Category Hampshire County History

Modern-day Barrowman

My copy of Peter F. Copeland’s Early American Crafts and Occupations Coloring Book (Dover Publications, 1994) includes an image of a barrowman, a person responsible for digging up stones and removing them from farmed soil. Anyone who has ever farmed knows how miserable it is to run into a stone. The foundation stones from a […]

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Abandoned Backroad Church

Abandoned churches, school buildings, and houses are common fare on the backroads of West Virginia. I found this old wooden church down a dirt road in Hampshire County, about 7 miles from the city of Paw Paw. The introduction of automobiles must be partially to blame for the demographic changes in mountains. Even though populations […]

Junior High History Fair

This week, I served as a judge at a history fair a local K-12 school (yes, a rare remaining example of K-12 under one roof).  Anyway, I had to smile at the trend of history presentations based on very recent things, like ninendo, Pokemon, and X-box. Who is to say that this history is less […]

Old Photos of Home

The previous owner of my home sent me some photographs of it from the 1980s. The build date was 1986. Like always, learning history brings up more questions than it answers. At the time, the house was much smaller. It was a cabin built by and for a retired guy. At some point, they added […]

Hampshire is my Willoughby

One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes is “A Stop at Willoughby.”  In case you haven’t seen it, or don’t remember, this episode features a New York City white collar worker who steps out of the train into a late 19th century town. In typically Twilight Zone fashion, his visit to this lost place is […]

Capon Bridge Founders’ Day History Presentations

I served as a volunteer for the Capon Bridge Founder’s Day festival. Mostly I just handed out surveys for the West Virginia Humanities Council, but this required me to attend all of the history events, which I probably would have done anyway. Here are a collection of photos from the event.

A doorway to the past

When  I bought my house a year ago, I inherited a barn full of old materials. Some of these I suspect came from a house that stood on the neighboring property from between circa 1840 and 1920. The house is a bit of a mystery because there is almost no sign of its existence. The […]

Old Home on the South Branch

Five miles or so west of Romney, West Virginia, my friend is working on restoring an 18th century home site. It appears that in the late 18th century, it began with a log cabin, which was then extended, before clapboard was nailed on over the logs. Outbuilding after outbuilding was added, and it became a […]

A Natural Reserve of History

Spring is in full bloom here in the mountains of Hampshire County, West Virginia. A few irises have popped up, and I’ve got mint growing in the garden. Sitting at the kitchen table for breakfast, I watched a turkey strut through the yard. Days like today are perfect for hosting visitors and talking about the […]