The first documented visitor to the area now known as Clarksburg was
John Simpson, a trapper, who in 1764 located his camp on the West
Fork River opposite the mouth of Elk Creek.
As early as the year 1772 settlers began locating their lands
near where Clarksburg now stands, and in 1773 Daniel Davisson took
up 400 acres, upon which the principal part of the town is now
located. The year 1774 found the following persons settled in the
neighborhood of Clarksburg, Daniel Davisson, Thomas Nutter, Samuel
Cottrill, Sotha Hickman, Samuel Beard, Andrew Cottrill, Obadiah
Davisson, John Nutter, Matthew Nutter and Amaziah Davisson. There
were no doubt others located on public lands of which no official
record was made.
Clarksburg was formed in 1785 in Virginia. The city is named for
General George Rogers Clark,who gained great fame on the frontier by
his many expeditions against the British and Indians in the Indian
Wars and the war of the American Revolution, particularly by his
bold capture of the Fort of Vincennes now in the State of Indiana in
the year 1778.
The first Court House, which was built in 1787, stood on what is
now the North East Corner of Second and Main Streets and the jail
stood on the opposite side of Main Street near where the
Presbyterian church now stands.
In 1824, Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson was born in Clarksburg.
The Northwestern Turnpike, now known as U.S. Route 50, chartered
in 1827, and begun in 1831, reached Clarksburg in 1836 and was
macadamized from the Tygarts Valley River to Parkersburg in 1848.
In 1840 there was an established daily line of stages and a
regular mail service which made connection with Ohio River steamers
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad reached Clarksburg from Grafton
During the Civil War, it served as a supply depot of the Union
Army from 1861 to 1865. General George B. McClellan had his
headquarters here in 1861 until the Battle of Bull Run.
The historic district of Clarksburg is mainly outlined by Hewes
Avenue on the north, Main Street on the south, Chestnut Street on
the west, and E. B. Saunders Way [formerly Water Street] on the
On October 11, 1996, seven men having connections with the
Mountaineer Militia, a local anti-government paramilitary group,
were arrested on charges of plotting to blow up the Federal Bureau
of Investigation's Criminal Justice Information Services Division
complex in Clarksburg. While members of the group had been
assembling large quantities of explosives and blasting caps, militia
leader Floyd Raymond Looker obtained blueprints of the FBI facility
from a Clarksburg firefighter. Plastic explosives were confiscated
by law enforcement officials at five locations in West Virginia,
Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
Looker was taken into custody after arranging to sell the
blueprints for $50,000 to an undercover FBI agent, whom he believed
to be a representative of an international terrorist group. In 1998
Looker was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Two other defendants
were sentenced on explosives charges, and the firefighter drew a
year in prison for providing blueprints.