Travels Through West Virginia, 2013

When we started out on our Eastern trek, we originally planned to drive through a larger swath of West Virginia. I have family research to do in both Lewis and Hampshire counties, and we thought a stop at the State Archives in Charleston might prove enlightening. Washington County, Ohio was just across the Ohio River and it just seemed like a done deal.

But in the end we ran short of time to get to other commitments, and ended up stopping just in Berkeley County to do some research on Travel Buddy’s Snodgrass family.

Now, we hadn’t done a great deal of research on this particular generation of Snodgrass, and as subsequent generations were found further south into Virginia I was somewhat skeptical that the Snodgrass family had been in Berkeley County at all. We arrived too late to hit the library, so we decided to just head over to Hedgesville, and see what we could find.

When we pulled up to the local cemetery, I immediately spotted a historical marker describing William Snodgrass who had arrived in the area as an early pioneer in 1732. Bingo!

We headed to the cemetery, looked around for a bit, and then Travel Buddy headed up to the church to ask the practicing organ player if she knew where the Snodgrass’s were buried. She didn’t, but by the time Travel Buffy returned to tell me so, I had found markers for both William and his wife, Catherine Patterson Snodgrass.

This was no small feat, because William died in 1766. Which means he died a British citizen. This is amazing…and 1766 I do believe is the earliest marker we have found for either of our families. Success!

We stopped back by the church to tell the organist we had found both markers, and she proceeded to tell us about the tavern run by Robert Snodgrass, William’s son. We said we had read about it on the historic site sign, but she continued on, mentioning a few recent events which had been held there. Wait a minute, I interrupted. You mean you can still see this tavern? Yes, she said. It’s just up the road.

So we raced out of there and over to the Snodgrass Tavern! It was closed, so we couldn’t see inside, but that was the place! It turns out that George Washington mentioned the Tavern in his diaries.

Washington was frustrated because although he had paid for room and board, apparently the use of cutlery wasn’t included, forcing him to fetch his own from his saddlebags in the stable! As I said to Travel Buddy: Check it out! Washington really did sleep here!

We’ve got to return to West Virginia someday to research the other locations mentioned earlier, and when we do, we’ll visit the Berkeley County library, as well.

But we definitely won’t discover anything as exciting as this stop!


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