West Virginia is a state located in the Appalachian region in the Southern United States, considered to be a part of the Middle Atlantic States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, Maryland to the east and northeast, Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest. West Virginia is the 41st largest state by area, is ranked 38th in population; the capital and largest city is Charleston. West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions of 1861, after the American Civil War had begun. Delegates from some Unionist counties of northwestern Virginia decided to break away from Virginia, although they included many secessionist counties in the new state. West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, was a key border state during the war. West Virginia was the only state to form by separating from a Confederate state, the first to separate from any state since Maine separated from Massachusetts, was one of two states admitted to the Union during the American Civil War.
While a portion of its residents held slaves, most of the residents were yeomen farmers, the delegates provided for gradual abolition of slavery in the new state Constitution. The Census Bureau and the Association of American Geographers classify West Virginia as part of the Southern United States; however the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies West Virginia as a part of the Mid-Atlantic. The northern panhandle extends adjacent to Pennsylvania and Ohio, with the West Virginia cities of Wheeling and Weirton just across the border from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, while Bluefield is less than 70 miles from North Carolina. Huntington in the southwest is close to the states of Ohio and Kentucky, while Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry in the Eastern Panhandle region are considered part of the Washington metropolitan area, in between the states of Maryland and Virginia; the unique position of West Virginia means that it is included in several geographical regions, including the Mid-Atlantic, the Upland South, the Southeastern United States.
It is the only state, within the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission. The state is noted for its mountains and rolling hills, its significant logging and coal mining industries, its political and labor history, it is known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, whitewater rafting, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, hunting. Many ancient man-made earthen mounds from various prehistoric mound builder cultures survive in the areas of present-day Moundsville, South Charleston, Romney; the artifacts uncovered in these give evidence of village societies. They had a tribal trade system culture. In the 1670s during the Beaver Wars, the powerful Iroquois, five allied nations based in present-day New York and Pennsylvania, drove out other American Indian tribes from the region in order to reserve the upper Ohio Valley as a hunting ground. Siouan language tribes, such as the Moneton, had been recorded in the area. A century the area now identified as West Virginia was contested territory among Anglo-Americans as well, with the colonies of Pennsylvania and Virginia claiming territorial rights under their colonial charters to this area before the American Revolutionary War.
Some speculative land companies, such as the Vandalia Company, the Ohio Company and Indiana Company, tried to legitimize their claims to land in parts of West Virginia and present day Kentucky, but failed. This rivalry resulted in some settlers petitioning the Continental Congress to create a new territory called Westsylvania. With the federal settlement of the Pennsylvania and Virginia border dispute, creating Kentucky County, Kentuckians "were satisfied, the inhabitants of a large part of West Virginia were grateful."The Crown considered the area of West Virginia to be part of the British Virginia Colony from 1607 to 1776. The United States considered this area to be the western part of the state of Virginia from 1776 to 1863, before the formation of West Virginia, its residents were discontented for years with their position in Virginia, as the government was dominated by the planter elite of the Tidewater and Piedmont areas. The legislature had electoral malapportionment, based on the counting of slaves toward regional populations, the western white residents were underrepresented in the state legislature.
More subsistence and yeoman farmers lived in the west and they were less supportive of slavery, although many counties were divided on their support. The residents of this area became more divided after the planter elite of eastern Virginia voted to secede from the Union during the Civil War. Residents of the western and northern counties set up a separate government under Francis Pierpont in 1861, which they called the Restored Government. Most voted to separate from Virginia, the new state was admitted to the Union in 1863. In 1864 a state constitutional convention drafted a constitution, ratified by the legislature without putting it to popular vote. West Virginia abolished slavery by a gradual process and temporarily disenfranchised men who had held Confederate office or fought for the Confederacy. West Virginia's history has been profoundly affected by its mountainous terrain and vast river valleys, rich natural resources; these were all factors driving its economy and the lifestyles of its residents, who tended to live in many small isolated communities in the mountain valleys.
A 2010 analysis of
Little Cacapon Mountain
Little Cacapon Mountain is a mountain ridge of the Ridge-and-valley Appalachians in Hampshire County, West Virginia, United States. The mountain takes its name from the Little Cacapon River, a Potomac River tributary that lies on its western flanks. Little Cacapon Mountain reaches its highest point of 1,575 feet in the vicinity of Barnes Mill, it spans from the Frenchburg area, where it is joined by Chestnut Oak Ridge, to the Slanesville Pike where Crooked Run forms a gap between Little Cacapon Mountain and Queens Ridge near Higginsville. Media related to Little Cacapon Mountain at Wikimedia Commons
The Potomac River is located within the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and flows from the Potomac Highlands into the Chesapeake Bay. The river is 405 miles long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles. In terms of area, this makes the Potomac River the fourth largest river along the Atlantic coast of the United States and the 21st largest in the United States. Over 5 million people live within the Potomac watershed; the river forms part of the borders between Maryland and Washington, D. C. on the left descending bank and West Virginia and Virginia on the river's right descending bank. The majority of the lower Potomac River is part of Maryland. Exceptions include a small tidal portion within the District of Columbia, the border with Virginia being delineated from "point to point". Except for a small portion of its headwaters in West Virginia, the North Branch Potomac River is considered part of Maryland to the low water mark on the opposite bank; the South Branch Potomac River lies within the state of West Virginia except for its headwaters, which lie in Virginia.
The Potomac River runs 405 miles from Fairfax Stone Historical Monument State Park in West Virginia on the Allegheny Plateau to Point Lookout and drains 14,679 square miles. The length of the river from the junction of its North and South Branches to Point Lookout is 302 miles; the average daily flow during the water years 1931-2018 was 11,498 cubic feet /s. The highest average daily flow recorded on the Potomac at Little Falls, was in March 1936 when it reached 426,000 cubic feet /s; the lowest average daily flow recorded at the same location was 601.0 cubic feet /s in September 1966 The highest crest of the Potomac registered at Little Falls was 28.10 ft, on March 19, 1936. The river has two sources; the source of the North Branch is at the Fairfax Stone located at the junction of Grant and Preston counties in West Virginia. The source of the South Branch is located near Hightown in northern Highland Virginia; the river's two branches converge just east of Green Spring in Hampshire County, West Virginia, to form the Potomac.
As it flows from its headwaters down to the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac traverses five geological provinces: the Appalachian Plateau, the Ridge and Valley, the Blue Ridge, the Piedmont Plateau, the Atlantic coastal plain. Once the Potomac drops from the Piedmont to the Coastal Plain at the Atlantic Seaboard fall line at Little Falls, tides further influence the river as it passes through Washington, D. C. and beyond. Salinity in the Potomac River Estuary increases thereafter with distance downstream; the estuary widens, reaching 11 statute miles wide at its mouth, between Point Lookout and Smith Point, before flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. "Potomac" is a European spelling of Patawomeck, the Algonquian name of a Native American village on its southern bank. Native Americans had different names for different parts of the river, calling the river above Great Falls Cohongarooton, meaning "honking geese" and "Patawomke" below the Falls, meaning "river of swans"; the spelling of the name has taken many forms over the years from "Patawomeck" to "Patomake", "Patowmack", numerous other variations in the 18th century and now "Potomac".
The river's name was decided upon as "Potomac" by the Board on Geographic Names in 1931. The river itself is at least 3.5 million years old extending back ten to twenty million years before present when the Atlantic Ocean lowered and exposed coastal sediments along the fall line. This included the area at Great Falls, which eroded into its present form during recent glaciation periods; the Potomac River brings together a variety of cultures throughout the watershed from the coal miners of upstream West Virginia to the urban residents of the nation's capital and, along the lower Potomac, the watermen of Virginia's Northern Neck. Being situated in an area rich in American history and American heritage has led to the Potomac being nicknamed "the Nation's River." George Washington, the first President of the United States, was born in, spent most of his life within, the Potomac basin. All of Washington, D. C. the nation's capital city lies within the watershed. The 1859 siege of Harper's Ferry at the river's confluence with the Shenandoah was a precursor to numerous epic battles of the American Civil War in and around the Potomac and its tributaries, such as the 1861 Battle of Ball's Bluff and the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown.
General Robert E. Lee crossed the river, thereby invading the North and threatening Washington, D. C. twice in campaigns climaxing in the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg. Confederate General Jubal Early crossed the river in July 1864 on his attempted raid on the nation's capital; the river not only divided the Union from the Confederacy, but gave name to the Union's largest army, the Army of the Potomac. The Patowmack Canal was intended by George Washington to connect the Tidewater region near Georgetown with Cumberland, Maryland. Started in 1785 on the Virginia side of the river, it was not completed until 1802. Financial troubles led to the closure of the canal in 1830; the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal operated along the banks of the Potomac in Maryland from 1831 to 1924 and connected Cumberland to Washington, D. C; this allowed freight to be transported around the rapids known as the
Shanks, West Virginia
Shanks is an unincorporated community in Hampshire County in the U. S. state of West Virginia. According to the 2000 census, the Shanks community has a population of 806. Shanks is located east of Romney along the Northwestern Turnpike on the eastern flanks of South Branch Mountain; the community is centered on the intersection of U. S. Route 50 and Allen Hill Road. Shanks Roadside Park is located directly to its west on U. S. Route 50; the North Fork Little Cacapon River runs through the community. Abraham Shank, an early postmaster and local merchant, gave the community his name. Elmo Barnes House, Allen Hill Road South Old Shanks Post Office, US 50 & Allen Hill Road North Media related to Shanks, West Virginia at Wikimedia Commons
The Northwestern Turnpike is a historic road in West Virginia, important for being one of the major roads crossing the Appalachians, financed by the Virginia Board of Public Works in the 1830s. In modern times, west of Winchester, Virginia, U. S. Route 50 follows the path of the Northwestern Turnpike into West Virginia, whose major Corridor D project follows the western section of the original Northwestern Turnpike; the following description of the Northwestern Turnpike is taken from Dr. J. M. Callahan's Semi-Centennial History of West Virginia, pages 106-9, published in 1913: "The old Northwestern Turnpike, extending from Winchester, Virginia on a general westward course to Parkersburg, West Virginia on the Ohio, is a historic highway which deserves more mention than it has received as a factor related to the American westward movement and to the problem of communication between East and West, it was the inevitable result of the call of the West and the need of a Virginia state road." "Perhaps its first suggestion was recorded by George Washington, who in 1758 had been the champion of the Braddock road and who in 1784 sought a route located wholly in Virginia.
Returning from a visit to his western lands, after following McCulloch's Path, he crossed the North Branch Potomac River on the future route of the greater Virginia highway, realized in the'state road' authorized from Winchester via Romney to Morgantown before 1786, extended westward in 1786 by a branch road from near Cheat to Clarksburg, from which the first road was marked to the mouth of the Little Kanawha River between 1788 and 1790." "The turnpike was planned and constructed by Virginia as a result of the rival activities of New York and Maryland to secure the advantage in transportation facilities for the trade of the West. It was built across the Appalachian Divide with the hope of securing commercial superiority, was the main thoroughfare between East and West through northern Virginia." "The act in incorporation of 1827, authorizing subscriptions at Winchester, Moorefield, Kingwood, Pruntytown and Parkersburg made the mistake of arbitrarily locating the route through important towns without proper consideration of the physical features of the country.
After finding a way through Hampshire County via Mechanicsburg Gap in Mill Creek Mountain, pushing on into Preston County, the engineers encountered insurmountable obstacles to the Kingwood route, causing the stock to languish." "The enterprise was saved by the remarkable act of 1831 which organized a road company, with the Governor as President and one of the Board of Directors, with power to borrow money on the credit of the State to construct a turnpike road of a minimum width of twelve feet,'from Winchester to some point on the Ohio River to be situated by the principal engineer', with the right to erect bridges or to regulate ferries in existence and to establish toll-gates on each twenty-mile section completed." "The chief engineer was Col. Claudius Crozet, a French officer of artillery under Napoleon Bonaparte in the Russian campaign, professor of engineering in the United States Military Academy from 1816 to 1823, he was assisted by Charles B. Shaw." "The chosen route was through Hampshire County, West Virginia, Mineral County, West Virginia, Grant County, West Virginia, Garrett County, Preston County, West Virginia, Taylor County, West Virginia, Harrison County, West Virginia, Doddridge County, West Virginia, Ritchie County, West Virginia, Wood County, West Virginia.
In Hampshire County it was established via Capon Bridge, Hanging Rock, Pleasant Dale, Augusta to Romney, west of which it crossed the South Branch Potomac River. Through Mineral it passed via Burlington, thence westward across Patterson Creek, through Ridgeville on the divide to New Creek which it crossed at Rees' tannery. Turning toward the southwest, it crossed the North Branch Potomac River southwest of the present town of Gormania and entered the southwest corner of Maryland through which it passed for eight and three-fourths miles, crossing the Alleghenies and emerging into Preston east of the German settlement, it passed across the picturesque Cheat Valley south of Rowlesburg, via Fellowsville, Thornton, Grafton and Bridgeport to Clarksburg, thence over the summit via the head of Ten Mile Creek to Salem, thence across Middle Island Creek at West Union and via Tollgate, Ellenboro, the head of Goose Creek, Murphytown to Parkersburg. Much of the route passed through a vast wilderness interspersed here and there by a few old settlements and towns."
"No longer dependent on the larger towns for its success, the road was completed through the wilds of Preston south of Kingwood, in 1832, was opened westward to Clarksburg and Parkersburg by 1838. Its construction cost $400,000, it crossed the mountains by the larger streams by good bridges. It was macadamized from Tygart Valley River to Parkersburg in 1848. About 1852, it was further improved by construction of new bridges across several streams at important crossings. In 1840, facilities for travel and news were increased on the western end of the road by the establishment of a daily line of stages, a regular mail se
Hampshire County, West Virginia
Hampshire County is a county in the U. S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 23,964, its county seat is West Virginia's oldest town. The county was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1754, from parts of Frederick and Augusta Counties and is the state's oldest county; the county lies in both West Virginia's Eastern Potomac Highlands regions. Hampshire County is part of VA-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. Although its creation was authorized in 1754, Hampshire County was not organized until 1757 because the area was not considered safe due to the outbreak of the French and Indian War. According to Samuel Kercheval's A History of the Valley of Virginia, the county was named in honor of its several prize hogs; the story goes that Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, who owned the Royal Grant to the area, came upon some large hogs in Winchester and asked where they had been raised. He was told, he remarked that when a county was formed west of Frederick that he would name it in honor of the county Hampshire, famous for its fat hogs.
Romney was settled by hunters and traders around 1725. In 1738, John Pearsall and his brother Job built homes and in 1758 a fort for defense against Native Americans in present-day Romney, their settlement was known as Pearsall's Flats. In 1748, Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron sent a surveying party, including 16-year-old George Washington, to survey his lands along the Potomac and South Branch Potomac rivers. Washington spent three summers and falls surveying Lord Fairfax's Northern Neck estate, which included all of the present-day Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. In April 1748, he laid off several lots in an area known as the Trough, about ten miles south of Romney, he is known to have been in present-day Romney on October 19, 1749. Oral traditions claimed that Washington laid present-day Romney out into lots at that time, but written records from that era indicate that Romney was surveyed and laid out into lots by James Genn prior to Washington's arrival. Genn was employed by Lord Fairfax.
In 1756, Fort Pearsall was constructed on Job Pearsall's plantation for protection against Native American raids and George Washington provisioned and garrisoned the Fort at various times until 1758. At that time, there were at least 100 people living in the general area. Following the end of hostilities in the area, Lord Fairfax recognized that more settlers would be interested in moving into the area and that he could earn some extra revenue by selling plots in the town, he sent a survey party to Romney in 1762 to formally lay out the town into 100 lots. At that time, he renamed the town Romney, in honor of the Cinque Ports city on the English Channel in Kent. Confusion ensued for several decades concerning land ownership within the town as counterclaims were made by the original settlers and those who purchased lots laid out by Lord Fairfax's surveyors; the first meeting of the Hampshire County Court was held in 1757, at Fort Pleasant, now Old Fields in Hardy County, was presided by the Right Honorable Thomas Bryan Martin, Lord Fairfax's nephew.
By that time, Hampshire County's population had fallen as most of the settlers had fled the county in fear of the Native Americans. The only families remaining lived near Fort Pearsall, near present-day Romney, Fort Edwards, at present-day Capon Bridge on the Cacapon River; the vast majority of the remaining settlers, were in the vicinity of present Old Fields-Moorefield-Petersburg and were protected by the several forts in the area, including Fort Pleasant Once the Native Americans were defeated at the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774 settlers, once again, returned to the county. Additionally, with the end of the American Revolution, the Virginia Legislature nullified the English grant to Lord Fairfax in the region; the legislature gave fee simple grants to settlers who had contracts with Lord Fairfax, opened up the remaining lands as public domain open to settlement. By 1790, when the first national census was taken, Hampshire County had 7,346 residents, making it the second most populous county in the present state of West Virginia at that time.
Berkeley was the most populous county, with 19,713 people. There were nine counties. During the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794, many Hampshire County men volunteered to serve under Major General Daniel Morgan to put down the insurrection; the men most volunteered at Moorefield in Hardy County and marched north to Cumberland, Maryland. 1,200 of the 12,950 men under Morgan's command came from the area that would become West Virginia. Many early settlers of the Cacapon area were German Baptist Brethren, pacifist farmers who befriended local natives in frontier areas. Other early missionaries helped to sustain the religious faith of the early European inhabitants. In 1775 two Baptist missionaries among a group of settlers moved to the Cacapon and organized the first European church in the county. In 1771 the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church was begun, in which developments led to the formation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1753 Hampshire County had been formed into a parish by the Protestant Episcopal Church and from 1772 to until his death in 1777 Rev. Nathaniel Manning served on the Glebe near present-day Moorefield.
In 1787 a Primitive Baptist church was established at North River. Soon after the American Revolution there was preaching by the Presbyterians at different points in the cou
Three Churches, West Virginia
Three Churches is an unincorporated community in Hampshire County in the U. S. state of West Virginia. The town is located north of Romney along Jersey Mountain Road at a crossroads with Three Churches Hollow Road. Known as Jersey Mountain, Three Churches was renamed for the three historic white wooden churches located there: Mount Bethel Church, Mount Bethel Primitive Baptist Church, Branch Mountain United Methodist Church; the Three Churches Post Office is no longer in service. Branch Mountain United Methodist Church - The last remaining active church will close on June 30, 2012; the Cemetery Association will keep the building available for weddings and special community services. The phone number is listed on the sign outside of the church. Mount Bethel Church - Hampshire County's oldest standing house of worship. Mount Bethel Primitive Baptist Church Scanlon Log House - Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Jersey Mountain Ruritan Club West Virginia portal Church View Farm