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West Virginia's Oldest County


Hampshire250 Library Display, January 2004

   January 2004 begins the year-long anniversary celebration of Hampshire County's 250th year of existence. The county was officially formed on May 1, 1754, the same month that George Washington fired the first shots of the French and Indian War.

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   We are indebted to Roberta Munske,exhbt0101.jpg Coordinator of the Hampshire250 Committee, and to Janet Harlow, the new Director of Hampshire250, for the opening display in the Hampshire County Library in Romney.

   The display covers the early history of the county from the occupation of prehistoric Native Americans through the establishment of the colony of Virginia and the granting of the Northern Neck Proprietary to Lord Fairfax, and it continues through the arrival of the earliest settlers including Joseph Edwards and James Caudy and others. Shown here is the detail of a Native American pottery bowl found in the South Branch Valley. exhbt0161.jpgAlthough these pottery articles were probably used for common tasks they have simple artistic designs inscribed into their surface. The area was used long before the white man arrived although by the time Europeans came the settled native population had disappeared or been drive out.

   George Washington was the most famous person involved in the early history of the county. He arrived in 1748 at the age of sixteen to work as a surveyor for Lord Fairfax who was parcelling out land to settlers. Mr. Washington surveyed for several years along the Cacapon River. Then, after his involvement in the beginning of the French and Indian War he returned as Commander of the Virginia Regiment to protect the farmers from attacks by the French and their Indian allies.

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   The library has several books on George Washington and his time in Hampshire County.

   Everyone is encouraged to visit the Library in Romney to see the exhibit this month and the exhibits scheduled for the coming months of this anniversary year. We commend everyone who is involved in this public display of our history. Thank you.


updated: 1/8/04