Compiled by

Gwendolyn Mackey Hubbard


Bobbie Britt Elliott

The story detail contained in this book is

from the “Wellsburg Walking Tour”

written by Anthony J. Cipriani, sponsored

by “The Friends of Brooke County”

Photos courtesy of Elliott/Hubbard of

Brooke County Genealogy

Additional text information (in Italics) is


Katherine Marsh Fizer and Eileen Irvin


Please note: Additional photos/stories of

sites not included in the tour were added

toward the end of this book


     Because of the recent (1996) flood you may be asked about the height of the water. The water was over the wall in front of the museum; at the intersection of Sixth and Charles almost six feet of water covered the street. The Wesbanco building has a small brass plaque on its south wall indicating the height of the water during the 1936 flood.

     Lizzie Parker was a poetress who resided in the Parker House. She had a book of poems published. There are several copies of the book in Wellsburg. One copy is in the county library.

     Mr. Helsleys business (prior to his building at 635 Charles Street) was located in the 4th to 5th Street block of Charles Street. A Wellsburg Herald February 21, 1885, reports of a terrible explosion. "It reported that seeping gas from a large main found its way into the cellars of Helsley Brothers and Lucas Walters, becoming ignited in some way, blowing the entire building almost into atoms and killing six." This explosion was so terrible that city council considered banning the use of gas. They consulted with officials of Pittsburgh regarding regulations and safety measures used there".

     Historic Wellsburg Tours

      About 1772 the Cox Brothers, Jonathan, Friend and Israel, staked claim to 1200 acres of land which is now Wellsburg. They claimed the land by what was known as a "Tomahawk right". They marked their claim by notching trees describing the area of the claim.

      As early as 1778, there was a small settlement here with stores, mills and people trading and selling goods. Early settlers heading into the "Ohio Territory" stopped here to replenish their supplies before resuming their travels.

      Among the earliest settlers was Charles Prather, who purchased 481 acres of land from John Cox in 1788. About 1790, Prather had the ground surveyed by James Griffith. The plat of the town was presented at the January term of court in 1791 in Ohio County, and the town of Charlestown, Virginia was incorporated. The town was named for Charles Prather, the proprietor. The original plat of the town went from what is now 12th Street to Buffalo Creek.

      The town grew rapidly during the first twenty years and by the close of the War of 1812 was considered one of the most important trading and shipping points on the Ohio River, with a population of 1000.

      By an act of the Virginia Legislature on December 27, 1816, the name of the town was changed to Wellsburg, for Charles Wells, the son-in-law of Charles Prather. The reason for the name change was because there were two Charlestowns. The Acts of the Virginia Legislature show the spelling as W E L L S B U R G. For years an "H" was added to the name. It was probably due to Wellsburg being near Pittsburgh, and it being spelled with the "H". Incidentally, Pittsburgh is the only city in the country that is permitted to have the "H" in its name.

      The Wellsburg wharf has been in use since the 1790s. If you look to the waters edge you will see some of the original stones of the wharf.

      The Sycamore tree (across from the museum) was planted by Doctor Albert Wheeler who died in 1864. During the famous Morgan Raid of the Civil War in 1863, it was expected that Morgan's forces would attempt to cross the Ohio River at Wellsburg. Our "Home Guard" stood under this tree with muskets in hand to repel the raiders.

      The first homes were log or clapboard, but before too many years beautiful mansions were being built. First along the river front, on Main Street and later along the hillside overlooking the town.

      There are many and varied industries in Wellsburg during the early years. There have been over 40 glass and cutting houses from 1813 to the present time. Today we only have one glass factory left. There were five or six paper mills in operation at one time. Today we only have one that makes paper; Banner Fiberboard manufacturers specialty color linerboard, stock for lottery tickets and file folder stock.

      We have had goldsmiths, silversmiths, cotton mills, boat building, marble cutting, potteries, cabinetmakers, stogie makers and other industries too numerous to mention.

     Wellsburg in its early years was well known for its boat building. Boats were built, loaded with the products of the area and taken to market. On one occasion a boat bound for England was stopped at sea. When asked to show their clearance papers the mariners were puzzled that papers showed Wellsburg, VA as the port of departure. A map was resorted to and the place pointed out, and the vessel was allowed to proceed on its journey.

      In 1982 Wellsburg was designated as an "Historic District" and was placed on the Department of Interior's list of "Historic Places".

Looking north from Ohio-Brooke line

Looking south from Wellsburg Wharf

Going North on Main Street

542 Main Street -- The Luke Walters Home built about 1900. Mr. Walters was a business man. It was said that Mr. Walters believed in spirits and once a week held a seance and invited friends to attend. His medium was also his mistress.

Miller's Tavern built in 1795. It was a tavern from 1798 to 1840. For a number of years it was owned by the Fraternal Order of Eagles and used as the lodge home. After the lodge closed the building was acquired by the County Commissioners. It presently houses the Brooke County Museum.

     614 Main Street was built about 1810

620 Main Street was built in 1790. It is known as the John Henderson House. The home was acquired by J. M. Charnock in 1899. It is now owned by the Brooke County Commission. The original structure consisted of two rooms and hall on the ground floor, and two rooms and hall on the second and third floors. The back of the house was added at a later date. The small building in the back yard is thought to be the original kitchen.

The Brooke County Courthouse was built in 1849. The first Courthouse was built by Samuel Herdman, who lived to see it torn down and the present one you are viewing built in 1849.

The Town Square was built in 1984-5.

The building on the northeast corner of the town square was called the Hudson House, built in 1894 as a hotel. The second and third stories housed guests and the ground floor was used for business. North from the Hudson House to the bank parking lot was solid with buildings at one time. At the expense of modernization and business expansion, buildings were torn down to make way for parking lots.

On the northeast corner of 8th Street is the T. H. Marks building. Originally a furniture store and funeral parlor. It was built about 1901 and now houses a law office.

814 Main Street -- The Northwestern Bank of Virginia was built in 1835. The architecture is brick on stone foundation. Doric portico. Gabled roof. Under the squared columns are the original round columns.

816 Main Street -- The Wellsburg Inn was originally the home of Dr. Harden. It was built around 1890. The architecture is described as brick, stone verandah, 2 stories and Mansard attic.

818 Main Street -- The Parker House was built about 1825. (next to Inn) This property was owned by Dr. John C. Campbell at that time (Deed book 19 page 353) Architect describes house as a survivor of the Federal period.

Next house north across the alley is at 820 Main Street, the Cochran House built about 1830. This property was owned by Philip Doddridge, Perry Plattenburg, Reson Reeves, J W Cox, Alex Cotton, Elizabeth Cochrane and Mollie Curtis (Deed book 31 page 476 mentions Brick dwelling house) Architect describes it as 5 bays, Gable roof, interior end chimneys, rowhouse plan with 2 entrances.

On the southwest corner of 9th & Main Street is The Moose Club. (Deed book 64 page 157) shows R W Palmer to be the last to have a residence here

Buildings across Main Street built about 1830 and 1840. These rowhouse are on lots 403 south and north and 404 south and north ( L to R on photo) 403 south (not shown) was owned by Browns, Waddles, W H Tarr and W R Curtis. 403 north was owned by Wrights, Roberts, Barbaritas, and Baddeleys. 404 south was a house and shop owned by the Barnes family and 404 north was owned by Mollie Kerr when the house was built. 404 north was at one time owned by the Hawkins Patterson Co. ( Deed book 23 page 418) Behind 403 south on Water Street was the Jennie Duvall house.

House across 9th Street from the Moose Club is at 900 Main Street, the Sarah Miller Barnes Home built in 1840. The home was entered in the Historic Register by a former owner who was a Realtor. It was built at a cost of $2,886.80.

Across the street at 905 Main Street, the red brick home known as the Oakes House was built in the 1890s. Mr. Oakes was a river pilot.

916 Main Street was built by Absalom Wells, son of Charles Wells and first wife. (Chas. was proprietor of Charlestown (later named Wellsburg) when Charles Prather set it up.) Further up Main Street at 1124 is another house built by Absalom Wells. Photo on right shows horse hitch still on berm in front of house.

Brooke County Library is on the left. It was built in 1972. The original Library was organized as the Wellsburg Library Association in 1897.

Across from the Library -- Under the clapboard at the rear part of the house, is a log cabin constructed by Patrick Gass. Mr. Gass was the last surviving member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. At one time it was a tavern. The front part of the house was built about 1850. The rear (log cabin) built in 1797. (First held Court for Brooke County).

1014 Main Street. The history of the Christ Episcopal Church is as old as Wellsburg. It was founded by Rev. Joseph Doddridge in 1792. In 1800 Rev. Doddridge agreed to preach and perform other services of the church every other Sunday evening in Brooke Academy. Among the names signing the agreement were Alexander Campbell, Charles Prather and Henry Prather. About 1833, a church was built at the corner of 7th and Yankee Street. The ground at this site became very swampy and the church was often referred to as the "Old Swamp Church." The church was completely destroyed in the flood of 1884. Construction on this church was started in 1886. It was partially built and adequate for church services. The church and rectory were completed in 1897.

1021 Main Street -- The Taylor Bracken House was built in 1872. (Deed book 81 pg 130) describes a brick two story house owned by Margaret V Bracken. Note that this deed reserves the privilege to use the land as necessary to paint the north side of the dwelling.

1031 Main Street --Benjamin Harvey House built about 1880. Notice the arched windows and the Italianate Cornice (Projecting and receding angular bays). Speidel Family home also Sarah Cooper and her mother lived here

Going South on Charles Street

Methodist Church built in 1853. (Southwest corner of 11th and Charles Street). Joshua Monroe, a Methodist circuit rider records that in 1811, Ohio circuit services were regularly held in Wellsburg in the "old Academy". The first church was built at 11th and Charles Street. This church was severely damaged during the 1936 flood. The flood waters came within a few feet of the second floor. The entire interior of the church collapsed leaving only the exterior walls standing. The pipe organ that was on the second floor crashed through to the first floor. It took almost two years to repair and rebuild the church. Another catastrophe struck the church in 1989 when it was severely damaged by fire. Cleaning and repairs were done in record time.

Christian Church built 1848, the rear section was added in 1938. (Northwest corner of 10th and Charles Street). Second church founded by Alexander Campbell. The first meeting house was built at 12th and Main in 1816.

Wellsburg Post Office located at East 10th and Charles, this site was the former residence of Lucy Mendel (Deed book 41 page 88).

Presbyterian Church -- The lot for this church was purchased from Charles Prather for $500.00. The first Presbyterian Church was built on this lot and dedicated November 29, 1839. It was destroyed by the 1884 flood. Services were held in this church for the first time on Sunday July 19, 1886. The church building was not dedicated until September 14, 1890, after all debts were paid. Elizabeth Craft donated the money for the steeple.

Elks Club was the former YMCA . Built in the 1860s. Was originally a Doctor's home. The building was purchased in 1909 by the YMCA and sold to the Benevolent Order of Elks in 1929.

815 Charles Street -- Home built by J. M. Rodgers, a businessman. Now the home of the Tom Sawyer Cafe. The next building on the corner was the location of Mr. Rodgers general store and is now Hazlett Rodgers law office.

806 Charles Street was built in 1870. Some of the early owners were the families of Applegate, Blankensop, Campbell and Johnson. This building now occupied by Cipriani Realty.

800 Charles Street -- Traubert's Pharmacy was built by A. O. Smith, a jeweler and optician. The building was built in 1891. Mr. Smith was the first graduate optician to practice in this state. Dr. McCuskey’s dental office on 2nd floor.

Progressive Bank --formerly Wellsburg Banking and Trust. (Southeast corner of 8th and Charles). Building was built in 1902. The original bank was started in 1871. Notice the replica of the Morgan silver dollar at the top of the building.

Westbanco Bank was built in 1924. (Southwest corner of 8th and Charles). This bank developed by stages from the Northwestern Bank of Virginia in 1832. (Small brass plaque on south wall marks 1936 flood).

The building on the north side of the alley was built about 1900. For many years it housed the Advance Federal Savings and Loan. The bank is now Advance Financial Savings and is located on the corner of 10th and Commerce Street. Note the architecture of the building. This is now the law offices of David Cross.

City Plumbing Building Former location of the J. M. Walker Hardware Co. In 1906 Fred L and Mary E Hall and J. M. Walker planned to erect a building with an eighteen in brick common wall with each party using nine inches of property for this purpose. (Deed book 34 page 453) Upstairs rooms were the location of the Odd Fellows and Rebekah Lodges.

Pfister Building this family lived in the Cross Creek area. This once housed a grocery store and had apartments upstairs

Carson Building This was former Elson’s Drugstore and then it was Lynn and Paul Carson’s Drugstore. 2nd floor housed offices of Dr. Wells, Dentist and Dr. McMullen, Physician.

Located at west 7th and Charles, beside town plaza. Information from will book 5 pg 195 J G Jacob to son Samuel the entire “plant” Herald office. Former location of Callaway Shoe Store and Zoggs Meat Market

City Building -- Town Square Built in 1940. The first building on this site was the Market House built in 1828. The land for the Market House was given to the town by Jacob Dekamp for the purpose of constructing a market house. In 1892 the market house was torn down and in 1893 a new city building was to be built on the site. The heirs of Mr. Dekamp protested saying the land was donated for a market house and since a market house was not being built they requested the property be returned to them. Needless to say, the building was built despite the objections of the heirs. That building was destroyed by fire in 1939 and had to be demolished. In 1940 when this building was being built, again the heirs voiced their objections, requesting the property be returned to them. Again, their efforts were not successful.

Federman Building On the southeast corner of 7th Street, was built about 1870. For many years it housed the business of T. J. Reid. Over the years it has been a grocery store, clothing store and dry goods vendor. Crafts, antiques and other novelties are being sold here today. The building is commonly referred to as the Federman Building.

The Cipriani and Paull law office building was built about 1880. Over the years many types of businesses occupied the premises. Barths and O’Briens were the early owners. The original front of this building was typical with mercantile buildings built in the mid and late 1880s. Large windows on either side if the recessed entry. The facade above the first floor is as the original.

635 Charles Street --The Helsley Building on the west side of Charles Street was built in 1898. It housed Helsley Cigar Shop. Cigars were manufactured here. Notice the curved windows on the second and third floor. Before here, his business was between 4th and 5th Street of Charles.

Emig Building built about 1896. It was for many years the Emig Brothers clothing store. The upper floor housed the Emig family. Other owners include Myers, Barth, Charnock and S George.

The building on the corner of 6th and Charles Street (east side of the street) now known as Colony Center was at one time the Alpine Theatre and a restaurant.

The vacant lot across from the Colony Center was where Barth's Opera House stood. The building was torn down by the city in 1985. The building was unoccupied and in need of much repair.

The house across the street from the lot was built by Mr. Barth and was the home of the Barth family. It was built over 100 years ago. Mr. Barth was a cabinetmaker maker, had a general store and was owner of the Opera House. Other owners of this property were W C Aughinsbaugh, David Force, Robert Thompson, Jacob Plattenburg and Josias Reeves.




Compiled and donated by

John McCord

Wellsburg, West Virginia




     Inspired by the fireside stories of the great county to the West, Three adventurers set out from Brownsville, Pa., on a crisp September morning, in 1772-Johnathan, Israel and Friend Cox.

      They were eager to reach the BIG RIVER (Ohio).

      They worked their way tediously along, at times becoming discouraged, and were almost on the point of turning back to Brownsville, when they came out on the big hill, overlooking the present city of Wellsburg, the hill now called "Chapman Heights".

      The panorama spread out before them seemed ample recompense for all the privations and hardships they had undergone, for it was truly, "Fair as a Garden of the Lord" and all thoughts of returning to Brownsville were forgotten.

      When these three men, the first white men to set foot on this soil, reached this site, in the fall of 1772, they built a log cabin. Just where this Log Cabin was situated is not positively known, but from fragmentary records, it is assumed it was located where Ninth Street crosses Main Street.

      These three man, Johnathan, Israel and Friend Cox, then returned too Brownsville. Winter, in this valley, arrived early during those days.

      But in the early spring of 1773, the three Cox brothers returned to their happy find in the fall of 1772, and definitely fixed the boundaries of their claim under the "Tomahawk Right". The Tomahawk Right entitled each settler to 400 acres, so the claims of the three Cox Brothers would aggregate 1200 acres. They staked off their claim in this manner-----

      Taking the mouth of the Creek (Buffalo Creek) to guide them as a starting point, the brothers prepared to lay claim to this land which was so desirable. They blazed the trees up the River Bank, from the Buffalo Creek northward, to a point opposite Ninth Street; turning East, they followed about the course of Ninth Street to the base of the hill, the Washington Pike. (The Revine was later known as Harker Run). At the Point where Franklin Street now meets Ninth Street, they turned to the right, followed the base of the Hill (now High Street), southward, to the Creek, making the Creek the Southern line, the hill the eastern line, the river the western line and the western line and Ninth Street the northern boundary.

      This section of the present boundaries of Wellsburg, constituted the first claim ever made by white men, on the land on which the City of Wellsburg now stands.

      The Three Cox brothers had come this time with the intention of making this their permanent home.

      A little later, a Cousin, George Cox, came out and located a claim, just north of that of the three brothers. The claim of George Cox started at Ninth Street, and extended northward toward and almost to, Cross Creek.

      Then came the Revolutionary War and further development was abandoned for a time.

      But the fame of the new settlement had carried back to Brownsville and the East, and others began to turn their attention in the same direction. Some adventurous spirits had already located in Wheeling, and the fame of the Ohio Valley soon spread all over the East.

      Immediately following the close of the Revolutionary War, many who had taken part in that war began to find their way in to the Ohio Valley and to take up their claims under the Tomahawk Right, allowing 400 acres to each settler.

      Captain Van Swearingen came out and traded a rifle for part of the claim held by George Cox. The ground so acquired by the Captain Van Swearingen, constituted the old Fair Ground (from 15th Street north to 20th Street and from the river on the West to the homestead of the late J.G. Jacob, now the home of Mr. James Paull.)

      And here is a word as to the fate of the Trio of brothers whose adventurous daring first led the way to the Valley: One was surprised while in his camp along the McIntire Creek in the Jefferson County, Ohio, where he was hunting and was killed. Another was killed some distance down the river in a fight with the Indians. Only one remained to die in his cabin and this brother, it is believed as the ancestor of the late Friend Cox and others of that name, formerly residents of Buffalo Creek District.

      The Van Swearingen Log Cabin, stood on the bluff or a little north of the spring on the property now owned by Mr. James Paull, he had commanded a Company in Morgan's celebrated Rifle Corp during the war of the Revolution and boasted that many a Red Coat has crossed the Dark River at the crack of his rifle. He was injured on the Gravelly Knoll, a few feet behind the brick tenement house on the estate of G.W. Freshwater. (Now along Pleasant Avenue, almost opposite 19th Street).

      The Old block house stood on the bank of the River, west of the Van Swearingen Home. A pond of water about 1/8 mile in length and about 12 rods in width extended north and south, parallel with the River. At the lower end of the pond stood the block house, surrounded with the palisades. (Presumed to be about the spot on which the Wellsburg High School now (‘98 Middle School) stands). It was never regularly garrisoned but was built more as a place of retreat in event of Indian Raids. It fell away, in the water, about 1802. (Presumable in a flood of the Ohio River.

      Among the earliest settlers was one, Charles Prather. On March 6, 1788, Charles Prather purchased from John Cox, 481 acres of land, for the sum of $3,000.00 This section, so purchased, consisted of all the ground, from Buffalo Creek on the south, to and including Fleet (now 12th Street) on the north, to the hills on the east and to the river bank on the west, on which Wellsburg is now built. This ground, Charles Prather then had surveyed, a plot made, and as at the January term of Court, 1791 of the Court of Ohio County, Virginia, Charles Prather produced in open court, the plot of the town of Charlestown in Ohio County, State of Virginia, of which plot, a survey was made by James Griffith, a Surveyor. It is therefore concluded that the town of Wellsburg, first named "Charlestown" from Charles Prather, the proprietor. For 26 years the name continues as "Charlestown", but on December 27, 1816, by virtue of an act passed by the Legislature of the State of Virginia, the name was changed from Charlestown to Wellsburg, in honor of Alexander Wells ( there is a correction here), who married the only daughter of Charles Prather. The first names given the Streets were:
  • 1st Congress
  • 2nd Federal
  • 3rd Washington
  • 4th Union
  • 5th Green
  • 6th Ohio
  • 7th Liberty
  • 8th Urana
  • 9th Queen
  • 10th Prospect
  • 11th Walnut
  • 12th Fleet

      East, High, Commerce, Yankee, Charles, Water, Factory Information on these street names is from 1871 Beers Map of the Panhandle

      The first house Mr. Prather built for himself and family, stood nearly opposite the present residence of Mr. Sam Paull, later Mr. Prather built a stone house, which stood on an elevation, about 300 feet east of the head of Prospect Street (now 10th Street). That house stood until 1848, when C.R. Prather, son of John Prather and Grandson Charles Prather, tore it down and erected in it's place, the Harker residence, later the J.F. Cree residence (now the corner of Franklin and 10th Streets).

      Charles Prather died in 1810 and was laid to rest on a beautiful knoll on what is now the Duvall property, Pleasant Avenue and which in 1810 was outside the City limits.

      From 1788 to about 1795, there was a cessation of new settlers coming into this section of the Valley, but in 1795 new settlers again arrived and this time the immigration was with great vigor.

      In 1797 Brooke County was organized. It was separated from Ohio County, beginning its southern boundary at Short Creek and extended northward along the River, to the top of the panhandle, until 1848 when Hancock County was formed at which time Brooke’s northern boundary changed to what is now Holidays Cove. This new County was named Brooke in honor of Governor Brooke, them Governor of Virginia. Charlestown was established as the County Seat.

      The first Courts of Brooke County, were, by order, held at the home of William Thorp, in 1797. This home was built by Patrick Gass, on the northwest corner of Water and Prospect (Main and 10th) Street, and this house is still standing. (Patrick Gass, it is recalled, was a member of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition ). Present home of Mrs. J. Fowler. (See picture on Wellsburg Tour section)

      The first Judge of Brooke County Court was William Griffith: the first Sheriff was John Beck and first lawyer to be granted leave to practice law in Brooke County was Phillip Doddridge.

      Phillip Doddridge was the Brother of the Rev. Dr Joseph Doddridge, an M.D. and Preacher. Their home stood at the corner of Liberty (7th and Commerce Street). (Mrs. Hanke)

      The first business transacted by the Brooke County Court was to acknowledge a deed from Charles Prather to John Agnew for 12 lots in Charlestown and concluding with a deed from Charles Prather to Joseph Doddridge for 14 lots in Charlestown.

      In their first session, the Court ordered that Jonathan Palmer be given leave to keep an Ordinary (Hotel) in the County.

      And also, in their first session, the Court appointed the following men to buy lots in Charlestown, on which to erect public buildings...
  • Isaac Meek
  • J. Goodwin Young
  • Francis McGuire
  • John Beck
and that these men to be empowered to act upon their decision as to place and cost.

      The court then ordered that the sheriff be authorized to contract for a jail and stocks for public use.

      And order the following rates shall be observed by the Ordinary (Hotel) keeper:
  • Breakfast and Supper 20 cents
  • Dinner 25 cents
  • Lodging 5 cents
  • Hay, per night 17 cents
  • Oats or grain, per Quart 2 cents
  • Whiskey, 1/2 pint 9 cents
  • Common Rum, 1/2 pint 18 cents
  • French Brandy, 1/2 pint 30 cents
  • Maderia Wine, Per Quart 1.75
  • Sherry Wine, Per Quart..........1.20
  • Beer 9 cents

      The Committee appointed to select 2 lots for Public Buildings purchased two lots beginning on the southeast corner of Liberty (7th) and Water (Main) Streets, extending southwest, the width of two lots.

      A Year's time was required to build the new Court House and while the Court House was being built, Courts were held in the Brooke Academy Building. This Building was located on the southwest corner of High and Greene (6th) Streets.

      Plans for the new Court House were made by Joseph Doddridge and ready for Court, April 29, 1799.

      At the opening of the Brooke County Court, in the new Court House, 1799, Phillip Doddridge was appointed Attorney for the Commonwealth, by order of the Court.

      The Grand Jury reported bills of indictment against the following persons: James Davidson for retailing Whiskey at 10c per half pint. Alexander Wells for profane swearing..83c and cost. Richard Speer for profane swearing..83c and costs.

      The first marriage recorded is that of Robert Withers and Nabby Brown, June 18, 1797 both of Charlestown, Brooke County, Virginia, and of local interest, the marriage of Samuel Gist and Ann Baxter, July 1, 1804.

      The first will recorded was made by Robert Murchland, March 12, 1799, in which he left his plantation to his brother, and to Robert Lowthers, he bequeathed his Silver Shoe Buckles, Knee Buckles, 1 Stock Buckles and a pair of Silver Sleeve Buckles.

      In the June term of Court, 1800, record is made of a sale of a slave, Dinah, 19 years old, sold by Sam Wheeler, to Richard Wells, for $265.76.

      The first burying grounds was directly south of the Brooke Academy, between Union (5th) and Greens (6th) Streets, along High Street. This was used until 1814 when a new cemetery was opened at the corner of Water (Main) and Fleet (12th) Street. The first person buried in this graveyard was a boy , named Eli McDowell, who died from the effect of a kick given him by a strong man, who afterwards fled the county.

      This cemetery was used until 1877 when Brooke Cemetery was opened and the dead removed from Fleet Street to the new Cemetery. The first person buried in the new Cemetery was Eleanor George, wife of Samuel George, Esquire.

      The Doddridge Mansion was located at the corner of Liberty (7th) and Commerce Streets, and it was considered one of the most handsome places in the country. He had his own private burying ground, just north of his home, the corner of Urana (8th) and High Street.

      The Rev. Dr Joseph Doddridge, Physician and Preacher, was the author Doddridge's Notes, the most authentic history of the early settlement of this section of the Ohio Valley. His daughter, Narcissa D. was the first white girl born in Wellsburg.

      In 1800, Rev Dr Joseph Doddridge held services in Brooke Academy and among the first subscribers to this church we find the names of Phillip Doddridge; N Tillinghast; Elizabeth Taylor; Silas Bent; John Connel; John Bly; Robert Moore; J.T. Windsor; Charles Prather; Olive Brown; Josiah Reeves and Thomas Oram. This was an Episcopalian Church

      The first Church built in Wellsburg was erected on the east corner of 12th and Water (Main) Streets, in 1814 and was known as the Regular Baptist Church, a part of the ground around the Church was used also as a burying ground.

      In 1816 a deed was made for a lot on the SW Corner of Walnut (11th) and Charles Street, for the use of the Methodist Church. In 1853 the old church was torn down and the present church erected on the same ground.(See picture on Wellsburg Tour section)

      In 1838 the Presbyterian Church was built on the NW Corner of Queen (9th) and Charles Street and the first minister of that church was Rev. Daniel Hervey.(See picture in Wellsburg Tour section)

      In 1829 the first Episcopal Church was built on the SW Corner of Liberty (7th) and Yankee Streets. This was know as the "Swamp Church".(See picture in Wellsburg Tour section of location of present church)

      The first Catholic Church was built on the SE Corner of Commerce and Union (5th) Streets, in 1854.

      The Regular Baptist Church, built in 1814, at the corner of Fleet (12th) and Water (Main) Streets was under the head of Alexander Campbell and the building was used until 1848, when it was torn down and a new church built at the corner of Prospect (10th) and Charles Streets.

      Many Lodges were organized during the early days, some of which are still active. But among the few which fell by the wayside was an organization known the "KNOW NOTHINGS".


      One of the first enterprises in Wellsburg was the Ferry, started in 1792, owned and operated by Charles Prather. For 140 years this Ferry operated continuously, without interruption save when the River was frozen over and which, in those early days was not uncommon for at times, it has been recorded, the river remained frozen across for several months at a time during the winter.

      Among the earliest here were the Boat Yards. At the mouth of Buffalo Creek, a boat was in operation in 1806. Here a number of Schooners were built, loaded with flour, made from grain grown in this section, and sailed direct to Liverpool, England. It is recorded that one schooner was overhauled in mid ocean; held up for quite some time until maps were produced and proof given that the boat started from Wellsburg, Virginia, USA

      On the NE Corner of Yankee and Liberty (7th) Streets, in 1814, stood what was known as the Brooke Foundry, a building 44 x 30 feet, and owned by Dr Joseph Doddridge.

      In 1829, John Carle, Nathaniel Carle, and John Miller built the Brooke Cotton Factory, a brick building 40 x 80 feel, 3 1/2 stories high, situated on the NW Corner of Fleet (12th) and Factory Streets. In 1854, this factory made an assignment, which failure was considered the most extensive that ever occurred in Wellsburg and was looked upon as a great calamity to the town. The factory reopened and in 1873, was bought by Samuel George and W.H. Hervey, who converted it into a mill for making manila sacking paper. The factory burned down in 1874 and was rebuilt in 1876.

      What is now the Harvey Paper mill was built in 1852 by Jones, McCrea and Company on the north side of Prospect (10th), along the River.

      In the early days there was a grist mill located at the alley between Charles and Water (Main) Streets, on Fleet (12th) owned by John Brown and run by horse power.

      Between Prospect (10th) and Walnut (11th) Streets, along the Ohio River, there was in operation, between 1845 and 1852, a pottery, owned by H.N. Bakewell, whose sister was the second wife of Alexander Campbell.

      Also, in the early days, there was between Liberty (7th) and Urana (8th) Streets along Yankee, a Pottery in operation. This was owned by Robert Brown and continued to operate until the Railroad Company bought the ground for a depot, and the pottery was abandoned. Still another pottery was operated by Captain William McCluney, on the SE Corner of Prospect (10th) and Water Streets.

      A Tannery owned by R.T. Moore, was situated on the west side of Commerce Street between Washington (3rd) and Federal (4th) Streets.

      In 1830, a saw mill was in operation between Walnut (11th) and Fleet (12th) Streets, along Charles Street.

      In the early days, a glass factory was located on the NW Corner of High and Urana (8th) Streets.

      In 1825, a Marble and Stone Cutting Yard was in operation, on Charles Street between Walnut (11th) and Fleet (12th) Streets, West side. And in 1860, a Marble Yard, owned by William Briggs, was located on the SE Corner and Urana (8th) Streets.

      Commerce by River, flourished and Wellsburg was one of the important points between Pittsburgh and New Orleans.

      The first Newspaper was printed in 1814, called the "Charlestown Gazette", published by Sam Workmen. The Wellsburg Herald was first published December 1, ______ by J.G. Jacobs.

      A flouring Mill was built in 1871 by Waugh and Myers, on the East side of Yankee Street, between Green (6th) and Union (5th) Streets. (See Historical Markers Section of this book)

      On the West side of Charles Street, between Queen (9th) and Prospect (10th) Streets, was a large building, used by a Pork Packing establishment; later the building was bought by Samuel George and in 1861, when the Rebellion took place, a quantity of arms and ammunition of war was stored in this building.

      The first bank in Wellsburg was known as the Charlestown Manufacturing and Exporting Company, 1813-1815 and was located in a building just north of the old Hudson House, now the Hotel.

      The next bank in Wellsburg organized, was the Northwest Bank of Virginia, 1832, and first occupied a building on the NE Corner of Water (Main) and Urana (8th) Streets. In 1835 they built their own building on the same site. J.C. Campbell was the first President; Samuel Jacob, Cashier. Later this was merged in the First National Bank of Wellsburg and is now known as the Wellsburg National Bank.(See Wellsburg Tour section for photos of these banks)

      A Seminary, called Jefferson Seminary, was built in 1835, Commerce Street, West side, between Prospect (10th) and Walnut (11th) Street. In its day, it was the popular school of this vicinity. The building was built by a Stock Company and later became the property of Dr E.H. Moore.

      Between Queen (9th) and Prospect (10th) Streets, on Water (Main) Streets, was located the Wellsburg Female Seminary, started in 1852 and continued until 1863, when the Free Schools System was adopted. The Seminary Building was then used for a Public School building until the new school house was erected, corner Queen (9th) and Commerce Streets, 1868.

      The Calderwood Home near the Corner of Queen (9th) and High Streets, was formerly owned by John Blankensop and was originally a carding mill.(See photo in Appendix of Wellsburg Tour section)

      In 1849 the Frame Court House building was town down and the present building erected on the same site.(See photo on Wellsburg Tour section)

      In 1877, by order of the Circuit Court, upon the prayer of a number of petitioners, the Corporation limit of the town of Wellsburg, was extended Northward to the northern boundaries of the Fair Ground, now 20th Street.

      Oliver Brown, one of the Early Settlers in Wellsburg, was a hero of the American Revolution and took part in the affray at Lexington; witnessed the Boston Tea Party, was at the Battle of Bunker Hill; commanded the volunteer party that bore off the leadened statue of King George from the Battery at New York and made it into bullets for the Colonists Army. His remains lie in Brooke Cemetery.

Rittman, Ohio

P.O. Box 134

October 12, 1954

Mr. J.A. Gist

Secy. & Atty. Ad. Fed. Savings & Loan Assn.

727 Charles St.

Wellsburg, W.Va.

Dear Mr. Gist:

      Thank you for your letter of Oct 9, and for the mimeographed copy of Early History of Wellsburg.

      The facts covering the early history of Wellsburg, related in the mimeographed copy, were "gleaned" from research I made in 1932, while still living in Wellsburg and were prepared for a paper which I read before the Shakespeare Club, of which I was then a member, for their October meeting, in 1932.

      I assure you, you are entirely welcome to use these facts in whatever way and wherever you may desire. I believe all the facts related are authentic. I obtained these facts from "Doddridge's Notes" of which I have a copy; from a very early History of Ohio and Brooke Counties which was in Mr. Joseph Lobmiller's Library...Frank Lobmiller's father; and from a very, very old ledger book..all written with pen, which was in the possession of Miss Nichols, a sister of the Late George Nichols. I believe the sister has since passed away also, but I believe Mrs. Geo (Sally) Nichols is still living and she may know something about that ledger. You would be very much interested in seeing it. When Mr. Nichols built his home out Bethany Pike ( I do not know who is the present owner, but it is a large red brick house not far beyond the first bridge across Buffalo Creek), I believe an old house on that site or nearby, was town down and that old ledger was found among the rafters. In the late 1790's and early 1800's when men traveled down Buffalo Creek in canoes, etc, the old house which was torn down, had been an Inn, and that ledger was their record of guests, their charges for accommodations, etc. I well remember the ledger recorded how some guests traded furs for their lodging and meals expense. It would be a valuable book for an historical society to have. And right here, I would like to say that I hope Brooke County will, before long, organize an historical society for I think it has interesting history - lots of it- and every citizen of the County can feel proud of the County's beginning. I would like to be a Charter member of such a society.-- So about that ledger

     I had to almost swear my life away to borrow it and returned it pronto to Miss Nichols.

      So the facts in the notes I made, I feel sure are absolutely authentic. Mr. Joseph Lobmiller, Frank's father, was a student of our early history and I hope the valuable book he had of the early history of Ohio and Brooke County is still in Frank's possession.

      I checked your mimeographed copy with my original notes which I have out here and find that all the notes I made at that time are included in your coy and are exactly as I recorded them with the one only exception which is probably merely a typographical error, and that is on page IV, in reference to the Methodist Church, the record should read - "In 1816, a deed was made for a lot on the SW Corner of Walnut (11th) and Charles Streets " etc. I have penciled in the correction.

      I wish I had more authentic information to add but you have the complete record I made of my research. You probably also have a copy of Doddridge's Notes which may contain more and I will review that book soon, but I want to return to you promptly, the enclosed copy you sent me, and have you receive this letter promptly assuring you that I am so proud of our early history, and that I am only too glad to have all who may be interested, have the facts.

Yours truly,

(Signed) Mary Ethel Cummings


P.S. Mrs. Sally Nichols, the widow of George Nichols, was Sally Montgomery

Nichols and their home was the Cor 16th and Charles Sts., and Mrs. Nichols may

still live there.


(The foregoing history and letter were mimeographed and distributed through the


727 Charles Street, Wellsburg, West Virginia).



Information from National Register of

Historic Places


Katherine “Kate” (Marsh) Fizer

Eileen (Irvin) Avery

Edited by Bobbie Elliott / Gwen Hubbard

The following homes are situated South of

the walking tour area:

Going North on Main Street:
320 Main House built circa 1865 by Robert Stedman (Deed book 20 - 345)

334-336 Main 1868 - 1900 property owned by John Pendleton (Deed Book 21 - 330) house built circa 1890

344 Main Henderson Chapel, formerly Funeral Home built circa 1890

426 Main Owned from 1830 to 1885 by members of the Burt family built circa 1880

Going North on Charles Street:

319 Charles Street This site was the former Colored Elks Building. Note: plaque on front of this building reads, “C. Myer AD 1861”

Present site of “Brooke Review” newspaper.

The following homes are situated North of the walking tour area:

Going North on Charles Street

Masonic Temple This is the site of the former Trauberts Bakery. (Deed book 50 page 478) George and Margaret Ralston sold this property to the Trauberts.

1225 Charles: Built by the George family circa 1880. George and Sarah G Bowers sold to T. H. and Mabel George (Deed book 56 page 180)

1305 Charles Street This was the Nichols house circa 1890. Homestead of Robert Nichols, house built by his son Alexander who was given title to the property (Deed book 55-564). This street was called Carpenter St. then Nichols St and now 13th St.

Charles at 17th Site of the old Central School Building circa 1880

2910 Charles circa 1880 This land passed through the families of H. G. Lazear, John Porter, John McLure, J. E. Curtis (Deed book 33 page 59) mentions a two story brick residence, two and one half story tenement house and small frame stable.

Going South on Main from 22nd Street

2121 Main built circa 1880. This property was owned by George W Caldwell, Belle Wheeler, Henry G Emig and in 1944. the Hagner family

1602 Main This house was moved from the Wellsburg National Bank Location on Charles Street to this location.

1517 Main Note the sign in front of this home reads “Built 1891” James Paull sold this property to Joseph S Churchman (Deed book 31 pg 296) This was known as the Baxter house

1453 Main was built circa 1880. Among the owners are George W McCleary, Louie G Amick, Thomas E Amick, Thomas R Osborne, Galen O Elson and W S Wilkin.

1300 Main built about 1880. Split from the original Jacobs property (63-13th St)

63 - 13th St. (Deed book 33 pg 200) Mr Jacobs purchased this property from Mr Crouch. “J W Jacobs” carved on steps.

1124 Main Built by Absalom Wells circa 1880

Going West to East on 12th Street:

62-64 12th Street, circa 1880. The original owner was John Prather. It has gone through the hands of Sam Gamble, Danforth Brown, John Brown, J J Johnson, James Haney, Thomas Lewis, D M Dill Note (Deed book 34 pg 306) tells of the use of the storeroom and the one-story frame house, rent at $8.00 per month.

12th and Charles NE corner Georgian Apartments. (Deed book 107 pg 59) this is listed as the homestead property of Samuel George.

Railroad Station at Wellsburg circa 1880 Now the site of “The Trax” restaurant

This was formerly the High School, then used as the Junior High School -then Wellsburg Primary East and now the offices of the Brooke County Board of Education.

Going South on Commerce Street:

920 Commerce Owned by John Scott in 1876 (Deed book 23 pg 234) then by various members of the Scott family. In 1948 became the property of Virginia Otte (Deed book 95 pg 162) the former residence of Dr. R. C Otte

644 Commerce In 1855 Joseph Latimus sold this property to William Barr. Also owned by Alexanders and Charles Dare. Former residence of Dr Dare

East on 7th and High Street:

700 High Street Heirs of George Letzkus sold to Pfiesters. Other owners include Hall, Reeves, Ralston and Park

165 9th Street The former Calderwood Home owned by John Blankensop, was originally a carding mill (Note 9th Street was Queen Street)

174 9th Street The Stingle House In 1895 this was owned by the partnership of Blankinsop & Stingle (Deed book 30 pg 238)

Yankee Street going North from 8th Street

NW corner of 9th and Yankee circa 1880 In 1885 John Gardner is the property owner, followed by Sam Ralston, and Vito Weeda.

925 Yankee Deed book 22 pg 136 (1872) shows Milton Wells as owner. Succeeded by Emma S Hervey, Vera E Emick and Nellie S Maloney Hoover. Built circa mid 19th century

929 Yankee built circa 1880. 1847 records show McCluney sold to Danforth Brown, then to William Brown (1867), John M Cooper (1883), Joseph C Reed (1906) and Elizabeth Hertley (1921)

936 Yankee on South East corner of 10th 1815 property of John Prather passing through the families of Connell, Gardner, Scott, Plattenburg, Hervey, Clemmons, Dare, Russell, Hurp, Fithen and Green.

SW corner of 26th and Yankee circa 1880.In 1892 this was owned by H G Lazear. (Deed book 39 pg 83) a two story frame house 7 rooms and 2 halls also a one story four room house sold to Shakeley family

There are many old homes located on Pleasant Avenue.

     Wellsburg residents if you have a home built in the 1800s please contact Brooke County Genealogy. We would be pleased to include your home in a second edition.