History - Berkeley County GenWeb
Berkeley County West Virginia


       Welcome to Berkeley County, created by an act of the House of Burgesses and formed from the northern third of Frederick County, Virginia, in 1772. Many historians believe the county was named in honor of Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt (1718-1770), colonial governor of Virginia, 1768-1770. Others believe the county may have been named for Sir William Berkeley (1610-1677), first appointed governor in 1642. He served for 10 years and was later reappointed in 1660 and continued to serve until 1677 when he was called back to his native England. It wasn't until November 1863 that Berkeley County became part of the new state of West Virginia.

       In addition to the Native Americans who lived in Berkeley County, early Europeans saw it as a new frontier. John Lederer, a German physician and explorer and employed by Sir William Berkeley, became the first European to settle in present-day Berkeley County. That was in 1670. A couple other early settlers included John Howard and his son, and John Van Metre, who came across the Potomac River at what is now known as Shepherdstown. In 1726, Morgan Morgan II founded a settlement on Mill Creek, near the present site of Bunker Hill in Berkeley County.

       Berkeley County was reduced in size twice during the 1800's. On January 8, 1801, Jefferson county was formed from the county's eastern section, and on February 9, 1820, Morgan County was formed from Berkeley's western section.

       The arrival of the Baltimore &Ohio Railroad in the 1840's gave Martinsburg and Berkeley County a big boost. The railroad would also prove to be of great important to both the North and the South during the Civil War (1861-1865). The county, and its county seat, Martinsburg (named for Thomas Bryan Martin, Lord Fairfax's nephew, and incorporated in 1778), lay at the northern edge of the Shenandoah Valley. The main line of the railroad ran right through Martinsburg and that city was close to the Union arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Control over Martinsburg changed hands so many times during that war, it was difficult to keep track; however, after the Battle of Gettysburg, the city remained mostly in Union hands. By November 1863, Berkeley became part of the new state of West Virginia.

       After the war, the railroads were repaired and rebuilt and in 1872, The Pennsylvania Railroad came to the area, providing an even greater transportation base. Earlier, a major source of the area's income came from selling flour produced by the area's water-powered mills to the Alexandria, Virginia, and Baltimore, Maryland markets. Electricity, replacing water power, soon followed, and the area became a large textile milling center. Woolen goods, clothing, socks, paper boxes, brick, tile, and furniture are some of the products produced today. In the remainder of the county, dairy products, livestock and fruit farms make up some of the economic base, as well as limestone quarrying.

       The county is located in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia partly in the Great Appalachian Valley. It is bounded on the northeast by the Potomac River.    Martinsburg continues to be the focus of the business area of Berkeley County. Many of the city's historic and architecturally important buildings have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, other structures, homes, and even cemeteries are on the Register. Below is a listing of some of those historic locations of our past.

  • Abell-Kilbourn House, listed 11-21-1994
       1018 Winchester Ave., Martinsburg
  • Apollo Theatre, listed 10-11-1979
       128 E. Martin St., Martinsburg
  • Ar-Qua Springs, listed 12-12-1976
          CR 37, Arden vicinity
  • Aspen Hall (Edward Beeson House), listed 12-10-1980
          405 Boyd Ave. (end), Martinsburg
  • Baldwin-Grantham House "Locust Grove", listed 11-21-1994
       CR 18, east of Shanghai
  • Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and Related Industries Historic District, listed 12-10-1980
          Roughly bounded by B&O RR from south side of Burke St. underpass to north side of B&O and PA RR, Martinsburg
  • William Boggs Farm, listed 3-7-2001
       SR 7, Hedgesville vicinity
  • Boomtown Historic District, listed 12-10-1980
       Roughly bounded along Winchester Ave. to Arden Rd., W. King St. to Red Hill Rd., and W. Stephen, W. Addition and Raleigh Sts., Martinsburg
  • Boydville, listed 10-15-1970   
       601 S. Queen St., Martinsburg
  • Boydville Historic District, listed 12-10-1980
       Roughly bounded by W. Stephen, S. Spring and St. Queen Sts., including Boydville grounds, Martinsburg
  • Thomas Brown House, listed 1-16-1986
       CR 30, Inwood vicinity
  • Bunker Hill Historic District, listed 12-10-1980   
       Jct. US 11 and Rt. 26, Bunker Hill
  • James Nathanial Burwell House (Yellow House Farm), listed 5-16-1991   
       east of US 11, north of WV state line, Ridgeway vicinity
  • Campbellton, listed 12-10-1980
       CR 1, Gerrardstown vicinity
  • Continental Clay Brick Plant, listed 12-10-1920   
       Rt. 9, SE of Martinsburg
  • Cool Spring Farm, listed 11-21-1994
       Runnymeade Rd. (CR 26), south of Gerrardstown
  • Samuel Cunningham House "Pleasant View," listed 12-12-1976   
       Rt 9, 1.5 mi. NW of WV 1 and 9 intersection, Hedgesville vicinity
  • Darkesville Historic District, listed 12-10-1980   
       U.S. 11 at Middle Creek, Darkesville (south of Martinsburg)
  • Charles Downs II House, listed 5-17-1991
       WV Secondary Rt. 1, W of US 11, Marlowe vicinity
  • Downtown Martinsburg Historic District, listed 12-10-1980
       Roughly bounded by W. Race, Water, Stephen and Charles Sts., Martinsburg
  • John Drinker House, listed 12-10-1980
       Sam Mason Rd., Bunker Hill
  • East Martinsburg Historic District, listed 12-10-1980
       Roughly bouned by B&O railroad right-of-way, N. Queen St., Moler Ave., and High St., Martinsburg
  • "Edgewood," John Boyd House, listed 12-10-1980   
       Rt. 11, 0.3 miles south of Rt. 25 and 11 intersection, Bunker Hill
  • Faraway Farm (Daniel Ropp House), listed 12-10-1980
       Rt. 8, Martinsburg vicinity
  • Federal Aviation Administration Records Center, (Old Courthouse and Post Office), listed 9-10-1974
       300 W. King St., Martinsburg
  • Teter Myers French House, listed 12-10-1980   
       Jcts. Rt. 1 and 3, Hedgesville vicinity
  • Gerrardstown Historic District, listed 8-5-1991   
       Roughly, along WV 51 and Virginia Line Rd., Gerrardstown
  • Washington Gold House, "Mountain View," listed 1-12-1984   
       S. of Gerrardstown on CR 51 and 2
  • Green Hill Cemetery Historic District, listed 12-10-1980
       486 E. Burke St., Martinsburg
  • Harlan Spring Historic District, listed 12-10-1980   
       On Rt1 at Rt 1 and 8 intersection, Harlan Spring, Hedgesville
  • Harmony Cemetery, listed 12-10-1980   
       Rt 1/1, Marlowe vicinity
  • Hays-Pitzer House, listed 11-21-1994
       Middle Creek Rd. (WV 45), north of Inwood
  • Hays-Gerrard House, listed 9-16-1975
       Congress St., Gerrardstown
  • Decatur Hedges House, listed 1-12-1984   
       WV 9, Hedgesville Vicinity
  • Owen Tudor Hedges House (Fairstone; Cedar Grove), listed 11-21-1994   
       0.3 miles north of Rt 8 at CR 8/1 intersection, Hedgesville vicinity
  • Samuel Hedges House, listed 12-12-1976
       CR 9/10, Mountain Road, Hedgesville vicinity
  • Hedges-Leman House "Fort Hedges," listed 5-2-1991   
       CR 4, 0.7 miles north of junction with WV 9, Hedgesville vicinity
  • Hedges-Robinson-Myers House, listed 12-10-1980
       Rt. 3, Hedgesville vicinity
  • Hedgesville Historic District, listed 12-10-1980   
       Roughly bounded by N. and S. Mary St., and E. and W. Main St. (on Rt. 9), Hedgesville
  • Hughes-Cunningham House, listed 7-8-1985   
       On Rt. 1, 2.2 miles north of Rt. 9 (Harlan Springs Rd), Hedgesville vicinity
  • Jones Mill Run Historic District, listed 12-10-1980   
       WV 5 at intersections with WV 5 and 7, Hardscrabble (Martinsburg vicinity)
  • Kearfoot-Bane House, listed 7-8-1985   
       SR 36/1, Baker Heights
  • Elizabeth Kunkel House, listed 5-17-1991
       W side of US 11, 2.4 miles north of Martinsburg
  • Lick Run Plantation (The Old Mill), listed 1-12-1984   
       On WV 5, 1.2 miles east of US 11, Bedington vicinity
  • Maidstone Manor Farm (William Leigh House), listed 12-10-1984   
       CR 1/4, Hedgesville
  • Gilbert and Samuel McKown House, "Marshy Dell," listed 1-12-1984   
       WV 51, Gerrardstown
  • Mill Creek Historic District, listed 12-10-1980   
       Runs along Mill Creek extending both east and west of Bunker Hill (Rt. 26)
  • Morgan Chapel and Graveyard, listed 1-12-1984   
       North side of Secondary Rt. 26, o.2 miles of junction with U.S. 11, Bunker Hill
  • William G. Morgan House, "Morgan Acres," listed 1-12-1984   
       On secondary Rt. 24, south of junction with Secondary Rt. 26, Bunker Hill
  • Morgan-Gold House, listed 7-8-1985
       Bunker Hill
  • Mount Zion Baptist Church, listed 12-10-1980   
       Opequon Lane at intersection of CR 9/17 and 9/19, Martinsburg vicinity
  • George W.F. Mulliss House, listed 5-2-1991
       West side of US 11, 1 mile south of Martinsburg
  • Myers House, listed 12-10-1980
       Union Corner at end of CR 37/1, Martinsburg
  • Opequon Golf Club (Stonebridge Golf Club), listed 4-28-1995
       Golf Club Road, east of Opequon Creek, Martinsburg
  • Park's Gap Bridge, listed 11-4-1994
       Rt. 6 over Back Creek, Martinsburg
  • Lane Bridge, listed 12-1-94
       CR 7/2, Tomahawk Spring
  • Power Plant and Dam No. 4, listed 12-10-1980   
       On Potomac River north of CR 5 at Scrabble, Shepherdstown vicinity
  • Power Plant and Dam No. 5, listed 12-10-1980
       On Potomac River west of Marlowe
  • Rauch House, listed 11-4-1994   
       Off WV 9, south of Martinsburg
  • Red Bud Hollow, listed 12-10-1980
       Union Corner, Martinsburg vicinity
  • John, David and Jacob Rees House (Le Ferre Farm), listed 1-12-1984   
       Off US 11, Bunker Hill
  • Ridge Road Historic District, listed 12-10-1980   
       Rt 30, 1.2 mi south of Rts. 15/30 intersection, Nollville vicinity
  • Rush-Miller House, listed 7-8-1985   
       On WV 45, Smoketown vicinity
  • Henry J. Seibert II House, listed 7-8-1985
       Off WV 45, Martinsburg
  • Smoketown School, listed 12-1-1994   
       Co. Rt. 45/4, east of Martinsburg, Blairton vicinity
  • Snodgrass Tavern, listed 4-24-1973   
       West of Hedgesville on WV 3
  • South Water Street Historic District, listed 12-10-1980
       Roughly bounded by E. John, Water and Burke St., and B&O RR, Martinsburg
  • Adam Stephen House, listed 10-15-1970   
       309 E. John St., Martinsburg
  • Stone House Mansion, listed 11-21-1994
       Off WV 9, southeast of Martinsburg, Spa Run vicinity
  • Strayer-Couchman House, listed 11-21-1994
       Warm Springs Road, east of Martinsburg, Winebrenners Crossroads vicinity
  • Stuckey House, listed 5-17-1991
       CR 7/8, along Wilson Ridge, Jones Spring vicinity
  • Swan Pond (Dr. Edward O. Williams), listed 7-29-1977
       CR 5/3, Martinsburg vicinity
  • Swan Pond Manor Historic District, listed 12-10-1980   
       0.4 miles east of Rts 45/2 and 5/3 intersection, Martinsburg vicinity
  • Edward Tabb House (Rural Hill), listed 1-12-1984   
       On CR 4 south of junction with WV 9
  • Thunder Hill Farm (Daniel-Grantham), listed 11-21-1994
       CR 30, north of Inwood
  • Tomahawk Spring, listed 12-01-1994
       CR 7/2, Tomahawk
  • Tuscarora Creek Historic District, listed 12-10-1980   
       Roughly bounded by N. Tennessee Ave., south on Old Mill Rd. to Rt. 15
  • Union Bryarly's Mill, listed 12-10-1980
  • Van Metre Ford Stone Bridge, lsited 8-22-1977   
       East of Martinsburg across Opequon Creek on SR 36
  • Jacob VanDoren House "Allen Dale," listed 1-12-1984   
       1 mile SW of Jct. of CR 45/3 and CR 40
  • Nathan VanMetre House, listed 11-4-1994
       Dry Run Rd. (CR 13), north of Martinsburg
  • Watkins Ferry Toll House, listed 12-10-1980
       Rt. 11, Martinsburg
  • White Bush (Archibald Sheerer House), listed 12-10-1980
       Rts. 11/3, Falling Waters
  • Mary Park Wilson House, "Oban Hall," listed 7-8-1985   
       SR 51/2, Gerrardstown
  • William Wilson House (Prospect Hill), listed 1-12-1984   
       WV 51, 0.6 miles west of Gerrardstown

    Read more about Virginia and West Virginia's Native American population, early European settlers, important events and other information at West Virginia University's website

    Abbreviations: ca. = approximately; B&O = Baltimore & Ohio; E = east; N = North; RR = Railroad; S = South; W = West.
    Road Designators: CR = County Road; SR = State Road; WV = West Virginia State Road; US = US Hwy.

    West Virginia History Labor-Management Conflict in the Eastern Panhandle: Perfection Garment Company Battles the ILGWU By Jerra Jenrette Volume 52, pp. 109-126
    (Sources include the National Register Information Systems, the Federal Aviation Administrative Records Center, and West Virginia University.)

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