Historic Hampshire County, WV
West Virginia's Oldest County


Caudy's Castle Rock

caudy's castle aerial
Aerial view of Caudy's Castle Rock looking to the west

Little is actually know about James Caudy the "Indian fighter" of early Hampshire County. Caudy's castle1We do know that he arrived in the Cacapon Valley at least by the early 1730s and eventually got a land grant for 350 acres just south of Joseph Edward's home. Both Caudy's and Edwards's grants were surveyed by James Genn shortly after George Washington left Hampshire County on his first trip west in 1748. The anecdotal early histories of the county refer to Caudy as an "Indian fighter" without giving any substantive information about his exploits. We reproduce below an early account of Castle Rock from Kercheval.
Text taken from: A History of the Valley of Virginia by Samuel Kercheval, Woodstock, Va., 1850

NATURAL CURIOSITIES p.318-319
    "About two miles above the forks of this river is Roadside marker for Caudy's Castle Rock situated "Caudy's Castle," a most stupendous work of nature. It is said by tradition that in the time of the wars between the white and red people, a man by the name of James Caudy more than once took shelter on the rock from the pursuit of the Indians, from whence its name. It consists of a fragment of the mountains, separated from and independent of the neighboring mountains, forming, as it were, a half cone, and surrounded with a yawning chasm. Its eastern base, washed by the Capon River, rises to the majestic height of four hundred and fifty to five hundred feet, while its eastern side is a solid mass of granite, directly perpendicular. A line drawn 'round its base probably would not exceed one thousand or twelve hundred yards. From its western side it may be ascended by a man on foot to within about ninety or one hundred feet of its summit. From thence the rock suddenly shoots up something in the form of a comb, which is about ninety or one hundred feet in length, eight or ten feet in thickness, and runs about north and south. On the eastern face of the rock from where the comb is approached, a very narrow undulating path is formed, by pursuing which, active persons can ascend to its summit. The author called on Mr. John Largent, from whom he received much kindness and attention, and requested Mr. Largent to be his pilot, which, request was readily acceded to. Mr. Largent's residence is less than a half mile from the spot. In his company the author undertook to ascend this awful precipice. Along the path a few laurel shrubs had grown out of the fissures of the rock. With the aid of the shrubbery, the author succeeded in following Mr. Largent until they reached within twenty or twenty-five feet of the summit, where they found a flat table, four or five, feet View of Cacapon Mountain from the ledge below the castle rock top "square, on which a pine tree of five or six inches in diameter had grown some ten or twelve feet high. This afforded a convenient resting place. By supporting myself with one arm around the body of the tree, and a cane in the other hand, I ventured several times to look down the precipice, View down to Cacapon Riverbut it produced a disagreeable giddiness and painful sensation of the eyes. From this elevated situation an extensive view of what is called the White Mountain presents itself for a considerable distance, on the east side of Capon River. The beautiful whiteness of this mountain is produced by a considerable intermixture of fine white sand with rocks, which almost exclusively form the west side of the Capon Mountain for several miles."


View from the ledge looking toward castle top
View from the ledge up to the top of the castle rock.

Pine tree growing out of the rock ledge overlooking the river
Pine tree growing out of the rock on the ledge overlooking the Cacapon River

Narrow approach to the top of the rock
Caudy's Castle Rock is a rock chimney that rises above the ridge top. There is a sheer vertical rock wall on the west (land) side and a narrow rock ledge on the river side that leads to a point about 20 feet from the summit. This is what makes the rock a "castle" where one person can defend themselves from a group approaching them. People can only approach one at a time. The narrow approach is seen in the photo to the right.

 

For the location of James Caudy's grave go to: http://www.HistoricHampshire.org/cems/caudy.htm


Castle rock as seen from the river
Caudy's Castle Rock as seen from the Cacapon River (photo by Steve Ritz)

Click here for a Video on Castle Rock on uTube


           
2004 Charles C. Hall.
All rights reserved. updated: 8/27/09
www.historichampshire.org