Historic Shepherdstown? HISTORIC SHEPHERDSTOWN!!!
Shepherdstown is the oldest town in West Virginia. The first settlement was recorded in 1730. Thomas Shepherd obtained a land grant in 1734 and was soon followed by other settlers. The town was originally named Mecklenburg in 1762, but then later changed to Shepherdstown in honor of its founder.
Although there was a settlement at the site of Shepherdstown prior to its development by Thomas Shepherd, there are no known remaining structures representing that period. Thomas Shepherd began selling lots in 1734. Most lots were 103 feet by 206 feet and were sold with the stipulation that a structure of at least 16 feet in width with a stone or brick chimney had to be built within a year. A few buildings remain from the 3rd quarter of the 18th Century.
Thomas Shepherd applied for a charter before the House of Burgesses in November, 1762 and became law in December 1762 to make Mecklenburg a bonafide town in the colony of Virginia. When granted the charter gave the residents the right to establish a formal town government.
Irish in Shepherdstown
The Irish were present among the early settlers in Western Virginia and came to Shepherdstown in particularly large numbers after the turn of the 19th century. They helped to build the early transportation network, beginning in 1818.
The Irish also helped to build the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal along the Maryland side of the Potomac River from Washington to Cumberland, Maryland, beginning in 1828. Cholera produced mass graves along the canal route. The old Catholic cemetery at Shepherdstown holds some of these unnamed workers, along with Irish Hill Cemetery and a rumor that the Shepherd Family Cemetery also holds these Irish workers.
So come to town, enjoy our many, many wonderful restaurants (yes, we are a foodie’s paradise!) and see what you see. What will you discover in history, haunted Shepherdstown? More importantly, what else will you discover on a Shepherdstown Mystery Walks tour?