Shepherdstown Town Documents

Below is a list of documents relating to the town history of Shepherdstown, in chronological order. In most cases, we link directly to the document or the earliest known copy of it. If there is a transcription, we also link to that. In cases where “deep-linking” isn’t allowed, there is a link to a search form, along with the search terms needed to locate the document.

  • 3 Oct 1734 — Thomas Shepherd grant of 222 acres by William Gooch, Esq. on the western side of the “Sherrando River. Beging [sic] on the south side of Conhongaluta on the east side of a branch called the Falling Spring below a fall in the said run.” (This is likely the “old patented land” referenced in the description of the 1751 grant, below.) View the grant.
  • 12 Jun 1751 — Thomas Shepherd grant of 457 acres by Lord Fairfax. It adjoins Joseph Chaplin, Jacob Vanmeter and widow Spurgin, and also Thomas Shepherd’s “old patented land.” View the grant.
  • Nov 1762The Town of Mecklenburg is established by the lot purchasers (by town charter). “Whereas… Thomas Shepherd, of the county of Frederick, hath laid off about fifty acres of his land on Potowmack river, in the said county, into lots and streets for a town, and hath disposed of many of the said lots, the purchasers whereof have made their humble application that the said land may be established a town, being pleasantly and commodiously situated for trade and commerce.”
  • Oct 1765 — Thomas Shepherd Ferry to Maryland approved.
  • Nov 1766 — Thomas Shepherd Ferry is discontinued, in a clause buried in “An act for increasing the rates of ferriage at Swan’s Point, James Town, and Crouche’s Creek, and for other purposes therein mentioned.” It is deemed unnecessary because of Thomas Swearingen’s ferry.
  • Nov 1766 — The town of Mecklenburg is granted the right to hold twice-annual Fairs. The Virginia General Assembly granted Mecklenburg the right to hold fairs (markets) for the buying and selling of goods. Fairs were to be held on the second Wednesday in June and in October, and could last two days. During the fairs, people attending the fairs are exempt from arrests and executions, except in the case of capital offenses, breaking of the peace, etc.
  • 15 Jan 1768 — Thomas Shepherd grant of 32 acres by Lord Fairfax. The property adjoins William Brown and Shepherd’s own land. View the grant.
  • Oct 1778 — An act to prohibit Swine from roaming freely in Mecklenburg.
  • 29 Nov 1788 — An act for establishing an inspection of tobacco on the lands of Abraham Shepherd, in the county of Berkeley.
  • 27 Nov 1790 — Before the U.S. settled on Washington, D.C. as its capitol, citizens of Shepherdstown hoped that the “permanent seat of the Federal Government” would be situated directly across the Potomac in Maryland, and include Shepherdstown and Charles Town within the city limits. Other towns were also vying for the honor, and putting up money to help support their cause. Shepherdstown and Charles Town started a subscription to raise funds for the cause.
  • 25 Oct 1793 — Petition to ask for an act authorizing the inhabitants of the town of Mecklenburg to elect seven commissioners with powers to remove various grievances, levy a tax on every tithable within the town, and for other purposes. To view the petition, search for “Shepherdstown” here. [View the transcription]
  • 2 Dec 1793 — An Act concerning the town of Mecklenburg, in the county of Berkeley, and for other purposes was passed, allowing the “freeholders, housekeepers, and free male persons, above the age of twenty-one years” to elect seven men as trustees of the town.
  • 1798 — Mecklenburg is renamed “Shepherds Town,” according to Historic Shepherdstown, p. 283. “In 1798,” says Mr. Cartmell, “by an Act of Assembly it was given the name of Shepherd’s Town, in honor of its founder, at which time additions to the town were made, and the town assumed all the rights of incorporation granted by the act of Assembly Dec. 2, 1793.” However, in the act itself, at least the printed version of it, the new town name is “Shepherdstown.”
  • 9 Oct 1970 — National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form, Shepherd’s Mill registration,” prepared by Clifford M. Lewis, S. J., certified 9 October 1970; digital image, West Virginia Division of Culture and History.