County Seat: Berkeley Springs
Year Organized: 1820
Square Miles: 229
PO Box 28
In honor of General Daniel Morgan, Revolutionary War
County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts
Morgan County was created by an act of the Virginia General Assembly in March 1820 from parts of Berkeley and Hampshire counties. It was named in honor of General Daniel Morgan (1736-1802).
Daniel Morgan was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and moved to Winchester, Virginia as a youth. He served in Braddock's Army during the campaign against the Indians in 1755 and after the army's defeat retired to his farm. When the American Revolutionary War broke out, he was commissioned a Captain of the Virginia riflemen in July 1775. He fought in several battles, was promoted to General, and was awarded a gold star by the Continental Congress for his victory at the Battle of Cowpens in 1781. After the war concluded, he returned to his farm near Winchester. He was called out of retirement in 1794 and put in command of the Virginia military during the Whiskey Rebellion that was suppressed that year. In 1797, he was elected to the US House of Representatives and served there for two years before retiring due to ill health. He died in Winchester on July 6, 1802.
The first English settlers in the county arrived during the 1730s. Because most of these early pioneers were squatters, there is no record of their names. Historians claim that the first cabin in the county was built around 1745. As word of the county's warm springs spread eastward, Lord Fairfax decided that the county needed to be surveyed. George Washington was a member of the survey party that arrived at the present site of Berkeley Springs, the county seat, on March 18, 1748.
Berkeley Springs became a health resort largely due to George Washington's efforts to promote the area among his friends. He revisited the area several times with his family. When he vacationed in the area in 1767, he noted how busy the town had become. Lord Fairfax had built a summer home there and a "private bath" and the social life was rated as quite pleasant. The Virginia General Assembly established the town as Bath in October 1776, naming it for the spa city called Bath in England. The town's population jumped during and immediately after the American Revolutionary War as wounded soldiers and others came to the area believing that the warm springs had medicinal qualities. The town was later known as Berkeley Springs, primarily because the town's post office took that name (combining Governor Norborne Berkeley's last name with the warm springs found there) because another post office, located in southeastern Virginia, was already called Bath. Since the mail was sent to and from Berkeley Springs, that name came into use.
It is said that Berkeley Springs was well known among the Indians long before the white men arrived and that the valley was considered a neutral zone where Indians could come and bath in the springs without fear of attack, even from the most mortal of enemies.
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