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West Virginia

West Virginia History Timeline

  • (1607) Virginia Colony established by England
  • (1669) German John Lederer and companions reached crest of Blue Ridge Mountains, became first Europeans to see (current) West Virginia; French explorer, Robert de La Salle, explored Ohio River, made landings at sites in (current) West Virginia
  • (1671) Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam led English expedition, claimed lands for England
  • (1712) Baron Christopher DeGraffenreid searched for land for Swiss families in Eastern Panhandle
  • (1722) Families allowed to live rent-free for ten years on land owned by state; Iroquois Indians surrendered claims to lands south of Ohio River, included areas in Eastern Panhandle
  • (1725) Fur traders explored western Appalachians; northern part of western Virginia explored by trader John Van Nehne
  • (1730) Land grants in West Virginia made to Isaac and John Van Meter
  • (1731) Welshman Morgan Morgan established first settlement in West Virginia near Bunker Hill
  • (1732) German, Welsh, Scotch-Irish pioneers settled in western Virginia
  • (1742) Coal discovered at Coal River; first iron furnace constructed on Shenandoah River
  • (1744) Indians of Six Nations ceded territory to English between Allegheny Mountains and Ohio River
  • (1748) George Washington surveyed land in western Virginia for Lord Fairfax; Harpers Ferry began passenger service across Shenandoah River
  • (1754 - 1763) French and Indian War took place
  • (1755) General Braddock led army through West Virginia counties enroute to Pittsburgh, suffered defeat by French and Indians; settlement of Draper's Meadows in New River area attacked by Shawnee Indians, nearly all settlers killed or captured
  • (1763) British government forbade occupation of lands west of Allegheny Mountains
  • (1768) Iroquois ceded lands north of Little Kanawha River to British in Treaty of Stanwix; first flood of Ohio River recorded
  • (1771) Natural gas discovered in Kanawha Valley
  • (1772) George Clark explored Ohio, Kanawha Rivers
  • (1774) William Morris, Sr. became first permanent English settler in Kanawha County; Battle of Point Pleasant between Virginia settlers, militia and Indian tribes occurred, Virginians won, Indians gave up much of disputed land
  • (1776) West Virginia residents petitioned Continental Congress for separate government
  • (1777) Indian wars resume; Chief Cornstalk, his son, Chief Red Hawk murdered by whites at Fort Randolph
  • (1782) Battle of Fort Henry in Wheeling called "last battle of Revolutionary War"; Fort Henry attacked by Indians and British
  • (1784) Mason Dixon line agreed to as border of Virginia, Pennsylvania
  • (1791) Daniel Boone elected delegate to Virginia Assembly
  • (1794) Indian attacks halted at Fallen Timbers by "Mad Anthony" Wayne


  • (1806) First salt well drilled in Great Kanawha Valley
  • (1810) West Virginia protested unequal representation in Virginia legislature; oil discovered
  • (1815) Nation's first national gas well discovered at Charlestown by James Wilson
  • (1818) Cumberland (National) road completed from Cumberland, Maryland to Wheeling; first commercial coal mine near Fairmont opened
  • (1829) Counties west of Allegheny Mountains protested constitution that favored slave-holding counties
  • (1830) The Wheeling Gazette proposed separation of western Virginia from eastern Virginia
  • (1831) Slavery debates enhanced political divisions
  • (1833) 23 killed in one day by cholera epidemic
  • (1835) John Templeton, John Moore, Stanley Cuthbert, Ellen Ritchie charged with teaching blacks
  • (1836) First railroad reached Harpers Ferry
  • (1847) First telegraph line in state reached Wheeling
  • (1849) Wheeling Bridge completed
  • (1852) B & O Railroad from Baltimore to Wheeling completed (was longest railroad in world - 370 miles)
  • (1854) Wheeling Bridge destroyed by high winds
  • (1859) Abolitionist John Brown conducted raids on federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry to end slavery; John Brown hung in Charleston
  • (1861 - 1865) Civil War began
  • (1861) West Virginia refused to secede from Union, separated from Virginia; West Virginia sent 32,000 soldiers to Union army, 10,000 to Confederates; first land battle of Civil War fought at Philippi; Wheeling Convention met, named western part of Virginia Kanawha; Union troops burned town of Guyandotte; Wheeling Convention reconvened, named new state West Virginia
  • (1862) Voters approved new Constitution for West Virginia; new legislature petitioned U. S. Congress for statehood admission; Union troops defeated Confederates at Lewisburg; bill passed by West Virginia Senate allowed gradual emancipation of slaves; Battle of Charleston took place, city occupied by Union troops

West Virginia Photographs

wheeling covered bridgewheeling bridgeblue ridge mountainshatfield clanWheeling Viewmail pouchcoal riverfallen timbersharper's ferryharper's ferrynew river bridge

West Virginia Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Philippi Barbour 304
Martinsburg Berkeley 304
Danville Boone 304
Sutton Braxton 304
Wellsburg Brooke 304
Huntington Cabell 304
Grantsville Calhoun 304
Duck Clay 304
West Union Doddridge 304
Oak Hill Fayette 304
Glenville Gilmer 304
Petersburg Grant 304
Lewisburg Greenbrier 304
Romney Hampshire 304
Weirton Hancock 304
Moorefield Hardy 304
Clarksburg Harrison 304
Ripley Jackson 304
Charles Town Jefferson 304
Charleston Kanawha 304
Weston Lewis 304
Branchland Lincoln 304
Chapmanville Logan 304
Fairmont Marion 304
Moundsville Marshall 304
Point Pleasant Mason 304
Welch McDowell 304
Princeton Mercer 304
Keyser Mineral 304
Williamson Mingo 304
Morgantown Monongalia 304
Peterstown Monroe 304
Berkeley Springs Morgan 304
Summersville Nicholas 304
Wheeling Ohio 304
Franklin Pendleton 304
Saint Marys Pleasants 304
Marlinton Pocahontas 304
Bruceton Mills Preston 304
Hurricane Putnam 304
Beckley Raleigh 304
Elkins Randolph 304
Pennsboro Ritchie 304
Spencer Roane 304
Hinton Summers 304
Grafton Taylor 304
Parsons Tucker 304
Sistersville Tyler 304
Buckhannon Upshur 304
Huntington Wayne 304
Webster Springs Webster 304
New Martinsville Wetzel 304
Elizabeth Wirt 304
Parkersburg Wood 304
Oceana Wyoming 304

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.