Negotiating Peace with the Indians Virginia Historic Society


Indians Galore!

Swiss immigrant Louis Michel traveled along the west bank of the Potomac River searching for land for a Swiss colony. He reported that Indians covered the area.


Potomoke Church

Near present day Shepherdstown, Presbyterians founded "West" Virginia's very first church at the site of Potomoke, Virginia. However, it should be noted that the Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church refutes this claim, and there is no indisputable evidence either way that I have been able to uncover to date. A small discussion on the Potomoke Church as viewed by Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church (and the history of their own church) can be read here.


New Mecklenburg Settled

The site of present day Shepherdstown, coined New Mecklenburg, is settled and founded by Germans from Pennsylvania. It was probably named after Mecklenburg, a region in northern Germany.

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October 3 1734

Thomas Shepherd’s Land Grant

Thomas Shepherd receives a land grant of 222 acres. He selected 50 acres of his original 222 and laid out a town, naming it Mecklenburg, and petitioned the Virginia General Assembly for charter. You can view the original land grant online here.

December 23 1762

Mecklenburg Incorporated

The governor of Virginia signs bill of incorporation for both Mecklenburg (Shepherdstown) and Romney in Hampshire County.

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July 17 1775

Bee Line March

Men from Mecklenburg (Shepherdstown) and other parts of the county meet in present day Morgan's Grove Park to link up with George Washington's Continental Army in Boston, beginning what is famously known as the Bee Line March.

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The First Printing

A small pamphlet by James Rumsey, titled A Short Treatise on the Application of Steam, is printed at Mecklenburg (Shepherdstown), making it the first publication printed in "West Virginia". The pamphlet can be read online here.


December 3 1787

Rumsey’s Steamboat

A resident of Mecklenburg (Shepherdstown), James Rumsey debuted his steamboat on the Potomac River in front of George Washington and several other spectators. For more information on Rumsey's inventions and the steamboat, visit the Rumseian Society.

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Read All About It

The first newspaper in "West Virginia", titled The Potowmak Guardian and Berkeley Advertiser, is published by Nathaniel Willis in Mecklenburg (Shepherdstown). The paper was published from November, 1790 to January 15, 1798, however the earliest surviving issue that has been found to date is dated June 27, 1791. After ceasing to print the paper, Willis moved to Martinsburg and printed the publication, beginning April 3, 1792, under the shortened name of Potomak Guardian. Later, he changed the name yet again to Berkeley Advisor, before settling on the name Potomak Gaurdian.

See libraries that have issues of The Potowmak Gaurdian and Berkeley Advertiser.

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Mecklenburg; A New Capitol?

President George Washington was petitioned by Henry Bedinger and William Good to make the nation's capital Mecklenburg (Shepherdstown).

Timeline Help

A chronological listing of historical events which may have affected the lives of residents in eastern Jefferson County and surrounding areas.
1Where is this information from?
The vast majority of these accounts are taken from newspaper articles of local papers of the time period.
2How can I apply this information to my own research?

We use this timeline to help us understand the events that may have affected or shaped a person's life. Here are some ideas as to how this timeline may help your further your own research:

  • View events that may have affected a particular ancestor or their family members.
  • Uncover events which an ancestor may have participated in, leading to more sources of information.
  • Discover more about the history and culture of the area in which an ancestor lived.
  • Evaluate possible concerns and popular pastimes of an ancestor.
3I want to view a timeline of events in a specific area.
Click on "Location" in the "Filter by" bar. This will drop down a list of locations which currently have happenings in the timeline. Clicking on a location will show only events related to that specific area. Note that clicking on a county or state will show all happenings related to any location within that county (and any county within a state).
4I want to see timeline items between two years.
Click on "Years" in the "Filter by" bar. This will drop down a form which accepts a starting year and an ending year. Filling out both fields will display timeline items which took place in and between the two years. Filling out only one field will display all timeline items beginning at or ending on the years inputted.