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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 1843-1893.

  • …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 mounds.

  • …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 Mason."

  • …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 Enterprise Historical 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.

  • …that Revolutionary 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 service.

  • …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, and others.

  • …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 Bull Run.

  • …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 Chancellorsville.

  • …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 trolley line.

  • …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.

  • …that Bathsheba 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 Enterprise.


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