W H I T E T A I L R I D G E
W H I T E T A I L   R I D G E

History of Mineral County

Whitetail Ridge is located in Burlington of Mineral County, within the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia. Mineral County is a relatively young county. Today's community names and boundaries were not fully established until the late 19th century. The debate over Mineral County belonging to the State of West Virginia or the State of Maryland was not settled until 1910. However, the area now known as Mineral County has an ancient human history. Archaeologists have established the Native American Adena Culture throughout the Potomac Highlands dating back to 200 BC. Historical records of European settlers in the Mineral County area date back to the 1700s.

 

In 1664, England's King Charles II granted the Northern Neck of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay area to Lord Thomas Culpepper. Two decades later, King James II increased that grant to all lands between the Rappahanock and the Potomac Rivers all the way to their source, or headspring. The size of that declared land grant reaching northwest was not fully realized at the time. Lord Culpepper's land was passed on to his daughter Catherine, and eventually to her son, Lord Thomas Fairfax.

 

In 1733, Lord Fairfax petitioned King George for a survey of his vast land grant in the New World to determine its boundaries. A surveying party was commissioned under the leadership of Major William Mayo. The town of New Creek received its name from the Mayo expedition. By traveling up the north side of the Potomac River, they initially missed a stream. On the return trek, the explorers discovered the stream and added it to their map as a "new creek."

 

In 1746, a large survey expedition spent four months mapping the Fairfax lands. Included in the expedition party was Colonel Peter Jefferson, the father of Thomas Jefferson. The party reached the source of the North Branch of the Potomac River, which defined the expanse of the Lord Fairfax land grant. The surveyors planted the "Fairfax Stone" to mark that point. This marked the Lord Fairfax land area to be over five million square miles.

 

In 1748, Lord Fairfax sent another surveying party into the area. Among the surveyors was sixteen year-old George Washington who kept a journal of the expedition. Washington wrote that they crossed the South Branch of the Potomac River at Colonel Cresap's - now Cresaptown, Maryland - and traveled to the head of Patterson's Creek. According to Washington, the area was already populated with European settlers. He noted that the surveyors were followed through the woods by "people who would never speak English, but when spoken to, they all spoke Dutch." The purpose of the 1748 expedition was to survey parcels of land to be granted to fortunate families. Hundreds of huge lots were surveyed, including Patterson Creek Manor containing 10,000 acres. Patterson Creek Manor would later become the beautiful and productive agricultural and livestock community known today as Burlington.

 

Over the years, the area now known as Mineral County underwent several name changes. Up to 1738, Virginia's Orange County consisted of all the territory west of the Blue Ridge. It was then divided into the two counties of Augusta and Frederick, with Frederick being the area later to be known as the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. In 1753, Frederick became Hampshire County. In 1866, the western half of Hampshire County became Mineral County.

 

Forts were built in Mineral County for the protection of early settlers. In 1756, Colonel John Ashby was put in command of the Frankfort Village fort, and he remained there until after the Revolutionary War. The town, now known as Fort Ashby, took its name from the man and the fort he commanded. Another fort, known as Blockhouse, was built in the New Creek Valley around that same time. While Blockhouse - later to be established as Fort Fuller - helped secure the New Creek area for the early settlers, it gained its most notable military importance during the Civil War. New Creek changed hands 14 times between the Confederacy and the Union. Fort Fuller was located on the high hill where Potomac State College of WVU now stands. This beautiful and strategic location commanded the roads and rails leading to the South Branch and Shenandoah valleys. Both were active battlegrounds of that awful war.

 

After the war, New Creek Station became the rail head for the commercial interests of a large territory of a growing nation looking west. To encourage the B&O Railroad to move its facilities to New Creek, the town became incorporated in 1874. To further help the cause, the people chose to change the town's name to Keyser, in honor of William Keyser, the first vice president of the B&O Railroad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn about the fine

 Mineral County

Public Schools

 by visiting

http://boe.mine.k12.wv.us/

 

 

Browse the list of

 area businesses

 ready to serve you

at

http://mineralchamber.com/

  

 

Whitetail Ridge HOA

is a member of the

 Eastern Panhandle

 Organization of

 Homeowners Associations

 

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© John Marshall