from the Richmond News Leader
February 3, 1938
POWELL'S FORT...is an old fort . located in Fort Valley in the Massanutten Mountains. . . .Powell's Fort, Fort Valley and Powell's Fort Valley are different names for the same place. It is simply a long, narrow and beautiful valley, which divides the. mountain chain from a point nearly opposite Edinburg and Woodstock to its upper end between Strasburg and Front Royal.
The valley is a natural fort, with no man-made defenses. John W. Wayland, in his Scenic and Historical Guide to the Shenandoah Valley, writes;
For a long time luring the early years of the settlement, a man by the name of Powell lived in the fort and coined money from precious metals that he alone knew where to find. All efforts on the part of the officers of, the law to apprehend him, one after the other, ended in failure. He always eluded them. Hence arose the name Powell's Fort.
Even in our own, prosaic days to be more exact on dark, stormy nights some of the dwellers far out in the great valley can see lights flashing on the Massanutten. Old Powell is out again tonight, they say. . . .
The valley was often used by the settlers as a place of refuge from the Indians and was' never the scene of a wholesale massacre. In the raid of 1766;. according to Waylanda History of Shenandoah County, Va. eight Indians and a white man crossed through the valley on their way to and from the home of the Rev. John Rhodes, Mennonite preacher. On their; way through Powell's Fort, they entered the [George] Ritenour house, -but the hired girl and the children, the only ones at home, slipped out. another door and hid under the bank of the creek.
The marauders cut up dishes and trenchers, then passed on. After murdering most of the minister's family,they came back through the upper end of Fort Valley bringing with them two of the boys and two of the girls, as prisoners. When a frail boy lagged behind, they killed him, and then his two sisters and left the bodies lying there .