Aler's history of Martinsburg and Berkeley County, West Virginia

In presenting this work to the public I feel that a great responsibility has been undertaken. It may, no doubt, meet with the harsh criticism of many; but as a consolation I feel satisfied that nothing but facts have been stated, and that every reader interested in the growth, prosperity and history of Berkeley County will appreciate this honest attempt. I have ventured this work on the market, feeling confident that the interested class — the people that have labored for our City and County — the ones that owe and feel a debt of gratitude to their forefathers for the present stage of their existence and welfare of the County — will sustain me in my efforts.

The present generation, now enjoying the benefits of this soil, perhaps, have a very small conception as to the manner in which it was settled, cultivated and reared to its present state of prosperity. Perhaps many may doubt the credibility of these chapters, but I would ask a perusal and careful examination of early history, and by in- formation from our old citizens, you will find my collections have not fallen far shortof facts. Several attempts, in various ways, have been made to give a history and reminiscence of our County ; but as yet none had been published full and complete, until the introduction of this work. It will be found to contain from the origin of the Indian and White Settlers, and their early warfares, to the present day, accompanied by a complete history of both Martinsburg and Berkeley County.

For days, weeks and months, and at times into the mid- hour of night, constant and laborious work has been a theme and pleasure, to dive into the torn and rusty pages of an old Court docket — some half-printed histories, published over half a century ago — or some old newspapers upon which ink was almost invisible, and then to scan the hand- writing of years gone by, that one would hardly recognize as the English language.

To the following gentlemen, Berkeley's most able and respected citizens, I owe a debt of gratitude for their as- sistance in the work of publishing this small history: Senator C.J. Faulkner, C.W. Doll, Esq., James M. Vanmetre, Esq., Capt. Wm. Hoke, Hon. E.B. Faulkner, J.W. Curtis, Esq., and Stuart W. Walker, Esq., who acted at times as my critic and rendered valuable assistance. Considerable information has been taken from a small history of the valley published by Samuel Kercheval in 1833.

I look around me and see the young of both sexes with hearts bounding high with hope, forms elastic with health and eyes bright with the enjoyment of life, and then the thought of the rude settlements, life and civilization of our fore-parents touches the tenderest chord. To tell them of how they performed the journey of life, hand in hand, interrupted now and then by the savage warfare, and after all lived in harmonious companionship, I have published this work. It has been with me an honest and earnest task, in the object of which I am sure you will feel interested. I only hope that you will find little to criticize and nothing to condemn, in the nature and style of the means by which I have sought to accomplish it. Then I shall feel that my undertaking has been crowned with success by a non-condemnatory people in a worthy and honest purpose.


Table of Contents

Introductory... 15

CHAPTER I. Origin of the Indian Settlements. The different Tribes. Their Wars, Customs, Habits, etc... 25

CHAPTER II. First Settlements of the Valley. Locations, Land Titles, Dwellings, etc... 32

CHAPTER III. The Indian Warfare. Forts Established, etc. The Wars between the Settlers and Indians, and the manner in which they carried on their Barbarism... 38

CHAPTER IV. Houses, Furniture, Diet and Dress of the early Settlers. Interesting and amusing Scenes of centuries back of our Foreparents.... 47

CHAPTER V. Northern Neck of Virginia. Berkeley County laid off. The Land Grants, etc., from Lord Fairfax's time: to the establishment of the County... 54

CHAPTER VI. Martins burg established. The Lots laid off by the first Commissioned Sheriff. Sale of Lots, with terms to purchasers... 61

CHAPTER VII. Report of Hon. C.J. Faulkner on Adjustment of the Boundary Line between Virginia and Maryland... 67

CHAPTER VIII. Historical Sketches of the early Inhabitants, etc., by the late Hon. Charles James Faulkner... 87

CHAPTER IX. Slavery — Mode and Manner of Punishment — Freedom... 200

CHAPTER X. The late War of the Rebellion. The different Companies of Berkeley County, Federal and Confederate, with full Names, Happenings, etc... 200

CHAPTER XI. Historical Reminiscence of Martinsburg from 1835 until the year 1861, by John W. Curtis... 249

CHAPTER XII. Commencing and ending of Strikes. A full and complete detail of the Happenings, Incidents, etc... 300

CHAPTER XIII. Life of the late Hon. Charles James Faulkner, by Col. Frank A. Burr... 314

CHAPTER XIV. The Churches — Organization and present Condition... 343

CHAPTER XV. Berkeley County in 1810. Topographical Description. Natural Curiosities. Mineralogy and Lithology. Inhabitants, Towns, Manufactories, etc... 366

CHAPTER XVI. Present situation of the Town and County— Journalism in the County— Count}' Court and Officials— Martinsburg Schools — Home Organizations, Lodges, etc... 377

CHAPTER XVII. Personal Sketches of the Enterprising Public and Professional Men of the present day... 397

CHAPTER XVIII. Biography of Martinsburg's Business Men... 412


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From ancient history it appears that this entire portion of country (Berkeley County) was inhabited by various tribes of Indians. From the best evidence obtained from deep researches, we find the settlement of this valley and present county was commenced in the year 1732. Long and bloody wars were carried on by contending tribes of Indians known as the Delaware and Catawba tribes. They were engaged in these wars at the time the valley was first known by the white people, and continued for years after the county was numerously inhabited by white settlers.