The North Carolina Visitor Center




Visit Fort Defiance!

Visit Fort Defiance!



Considered to be one of the most unique restorations in the country, Fort Defiance houses more than 300 pieces of original furnishings and historic artifacts. The home, which was lived in continuously by the Lenoir family until 1961, has been fully restored to its late 18th / early 19th century splendor.


This exquisite 1792 home was built by Revolutionary War hero, General William Lenoir and is named for a frontier fort that stood nearby.  



Lenoir began building his home in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina in 1788.  Taking four years to complete, he finished building in 1792.


When William Lenoir began building his home here in 1788, he referred to it as Fort Defiance and so for over 200 years the home has retained the name of the original stockade. He finished building the house in 1792.


Lenoir was the tenth and youngest child born in Brunswick County Virginia in 1751. At the age of 10 his father moved the family to Edgecombe County North Carolina, present day Tarboro. His father died when he was 14 leaving young William to make his own way in life. Being a farming family of limited means meant he had little opportunity for formal education. Having never attended school it’s remarkable he could read and write 4 languages. Educating himself, he applied for a certificate allowing him to teach school. He moved back to Brunswick County Virginia at 18 and began teaching school there. His next move took him to Halifax North Carolina at 19. Marrying Ann Ballard at the age of 20, he decided his school teachers salary wasn’t enough to raise a family on so he apprenticed with a surveyor. Surveying is what brought him to the North Carolina frontier.


He moved his family here just prior to the Revolutionary War in 1775. Settling first on Fisher’s Creek (present day Wilkesboro), he then moved into a 2 room log cabin on Buffalo Creek in 1782 and finally into his mansion in 1791. William Lenoir served as a captain during the Revolutionary War and acquired fame from his participation at the battle of King’s Mountain and through his written account of the battle.




Hours of Operation



Thursday—Saturday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 pm



Weekends Only


By Appointment




Fort Defiance is available for weddings and special events.  Special group rates are available.

Becky Phillips is the director of Fort Defiance.  You may contact her by phone at (828) 758-1671.

You may also email us for more information at:

Fort Defiance is located off HWY 268, 5.5 miles northeast of HWY 321. 

From Interstate 40

Travel North on HWY 321 from Hickory (approx. 23 miles).  Turn right at HWY 268 (flashing yellow light).  After one mile, turn right to continue on HWY 268.  Travel 4.5 miles and watch for signs.  Fort Defiance will be on the right.

From HWY 421 in Wilkes County

Travel HWY 268 west 23 miles from the HWY 421 underpass.