Welcome to West Virginia Genealogy Trails!


Part 16

Rev. A. H. H. Boyd, D. D., was born in 1814, in Martinsburg, and was the son of Gen. Elisha Boyd.  His first inclinations were to the profession of medicine, but he gave that up and entered heartily into a preparation for the ministry.  He began his ministry in 1835 at Winchester, but was called to the charges of Middleburg and Leesburg, Loudoun County, Va., in 1838, from whence he visited many churches in search of a location to his liking, but preferred Winchester to any other place he settled there, where he remained for twenty-three years, till his death, in 1865.  He was a pronounced Southern man during the war, and was arrested and held as a hostage for some time, the exposure from which is said to have caused his death.

Among other prominent residents of Berkeley may be mentioned Dr. Richard McSherry, a son of Richard McSherry, who brought young James Faulkner from Ireland when the lad was but ten years old, he being left an orphan in County Armagh.  Richard McSherry was a man of great business qualifications, whilst the son, Dr. McSherry, was a physician and surgeon who had few superiors, if any, at the time he practiced here.  He was born in 1792, and graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1816.

The name of Bedinger is one of the oldest in the valley and it occurs frequently in the old Frederick County records.  Daniel Bedinger who was a young man when the Revolution broke out, joined the company that camped at Morgan's Spring, in the fall of 1775, or at least one of the companies, for there were two, one being under the command of Capt. Daniel Morgan, and the other of Capt. Hugh Stephenson.  These companies were not there (at the spring) at the same time however.  At any rate young Bedinger went to the front with one of these great captains and was taken prisoner at Brandywine, in 1777.  After his release he promptly rejoined his command and was made an ensign.  At the close of hostilities he held the position for many years of agent at Gosport Navy Yard, and died in 1818.  Abraham Shepherd, son of Thomas Shepherd, the founder of Shepherdstown, which was established on the site of Mecklenburg, was another Revolutionary solider.  He, also, was a member of Capt. Hugh Stephenson's company and a gallant solider.  He was retired from the service with the rank of captain, and died in 1822.

Magnus Tate, born in 1755-60, was a man whose after life made up in a great measure for his youthful follies. He appears in the Frederick County records quite early as a fighter, and one of the first references to him is in consequence of a fight he had with some other young tough.  One of the items in the proceedings as recorded in the justices' order book recites that Magnus Tate appeared before the magistrates and lodged complaint against a party for biting off his ear.  Two witnesses testify to the fact, the "biter" is held for trail, and the ear retained as proof of the charge, whereupon the facetious old clerk enters on the margin of the record, his "reference side note," these words, "Magnus Tate's ear placed on record," and it is so indexed.  He afterward became sheriff of Berkeley County, one of its most respected magistrates, and was elected to Congress in 1815.  Like Gen. Daniel Morgan, who was a hard-hitter in his youthful days?a regular tough?Magnus Tate proved that a man need not necessarily continue to sow his wild oats till he died.  He lived, highly respected, although having but one ear and a portion of another, till 1823.
 
Col. William Crawford, who was so barbarously tortured and murdered by Indians in 1782 on the Muskingum in that portion of Virginia now comprised in the State of Ohio, was born in Berkeley County.  Lewis Wetzell, as well as Adam Poe, the great Indian fighters, are both thought to have been born in this section of the valley.  Both of these names, Wetzell and Poe, are among the early names of citizens upon the early records in Frederick.  Hon. Felix Grundy first saw the light on Back Creek in this county.  This gentleman, one of the most eminent of American statesmen, was elected as a member of Congress from Tennessee, having previously been judge of the supreme court of Kentucky.  He was United States senator from Tennessee and attorney-general of the United States under Van Buren.  In 1840 he was again elected United States senator, but died in December, 1840.  John R. Cooke, the father of John Esten Cooke, the truest writer of the Sunny South since the Civil war, lived here before he moved to Winchester.  Nathaniel Willis, the father of the eminent poet and journalist, N. P. Willis, also lived in Martinsburg where he commenced the publication of a newspaper early in the century.  Mr. Willis had been connected with one of the newspapers established in Winchester in 1787, and got into quite an animated discussion with another editor and some outside party, which looked serious for awhile, but it was, probably, settled "amicably."  Gore is very rarely needed in such cases.
 
Gen. Thomas S. Jessup was born in Berkeley County in 1788 and was commissioned second lieutenant when twenty years of age.  He rapidly rose through the grades of first lieutenant and captain, and successively through the rank of major and colonel till in 1828, for ten years' meritorious service, he was made a full major-general.  Gen. Jessup was one of the most brilliant officers his country has ever honored, and he lived to a good old age, dying just on the eve of the great struggle that might have embittered his life for his few remaining years, had he survived to see his countrymen arrayed in battle one against the other.  He died in June, 1860.  Maj. Henry Bedinger was another of that name who fought on the side of freedom in the Revolution.  He was born in October, 1753, in York, Penn.  In 1798, he was made clerk of the county court, but a contest resulted between himself and Col. David Hunter, which was finally settled by the courts in favor of Col. Hunter.  Maj. Bedinger's name appears in the list of voters, printed in this chapter, at an election in 1789.  After the contest he retired to his country seat and for many years thereafter his tall form and white beard were frequently seen on the streets of Martinsubrg.  The old gentleman, although nearly ninety years old at his death, preserved his faculties in a remarkable degree.  He died in the month of May, 1843.
 
Hon. Charles James Faulkner was the son of Maj. James Faulkner, who was brought from Ireland about 1786, when he (James) was ten years of age.  Maj. Faulkner was a man of stirring business qualities and with a decided predisposition to a military life.  He was a merchant in Martinsburg in 1810, and the records show that he was appointed a magistrate in 1813, continuing in that position till his death in 1817, as will be seen in a following chapter on the early organization and government of the town by the trustees from 1813 onward.  The son, Charles James, when his father died must have been about thirteen years of age, as he was admitted to practice in the superior court of chancery of Frederick County in 1825, and was possibly twenty-one years of age at the time.  He imbibed from his active father qualities that made his life a success, made him a leader in his party, and when that party, the Federalist-Whig organization, lost its usefulness, Mr. Faulkner was found on the side of the Democracy, where he remained till his death.  He was elected to the General Assembly of Virginia in 1832, and about this time was appointed one of the three commissioners of Maryland, the disputed boundary line between the two States.  He made his report in November, 1832, and it had the effect of substantially settling that matter.  In 1841 Mr. Faulkner was elected to the State Senate of Virginia, but resigned in a year's time.  In 1848 he again was elected to the General Assembly.  He was a member of what is known as the Reform Convention of 1850.  He was elected to Congress in 1851, and from about which time, that is, during 1852, when the candidates for president were Scott and Pierce, he changed his political affiliations, coming out squarely for Pierce and the Democracy.  One of Mr. Faulkner's most noteworthy acts was his canvass of Virginia in conjunction with Henry A. Wise, against Know-Nothingism, when the death knell of that party of intollerance was sounded.  After the elevation of James Buchanan to the Presidency, Mr. Faulkner was offered the mission to France, but as a distinguished Virginian, Mr. Mason, was holding that position he declined.  In 1859, however, Mr. Mason dying, Mr. Faulkner was offered the place once more, which he accepted.  Being relieved in 1861 by the appointment of W. L. Dayton as minister to France, Mr. Faulkner returned to the United States and was arrested, but released after a confinement of some months.  He was then invited by Stonewall Jackson to be chief of his staff, which he accepted promptly, and was with that distinguished general till his sad death.  After the war he took an active part in the interest of the new State of West Virginia and was a member of the Constitutional convention of 1872.  Mr. Faulkner married a daughter of Gen. Elisha Boyd, and had several children, two of whom, E. Boyd and Charles James, Jr., are prominent members of the Martinsburg bar, the latter being United States senator from West Virginia.  The distinguished gentleman died November 1, 1884, and was followed to his last resting place by the largest funeral procession ever witnessed here.
 
CHAPTER XIII.
PRIITIVE TOWN AND COUNTRY.
THE NEWSPAPER AS A "MIRROR"?ITS GREAT VALUE TO HISTORY?SOME INTERESTING EXTRACTS FROM JOURNALS OF 1787, 1802, 1812-14 AND 1825 TO 1835? A WILEY PRISONER?TIMELY ADVERTISEMENTS?SHOPPING IN 1811?FINE STORES?P. NADENBOUSCH & CO., DANIEL BURKHARDT, JAMES FAULKNER, THOMAS SMITH & CO., MERCHANTS?PATENT MEDICINES?A QUAKER GOLDSMITH AND JEWELER?LOTS OF SHOEMAKERS?SOME NOTED TAVERNS?WAR OF 1812-14?DEPRESSION IN VALUES?THE MARTINSBURG ACADEMY?JAMES FAULKNER, MERCHANT, MAGISTRATE AND ARTILLERIST?GIBBS' FACTORY?GUSEMAN NAIL FOUNDRY?WOOLEN AND FLOUR MILLS?HORSE RACING?THEATRICALS?FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION?A WHITE NEGRO?KROESEN'S TAVERN?LIBRARY SOCIETY?TERRIBLE STORM?ANOTHER CELEBRATION AND THREE FINE TOASTS?PRICES CURRENT?DISASTROUS FIRES?CANAL TO MARTINSBURG?A TEMPERANCE SOCIETY?A CYCLONE?COAL DISCOVERED?FALLING "STARS"?FIRST SCHEDULE OF BALTIMORE & OHIO RAILROAD.

THERE is no source whence information in regard to current events, which is genuine history, can better be derived than from the newspaper.  The newspaper is the "mirror of its time"?it records the happenings just as they are; it reflects, as a general rule, the sentiments of the community wherein it is published.  It is molded by the opinions, the desires, and the passions of its patrons and readers, and does not shape, as is popularly supposed, the public mind, being itself the shaped, and not the shaper.  The reverse of this state of affairs exists only in extremely rare cases.  It is only possible under exceptional and peculiar circumstances, where more than ordinary strength of character, combined with the highest standing and acknowledged ability, is associated with the capacity of wielding a fluent and trenchant pen.  These qualities, for reasons that are apparent, seldom concentrate in one who is disposed to venture upon the treacherous and uncertain sea of journalism.  This may be considered rank heresy, but it is the truth, as all newspaper men know.  Yet there is no class of workers who are so poorly paid, who receive less thanks, or who are so worried and imposed upon, as the country editor, especially.  He performs his labors honestly, delves early and late, and dishes up his weekly modicum, happen what may.  And these are just the reasons why an old newspaper is so valuable.  In its age-browned columns one finds the names and businesses of many persons long since forgotten.  Transactions are recorded in the usual every day style that have changed the destinies of nations.  Great actors on the world's stage are strutting their brief hour, and now where are they?
 
The following incident, published in the Winchester Centinel of September 20, 1788, in relation to a transaction that occurred in Martinsburg 102 years ago, is interesting as showing either the credulity of our early justices or the shrewdness of the prisoner, or both:
 
John Groves found a young man named James Johnson with is great coat on.  He was arraigned before Esquire Godwin Swift.  The young man had a mare and saddle.  He said he would go to Loudoun, where he lived, and get proof of his innocence.  He left his horse and saddle but did not return, and John Randall, constable, advertises for the owner of the horse.
 
Of course the coat belonged to Groves and not to Johnson, as the involute language would imply.  The justice before whom the prisoner was examined was one of a commission appointed by Lord Dunmore in 1772 and re-appointed by Gov. Patrick Henry in 1776.
 
From a newspaper published in Martinsburg in 1802, a copy of which is before the writer, a number of extracts will be made.  This paper is The Berkeley and Jefferson Intelligencer and Northern-Neck Advertiser, No. 12, of Vol. 4, dated June 18, 1802, and is published by John Alburtis, at the price of "two dollars a year?one-half payable at the time of subscribing."  Advertisements were inserted for "three-fourths of a dollar per square for three weeks to subscribers; to non-subscribers the common price of one dollar,"?a discrimination the writer has never elsewhere met with.  From the date and number of this issue the paper must have been started in March, 1798.
 
In the Advertiser Christian Hartman advertises that he lost a new red morocco pocket-book containing $30, and offers a reward of $8 to the finder.  Jeremiah Thompson, in a card, states that some time before he had received $14 from Henry Baugh, of Hampshire, but that nine of the dollars turned out to be counterfeit, and that upon returning them to Baugh and getting good money for them the latter said that he was going to pass them off on somebody.  Thompson warns the public to look out for them.  Joel Ward, one of the justices, afterward a prominent member of the General Assembly of Virginia, explains in a card the cause of a levy of $1 being laid on all tithables, the reason being the cutting off of more than half the population by the creation of Jefferson County just previously, whilst the expenses were the same.  Adam Sheetz offers for sale a two-story log house and two lost situated on Martin Street in Martinsburg.  Walter B. Selby advertises "elegant goods" of all kinds in Shepherdstown and John Kennedy does the same thing in regard to his tock in Charles-Town.  Joseph Oldfield states in a card that his wife Mary, having left his bed and board, that the public are warned not to harbor her, as he will not pay any of her debts.  Another man named Benjamin Ellis advertises that he will pay $5 to anyone returning his lost pocket-book, and G. W. Humphreys, at Keeptryste Furnace, wants an owner for a horse that strayed to his premises.
 
As the ladies and others required places in which to "shop," as well in those early times as at present, there were some fine stores in Martinsburg: Mr. William Riddle, who was also a magistrate, states that he has "just received a handsome assortment of well chosen spring goods, groceries, etc.;" and Mr. Rees Branson, a Quaker gold and silver-smith, "respectfully informs the public that he has employed an assistant and is now ready to furnish gold finger and ear rings, watch chains, seals and keys, scissars [sic], broaches, sleve-buttons, etc.;" also that he makes clocks and watches.
 
Thomas Smith & Co. advertise as having "just received from Philadelphia a fresh supply of merchandise, consisting of Irish linens, dowlas, Russia sheeting, German rolls, blue, striped, clouded and plane India nankeens, Imperial hyson, skin hyson and Bohea teas, coffee, sugar, Crowley and blistered steel, etc."  But the big store of that date in Martinsburg was, possibly, that of P. Nadenbousch & Co., who offered a large assortment of "prime goods" similar to those just named, but with the addition of French brandy, wine and spirits, molasses, fish oil, and Spanish Indigo;" also, "harness, soal [sic] and upper leather, iron, salt, etc."
 
James S. Lane & Co., Shepherd's Town, who not only then, but for many years thereafter, kept a very extensive mercantile establishment, advertise a large stock of goods of all kinds; and Jeremiah Evans, in Jamesburg, Berkeley County, four miles from Garrard's Town, informs the public that he will sell for cash a fine stock of goods.  Col. Samuel Washington has for sale in Charles Town a number of lots on Washington Street; and George Wibly, Martinsburg, will sell a lot on the main street, whereon is a "log dwelling house, well paled in as a clover patch."  Newkirk & Porterfield have opened a stock of goods at Newkirk's Mill; Philip Bedinger offers for sale a fine plantation at Watkin's Ferry; John McCleary, first sergeant, notifies the members of Capt. Magnus Tate's troop of cavalry to meet punctually on the 19th at Martinsburg, and the editor of the paper, John Alburtis, in a two-column advertisement enlarges upon the virtues of a remedy for worms, a cure for the whooping-cough, an extract of mustard, and an elixir for sore throats, all of which remedies the editor has for sale at his office.  And in the matter of taverns there were a number in operation.  John Robinson informs the public that he has just opened one in the house lately occupied by Ignatius O'Ferrall, next door to William Mackey, Jr., at the sign of the "Indian Chief."  The proprietor says: "I would just beg leave to remark that this house is not exceeded by any in Martinsburg, and is much superior to many others."  John Hunter advertises the "General Washington Tavern," and George Smith, Shepherd's Town, keeps a house of entertainment at the "Sign of the Swan."

John Dixon offers $10 reward for the apprehension of his negro, Charles, and although advertisements of that character were quite numerous before the late war, and familiar to all the older residents of this section, yet the language of this one is such as to merit a reproduction here in part.  Dr. D. says: "This villain ran away from the subscriber without cause, and has been seen several times near Shepherdstown since his elopement.  The subscriber is unable to describe his dress, but he is an artful scoundrel and will no doubt disguise himself."  And that this "fellow is about thirty-two years of age, rather a small man than otherwise, can read and write, and is an artful, talkative rascal."  One can scarcely realize now that all this was looked upon once as only a passing matter?something that was neither wrong nor right?only an event.  Truly the sun of progress, in the language of Brother Jasper, "do move."
 
In the matter of local news there is not a single item in this old sheet of 1802, the idea of chronicling the occurrence of home matters not as yet having dawned upon the editors of newspapers anywhere.  In fact, it was many years afterward before a country paper grasped the fact that the news of the community wherein it was printed would be interesting to the readers of the same.  But instead, lengthy articles, months old, reprinted from foreign journals, together with prolix essays on trite themes, and redundant discussions on useless points, filled the columns of the papers.  The advertisements, therefore, are nearly the entire source from whence a glimpse of the times may be had.

A volume of the Martinsburg Gazette, commencing January 11, 1811, having been kindly placed at the disposal of the writer, a number of extracts will be made from it.
 
The Gazette, Vol. XII, No. 35, was printed and published by John Alburtis, the same who printed the Intelligencer in 1802, and was considerable of an improvement over its predecessor.  Its columns are filled with advertisements and interesting reading matter, no doubt, at the time it was published.  The world at the date given was passing through mighty convulsions.  The conquering Napoleon was laying empires broadcast beneath his feet and his sway seemed only limited by the confines of the earth.  Even America experienced a slight tremor at the onward tread of the great soldier, for Waterloo was as yet many years distant.  On this side of the water the United States was looking sullenly at the encroachments of England upon the rights of Americans, and protesting against the many outrages committed by her.  A volcano was grumbling and groaning, destined to burst ere long and with such effect as to sweep before it all feeling except aversion, from out the hearts of Americans for the mother country, who yet entertained the hope of some day recovering her lost valuable possessions.  England's course in 1812-14, left in the minds of her former children a hatred that exists to this day. 
 
In consequence of this expected war, lands in the Valley of Virginia, as well as elsewhere, depreciated much in value, and large quantities were thrown upon the market.  The uncertainties of the time made money scarce, for those who had it hoarded it up.  Various parties advertise tracts of land for sale, and among those were Adam S. Dandridge, Edmund Pendleton and William Anderson.  Lots in Martinsburg were offered for sale by William Burns and John Robinson, and Thomas C. Smith, the merchant, desires to dispose of his property.  But the politicians did not "depress" with everything else, for Mr. John Baker, the great Federalist, a noted opponent of the war with England, announces himself as a candidate for Congress.  A singular state of affairs existed in Berkeley County at this time; the majority of its citizens were rank Federalists, which meant opposition to a war with England; singular this was, considering the fact of how handsomely her sons turned out during the Revolutionary struggle.  Mr. Baker was a native of Berkeley County and was one of its most able lawyers.  He was elected at the ensuing election after he published his card above spoken of, and was active in endeavoring to prevent a war with England.  He advocated whilst in Congress the improvement of the Potomac River.  He died in Shepherdstown in 1823 from a fever, that prevailed as an epidemic in that town for some months.
 
The Martinsburg Academy, a school of a very high order, is advertised by two of the trustees, David Hunter and Obed Waite.  Rev. John B. Hoge, one of the noted family of Hoges, whose father has been spoken of in another chapter, taught Latin and Greek in this academy.  The tuition was $20 per year, each student to pay in addition to that sum a proportion of the expenses of the house rent and fire wood.  The following June, 1812, the same gentleman inserted the following advertisement in the Gazette:
 
A teacher of the Latin and Greek languages is wanted to take charge of a school in Martinsburg, Va.  The subscribers feel confident that a school in this place, for teaching said languages, constantly kept, and well managed, would produce to the teacher $400 per annum, and they will assure the payment of $300 for the first year to a person well qualified to teach said languages; none other need apply.

Jan. 10, 1812                                                                                  OBED WAITE   
                                                                                                       DAVID HUNTER.

There were numerous stores for that day, and some that would doubtless compare favorably with any in Martinsburg at the present time, at least in amount of stock kept.

James Faulkner, in an advertisement dated December 21, 1810, states that he has a fine stock of "fashionable spring goods, liquors, wines and groceries."  This gentleman, the father of the late Charles J. Faulkner, and grandfather of Senator C. J. Faulkner, and E. Boyd Faulkner, Esq., was brought, as has been stated, from Ireland, when a lad of ten years, by Richard McSherry, and placed in charge of Michael McKewen.  Mr. Faulkner, in addition to being a merchant, was a magistrate, being appointed in 1813.  He had strong military tastes and some time before 182 had an artillery company in Martinsburg.  He entered the war and acted with much skill and gallantry, coming out of service with the rank of major of artillery.  In 1803 he married the only daughter of William Mackey, and died in April, 1817, being buried with Masonic and military honors.  Mr. Mackey was a captain in the Revolutionary army and one of the justices of Berkeley County, about 1810.

In 1811 Daniel Zinn & Co. advertises that they have just received an additional supply of "hardware, saddlery, tinware and bonnets," which to the ladies of to-day must seem a singular mixture of commodities.  Thomas C. Smith still continues to keep a general store, and Alexander Cooper informs the citizens that he is just opening a fine assortment of new goods.  William Long makes it known that he has again begun business at the old stand, and Ignatius O'Ferrell has just opened a stock of goods in the room formerly occupied by Lewis and Robert Willis.
 
In 1812 John Stewart advertises that he will shortly open in his new store a fine stock of dry goods and groceries, and Daniel Burkhart wishes to make it known that he has just opened in the store formerly occupied by Mr. Price, a "handsome and neat assortment of spring and summer goods."  Some of the old account books kept by Mr. Burkhart are still preserved by his son, Dr. Burkhart, of Martinsburg, and the writing in them is like copper-plate printing?as even as type and not a blotch in the books from beginning to end.
 In 1813 James Faulkner, still in the dry goods and grocery business, took in as a partner John K. Wilson, the firm being Faulkner & Wilson.  The firm of Daniel Zinn & Co. was dissolved and that of Zinn, Nadenbousch & Co. succeeded it.  But in 1814, Daniel Zinn, alone, states that he is now occupying the store formerly used by Alexander Cooper.  Adam Young also kept a store at this time.

The foregoing were the principal mercantile establishments, or general stores, but there were a number of others in special lines, or rather they were the shops of the mechanics of the varied trades.  John Guseman had a nail factory in Martinsburg, and George Hivner carried on milling in what was even then called the "old Stephen's mill."  Levi Price must have had a kind of drug store, although the drug store in its modern shape had not as yet been evolved from the cross between a doctor's shop and a grocery, at least not in country towns.  Mr. Price has half a column in praise of his patent medicines.  Edward A. Gibbs conducts a woolen-mill in Martinsburg, and Jonathan Cushwa has a "picking and carding machine, on Tuscarora, two miles from town."  George Kearns carries on the chair-making painting and turning business, and Michael Kearns carries on the wheel-wright business, making flax, wool, and cotton wheels, check-reels and Windsor chairs, and did all kinds of turning.
 
Christopher McAllister was a shoemaker, and Jacob Poisal was a boot and shoemaker; James B. Small was a tailor; John Helferstay a saddle and harness-maker; James Boden was a blacksmith; Jesse Hayden was engaged in watch and clock-making and selling jewelry; Samuel Graham succeeded John O'Ferrell in the tanning business; Edward A. Gibbs paid cash for old copper and brass; Jacob Bishop sold bar and scrap-iron, and William B. King and John Rice at their mill on Mill Creek offer twenty-one barrels of flour for 100 bushels of wheat.  A. Jewett, attorney at law, announces the fact that he is ready for clients, and Dr. Thomas McPherrin informs the public that he has recommenced the practice of medicine and can be found at "his old shop," opposite Mr. Ignatius O'Ferrell's store.
 
Taverns were plentiful.  December 14, 1810, Michael McKewen, the Irishman, who took charge of James Faulkner when he was a lad, advertises that he has just opened a tavern in the yellow house where he formerly kept store, on South Queen Street, between the market-house and the bridge.  The "Globe Tavern" was also kept at this time.  The "Martinsburg Inn" was kept by Luke Pentoney, on Queen Street.  Graham's Tavern was also well known.
 
Amusements were not overlooked in that early time by any means.  Racing horses was indulged in by almost all gentlemen of the days of 1812-14.  Race courses were kept up in the vicinity of every town that made any claims to be anything at all.  There were courses at Charlestown, Berryville, Middletown, Shepherdstown, Hardscrabble, Winchester, Martinsburg and other points, and considerable sums were offered as prizes.
 
Theatricals, also, were patronized.  On the evenings of February 15 and 16, 1811, a performance was given for the purpose of raising funds to purchase a fire-engine.  What became of the scheme does not appear by the Gazette, the editor not saying a single word about it, simply publishing the advertisement.  In the following September a theatrical troupe played "Matrimony, or the Prisoners," "The Rival Soldiers," "Love Laughs at Locksmiths," and "The Wag of Windsor," at Mr. Billmire's tavern.  The "American Museum of Wax Figures," also gave an exhibition about this time at the "Martinsburg Inn," kept by Mr. Pentoney.
 
The first indications hereabouts of the war of 1812-14 is an advertisement signed by Lieut. Lewis P. Willis, U.S.A., who established a recruiting rendezvous in Martinsburg and calls for "Men of patriotism, courage and enterprise."
 
July 4, 1814, a grand celebration was held in Martinsburg.  All political differences were laid aside, and to do that involved a struggle, no doubt, that was very trying, for the bitterness that prevailed over the war issue was scarcely equaled in the days of 1861-65.  Yet those old worthies of 1812-14 exhibited more of a fellow-feeling for each other than their descendants.  All must bow at that day before the grand idea of celebrating the Nation's Natal Day?Federal and Republican joined hands when the name of Washington and the Declaration of Independence was mentioned.  They had speeches and toasts and whisky, and a procession, and a grand dinner at Mr. Goulding's Inn, and everybody was happy and had a headache next morning. 
 
In August of this year a large camp-meeting was held not far from Martinsburg on the land of John Campbell.

The following curious advertisement appears June 30, 1814, and is worthy of a reproduction here:

A WHITE NEGRO.?Fifty Dollars Reward.?Ran away on Sunday the 19th instant, from Barnett Lee, in Berkeley County, and on the 22d instant was purchased by the subscriber, living at Berkeley Springs, where the reward will be paid, together with all reasonable charges for the delivery of the said boy?called Losson; he adds Thornton to his name?perhaps he may call himself Thornton or Losson.  He is as white as any man on earth, but a salve for life; his hair is red and turned up behind with a nice curl; has blue eyes; is a little cross-eyed, and but for that would be very likely; is five feet ten inches in height, or thereabouts; is about twenty years of age; he had on and took with him a light summer coat of cotton striped blue, a swan-down vest striped black, two cotton ditto striped of some color not remembered; a roundabout white chain filled in with black wool, almost black itself?pantaloons of the same; an old fur hat that lops a little on the side, but it is more than probable he may have a new hat by this time; he had on half-worn shoes; had three shirts, one linen and two muslin, two of them considerably worn.
 
If this man Losson knew I had bought him, Mr. Lee tells me, that he would come home to me, as the white negro expressed a great desire to be sold to me.  I never saw him myself, but the man has seen me, I suppose.  I would be thankful to those who may have any knowledge of said fellow, for the earliest information of my purchase, and if he comes in himself he shall have the above reward.

June 23, 1814.     ROBERT BAILEY.

In 1819 Anthony Blondell conducts the jewelry and silversmiths business, and David Scott is a watch and clock-maker, while Adam Stewart, Jacob Poisal and Joseph Semans are the shoemakers, and Solomon Hedges carries on cabinet-making.  Mr. William Kroesen is proprietor of the "Columbian Inn," the most noted tavern in this section of country at the time.

In 1825 financial matters had become much easier, the effect of the war having worn off to a considerable extent.  New businesses were springing up.  A woolen cloth factory was in operation in Martinsburg, with C. G. Conradt as proprietor, and there were many fine stores, among which was one kept by James P. Erskine & Co.
 
During the year 1825 India rubber was introduced into the United States, and as an illustration of the great progress made since that time in an article now so generally used for ten thousand purposes, the following is copied from the Gazette:

"INDIA RUBBER SHOES.?These shoes, some of which have been imported into Philadelphia from South America, are spoken of as very comfortable and useful articles.  Indeed, says the National Gazette, their advantages must appear evident, when the elasticity and impenetrability of the gum of which they are made, are compared with the thin and absorbing quality of the leather or stuffs of which shoes are commonly manufactured.  Females are becoming to exhibit a little more prudence in their winter apparel, and it is very likely that the bill of mortality would be most happily lessened, were these gum elastic shoes substituted for the fashionable sandals which are now in use."
 
May 17, 1825, a meeting of citizens for the formation of a library society, was held at the reading room of Mr. Evans, and Dr. Richard McSherry was called to the chair, and Charles J. Faulkner was appointed secretary.  The committee previously appointed reported in substance as follows: The association to be called the "Martinsburg Library Society."  Shares were issued, each member of the society being obliged to own one share at least, valued at $2.  The following were the first officers: President?Dr. Thomas Davis.  Directors?Rev. Charles P. Krauth, David Holmes Conrad, John F. Snodgrass, Dr. Richard McSherry.  Librarian?James N. Riddle.  Treasurer?William N. Riddle.
 
On the afternoon of June 1, 1825, the most terrific storm known in this section occurred.  The wind and rain was fearful and being accompanied by hail, the damage was very great.  The storm seemed to rage the fiercest in the Back Creek Valley, but extended eastward about five miles.  Entire fields of the growing crops were cut off or leveled with the ground, and as the wheat was in full head and heavy it could not rise again, thereby causing the destruction of thousands of bushels of grain.  From the description in the old Gazette this must have been what we would now call a cyclone.
 
On the 15th of June, 1889, the day preceding the one when the writer copied the above from the old files of newspapers, a storm occurred in Berkeley County that is asserted by old citizens to be the severest on record.  As in the storm of 1825, whole fields of grain were destroyed and many valuable fruit and other trees broken off and rendered useless except for fire-wood.  One farmer alone lost 300 of his best fruit trees.  Shortly before this storm, the heaviest flood known to residents along the Potomac spread devastation and ruin among hundreds of families.  The Potomac rose seven and a half feet higher than the highest water-mark on record at that time, and swept away many bridges, including all on the Potomac except three.  In Martinsburg along the Tuscarora Creek much property was injured, and throughout the county nearly all of the bridges were swept away, causing immense loss and inconvenience. 
 
July 4, 1825, Martinsburg celebrated the birth of the nation in splendid style.  The day being fine, at an early hour the handsome corps of riflemen under the command of Capt. Erskine, paraded in the public square.  Moses T. Hunter, Esq., was the orator of the day and Gen. Elisha Boyd read the Declaration of Independence.  Several gentlemen of the engineer corps engaged in laying off the route of Chesapeake and Ohio canal were invited to join the festivities, among whom were Col. Abert, Lieuts. McComb, Findlay, Berry and Vail.  The procession formed under the direction of the marshal, Col. Gregory, assisted by Capt. Lauck, the line being "graced by the presence of a large number of the ladies, who walked in the parade with the same pride that swelled in every bosom and beamed in every eye," to use the language of the patriotic old editor of the Gazette, Mr. Washington Evans.  After the oration and reading the happy throng moved to the place of Capt. Ransom, near Martinsburg, and partook of a plentiful dinner prepared by Mr. John McCleary, at which Col. Hunter and Col. Gregory presided.  A number of toasts were drunk, and from the collection the three following splendid specimens have been selected for reproduction.  We of this highly cultured and superlatively improved epoch, are too prone to look upon things of the past as being something not at all to be thought of as equaling our efforts?a little crude, in fact, if not even boorish, and especially Fourth of July Celebrations, with what we are pleased patronizingly to term, their "spread eagle" speeches, etc.  But if any modern assembly, with the best talent in the land to head it, can show in a group of toasts, three of them with as  much meaning, as much beauty of expression, or as much conciseness and comprehensiveness combined, as in these three Martinsburg efforts of 1825, then the pen hereof shall be forever silent on the subject.  This trio of gems?deserving "frames of gold and letters of silver"?are as follows:

"Let the subjects of crowned despots keep the birth-days of their masters:?we celebrate the birth-day of our freedom."
 
"The devoted band of patriots who declared us free;?would you try them by their peers:?go to Thermopylae."

"LAFAYETTE, the man without fear and without reproach.  His whole history is a proof that the days of chivalry are not over."
 
After an interchange of courtesies, much harmless hilarity and a general strengthening of the sentiments of liberty among all, the company returned to town at an early hour, terminating the festive occasion with a grand ball at the Globe Tavern.

Politics in those old days ran high, and if we think these latter days have monopolized all the bitterness we are greatly mistaken.  Gen. Jackson was running in 1825 and the Gazette was strongly opposed to his election.  It published all the current charges against the old hero of New Orleans, and made light of his nomination.  Jackson was then United States senator, and when he became the nominee of his party he resigned his senatorship, fearing that he might be charged with corruption and intrigue if he retained his position while running, whereupon the editor of the Gazette remarked that "General Jackson may remain quiet; he has climbed the ladder of political fame as high as he will ever get?he will never become president of the United States," but that writer was not the only one who ever predicted backwards; half of the newspapers of the country made the same mistake a year or so ago.
 
The current prices for the leading marketable products on September 22, 1825, in Martinsburg may be interesting:

Item QTY Price ($)
Flour, per barrel 4 4.50
Wheat, per bushel 55 60
Rye, per bushel 30 33
Corn, per bushel 30 35
Oats, per bushel 20 25
Potatoes, per bushel 40 50
Apples, per bushel

20

25
Beef, per pound 4 5
Pork, per pound 4 5
Veal, per pound 4 5
Butter, per pound 10 12
Eggs, per dozen 6 8
Peach Brandy, per gallon 80 100
Apple Brandy, per gallon 34 35
Whisky, first proof, per gallon 24.5 25

Two fires about one month apart destroyed considerable property in 1825.  The first occurred October 23, and was the large stone merchant, grist, plaster and clover mills of Gen. Elisha Boyd, located on Mill Creek.  It contained a large amount of grain, including 103 bushels of clover seed.  The general's loss was $12,000, and the loss of other individuals about $4,000.  There seemed to be an epidemic in fires during the preceding few years, for in addition to several less destructive conflagrations there were four other merchant mills in the country consumed by the flames during the three years last past the date given.
 
November 18, a disastrous fire broke out in Martinsburg at 10 o'clock at night, destroying five buildings: two stone dwelling houses, a stone kitchen, a frame house and a stable.  The fire originated in Col. John Strother's stable, spreading to his dwelling and a dwelling occupied by Abel Dunham.  There seems to have been no fire apparatus, as the trustees of the town immediately voted $500 for the purpose of purchasing a fire engine.  The scheme for obtaining an engine by funds resulting from the theatrical performances given in 1811, must have fallen through, or they could not raid the money.
 
Early in the 30s, Mr. Edmund P. Hunter became proprietor of the Gazette and the paper became the Martinsburg Gazette and Public Advertiser.  By this time the manager of newspapers had grasped in part, at least, the idea of a local column, for in this paper of April 25, 1833, several local matters are given under a separate heading from the balance of the news.  The superior court of chancery had just closed its sessions in Martinsburg, and the local editor gives some account of the proceedings of the court.  Judge Richard E. Parker presided.  The editor states that criminal cases are rare and even breaches of the peace are uncommon, and felicitates the citizens of Berkeley upon this state of affairs, and consolingly says: "Although the editor is a member of the legal profession, he rejoices in this condition of things."
 
Extensive fires in the country are reported.  There had been no rain for several weeks, and everything was as dry as powder, when by some means or other a fire started on the farm of Harrison Waite, about two miles southeast of town.  Large quantities of timber, fences and outbuildings were destroyed, and barns and residences threatened.  The flames spread with the rapidity of a hurricane and extended to the plantations of William G. Burns, George Burns, William Kroesen and others.  Two other fires were on the farms of John Sutton, Mr. Welshans and Mr. Emmert.
 
A local item conveys the important information that "We are happy to state that the President of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Company, will, in the course of a few weeks, dispatch an engineer to this county to survey the route of a canal from this place (Martinsburg), along the Opequon to the Potomac."  The next issue of the paper gives a glowing account of the fact that the survey has been made and that the work will at once be begun.

The paper bewails the fact that "a line of stages has been put on from Hagerstown to this place, as they will now only receive three mails from the east per week, whereas by the horsemail they had one a day."  In this same issue the announcement is made that Charles J. Faulkner, John B. D. Smith and John S. Gallaher have been appointed to settle the boundary line of Virginia, on the part of this State.  Edward A. Gibbs has just established an iron and brass foundry in Martinsburg.
 
Rumors of the cholera approaching this section caused the trustees of the town to bestir themselves in the matter of giving Martinsburg a thorough cleansing.  A large committee was appointed to attend to the matter.

 Berkeley County was quite early in the field in the caused [sic] of temperance.  On May 27, 1833, a meeting of the Berkeley Temperance Society was held in the Lutheran Church in Martinsburg, and a stirring address was made by the president of the society, Mr. Edward Colston.  The officers of the organization were: President?Edward Colston.  Vice President?John Doll.  Secretary?John Strohter.  Treasurer?John K. Wilson.  Managers?James M. Brown, William C. Matthews, Jacob Medtart, John N. Riddle, George Tabb, Hiram Henshaw, Archibald Sheerer, Christian D. Wolff and Adam Senaker.
 
Among the occasional advertisements of the sale of negroes the following, published in 1833, bears such a stamp of humanity about it that it gives the lie to the wholesale charge of heartlessness on the part of those who owned slaves.  Those who have never lived among the "institution" as it existed in the ante bellum days can not realize the verity of it:

"Negro Woman For Sale.?One that is well acquainted with every kind of house-work, sober and honest, sold for no fault, and will not be sold to a trader.  Enquire of the printer."

"July 11, 1833."
 
The following, copied from the Gazette of July 18, 1833, shows that the cyclone, as well as the flood, is not a modern invention: "The southern portion of this county was visited by a tremendous hurricane on Sunday evening last.  It crossed the mountain near Gerrardstown, and blew with violence toward Harper's Ferry, embracing several miles in width.  It unroofed houses and barns, carried off quantities of fencing, destroyed a great deal of timber, blocked up the roads, and injured a great many growing crops of corn and oats.  The storm was accompanied with hail.  In a ride through a portion of Jefferson County over which the storm passed in its fury, we observed immense oak trees borne to the earth, and the large tops of some carried to such a distance that it was impossible to designate their original locality."
 
An account of the discovery of anthracite coal is given in a paper issued in September, 1833.  It states that for many years the fact of the existence of coal in this county had been surmised, and that even small specimens had been exhibited, but that during the past month Mr. Purcell, an engineer of the canal, accompanied by several individuals, made an examination near the source of Meadow Branch, between the Third Hill Mountain and Sleepy Creek Mountain, and after digging a few feet under the surface of the earth encountered a "bed of anthracite coal of the finest quality."  The engineer reported that from the physical analogy of the region in this county to the coal fields of Pennsylvania, that coal must exist here in great abundance.  A large specimen weighing several pounds was labeled and sent to the Virginia Historical Society.

In November of this year, 1833, occurred the great meteorological display, undoubtedly the finest ever witnessed by man.  The editor of the paper makes a note of it the day following, and says that although he did not see it himself, those who had that pleasure describe it as being wonderful: "the heavens appearing to be wrapped in a blaze of light, with hundreds of shooting stars flying in every direction."  The following issue of the paper gives glowing accounts of the rare scene, and the various theories then prevalent, not one of which hinted at the now accepted cause known almost to a certainty to science?the existence of a great meteor-zone lying near the earth's orbit.
 
As a fitting conclusion to the comparatively primitive era, at least in many things, of the days preceding 1835, in the lower valley, and as an important precursor of the progress that at the date given was about to begin, the following advertisement seems appropriately to have a place in this work.  It is the first advertisement in relation to a railroad train, and the first advertisement in relation to a railroad train, and the first approach to a schedule ever published in this section of country and must have been, consequently, the first ever printed in a newspaper west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, through the whole extent of country stretching to the Pacific, and for that matter clear around the world till it struck England.  And strange to say, this important event, one of the most momentous in the world's history, received not one word of notice in the paper in which it was printed.  Politics in 1834 was too important a matter upon which to waste a line of the valuable space of a newspaper in reference to such a common-place affair as the inauguration of a railroad, even if that railroad was the first to stretch its giant arms over these mountains, and to bring cities and towns and villages closer by days and weeks to a market for their products.  But here is the quaint schedule:

TRANSPORTATION ON THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAIL ROAD
Between Harper's Ferry and Baltimore.

THE CONVEYANCE OF TONNAGE on the Rail Road to and from HARPER'S FERRY, will take place on and after Monday next, the 1st of December.
 
The TRANSPORTATION OF PASSENGERS will commence on Wednesday the 3d of December.
 
The Rail Road Company will until further notice, receive Produce and Commodities generally, at the termination of the Railway at Harper's Ferry, and will give to the parties from whom they may receive such produce receipts for the same, engaging to deliver it to the consignees in Baltimore, or at any other public or private Depot, in good order, when it shall be delivered in such order to the Company.
 
They will also receive produce in like manner, at Weaver's Mill, and at Berlin, or at such other points as may hereafter be agreed upon with forwarders.

The charge of the Company for conveying flour to Baltimore will be as follows, viz:
From Harper's Ferry,  33 cts per bbl.
Wever's Mill,  32   do     do
Berlin,   31   do     do
 
The Rail Road Company will also receive Goods or other commodities in Baltimore,?or any other public or private Depot on the Rail Road,?destined for Harper's Ferry,?transport and, immediately on arrival, deliver the same at the termination of the Railway, to the consignee thereof.
 
The charges by the Company for such conveyance from Baltimore to the Ferry will be as follows, viz:
Plaster of Paris, per ton,  $2.40.
Salt & Salted Fish per 100 lbs.      14 cts
Merchandise,  do       22  do
 
Trains of Wagons will start daily from Harper's Ferry and from Baltimore and proceed regularly to those places, respectively, and all commodities will be promptly forwarded in their successive order after being received by the Company.
 
Fair prices can be obtained at all times for the GONDOLAS from which produce may at any place have been delivered to the Rail Road Company.
 
The TRANSPORTATION OF PASSENGERS will, until further notice, be as follows, viz:
FROM HARPER'S FERRY TO BALTIMORE OR
FREDERICK CITY.
 
A train will start at 8 in the morning
  
FROM BALTIMORE TO HARPER'S FERRY.

A train will start every morning at seven o'clock, reaching the Ferry at about three in the afternoon.
W. WOODVILLE.
Superintendent of B. & O. R. R.
Office of Transportation, Dec. 4, 1834.

Back to Genealogy Trails Main Site

Back to

			 the Main Index Page

Back to Genealogy Trails

Back to WV Genealogy Trails


2013 Genealogy Trails