Amazing Harrison County Facts
Did You Know?
…That Harrison County was
formed in 1784, from Monongalia County. It included all or
parts of 17 other counties. It was named for Benjamin
Harrison, signer of Declaration of Independence and the
governor of Virginia, 1781-84. It is the birthplace of Thomas
J. "Stonewall" Jackson.
…that on 2nd Street, between Pike Street
and Hewes Avenue, Clarksburg is Towers
School. It was built in 1894 and named
in honor of Reverend George Towers, graduate of Oxford,
England who was a teacher at Randolph Academy. The
Academy, authorized by the Virginia Assembly in 1787, stood
just to the east and was the principal regional school from
1795 to 1843. The Northwestern Virginia Academy, incorporated
by the Virginia Legislature in 1842, occupied this site from
…that the Simpson Creek Covered
Bridge is located on Despard-Summit Park Road (CR
24/7) near junction with CR 24 just inside Bridgeport city
limits. It was built by A. S. Hugill. It is 75' long by 14'
wide multiple king-post truss bridge in 1881 for $1483 on land
of John Lowe. Survived great flood of 1888 but was washed away
from original site 1/2 miles upstream in 1899.
…that on Simpson Creek is site of
John Powers' Fort. It was
built by John Powers in 1771. Nearby is grave of Col.
Benjamin Wilson, soldier and settler. Here lived Joseph
Johnson, only Virginia governor from west of Alleghenies;
first elected by popular vote. The historical marker is on US
50, 1/4 mile west of junction with WV 58, Bridgeport.
…that on US 19 (northbound) at junction
with Armory Road (19/57), Clarksburg is the historical marker
for Oak Mounds. On the crown
of the hill to the east is a large Indian mound and to the
west of it is a smaller mound. These mounds have never been
excavated but they were probably built by the Hopewellian
culture between A. D. 1 and 1000. The larger mound is about 12
feet high and 60 feet in diameter. A number of burials of
important persons of the culture probably occur in these
…that on US 19 (northbound) at junction
with WV 270 East is the West Milford
Historical Marker. It was the site
of Richards' Fort or Lowther's Fort. Colonel William Lowther
settled near in 1772. He served under George Rogers Clark, and
was colonel of the northwestern counties of Virginia. Near by,
Indians killed the Richards and Washburns.
…that on WV 20, one mile from junction with
WV 57, Romine's Mill is the "Randolph Mason"
Historical Marker. Near by was the home of the late
Melville Davisson Post, author of many novels, but
particularly noted for his stories concerning the strange
points of law, woven about the fictitious character "Randolph
…that in Lost Creek, on Johnstown Rd.
(county route 48) & Railroad St., 0.2 miles east of Exit 110
(Lost Creek) of I-79 is the B&O Depot.
It was built in 1892, following the completion of railroad in
1887. Lost Creek grew to become largest shipping point for
cattle in West Virginia in 1915 and on entire B&O system, east
of Mississippi in 1923.
…that in Nutter Fort, on WV 20, 0.8 miles
north of WV 58 & 0.6 miles south of WV 98 was Nutter's
Fort. It was built by Thomas Nutter in 1772 after
settlement two years earlier. Nutter was a captain in the
Revolutionary Army and is buried here. Refugees from Hacker's
Creek settlements came here during the Indian raids of 1779.
…that in Nutter Fort, on WV 20, 0.3 miles
north of WV 58 is Center Branch
Church. It was organized in 1818 by 19
members of Simpson Creek Baptist Church wanting a house of
worship nearer to their homes. The original log building stood
below road. The present structure was erected in 1854.
…that on US 19, in Enterprise is the
Marker. Nearby was the McIntire blockhouse,
built in 1773, another of the outposts established as
protection against the Indians. Here are the graves of many
early settlers, including those of John McIntire and wife,
both victims of the Indians.
Graves are on the opposite (east) side of the
West Fork River, in the Enterprise I.O.O.F. Cemetery, are the
graves of Jacob Bigler (1752-1829) and Elisha Griffith
(1751-1840), Revolutionary War veterans from Maryland who
settled in Harrison Co. after the war. The graves are marked
by a monument erected in 1933 by Daniel Davisson Chapter of
the Daughters of the American Revolution.
…that on US 19 in Shinnston is the
Levi Shinn House. It was built in 1778 by Levi
Shinn, who came from New Jersey in 1773, and claimed tomahawk
rights. He returned with family and brothers, Clement
and Jonathan and settled. He sold part of land to
Jonathan whose son, Levi, deeded it for site of Shinnston.
…that on WV 20 in Lumberport is the
Lumberport Historical Marker.
Near by, Thomas Harbert and others built a blockhouse about
1775. Lumberport was the home of Colonel Benjamin
Robinson who was a soldier in the Revolution. He led a
company at Brandywine and Germantown and also saw Indian
…that on WV 131, 3.3 miles from junction
with US 19 is Saltwell and the Saltwell Historical
Marker. The village of Saltwell was so named because
of well drilled here in 1835 by Abraham and Peter Righter. The
well reached a depth of 745 feet releasing natural gas. Often
attributed to be first deep well drilled in United States.
Water from such wells was reputed to have medicinal value.
Some salt was produced here but these efforts were abandoned
as Kanawha Valley production and influence increased.
…that on West Main Street, at the junction
with South Third Street and Courthouse Square, in Clarksburg,
is the Clarksburg Historical
Marker. Clarksburg was established in
1785. It was named for Gen. George Rogers Clark. John Simpson
camped here in 1764. Early permanent settlements were made by
the Davissons, Cottrills, Sotha Hickman, Nicholas Carpenter,
…that in Clarksburg is
where Randolph Academy was established in 1785. It was the
home of Gen. Nathan Goff and John S. Carlile. From 1861 to
1865, it was a supply depot of the Union Army. General George
B. McClellan had his headquarters here in 1861 until Battle of
…that the "Stonewall" Jackson
Historical Marker is on West Main Street, at junction
with South Third Street, Courthouse Square in Clarksburg.
Clarksburg is the birthplace of General Thomas J. "Stonewall"
Jackson. After a brilliant Mexican War record, he joined the
Confederacy in 1861, earned his nickname and advancement in
rank in first Battle of Bull Run, and was killed at
…that the Jackson Cemetery
Historical Marker is in Clarksburg, In this cemetery
lie buried members of the Stonewall Jackson family: his father
Jonathan, a sister Elizabeth, his great grandparents John
Jackson and wife Elizabeth Cummings. Buried here also are Mrs.
Mary Payne Jackson and Mrs. Mary Coles Payne, sister and
mother of Dorothy (Dolly) Madison, wife of President James
Madison. Some Civil War soldiers lie buried in this place;
called Jackson Park. The site is on WV 20 (East Pike Street),
near junction with US 50.
…that at the US 19 split in Clarksburg is
the John Simpson
Historical Marker. In 1764, John
Simpson, hunter and trapper, established a camp here on the
bank of the West Fork River opposite the mouth of Elk Creek.
He was the first white man in the area. Simpson Creek and town
of Simpson are named for him.
…that at the 100 block of West Main Street
in Salem is the Salem Historical Marker. It was chartered in
1794, and settled by colony of families from New Jersey. It
was the site of blockhouse where troops were stationed during
Indian wars to guard the trail from the Ohio to the West Fork
settlements. It is seat of Salem College.
…that the West Virginia Industrial
Home for Girls was established by act of the
Legislature, February 18, 1897, for the rehabilitation of
girls who need assistance in becoming useful citizens of the
State. It was formally opened May 5, 1899. The Industrial Home
For Girls Historical Marker is at Industrial Drive, south of
County Route 38 (Long Run Road), Salem.
…that the Benedum Civic Center
is an enlarged replica on site of original Michael L. Benedum
family home. Benedum, born here July 16, 1869, died July 30,
1959. He was known as the "Great Wildcatter" for success in
oil exploration, he became as well known for philanthropy. The
Benedum name is prominent in West Virginia for gifts of
scholarship, educational facilities and community sites, such
as this center he dedicated in 1956. The historical marker is
on West Main Street (US 50) in Bridgeport.
…that on US 19, at junction with County
Route 19/35, south of Meadowbrook is the Spelter
Community. It was a company town built
for immigrant, primarily Spanish, zinc plant workers, in
1910-11. The community housed 1,500 residents in 175 homes,
renting for $11 per month by 1915. It was first known as
Ziesing, for a company official. It was named Spelter for post
office in 1928. It had 3 stores, 2 churches, 1 school.
Moschetta bought town, sold houses to families in 1950. The
bridge, first swinging, in 1914, connected community to
…that on US 19, at junction with County
Route 19/35, south of Meadowbrook is the Spelter Zinc
Plant Historical Marker. Grasselli Chemical Co.
built plant in 1910. It produced zinc products sold
nationally. In 1915, plant was largest horizontal retort zinc
plant in the Unted States. Dupont bought the plant in 1928,
and built vertical retort furnaces, and employed 500 workers.
From 1916-46 fueled by local coal. In 1950, it was sold to
Meadowbrooks Works. In 1960, major production ceased. Dupont
repurchased land and completed site remediation in 2004.
…that one mile north of Shinnston on US 19
is the site of "Big Elm,"
tree awarded "largest of its kind in US" in 1876. Measured
over 30 feet in circumference at its base. The tree began
dying by 1905, with the cause attributed to disease, the
building of a streetcar line, and hogs being penned near its
base. In May of 1917, the last remaining part of the tree was
cut down and burned.
…that the Big Elm
community was named for the tree which stood as the largest of
its kind in the US. Land acquired by David Wamsley shortly
after the Revolution. Other owners of Big Elm Farm were
Everson and Hood families. "Daughter of the Elm," novel
written by Granville Davisson Hall about alleged events which
took place here, was published in 1899. It is on US 19, one
mile north of Shinnston.
Bigler Smith, was born May 3, 1822,
one mile upstream. She was baptized in the Church of
Jesus Christ Later-day Saints in 1837. Moved to Nauvoo, IL,
where she was a founding member of the Relief Society, the LDS
Church charitable Women's organization. Smith was
general president from 1901-1910. She moved to Utah, 1849, and
pressed for women's suffrage. Bathsheba Bigler Smith died on
September 20, 1910. The historical marker is located on US 19,
near intersection of Harrison County Route 19/2 near
Did you know?
… that "Hot Fudge"
in the U.S. and Canada is usually understood to be a chocolate
product often used as a topping for ice cream in a heated form and
it is not necessarily directly connected with the confection known
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