History of Springfield Community
Within A Radius of Five Miles

by Mrs. F. H. Heiskel, July 11, 1926

Presented to the County Life Conference program

courtesy of Bill Gain


Before 1700, the King of England granted the State of Virginia with a family by the name of Fairfax. In the year 1732, Lord Fairfax inherited this large tract of land including this portion of Hampshire County. At that time all of Hampshire County belonged to the state of Virginia.

As early as 1730, people from the valley of Virginia began to come into the valley along the South Branch river. Many of these people were Pennsylvania dialect and were English, Irish, Scotch, and Welch. Lord Fairfax rented some of the land to these people at the rate of $3.33 per hundred acre. Some of the people would not pay their rent, so were called "squatters".

After the death of Lord Fairfax, the land sold for twenty-five cent per acre. The first roads and jeitas from Winchester to Wheeling sent through Springfield. The old trail that Braddock used can still be found where it crosses the river at R. M. Washington's and crosses the ridge there.

Indians gave the settlers in the section very little trouble, until the French and English declared was against each other. After that many of the settlers were killed and their property destroyed by the Shawnee and Delaware Indians.

In 1751, Capt. Foreman built a fort against the Indians on what is now the Brady farm. He went to Wheeling to fight the Indians and was killed there in 1776 and buried at Moundsville. Several of his descendants are living near Springfield today. Two Indian graveyards are located near here.

Capt. Peter Parker fought in the Revolutionary War and died of his wounds. His descendants are many in the community.

When George Washington was a young man, he was sent to this section to survey land for Lord Fairfax. One of our great grandmothers had the honor of having "George" as her guest and he asked for mush and milk for his supper.

The Establishment of Springfield

About the year 1787, Lord Fairfax granted a man by the name of Abernathy a tract of land one mile square in this section of the county. Abernathy gave the public ground for a town. On this land was a large spring where all the women of nearby went to do their washing. Therefore, in 1787 by act of the legislature of Va., Springfield was made a town and its altitude is 752 ft.

The first families in town were Abernathys, Chadwicks, Shannons, Graces, Blares, Walters, Taylors, Murrays, Daileys, Bryans, Moars, and Bradys.

The first settlers outside of town were Ersours, Monroes, Glades, Bakers, McGlatheries, Riners, Grayenbacks, Clanceys, Carrs, Wagoners, Hickles, and Montgomerys. The occupations of the early settlers were wagon makers, saddlers, cabinet makers, blacksmiths, furriers, merchants, millers, and tanners.

Early Schools

About 1800, the first high school on this side of the Blue Ridge Mts. was where Joe Fralix now lives and was taught by Mr. Lyle who was both teacher and preacher. He was buried under the pulpit of old Presbyterian church which stood on field now owned by N.B. Guthrie. The next school was the academy in 1854. Since then the town had had four schools to the present time. The old residents before the Civil War, went to private schools and used old colored church for school building.

The early teachers were Chadwick, Stickley, McClellen, Horner, Rupel, Claton, Nesit, Raymond, J. J. Cornwell, Charles Scanlon, Mary Jones Dailey, Gauree, and Clara Clayton, Maggee Dreaser, and Maggie Washington. One of these noted teachers used the rod so hard on Sammy Shannon that he died shortly after and from the shock. We have made some progress along this line at best.

The Churches

The first Presbyterian Church stood in N. B. Guthries lot in the years ______. Since then the Presbyterians have had 3 churches, due to fire and war.

The first Methodist Church was used by Northern and southern congregations and stood on corner of Will fields lot. In 1851, the Southern Methodist built the own church, which is being used at the present time. This church has the honor of being the first built by the southern Methodist Conference. The Union church was afterwards used for a school building for several years.

The early Presbyterian preachers were Lyle, Foot, Finley, hollis, Grilbortyer, Snook, and Earl.

The early methodist preachers were Wagman, Tureon, Tangue, Allison, Fitzpatrick, Beaty, Wolf, Fandiver, Butt, Townsend, Cardon, Bennington, Griffith, Parker, and Strickler.

The physicians of Springfield have been Clayton, Moore, Shipe, Thomas, West, and Kirk.

Stage coaches first went from Patterson Creek to Romney. later the route was changed from Romney to Greenspring. One trip a day was made and they carried six passengers.

The Railroad

Grading was started in 1872 for the first railroad. The track was ready for use in 1884 and the station built in 1885. Bark, crossties, wheat, and other freight was hauled to Greenspring on wagons and they made the trip in two days.

Abernathys home was where J. T. Woodson now lives and they owned the mill where Millisons mill now stands.

In 1863 this section of country became a part of W. Va. During the Civil War both armies used this territory, but the sentiment was for the south. Hampshire County sent more soldiers to Confederate way than any county in state of Va. About seventy men from this Springfield community served in 33 regiment of southern army and thirteen were killed and died in camp. One Capt. and three Lieutenants were among these men.

A Confederate Spy

Mr. Wills was a confederate spy and came near being hung here in Springfield by the Yankees. A battle was fought near Graces Bridge.

During the World War eighteen boys served in the army and 2 were killed. The first house built in Springfield was on the Will Fields property and has been torn down. The oldest house now standing is the Dailey house. The oldest house in community is Monroe house where E. F. Woodson now lives and was built in 1747. The oldest resident in community was Ferman Taylor, who lived to be 104 years of age. he and his wife lived together for 72 years. The olders white man now living is Joseph Parker and the oldest colored man is uncle Roy Scriggers who has passed the century mark. The oldest couple now living is Mr. and Mrs. Bryan. Most of our deaths are caused by old age and pneumocosis.

The progress of this community since the first settlers came here is as follows: Population of town 180 population of town and community about 1000 Voters of community 400 and only 75% vote.

The population is native born and mostly came from English speaking countries The community owns autos, lights, radios, modern farm and house machinery, and have adowned much in stock and value of land. On an average the land is worth $40 per acre.

Our roads have not made much advancement due to neglect and use of automobiles.

The railroad property of this section is worth $125,000 and the other wealth of the community is near $2,000,000.

The schools have an enrollment of 220 and more of them have good buildings, large playgrounds and equipment, piano, lights and first grade teachers. The first year one school consolidated with Springfield and more will come to Springfield this year.

The Presbyterian church had an enrollment of 50 in Sunday School and 50% average attendance. The church enrollment is 60.

The Methodist Church has an enrollment of 70 in S. S. and 50% average attendance. The church enrollment is 110.

We think our community spirit advances each year through the churches, clubs, and schools, but we know we are far from perfect