Fort Abercrombie

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This old historic fort has both residual and intelligent hauntings because of war.



Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site is a 42 acre state site, that the visitor can explore. On display are a few rebuilt structures, and one original guardhouse, that was kept safely in private hands for many years.

Where all the original buildings once stood are clearly marked with wooden outlines, and with an informative marker sign, that informs the visitor what the former building was used for, etc.


Country Road #4 runs through the center of this fort, dividing the east side of the fort from the west side of the fort. On the east side of the fort, people may visit the original, main guard house headquarters & jail, outlines of the stable, officer quarters, barracks, granary, ammunition dump, and where the cannons were located, that saved the fort in its most threatened hour.

The west side of the fort has the reconstructed guard block houses, outlines of the soldiers’ commissary, and the home of the person hired to run it. Also, outlines of the fields where food was grown, animals were kept, and other things that were important in the running of the fort can be seen as well.

Just north of the eastern part of the fort is the newly built Fort Abercrombie Museum and Interpretive Center that has been opened, with displays and more information about the fort available for viewing. The visitor can buy a ticket for a tour with a guide, who uses a golf cart to take people around the whole fort, if walking around on a self-tour isn’t desired.



Fort Abercrombie, the first permanent fort built on land destined to become part of North Dakota, was constructed in 1858, to keep the peace, to protect the Red River riverboat trade, to be a military mail station, to protect the builders of the railroad and the farmers/settlers/travelers from hostile Indians; not too happy with the encroachment of farms and towns on their land. Fort Abercrombie was built at a strategic location; at the crossroads of several major transportation routes, making it a vital fort for 17 years.

Fort Abercrombie was built to accommodate and support four companies of infantry, and one company of Calvary. This original, first fort of North Dakota was organized and built by Colonel John J. Abercrombie, on ground that was at the same level as the Red River. OOPS. However, when it became apparent that flooding was an issue, the fort was moved up the hill to the flat land above the river, two years later, in 1860.

In 1861, all the regular army and calvary soldiers that had been stationed there, keeping the peace and building the fort, were pulled and sent to fight in the Civil War, leaving the half built fort with an officer in charge of a civilian volunteer force from Minnesota; The Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. By 1862, the walls of the fort still hadn’t been completed, and there were no blockhouses or palisade built yet to help protect the fort. It was rather a scary, stressful adventure when the Dakota Sioux attacked the fort for 6 weeks, starting in September of 1862, during the Minnesota Indian War. Luckily, also available for this fight for survival at this desperate time were local German farmers who had fled to the fort for protection. They were not only veterans of the European Wars, but were also quite skilled in shooting the canons. The canons gave Fort Abercrombie the advantage, and the fort withstood the fight. It is estimated that between 30 to 60 fort defenders were killed. Many Dakota Sioux died as well.

Needless to say, the blockhouses, fencing, stockade and palisade were built in short order; perhaps in-between the battles. Fort Abercrombie continued on, guarding the wagon trains, steamboat traffic, railroad construction, as well as providing provisions for the wagon trains on their way to Montana. Various troops from Minnesota were stationed here during the Civil War, and Fort Abercrombie became a training center where troops were prepared for Civil War battles.

Fort Abercrombie was instrumental ending the hostilities between the Sioux and Chippewa, and the white settlers as well, as the Sioux Chippewa Peace Conference of 1870, was held at Fort Abercrombie, inspired and guided by Catholic Priest Genin.

Fort Abercrombie was active and a very important force of law and order for just 17 years, until it was decommissioned and abandoned in 1877. The fort materials and supplies were sold at auction, leaving little to mark the spot. The main guardhouse was sold as a single entity to a private party.

Friends of Fort Abercrombie, a non-profit organization, formed to raise funds for restoration of Fort Abercrombie, started with just about empty fields, though the C.C.C. did get the ball rolling in 1939-40, by rebuilding the blockhouses, and getting the original guard house jail back from its private owner. Throughout the years, Friends of Fort Abercrombie managed to build part of the fort’s wooden, protective walls, marked off where all the buildings once stood, and built a new interpretive center, with information, films, and offering tours of the vast area that makes up Fort Abercrombie.



Old battlefields and old historic forts that have seen action, often have residual hauntings due to the attached energy from the conflicts; and /or have actual entities still fighting the battle, reliving their death.

Spirits and energy that are attached to land where a former structure once stood, have been known to become active when a building is rebuilt on this land, sometimes in the exact spot.



Residual Hauntings are strongly felt and seen:

People at times have heard Phantom sounds of battle, especially around the anniversary dates of the 1862 siege.

See apparitions of soldiers, Dakota Sioux, ignoring the living, that either are:

Reenacting the fierce battle or

Going about their business at the fort.

These apparitions could be residual or just be so focused on their trauma that they don’t notice the present world.

The Blockhouse

Some sensitive people have felt an unseen presence(s) in the rebuilt look-out blockhouse at the far western border, south corner.

I felt it myself; the tingly dizzy feeling I get when a spirit is present. This unseen presence(s) was on the second floor of the wooden blockhouse lookout post. The air/atmosphere was thicker, so I didn’t go up the stairs, respecting his/their space.

This same unseen presence, or a fellow spirit was perhaps caught on tape unlatching and pushing open the door of the historical main guardhouse.


Most Probably to Yes Indeed – Residual hauntings are still taking place, as these have been witnessed/experienced by many people over the years.

Perhaps /Probably – There is an intelligent spirit or two here as well, attached to the main guardhouse headquarters, and the blockhouse, but more scientific and psychic investigations are needed to back up the YouTube video and psychic experiences. Probably, more intelligent spirits may be drawn back into our world when more of the buildings are rebuilt, as was the case at Fort Abraham Lincoln. The Custer House and this fort’s other reconstructed buildings all have spirits residing once again there.

VRS Paranormal Investigations – Fort Abercrombie Guard House; 2009 – On YouTube, these investigators were investigating the guard house, and the front door unlatched itself

The door proceeded to open by itself. Efforts were made to debunk it, but they couldn’t get the door to unlatch itself.




Off Broadway Street
Country Road 4
Abercrombie, ND
(701) 553-8513 * (701) 328-2666

Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site can be found 45 minutes south of Fargo, North Dakota. It is located on the eastern edge of Abercrombie, North Dakota, right beside the Red River, that marks the boarder between North Dakota and Minnesota.



  • The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide
    By Rich Newman
    pg. 251
    Llewellyn Publications
  • VRS Paranormal Investigations- Fort Abercrombie Guard House …
  • Dakota War of 1862 Still Haunts Fort Abercrombie | Ghost Eyes
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  • North Dakota Hauntings –

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in North Dakota