June 2, 2018 Dedication of the Frenchburg Bridge
H. C. Historical Society Newsletter Archive ProjectPlease contact Charles Hall (304)496-7218 if you have any issues of the Hampshire
County Historical Society Newsletter. We have initiated a project to digitize these
newsletters and to post them on this web site for your perusal. We need to get copies
of as many issues as possible. We will return any issues you loan to us for copying.
Some Issues Now Available
The Town of Romney has sold two choice burial slots in the space next to the Confederate Soldiers grave sites to Royce Saville for his personal use. This is an egregious conversion of part of a 150 year old historic site to personal use by someone. Click here for more information on this breaking of a sacred trust to hand on our historic sites to future generations as we received them!
UPDATE: On December 7, 2017 a suit was filed in Hampshire County Circuit Court against the Town of Romney contending that the out-of-court settlement agreed to by the Town of Romney and Royce Saville violated the Open Governmental Prceedings Act and West Virginia Code §8-12-18(b). The suit seeks injunctive relief prohibiting the transfer of the lots and such further relief as the court may deem appropriate. The law provides that the court may find that any person who willfully and knowingly violates the ... [Act] is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars. We will keep you posted on the progress of this suit.
Sponsored by the Romney Historic Landmarks Commission
Friday, August 17th: Dan Oates: 1920 Census – discussion about who lived where and who owned or worked at what place of business during WWI.
Starting in April you can mark your calendar for the 3rd Friday of the month, from 5:30-7pm. Most will be at the Bank of Romney (BOR) Community Building, with occasional special locations. Stay tuned to the Facebook page or the Hampshire Review for locations and topics. (Contact Carol Shaw at 304-822-4545
Lying just to the west of the great Valley of Virginia, Hampshire County, West Virginia has a rich and varied history. Once home to numerous tribes of prehistoric native Americans, the area was nearly empty and used only for a seasonal hunting ground when the white man first arrived. The fertile valleys of Hampshire's Potomac River tributaries were a welcome sight to the early settlers who longed for verdant, open spaces to satisfy their independent spirit.
Sometime in the 1730s and 1740s the trickle of explorers and settlers began. The migration was primarily from Pennsylvania rather than from the piedmont of Virginia.
In 1754, the opening year of the French and Indian War, Hampshire County was established with over twenty-six hundred square miles. It was the western frontier of the Colony of Virginia. Because Virginia's route to the upper Ohio River valley came through Hampshire County, the area became an important gateway to the developing west.
French and Indian War
During the trying years of the French and Indian War, Hampshire bore the brunt of enemy attacks. Although Virginia was a long way from Canada, the French know that Virginia was one of the wealthiest and most populous Colonies and a leader in the push for British expansion to the west. It was because of this that Col. George Washington, Commander of the Virginia Regiment, built a chain of forts in Hampshire County as the northern bulwarks of his western line of defense. Col. Washington was familiar with the area, having traversed it for five seasons as a surveyor for Lord Fairfax, the proprietor of the Northern Neck Proprietary.During the terrible days of the first half of the French and Indian War, many settlers fled to more peaceful areas; many who stayed died on their farms at the hands of ravaging warriors. Before the fall of Fort Duquesne to Gen. Forbes in 1758, much of Hampshire County was devoid of people. After the war, the pace of settlement increased. In 1762 Romney was incorporated as the county seat. In 1787 Watson (later named Capon Springs) was incorporated at the medicinal springs in the south-east part of the county.
Transportation Routes Established
In 1786 a state road had been completed from Winchester to Romney. As the frontier of the new nation moved westward, more roads were required to serve the expanding nation. In the 1830s the Northwestern Turnpike was built, eventually running from Winchester through Romney to Clarksburg and on to Parkersburg on the Ohio River. By 1845 a stage line ran from Romney to Morgantown and Parkersburg.
The far western counties of Virginia were developing as industrial centers along the Ohio Rivers, but Hampshire and its neighboring counties remained rural, agricultural areas. It was during the war that Virginia was split, and Hampshire County became part of the new state of West Virginia. Hampshire's placement in the new state was a matter of Federal politics and did not reflect the sentiments of the people of the county.
Counties to the west had ties to the North by way of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the C&O canal; they had little in common with the commerce and government of Virginia. Hampshire County, on the other hand, was linked more to the Shenandoah Valley, and Hampshire's colonial heritage gave it stronger ties with the Commonwealth. Therefore, its sympathies were Southern. "Stonewall" Jackson had an early compaign in the County that attempted to cut the Federal government's transportation link to the western states that ran along the Potomac River, Hampshire's northern boundary. Because of this strategic location there were many troop movements through the county and Romney is said to have changed hands 56 times during the war.
Hampshire County raised thirteen Confederate companies for the war but only one
Union company. After the Civil War on Sept. 26, 1867, Hampshire's
citizens dedicated what was perhaps the
Memorial raised to Civil War dead of a Southern community. It still stands today in Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney.
The fact that Indian Mound Cemetery is the burial site of two West Virginia governors (John J. Jacob - 4th Governor; John J. Cornwell - 15th Governor) evidences the county's involvement in the new State's political life.
Hampshire County has great natural beauty. Although the area is not now as bountiful for the hunter as was true in George Washington's day, Hampshire has always been an abundant land. The rivers are wonderful for swimming, and they abound with fish. The skies above are filled with wildfowl. The Trough, a cut that the South Branch River makes through the mountains, is one of the best locations for spotting the majestic bald eagle. The Potomac Eagle, a sightseeing passenger train, runs from spring through fall so tourists may view the breath-taking scenery and the eagles.
The several communities with "Spring" in their name give a hint to another natural treasure of the area known to early settlers. Even today, Capon Springs resort is renowned for its lovely wooded setting and its wonderful hospitality. Ice Mountain on the North River is a geologic anomaly with rare flora near its ice caves. Today it is maintained by the Nature Conservancy. Throughout the county there are fields, streams and mountains that offer a feast for the eyes and for the spirit.
Romney, where the first Literary Society in the state was founded in 1819, is home to the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind. Hampshire County is a land mindful of its colonial heritage and the precious traits of character that made it strong. It is a place where the visitor will be made to feel welcome.
Hampshire County Screensavers - large, high def photos (1920x1024
Save our Dark Night Sky - the County Comprehensive Plan is up for its review/reassessment so now is the time to get involved in saving our Dark Night Sky. This is the first step to notify the Planning Commission that it is a priority and needs to be included in the building code!
Our new database search project: Hampshire Database includes Sims Index of Land Grants, Survey Books A-E and Indian Mound Cemetery. Now working!
Regular Word Searches:
Please use Google Search to find items on this web site. To search this site only place after the search words you want to find enter "site:historichampshire.org" without the quotes. Google will then search only this site.
Our English Roots Lord Fairfax, Hampshire Co. & New Romney
Settlement and French and Indian War: Fort Edwards Web Site
Foreman's Defeat, 1777
Revolutionary War Soldiers
Gazetteer of 1797
Surveys of George Washington
The Founding of Romney
Romney's 250th Anniversary celebration
First Deeds for Romney Lots and Early Plat
Researching Early Deeds and Grants
Gunmakers of Hampshire County extends into 19th century
Civil War Sesquicentennial Project - has additional links
Romney in the Civil War
The capture of Generals Crook and Kelly in Cumberland, Md.
First hand description of Romney at the end of the War
& McNeil's Rangers' Surrender - Samuel Clarke Farrar Diary
B&O Railroad in the Civil War
Civil War Engravings
Civil War Memorials:
History of the Soldiers Monument
Confederate Veteran Magazine Article
First Decoration Day, 1866 from the The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
Project to Preserve the Civil War Memorial Site
Reunion at Camp Walker
150th anniversary of Decoration Day 2016
150th anniversary of the Confederate Soldiers Monument 2017
1866, Hampshire Asks for a Revote - Wants Return to Virginia - NEW
Black History - African-American history
Orchard (Apple & Peach) Industry and food related subjects
Citizens who died in World War I
For WWI Doughboy statue articles see Reprints from the Hampshire Review below
Citizens who served and those who died in WWII
Veterans of Korea -Coming
Veterans of Vietnam
Folks We Remember - people of note in community
Community History ArticlesNotes on the History of Springfield by Mrs. Heiskel
Veterans, Alfred Whiting, Jacob Green, Benevolent Cemetery, etc.
School History Articles
Soil Surveys of Hampshire County
Tidbits of History- Some interesting facts
Timeline of County History - see below
Petition to Change the Form of Hampshire County Government
The long struggle of the citizens of Hampshire County to have a petition placed on the ballot to allow a change from a 3 person Commission to a "Tribunal" composed of one representitive from each district has ended unsuccessfully. To learn about the process, click here for the Petition Documents Archive.
Places, Buildings, Views:
North River Mills (This page has the link to North River Mills Day.)
Romney, the county seat (see also History above)
Caudy's Castle Rock
Capon Bridge Museum
Capon Bridge GPS survey benchmark at 813.5 feet elevation
National Register of Historic Places
Whipple Truss Bridge at Capon Springs Nominated for the N.R.H.P.
Sites on the National Register of Historic Places
County buildings on the WV Historic Property Inventory Form
County & Private Records: Surveys, Wills, Deeds, Journals, etc.
Survey Book A [New & incomplete]
John W. Mellon Undertaker's Journal for Capon Bridge area. [Dan Oates]
County Industries - Fruit, gunsmiths, etc.
Churches of Hampshire CountyOld Pine Church update coming!
We invite churches to submit a history!
Post Offices of Hampshire County- a history by Len McMaster
North River Mills.org- a quaint and historic village
Restored, Re-used, Waiting, Neglected Sites
Destroyed Places - Landmarks that have passed - Note: Logs for sale!
Neglected Places - Buildings or sites which desperately need preservation or they will disappear.
Romney's Historic District-?? - preserving W. Va.'s oldest town
For Place Names see Gazetteer below
Reprints from the Hampshire Review
Antebellum Romney by Rob Wolford
The 1922 (present) Courthouse
Upcoming Dedication of WWI Statue - the Doughboy, dateline May 9, 1928
Dedication of WWI Statue - the Doughboy, dateline May 16, 1928
Mr. Cornwell's Speech Dedicating the WWI Statue, dateline May 30, 1928
38 Men enter the C.C.C. in 1935 - a pdf file
Collapse of the South Branch Bridge (Whipple Truss) in 1936
Proclamation from the Cinque Port Mayors to the Mayor of Romney, 1936
Some Romney history articles are found on the Romney Finding Aid page
Leonora Wood articles:
Old Records of Hampshire County Part 1
Articles and Issues searched in the Hampshire Review
Road map of Hampshire County (without road names) to print on 8.5x11 inch paper. This is a pdf file that prints in landscape mode. File size is approx. 312 Kbytes.
The following two maps are basic maps that can be printed on 8.5x11 inch paper:
Modern County Map (small 100dpi)
Modern County Map (large 300dpi)
The next map is quite detailed and quite large. It is 2388 pixels wide by 2316 wide; it is hardly viewable if printed on 8.5x11 inch paper, but can be enlarged to approximately 24 inches square.
Hampshire County map with most roads
John R. Ice County Map 1933 - top
John R. Ice County Map 1933 - bottom
This is the last road map of the county published before the 1939 Highway map when the State took over the road system. These are .jpg files you can either download by right-clicking on them and saving to your hard drive or you may view them in your browser. They are large files of approximately 450 megs.
Hampshire County Road Map is available from the State in .pdf format divided as north and south sheets: (Note: Hampshire County is going through road name changes in connection with a 911 Addressing System so this map may not be current.)
Wayne McGahuey's Cemetery Maps of Hampshire County
Potomac Heritage Trail Map (draft for study purposes - 2.6 megs)
Historic Maps & Interpretive Maps:
Hampshire's Boundary over time
Two Important Colonial Roads - The Great Wagon Road and Braddock's Road
Maps of Gen. Braddock's campaign through Hampshire Co. to Ft. Duquesne - on our associated site: www.BraddocksMarch.org
Mill Sites c. 1859 (medium file) -
Hampshire County in 1888 (medium file)
Hampshire County in 1880 (medium file)
1926 Hampshire Co. Topo Map shows school and church locations
Schools of Hampshire County - work in progress; please send corrections
See also Cemetery section below
Sanborn Fire Maps
Sanborn Fire Map Color Legend
Sanborn Fire Map of Romney 1894
Note: the following are large maps of the center of Romney; you can click on them and your browser will show them or you can right click on the link and save it to your computer for viewing later or for editing since it more than fills your screen. They are large files (180-280kb) which take some time to download. We hope to upload the other sections of town at some later date (2028 to 2041 or thereabouts unless we get some help).
Sanborn Map of center of Romney 1899
Sanborn Map of center of Romney 1915
Sanborn Map of center of Romney 1923
Sanborn Map of center of Romney 1931
Romney Water System 1928
Crozet's Northwestern Turnpike Map
Civil War Maps
Colonial Era Maps
Capon Bridge (southeast) Land Grants
Capon Bridge (southwest) Land Grants
Several colonial era interpretative maps relating to Hampshire County are available from the Museum Shop of The Fort Edwards Foundation.
Civil War Veterans - New Section!
Bloomery scenes - New Section!
Springfield scenes - New!
Animals- transportation, livestock, etc.
Who, What, Where???? - please help us! - New!
Civil War Engravings
Wayne McGahuey's Cemetery Inventory incomplete
Wayne McGahuey's Cemetery Maps of Hampshire County
W.P.A. Depression era research project listing
location with maps of all veteran's cemeteries - (uses 1930s road names)
Romney's Old Presbyterian Cemetery
Cemeteries of Romney from Maxwell & Swisher, (pdf)
Mt. Pisgah Benevolent Cemetery just outside Romney
GPS locations sorted by Latitude - DRAFT
Research & Resources:
References in Official Records of the Civil War - work in progress
Resources at the WV State Archives in Charleston, WV (.pdf format)
Blank West Virginia Historic Property Inventory Form for sites inventory use
Hampshire Family Frontier Day at Fort Edwards
We can not keep up with events, so please visit the Convention and Visitors' Bureau web site.
Past EventsRomney Railroad Day 2011
HistoricHampshire.org is supporting the effort to establish the George Washington Frontier Heritage Area to commemorate the stories and preserve the places of our settlers and soldiers and to remember George Washington's role in the westward movement of the frontier. The effort for a National Heritage Area has been discontinued, but we would still like to see some remembrance of Col. Washington's area of responsibility during the French and Indian War so we are keeping the material online for research purposes.
Application information for the National Register of Historic Places
About this page's sponsor: N.R.M.S.A.A.D.K.
Contact Us(if you can)!
Old Graphic Ornaments - Free, Public Domain
Sun bonnet pattern - full size; right click to download. Take to a quick printer that does blueprints and get approximate 36 inch square pattern.
Old Images - Free, Public Domain NOT AVAILABLE YET!
This is a never-ending, always-updating project. If you or your organization would like to contribute a page to this site, we would be happy to correspond with you. We are looking for all the help we can get. It tooks thousands of people to originally write the history of Hampshire County; it is going to take more than a few to publish it. Please email corrections and/or suggestions and/or additions to:
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