|Morgan County, West Virginia|
Location in the state of West Virginia
West Virginia's location in the U.S.
229 sq mi (593 km²)
1 sq mi (3 km²), 0.30%
65/sq mi (25/km²)
Morgan County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of 2006, the population is 16,337. Its county seat is Berkeley Springs6. The county is one of three in Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. Morgan County was formed in 1820 from parts of Hampshire and Berkeley Counties and named in honor of General Daniel Morgan, prominent soldier of the American Revolutionary War. It is the home of an important mine producing special sand for the glass industry.
- Washington County, Maryland (north)
- Berkeley County (east)
- Frederick County, Virginia (southeast)
- Hampshire County (southwest)
- Allegany County, Maryland (northwest)
Rivers and streams
- Rock Gap
- Sleepy Creek
- Timber Ridge
As of the census2 of 2000, there were 14,943 people, 6,145 households, and 4,344 families residing in the county. The population density was 25/km² (65/sq mi). There were 8,076 housing units at an average density of 14/km² (35/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 98.30% White, 0.60% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. 0.83% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,145 households out of which 28.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.90% were married couples living together, 8.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.30% were non-families. 24.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.84.
The age distribution is 22.40% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 27.30% from 25 to 44, 26.90% from 45 to 64, and 16.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 96.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $35,016, and the median income for a family was $40,690. Males had a median income of $29,816 versus $22,307 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,109. About 8.00% of families and 10.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.60% of those under age 18 and 8.80% of those age 65 or over.
Morgan County was created by an act of the Virginia General Assembly in March 1820 from parts of Berkeley and Hampshire counties. It was named in honor of General Daniel Morgan (1736-1802). He was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and moved to Winchester, Virginia as a youth. He served as a wagoner in Braddock's Army during the campaign against the Native Americans in 1755. During the campaign, a British Lieutenant became angry with him and hit him with the flat of his sword. Morgan punched the Lieutenant, knocking him unconscious. Morgan was court-martialed for striking a British officer and was sentenced to 500 lashes. Morgan later joked that the drummer who counted out the lashes miscounted and he received only 499 lashes. For the rest of his life he claimed the British still owed him one.
Early European settlers
The first English settlers in present-day Morgan County arrived during the 1730s. Because most of these early pioneers were squatters, there is no record of their names. Historians claim that the first cabin in the county was built around 1745. As word of the county's warm springs spread eastward, Thomas Fairfax decided that the county needed to be surveyed. In 1748, George Washington, then just 16 years old, was part of the survey party the surveyed the Eastern Panhandle region for Lord Fairfax. He later returned to Bath (Berkeley Springs) several times over the next several years with his half-brother, Laurence, who was ill and hoped that the warm springs might improve his health. The springs, and their rumored medicinal benefits, attracted numerous Indians as well as Europeans to the area.
18th century Morgan County
As mentioned previously, George Washington visited present-day Berkeley Springs several times with his half-brother, Laurence. When he vacationed in the area in 1767, he noted how busy the town had become. Lord Fairfax had built a summer home there and a "private bath" making the area a popular destination for Virginia's social elite. As the town continued to grow, the Virginia General Assembly decided to formally recognize it. In October 1776, the town was officially named Bath, in honor of England's spa city called Bath. The town's main north-south street was named Washington and the main east-west street was named Fairfax. Also, seven acres (28,000 m²) were set aside for "suffering humanity." When West Virginia gained statehood, that area became West Virginia's first state park.
Bath's population increased during and immediately after the American Revolutionary War as wounded soldiers and others came to the area believing that the warm springs had medicinal qualities. Bath gained a reputation as a somewhat wild town where eating, drinking, dancing and gambling on the daily horse races were the order of the day.
Bath later became known as Berkeley Springs, primarily because the town's post office took that name (combining Governor Norborne Berkeley's last name with the warm springs found there) to avoid confusion with another post office, located in southeastern Virginia, which was already called Bath. Because the mail was sent to and from Berkeley Springs, that name slowly took precedence.
Sites on the National Register of Historic Places
|Ambrose Chapel||mid 1800s||Winchester Grade Road (CR 13)||Stotlers Crossroads||1998|
|Berkeley Springs State Park||mid 1700s||South Washington & Fairfax Streets||Berkeley Springs||1976|
|Berkeley Springs Train Depot||1900-1924||504 North Washington Street (US 522)||Berkeley Springs||2001|
|Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park||early 1800s||Chesapeake & Ohio Canal||Paw Paw||1966|
|Clarence Hovermale House (Allen Mendenhall House)||late 1800s||167 Wilkes Street||Berkeley Springs||2003|
|John Herbert Quick House||1913||Cold Run Valley Road||Berkeley Springs||1984|
|Judge John W. Wright Cottage||1872||305 South Green Street||Berkeley Springs||1986|
|Morgan County Courthouse||1923||202 Fairfax Street||Berkeley Springs||2005|
|Samuel Taylor Suit Cottage (Berkeley Castle)||1885||WV 9||Berkeley Springs||1980|
|Sloat-Horn-Rossell House (The Manor)||late 1800s||415 Fairfax Street||Berkeley Springs||1984|
|T.H.B. Dawson House||1880||300 South Green Street||Berkeley Springs||1983|
|Western Maryland Railroad Right-of-Way||1900s||Milepost 126 to Milepost 160||Jerome||1981|
Cities and towns
Incorporated cities and towns
- Fowler, Virginia G. 2002. Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, Washington, D.C.: National Park Service.
- Morgan County Historical and Genealogical Society. 1981. Morgan County, West Virginia and Its People. Berkeley Springs: Morgan County Historical and Genealogical Society.
- Cartmell, Thomas Kemp. 1909. Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants: A History of Frederick County, Virginia. Winchester, VA: The Eddy Corporation.
- Newbraugh, Frederick T. 1967. Warm Springs Echoes: About Berkeley Springs and Morgan County. Part 1: To 1860. Hagerstown, MD: Automated Systems Corporation.
- Dr. Robert Jay Dilger, Director, Institute for Public Affairs and Professor of Political Science, West Virginia University.
- Berkeley Springs-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce
- Morgan Arts Council
- Morgan County Community Organizations
- Morgan County Public Library
- Morgan County Schools
- The Morgan Messenger
- Morgan County Solid Waste Authority
- WVU Extension Service - Morgan County
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