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Historic Hampshire County,
West Virginia

A Beautiful and Historic Land

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Hampshire County

    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. 

Colonial Era
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.

County Established
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.

Civil War

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.

Confederate Sympathies

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  first Memorial raised to Civil War dead of a Southern community.  It still stands today in Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney.

Modern Era

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.

Natural Beauty

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!

Searching this Web Site

Regular Word Searches:
Please use Google Search or Startpage to find items on this web site. To search this site only after the search words you want to find enter "site:historichampshire.org" without the quotes. Google will then search only this site.


Old Published Histories:
West Virginia Geological Survey
     Northwestern Turnpike

Eighteenth Century:
     Our English Roots  Lord Fairfax, Hampshire Co. & New Romney 
         Romney article
     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
     First Deeds for Romney Lots and Early Plat
     Researching Early Deeds and Grants
     Gunsmiths of Hampshire County extends into 19th century

Nineteenth Century:

    Antebellum Romney by Rob Wolford
    Early Roads of Hampshire County from Maxwell & Swisher

  Civil War
     Civil War Sesquicentennial Project - has additional links
       Romney in the Civil War
      Location & Approaches to Romney
      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

  Hampshire's Civil War Soldiers:
      Hampshire's Confederate Soldiers -
      Company A, 33rd Va. Inf.
      Company D, 17th Va. Batt. Cav. -
      Enos Taylor P.O.W. buried in Illinois

   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

  Modern Articles on the Civil War
      Community Defiled, Sacking the Courthouse by Robert B. Wolford


Twentieth Century:
     Citizens who died in World War I
     Armistice Centennial Celebration - a WWI archived page
     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

Military Veterans of Hampshire County

  Click for archived Calendar page of our WWI Armistice 100th Anniversary Commemoration

Community History Articles, Publications & Videos

    Catalogue of the Members and Library of The Literary Society of Romney  NEW

    H.C. Historical Society Newsletters, archive of discontinued newsletter
        Index of Historical Society Newsletters

    Notes on the History of Springfield by Mrs. Heiskel

    History of Capon Bridge by Gertrude Ward  NEW

    Notes on History and Roads of Capon Bridge (working notes)

    Bloomery Furnace & Village by Rob Wolford

    Crossing the South Branch in Hampshire County by Eph Herriott, Jr.,
        A History of our Bridges

    Romney-Springfield Roads by Eph Herriott

    Community Defiled, Sacking the Courthouse by Robert B. Wolford

    The Old Northwestern Turnpike by Leonora Wood. This is wonderful travelogue along Rt. 50 through Hampshire and Mineral County. Although some of the description is dated, it still is a good guide to thing to see. From The Hampshire Review

    Romney on the Menu videos by Ken Caldwell

Indexes of Published Books about Hampshire Co. - (unfinished)

African-American History

   Black Veterans, Alfred Whiting, Jacob Green, Colored Benevolent Cemetery, etc.

Community, Fraternal and Social Organizations

Hopefully new section dealing with locations and activities of organizations. This section is in need of community support. Please send photos and information on sites and activities of our fraternal, social and community organization sites. We are interested in items over 50 years old.

School History Articles

    Schools of Hampshire County - work in progress; please send corrections
       History of Romney Schools by Leona McDonald  NEW
       Sandy Hollow School
       Old Kirby School buildings
    Schools for the Deaf and Blind
    The Background, Foundation and Early History Of The West Virginia Schools For The Deaf And Blind short pdf edited for web by Dan Oates

Soil Surveys of Hampshire County

Tidbits of History- Some interesting facts

Timeline of County History

Hampshire's 250th Anniversary (site archive)
    Anniversary Events Web Archive
    Important (Lost) Artifacts
    Hampshire250 - Reflections on the Celebration

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:

  Scenic Tour:
     North River Mills   (This page has the link to North River Mills Day.)
     Romney, the county seat  (see also History above)
     Fall scenes
     Ice Mountain
     Caudy's Castle Rock
     Capon Bridge Museum
      Capon Bridge GPS survey benchmark at 813.5 feet elevation

New Buildings

New Buildings, New Structures  Click for index page

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

Named Sites, Bridges, Roads, etc. (Memorials)
road naming, bridge naming for historic areas, events or people
     The Frenchburg Bridge - Civil War Memorial
     The Private Wm. Kump Bridge - Civil War Memorial (large pdf)
     The North River Mills Trace - Colonial Era Memorial (large pdf)
     Gunsmiths' Trace at Edwards Run   New

Old Roads of Hampshire County
     Location & Approaches to Romney from a Civil War report
     Draft Notes on History of Capon Bridge - working project
     See also "Maps" below


Newspaper Items

Personal Items from from the South Branch Intelligencer 1867-1879 and the Hampshire Review 1884-1886 by Cheryl Singhal, word searchable

Archive of Yesterday's Review and Hampshire History two publications reprinting articles from earlier county newspapers

Reprints from our local newspapers including the South Branch Intelligencer, The Hampshire Review and The Argus

Advocate Newspaper Subjects Index

Offsite link to the Potomac State Local Newspaper Project. This web archive contains the Hampshire Review and South Branch Intelligencer and newspapers from surrounding counties and can be word searched.

See also section "Community History Articles, Publications & Videos" above.


County & Private Records: Surveys, Wills, Deeds, Journals, Registers, etc.

    County Map Books Index

    Survey Books A & B  NEW Updated

    Hampshire Co. Historic Landmarks Commission Minutes, Documents, etc. (HCHLC)

    John W. Mellon Undertaker's Journal for Capon Bridge area. [Dan Oates]

    Keller Hotel Register listing visitors


Agriculture, Orchards and Industries

- Fruit, gunsmiths, mills, hatchery, dairy, railroad, etc.

Churches of Hampshire County

     Bloomery Presbyterian Church

     Old Pine Church update coming!

     Trinity Episcopal, Okonoko

     Little Cacapon Primative Baptist

     Old Salem Church (torn down)

    We invite churches to submit a short, general history particularly as it relates to buildings and community events in Hampshire County! We are not interested in histories of congregations although we may archive church baptism and marriage records.

     List of old church buildings, work in progress; please help!

    Methodist Church records a limited collection.


Post Offices of Hampshire County- a history by Len McMaster

Roadside Historic Markers

North River Mills.org- a quaint and historic village


Sites & Buildings:
Restored, Re-used, Waiting, Neglected or Gone

Hospital mitigation

Restoration Projects 
    Restoration Projects
    Ridgedale Restoration - George W. Washington house
       the old log house at Ridgedale - the first home of the Washington family
    Heflebower mansion
   WVSDB Dairy Barn in Romney
   Log house on Falls Rd. - want a restoration project??   Awaiting help!

Destroyed Buildings 

Destroyed Places  also and ones now Gone - Landmarks that have passed
    West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind Main Building - the Administration Building was originally the Classical Institute of 1847
    Mytinger-Flournoy house on East Main St. in Romney
    Hooks Tavern east of Capon Bridge

    Salvaging the Baker's Old Barn in North River Mills

    Old Hampshire Memorial Hospital mitigation project

Bridges of 1940 - most gone

Neglected Places   - Buildings or sites which desperately need preservation or they will disappear.


  Finding aid for Romney subjects

  WV Historic Property Forms for Romney - New

  Preservation Districts
    Romney's Historic District-?? - preserving W. Va.'s oldest town

Nature's Wonders
   Specimen Trees
   Nature's Interesting, beautiful and unique
   Tree identification from USDA

Interesting Things, Unusual Wonders
   Rio's Giant Turtle

List of Aerial Photographs

For Place Names see Gazetteer below



Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax
People in the Civil War
Military Veterans
See also Reprints from the Hampshire Review above
Gov. Cornwell short family movie clip
Walter Crabtree hanged for murder



Modern Maps (since 1920):

1937 Road Map of the County pdf file of 3.5mb large!
1926 Topographic Map of Hampshire County, jpg 1.8mb   NEW
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.)

      Highway Map - North

       Highway Map - South

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
    Relief Maps of Some Forts of the French and Indian War
    Mill Sites c. 1859 (medium file)
    Planned Route of the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad
    Hampshire County, no date large file
    Hampshire County, Rand-McNally 1889 large file
    Hampshire County New Commercial Atlas of West Virginia, no date; large file
    Hampshire County, 1897 Century Atlas, large file
    Hampshire County in 1888 (medium file)
    Hampshire County in 1880 (medium file)
    Schools of Hampshire County - work in progress; please send corrections
    See also Cemetery section below

 For Romney Maps see Romney Finding Aid

B&O Railroad Maps

    Romney B&O RR Depot 1928
    Romney B&O RR Depot 1931 Sanborn map
    Romney B&O RR Depot 1932 railroad plan with turn-around "Y"
    Romney B&O RR Junction with main line

  Colonial Era Maps, Fairfax Land Grants

    Capon Bridge (southeast) Land Grants
    Capon Bridge (southwest) Land Grants
    Romney area Land Grants (North)  NEW
    Romney area Land Grants (South)  NEW

    Several colonial era interpretative maps relating to Hampshire County are available from the Museum Shop of The Fort Edwards Foundation.

  Crozet's Northwestern Turnpike Map 1831

    Easter part of Hampshire County
    Western part of Hampshire County

  Civil War Maps
     Upper Potomac area based on Lt. Meigs
     Civil War Era Map of County (large file)
     B&O Railroad in the Civil War (large file)   
    Gen. Lander's Map, Feb. 1862


     Place names in Hampshire County
     Places whose location is now "unknown"- from USGS Gazetteer

USGS Benchmarks

Old Photographs

    Civil War Veterans

    Romney scenes

          Romney Parades & buildings

     Capon Bridge scenes

     North River Mills scenes

     Bloomery scenes

     Hampshire County scenes

     H.C. Groups, organizations, activities soldiers, musicians, etc.

     School scenes

     Springfield scenes

   Industry, work, business, livestock, transportation

     Railroad scenes

     Apple Orchards

     Animals- transportation, livestock, horses, etc.

     Industries, job sites, work, business, etc.

     Who, What, Where???? - please help us!

     1991 Photographic Survey


Civil War Engravings

     Hampshire County Scenes 



    Cemetery Inventory Main Page including sites compiled from Wayne McGahuey's list, from Ralph Tripplett's work and Vicki Horton's sites from Springfield area with other additions from sources contributed to the Hampshire County Library.

    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 Oldest Cemetery

    Romney's Old Presbyterian Cemetery

    Indian Mound Cemetery

    Cemeteries of Romney from Maxwell & Swisher, (pdf)

    Mt. Pisgah Benevolent Cemetery just outside Romney

    Capon Chapel Cemetery

    Cemetery Survey Template and Explanation

      GPS locations sorted by Latitude - DRAFT

2016 Cemetery Survey Project

In 2016 the Hampshire County Historic Landmarks Commission received a grant from the State Historic Preservation Office to survey the cemeteries of the county. This project located and mapped 153 cemeteries. The list can be found by Clicking Here.
Cemeteries from our web list that have a latitude-longitude shown. This list is supposed to be sorted in Latitude order to help you find the name if you find a cemetery with your GPS unit. This list may or may not include cemeteries listed in the 2016 Cemetery Survey Project.


Research & Resources:

   Bibliography for Hampshire County

    Romney on the Menu Videos

    References in Official Records of the Civil War - work in progress

    Important & Interesting Hampshire County Deeds 

    Chapter Index of History of Hampshire County by Maxwell & Swisher 


Resources at other West Virginia location

    Resources at the WV State Archives in Charleston, WV  (.pdf format)

    Manuscripts & microfilm at West Virginia University

    Manuscripts, etc. at Various Repositories

    Potomac State College Newspaper Archive of Hampshire Review and South Branch Intelligencer and surrounding local newspapers

   West Virginia Historic Property Inventory Form for sites inventory use

Library of Virginia Resources

Virginia Land Office Patents and Grants/Northern Neck Grant and Surveys


County Events:

We can not keep up with events, so please visit the Convention and Visitors' Bureau web site.

Past Events

  1999 Bicentennial of George Washington's Death newspaper clippings

  Anniversary of Women's Suffrage celebrated in 2020

  Romney Railroad Day 2011


Other Subjects:

Web links, Places to Go, Things to Do

Timeline for Hampshire County - important facts

Tidbits of History- Some interesting facts

Application information for the National Register of Historic Places

Agriculture Statistics

Restoring the Stone House in Mineral County

About this page's sponsor: N.R.M.S.A.A.D.K.

Contact Us (if you can)!


Old Images & Ornaments & Portraits - Portraits of famous people, places and events in American history - Free, Public Domain *Updated & Interesting*

Examples of large graphic murals highlighting history or scenery from other places.

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 of Religious Sites and Icons

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: