Barbour County is located in the north-central region of West Virginia, and it has a rich history that spans centuries. Uncovering the history of this region reveals fascinating stories about the people and events that have shaped the area over time. Here are seven interesting facts about Barbour County's past.
1. Barbour County was founded in 1843 - Barbour County was created out of a portion of Harrison County in 1843, making it one of the newer counties in the state. The county was named in honor of Virginia lawyer and statesman, Philip Pendleton Barbour, who served as a U.S. Representative, Justice of the Supreme Court, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, among other positions.
2. The county was the site of the first land battle of the American Civil War - On July 7, 1861, a Union force led by Brigadier General Thomas A. Morris confronted Confederate forces under the command of Colonel George A. Porterfield in what would become known as the Battle of Philippi. This skirmish marked the first land battle of the American Civil War.
3. Philippi was also the site of the first Confederate soldier death in the war - Private Henry Lawson Wyatt, a member of the North Carolina Infantry, was fatally wounded during the Battle of Philippi, making him the first Confederate soldier to die in the Civil War.
4. Barbour County is home to a historic covered bridge - The Philippi Covered Bridge was built in 1852 and is one of the oldest and longest covered bridges in West Virginia. The bridge was used by both Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War and survived the conflict despite being hit by artillery fire.
5. The county seat of Philippi was briefly the capital of the Union - Following the Battle of Philippi, Union forces occupied the town and used it as their headquarters for the area, making it the de facto capital of the Union. This lasted only a few weeks, however, as the Union eventually moved its base to Grafton.
6. The Barbour County Courthouse has a unique architecture - The Barbour County Courthouse, located in Philippi, is a beautiful example of Romanesque Revival architecture. Completed in 1903, the building features a clock tower and four turrets, giving it a distinctive appearance.
7. Barbour County was once a center for salt production - At one time, the region around Philippi was home to a thriving salt industry. Salt was produced by boiling brine from nearby wells, and the resulting product was sold throughout the area. Today, visitors to the town can learn about this history at the Fidler's Mill Historic Area museum.
In conclusion, Barbour County's history is full of fascinating stories and events that are worth exploring. From its role in the Civil War to its unique architecture and historic bridges, there is plenty for visitors and locals alike to discover in this beautiful region of West Virginia.
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