My name is Glenda Thompson and I'm the volunteer county coordinator for the Hampshire County site of the WVGenWeb project, which is part of the USGenWeb Project. Cheryl Singhal was the previous county coordinator. We hope you find this site useful for your research.

Read "About" The WVGenWeb Project.
Read "About" The USGenWeb Project.

Hampshire County "Pedigree"

By Cheryl Singhal

Hampshire county has an interesting pedigree. Of course, so does much of West Virginia!

Reciting this pedigree begins to sound like the commercial where the fast-talking spokesman shoves 60 seconds of speech into a 15 second spot, but here we go ---

In 1603, when the first English settlers arrived at Jamestown, Hampshire county was Indian ... Shawnee, Mingo, Tuskarora, a few Huron, a few Cherokee ... hunting grounds.

It successively became:

  • Essex (b 1692 from Old Rappannock [d 1692])
  • King & Queen (b 1691 from New Kent b 1654)
  • King William (b 1701 from King and Queen)
  • Spotsylvania County (b 1720)
  • Augusta District
  • West Augusta District
  • Orange County (b 1734)
  • Frederick County (b 1738)
  • Hampshire County (b 1753)

Outline Map 1 Outline Map 2

Hampshire County then subdivided into Morgan County (1820) which was actually part of Hampshire and part of Berkeley County, Mineral County (1866), Grant County (1866) and Hardy County (1785).

Meanwhile, Hampshire County moved from Virginia to West Virginia in 1862.

The moral of this tale is, if you find your man named in the right time period anywhere in Virginia, you need to check the actual physical location of the place. A land grant in what is now Hampshire County might very well show up in a list of Old Rappannock or Spotsylvania County deeds, apparently miles removed from Hampshire County. In the past there was apparently no uniform way of citing a source; thus some books will say "bought land in Hampshire County in 1730" or "was living in Hampshire County in 1818" when in point of fact in 1730 the land was technically in Frederick county and in 1820 the land ended up in Morgan county. This too may affect your search pattern.

Today, Hampshire County is located at the wrist of the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, in the foothills of the Alleghany mountain range.

Our major industry is fruit -- orchards to grow it and packing houses to distribute it. Other industries include a shoe factory for a nationally known brand, and a clothing factory.

Our County Seat, Romney, is home to the West Virginia State Schools for the Deaf and Blind.

Each fall, Romney holds a Heritage Festival. In the fall of 1997, the Festival marked the 265th year of our charter. The Annual Hampshire Heritage Days usually occur on the first full weekend of September. Events in the past have included parades, displays, food, tours, musical shows, food, Arts shows, dancing, a 10 K run, food, antique cars, military encampments, food, craft shows, fashions of the past, and more food.

Romney is also home to one of the oldest continuously published newspapers in the state, The Hampshire Review and South Branch Intelligencer.

Neighboring WVGenWeb and MDGenWeb Counties

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