Category Hampshire County History

Metal detecting and material culture

When I was much younger, I interned for 4 months at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. It was about that time when I discovered “material culture” as a field of study. As a historian raised on a steady diet of old papers, I couldn’t make much sense out of material culture. It seemed to me […]

Update: Hampshire (and Mineral Counties) Population Hisotry

In my previous blog post, I mistakenly pointed to a demographic disaster in Hampshire County between 1860-1870, ascribing this to the effects of the Civil War. Boy was I wrong. A wise reader pointed out that Mineral County formed out of Hampshire County in 1866. To remedy my mistaken analysis from last post, here are […]

Hampshire County WV – Historic Population Data in Charts

(edit: a wise reader pointed out that Mineral County broke off from Hampshire County in the 1860s, thereby throwing off all of my data analysis here. For an update, see my next blog post)       County-level census data is available through IMPUS and the National Historical Geographic Information System.  I’ve decided to use […]

Aerial Photographs of my house

In my new book, Creative Historical Thinking, I have a chapter about the history of my house, and all of the different creative ways you can use to learn more about your property. I end the chapter by saying that I don’t know what I will discover next, nor how I will learn more about […]

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 […]