorts stands confidently in the yard, looking towards the camera, with a pile of wood debris nearby

Source: The Civil Rights Lawyer/X

Comments ranged from expressions of amazement to gratitude for the opportunity to experience a unique historical journey through his posts. One user commented: “What a treasure trove of great finds, along with a lot of painstaking work.” Meanwhile, another said, “Thank you for letting us all go back in time.”

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Renewed Motivation for the Project

The positive response to his social media posts reinvigorated Bryan’s commitment to the renovation project.

Inside a room with restored log walls, a mix of antique and vintage furnishings. A dark wooden mantelpiece frames a stone fireplace, above which hang three framed portraits. The room contains a classic red velvet sofa, wooden chairs, and a bookcase filled with books

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The New York Post notes that while his YouTube channel’s success had previously slowed progress, the public’s enthusiasm inspired him to continue working on the property, with the goal of eventually opening it to visitors.

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The Significance of Byrnside's Fort

Byrnside’s Fort, dating back to 1770, is believed to be the last of its kind remaining along the original Virginia frontier.

Inside a room during restoration, the scene is one of transition and work. The walls, composed of bare horizontal logs, stand exposed without their plaster covering, revealing the structure's historical construction. Debris from the renovation is scattered across the wooden floor, with a blue trash bin positioned near a window

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Bryan emphasized its uniqueness to The Daily Mail, saying, “Most, if not all, are nothing but stains in the ground … this one, you can see and touch all the original architectural features that nobody living has ever seen.”

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The Challenge of Restoration

Restoring the fort to its original state was a labor-intensive process. The Daily Mail reports that Bryan meticulously removed layers of 19th-century plaster to reveal the fort’s original white oak logs.

A room under renovation, with its interior log walls exposed, showing the raw wooden beams and chinking. Two white-framed windows provide a clear view of the lush green landscape outside, with sunlight streaming into the space

Source:The Civil Rights Lawyer/X

This process also led to the discovery of numerous artifacts, each telling a story of the house’s past occupants.

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A Continuation of Historical Exploration

Bryan’s dedication to historical exploration extends beyond the restoration of Byrnside’s Fort.

A living room in a restored house, featuring exposed log walls and a large black fireplace. The space is furnished with a classic sofa, a wooden side table, and a traditional wooden chair near the fireplace. Two framed portraits hang on the wall, and a chandelier hangs from the ceiling

Source: The Civil Rights Lawyer/X

His passion for pre-Revolutionary War history led him to pursue other historical sites as well. “Tracking down the old forts can be very difficult,” he told The Daily Mail. “Some of them are known, some of them are unknown. And you have to do some investigation work, look at the old handwritten deeds, and compare sources and metal detectors to actually locate sites.”

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