Did you know…

1. Jefferson County was formed because residents in the far corner of the county felt their then-county seat, Berkeley County’s Martinsburg, was too far away.

2. It was the second county in Virginia named after Thomas Jefferson, the first was taken to form Kentucky.

3. After West Virginia succeeded from Virginia, the Old Dominion was left without a county named for its favorite son.

4. Harpers Ferry is the lowest point in the state.

5. The county courthouse was the site of John Brown’s trial after the failed raid on Harper’s Ferry.

6. It’s the only courthouse in America to have hosted two treason trials. The second trial followed the 1922 Battle of Blair Mountain in the southern part of the state.


7. One of the people who witnessed John Brown’s hanging was John Wilkes Booth. He was a cadet at Virginia Military Institute and was marched up as witnesses.

8. It was the only county in West Virginia not exempt from the Emancipation Proclamation.

9. Charles Town is closer to four state capitals than its own: Harrisburg, Pa., Richmond, Va., Annapolis, Md., and Dover, Delaware, are all closer than Charleston.

10. It’s named after George Washington’s brother Charles.

11. Bolivar was originally called Mudfort, but citizens chose to change the name when it petitioned for a charter in 1825.

12. It’s named for South American Revolutionary hero Simon Bolivar, who helped establish independence for Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia.

13. Only 1.74% of the county is Hispanic or Latino, however.


14. Jefferson County is one of only two counties in the state to have only one other West Virginia as a border. The other is Hancock County, at the top of the Northern Panhandle.

15. The town of Ranson was named after Dr. James Ranson, a dentist and farmer who lived in the area at the time of its founding in 1910.

16. Shepherdstown may be the oldest town in the entire state. It was charted by the Virginia General Assembly in 1762.

17. That claim to fame is challenged by Romney, which was chartered the same year.

18. The state’s first newspaper, The Potomac Guardian and Berkley Advertiser, was published in Shepherdstown in the 1790’s.

19. The school that became Shepherd University began after the county seat moved from Shepherdstown to Charles Town in 1871.


20. There are 25 Jefferson Counties in the U.S. That means half of all states in America have a county named after our third president.

21. In 2000, Shepherdstown hosted international peace talks between Israel and Syria.

22. Seven homes in the county were established by members of George Washington’s family.

23. From 1972 to 2007, the county has only one high school. Thanks to population growth, a second school was added in 2007.

24. It’s one of only 11 counties expected to gain population by 2030, according to numbers from WVU (PDF).

KEEP READING: 23 Things You Didn’t Know About Berkeley County

CORRECTION: We incorrectly identified the capital of Delaware. But to be fair we didn’t know Delaware existed until we researched this post.