CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia may be one of the younger states in the U.S., but its history runs much deeper than that, with some of its cities dating back to before the U.S. was even a country.
Here are two of the cities in what would become West Virginia that are older than the United States of America.
While not chartered as a city until 1785, the settlement of Morgantown—originally known as Fort Morgan—was founded by Zackquill Morgan in 1772 and was built as part of a fort system used by the English following the French and Indian War. The location provided a tactical advantage to the English being near the edge of what was then known as the Colony of Virginia, which would receive statehood 16 years later following the conclusion of the American Revolution.
Despite not being chartered until after the Declaration of Independence, Morgantown still predates Virginia’s existence as a state as the Virginian government did not ratify the Constitution until 1788, per Britannica
Founded decades prior to the American Revolution, the settlement known as Harpers Ferry was settled by a man named Peter Stephens in 1733 who held the area—then known as Peter’s Hole, per nps.gov—by way of “squatter’s rights.” Stephens’ rights were eventually purchased by a man named Robert Harper in 1747. Harper—whom the now-standing city is named after—established his own ferry across the Potomac River in 1761, leading the Virginia General Assembly to officially charter the town of “Shenandoah Falls at Mr. Harper’s Ferry,” per harpersferrywv.us.
The name of Harper’s Ferry was actually the third official name that the town had as the name was shortened to Shenandoah Falls just after the American Revolution and then finally incorporated in 1851 under the name Harper’s Ferry, per nps.gov.