Jefferson County Museum

Jefferson County Museum Visit the Jefferson County Museum to discover the people and events that helped shape our county's and nation's history.
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The Jefferson County Museum is located in historic downtown Charles Town and shares a building with its partner organization, the Charles Town Library. Since its founding in 1965, the museum has been dedicated to fostering the understanding and love of history. The museum is committed to the acquisition, preservation, and exhibition of objects of historical value and relevance to the county and the region. Our permanent exhibits include Early Settlement and the Washingtons, John Brown's Raid and the Civil War, People and Industries, and Jefferson County Photos: Then and Now. We add new exhibits to our gallery each winter, and reveal these when we reopen to the public in the early spring.

Mission: The Jefferson County Museum is dedicated to fostering the understanding and love of history. The museum is committed to the acquisition, preservation, and exhibition of objects of historical value and relevance to the county and the region.

#FlashbackFriday to the Spirit of Jefferson printing office, located at 110 East Washington Street in Charles Town. Aisq...
05/22/2020

#FlashbackFriday to the Spirit of Jefferson printing office, located at 110 East Washington Street in Charles Town. Aisquith & Company Pharmacists can be seen on the left. Photograph undated.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

Jefferson County Museum's cover photo
05/20/2020

Jefferson County Museum's cover photo

Jefferson County Museum's cover photo
05/20/2020

Jefferson County Museum's cover photo

History sleuths! Can you guess what today’s #MysteryObject was used for?
05/19/2020

History sleuths! Can you guess what today’s #MysteryObject was used for?

Congratulations to all the graduates of Jefferson County this year!Let's #FlashbackFriday to two graduates of St. Hilda’...
05/15/2020

Congratulations to all the graduates of Jefferson County this year!

Let's #FlashbackFriday to two graduates of St. Hilda’s Hall. Margaret Beverley Taylor or Julianna Taylor on right.

St. Hilda’s Hall was a school for girls opened by the auspices of the Episcopal Diocese in 1915. The building formerly housed the Powhatan College for Young Women (between 1900 to 1913) and Hotel Powhatan (between 1891 to 1900). St. Hilda’s closed in 1931 and the building burned to the ground in 1937.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

#DYK though the museum may currently be closed due to COVID-19, you can view our collection online! Search the museum’s ...
05/12/2020
Jefferson County Museum : Online Collections

#DYK though the museum may currently be closed due to COVID-19, you can view our collection online! Search the museum’s collection of objects, images, documents, and publications through our online collection database at http://jeffcomuseumwv.pastperfectonline.com.

Browse through uniforms, business products, household objects, weaponry, photographs, and documents, including business and legal records, correspondence, deeds and plats, maps, diaries, pamphlets, newspapers, and school yearbooks.

This database provides access to the Jefferson County Museum's collection of objects, photographs, archives, and published material related to the history of the county.

Shaken not stirred!  This silver-plated cocktail shaker and accompanying tumblers belonged to Franklin Waters Trapnell, ...
05/08/2020

Shaken not stirred! This silver-plated cocktail shaker and accompanying tumblers belonged to Franklin Waters Trapnell, who ordered the set while working undercover for the CIA. His job was to ferret out scientists from behind Iron Curtain countries and send them to the United States.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

Paradise was an antebellum home located on the west side of the 100 block of North George Street in Charles Town. Built ...
05/05/2020

Paradise was an antebellum home located on the west side of the 100 block of North George Street in Charles Town. Built before the Civil War, the house had a number of amenities including a cistern, wood-house, stable, carriage house, and corn crib. In addition to its amenities, someone built a two-story stone office building on the north side of Paradise, known locally as the Paradise Law Building.

In 1860, attorney Lawson Botts owned Paradise and operated an office in the Paradise Law Building. Botts established a precedent. When attorney Isaac Fouke purchased Paradise, he also took an office at the Paradise Building. In 1874, Fouke decided to offer office space to professionals other than attorneys. He made repairs—replaced the old leaking roof and laid a brick sidewalk along George Street to the corner of Liberty Street.

Paradise made it to the 20th century, but new brick walls and the mansard roof could not hide its lack of modern conveniences. After Fouke’s death in 1887, the house passed hands between family members until eventually the property was sold to Captain Henry Clay Getzendanner who tore down Paradise in 1910.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty #Paradise

05/01/2020
African American Women's Experiences in Jefferson County: 1930s to 1960s

Did you miss our panel discussion, “African American Women’s Experiences in Jefferson County: 1930s to 1960s,” last October? You can watch a recording of the event below. And explore our YouTube page for more videos!

Recording of panel discussion, "African American Women's Experiences in Jefferson County: 1930s to 1960s," at the Jefferson County Museum on October 26, 2019.

Between 1918 and 1919, an influenza pandemic spread around the world infecting approximately one-third of the world’s on...
04/29/2020

Between 1918 and 1919, an influenza pandemic spread around the world infecting approximately one-third of the world’s one and a half billion inhabitants. Jefferson County was not immune to this infection.

In October 1918, the Shepherdstown Register reported that “the influenza seems to have first appeared in our community.” Town mayors quickly responded in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. Mayors shut down local schools. Churches suspended conducting funerals. Businesses closed early.

The health system was overwhelmed. Charles Town General Hospital, serving all of Jefferson County, was full of sick people. But most who were stricken stayed at home, forcing doctors and health care workers to navigate mostly unpaved roads as they traveled from house to house tending to dozens of patients daily.

Just as quickly as the influenza appeared, it seemed to diminish. After four weeks of quarantine, schools reopened. Churches opened their doors. Merchants could stay open on Saturday nights as long as they wanted to. Things returned to normal.

However, just a few weeks later, the influenza swept through the county once again. Instead of a general quarantine for the entire county, the Board of Health asked only for those sick to quarantine in their homes. Nevertheless, by the end of 1918, almost every household in Jefferson County was touched by the influenza.

Photograph shows an emergency hospital during influenza epidemic, Camp Funston, Kansas. Courtesy of Otis Historical Archives, National Museum of Health and Medicine.

Our #ObjectoftheDay is a small, bound notebook, ca. 1890. Do you notice anything odd about the front cover? It’s actuall...
04/28/2020

Our #ObjectoftheDay is a small, bound notebook, ca. 1890. Do you notice anything odd about the front cover? It’s actually a wooden engraving that has been cut and textured to appear like natural wood! The engraving overlays the original red leather cover of the notebook.

Celebrate #EarthDay with a nice picnic under the trees! This watercolor, ca. 1825, shows a view of Shannondale Springs a...
04/22/2020

Celebrate #EarthDay with a nice picnic under the trees! This watercolor, ca. 1825, shows a view of Shannondale Springs and the Shenandoah River.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

#DYK, Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop, a Charles Town native, was the first female African American thoroughbred horse trainer in...
04/21/2020

#DYK, Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop, a Charles Town native, was the first female African American thoroughbred horse trainer in the United States.

As a teenager, Bishop started grooming and exercising horses. After years of experience, Bishop applied for and received a license to train thoroughbred horses in the state of West Virginia. Horses in Bishop’s stable raced principally at half-mile tracks—venues like Charles Town and Shenandoah Downs—and the tracks on the Maryland Fair Racing Circuit—Hagerstown Fairgrounds, Timonium, and Marlboro Racecourse.

For most of her professional lifetime, Sylvia Bishop did not receive acclaim as a ground-breaker in the thoroughbred racing industry. As her training career began to wind down, in February 1991, Bishop was finally acknowledged as the “nation’s first black woman trainer” at the 2nd Annual African-American Heritage Society’s tribute to African American horsemen and horsewomen held at the Pimlico Sports Palace in Baltimore. In 2008, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Charles Town Races.

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Photograph below shows Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop, second from left, with winning horse “Bright Gem,” on August 19, 1963.

#FlashbackFriday to 5th grade students at Ranson School standing outside the Ranson Post Office, c. 1909-1910. #localhis...
04/17/2020

#FlashbackFriday to 5th grade students at Ranson School standing outside the Ranson Post Office, c. 1909-1910.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

#DYK, the first American Legion post in Jefferson County was established in Shepherdstown in 1919. On November 10, 1919,...
04/13/2020

#DYK, the first American Legion post in Jefferson County was established in Shepherdstown in 1919. On November 10, 1919, twenty-five discharged Shepherdstown soldiers met and formed the Potomac Post of the American Legion, the 27th American Legion Post established in West Virginia.

Congress established the American Legion in 1919 to foster patriotism and to provide support to veterans. The West Virginia Department of the American Legion got its start in May 1919, and by October 1920 there were 108 Posts and 8 Auxiliaries up and running across the Mountain State. Similar to other fraternal organizations in 1920, the American Legion was segregated. Twelve of the 108 West Virginia Posts were established by African American veterans.

Photograph shows the Register Building on German Street in Shepherdstown, built in 1894 by the Register’s Editor and Proprietor, Harry Lambright Snyder. Potomac Post 27’s Club Room was on the third floor and was open to members on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Snyder’s son, Sergeant William Baldwin Snyder, was Potomac Post’s Historian.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty #AmericanLegion

#DYK though the museum may currently be closed due to COVID-19, you can view some of our exhibits online! Visit the link...
04/09/2020
Jefferson County Museum: Virtual Exhibits

#DYK though the museum may currently be closed due to COVID-19, you can view some of our exhibits online! Visit the link below to see three NEW exhibits: “Jefferson County Churches—Then & Now,” “Four Who Served in World War II,” and “100 Years of Dolls.”

http://jeffcomuseumwv.org/virtual_exhibit/index.htm

“Jefferson County Churches—Then & Now” features photographs of 22 Jefferson County churches from the late 19th century to the present, showing both older and recent images.

“Four Who Served in World War II” focused on four Jefferson County individuals who served in the United States military in World War II: Frank P. Bane, Madalean Lawson McIver, Lucy Rosenberger Milton, and Edward H. Thornton.

“100 Years of Dolls” displays dolls from the museum collection that illustrate the use of various materials in doll-making: fabric, papier-mâché, porcelain, composition, and plastics.

Do you know what today’s #MysteryObject was used for?
04/07/2020

Do you know what today’s #MysteryObject was used for?

#FlashbackFriday to a horse and buggy on West Washington Street in Charles Town. #localhistory #JeffersonCounty
04/03/2020

#FlashbackFriday to a horse and buggy on West Washington Street in Charles Town.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

#DYK, Western Union was a telecommunications company, founded in 1851, that provided telegraphic services across the Uni...
03/31/2020

#DYK, Western Union was a telecommunications company, founded in 1851, that provided telegraphic services across the United States. Today we get local, national, and world news from a variety of sources. At the turn of the century, newspapers were the number one source of information, but “instant news” was the domain of the telegraph. Baseball scores. Spring and fall election results. All were relayed via telegraph.

In October of 1896, John Wesley (J. W.) Kyle, native of Roanoke, Virginia, became the new Charles Town Western Union agent. The enterprising Kyle quickly immersed himself in the day-to-day life of his adoptive home. In the summer of 1897, the Charles Town Cycler’s Club was formed. In addition to competing in cycling meets, Kyle was elected the club’s Treasurer.

Photograph shows James Wesley Kyle, taken in 1898 looking north up George Street. When J. W. Kyle became the agent, the Lawyer's Building behind the Court House was headquarters for Western Union and can be seen on the right side of the photograph. Notice that the tree to Kyle's left has boards tied to it. This prevented horses like the one hitched on the left from chewing on the tree’s bark.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty #WesternUnion

#FlashbackFriday to Charles Baylor and Leonard Baylor in front of the cornerstone of an addition built by their father, ...
03/27/2020

#FlashbackFriday to Charles Baylor and Leonard Baylor in front of the cornerstone of an addition built by their father, E. E. Baylor, to the Lewis Anthony Library on Storer College campus in 1953. Eugene E. Baylor was a Jefferson County building contractor and minister at Sylvannah Baptist Church in Rippon.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

#DYK the Appleland Band was a local instrumental band created “for the inspiration and entertainment of music lovers” in...
03/25/2020

#DYK the Appleland Band was a local instrumental band created “for the inspiration and entertainment of music lovers” in Jefferson County. The band played at indoor and outdoor concerts, banquets, and festivals around the county and donated proceeds to support community projects. Band events were often sponsored by local clubs and organizations, including the Jackson-Perks American Legion Post, the Junior Woman’s Club, and the Harpers Ferry-Bolivar Lions Club.

The photograph below shows the Appleland Band playing at a hospital dedication in Ranson, October 3, 1948.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty #MuseumAtHome #MuseumFromHome

History sleuths, we need your help! Do you know what this #mysteryobject is? Our historian believes it may be a woman’s ...
03/20/2020

History sleuths, we need your help! Do you know what this #mysteryobject is? Our historian believes it may be a woman’s buckle or clasp for a cloth belt and/or sash. What do you think?

2020 Opening Reception & New Exhibits
03/18/2020

2020 Opening Reception & New Exhibits

***ATTENTION***In light of continued precautions in Jefferson County to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, the Jeffe...
03/17/2020

***ATTENTION***

In light of continued precautions in Jefferson County to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, the Jefferson County Museum will be closed to the public until the current health situation changes.

We will continue to watch current developments in the state and region, as well as local organizations, including Jefferson County Public Schools, to determine the appropriate time to reopen our doors to the public.

A reminder! The Jefferson County Museum WILL hold its opening reception today from 1 to 4 pm with the caveats below. We ...
03/14/2020

A reminder! The Jefferson County Museum WILL hold its opening reception today from 1 to 4 pm with the caveats below.

We welcome friends and supporters and look forward to showing our new exhibits. However, given the situation with coronavirus, we ask that the following people not attend:

--high-risk persons
--anyone not feeling well
--anyone who has been exposed to a person with flu-like symptoms
--anyone who has been exposed to a person who has recently visited an area or country with cases of COVID-19
--anyone concerned about being part of a gathering

We ask that persons who attend use only non-touch greetings.

For those of you who cannot attend, we urge you to visit the museum and see our new exhibits later in the season (11-4, Tue - Sat).

We wish all of you good health.

Did you know that Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop, a native of Charles Town, was the first licensed female African American thoro...
03/05/2020

Did you know that Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop, a native of Charles Town, was the first licensed female African American thoroughbred trainer in the United States? Or that Vesta Watters Jones, born in Charles Town in 1901, was the first female rural mail carrier in West Virginia and among the first in the United States?

Find out more about these women in our new exhibit, “Six Notable Jefferson County Women.” The museum is hosting a FREE opening reception Saturday, March 14, from 1 to 4 pm. Come to see the new exhibits and enjoy refreshments from Alfredo’s Mediterranean Grille.

The telegram below was sent by the Shepherdstown Suffrage Association to Milton Burr, a Charles Town businessman who rep...
03/02/2020

The telegram below was sent by the Shepherdstown Suffrage Association to Milton Burr, a Charles Town businessman who represented Jefferson County in the West Virginia Senate during the legislative session considering the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Burr received telegrams from Jefferson County and across the country encouraging him to vote for or against the amendment.

Our new exhibit, “100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage,” opening March 14, gives a brief look into the local and national women’s suffrage movement through propaganda, photographs, newspaper articles, and telegrams from the museum’s collection.

#InternationalWomensDay #localhistory #JeffersonCounty

It’s almost the weekend which means it’s time for a fancy dress party! This hand-colored Victorian engraving #fromourcol...
02/28/2020

It’s almost the weekend which means it’s time for a fancy dress party! This hand-colored Victorian engraving #fromourcollection shows six girls and one boy dressed in fancy attire.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

#DYK the building below was the site of a hotel and two different women’s schools? The Powhatan Hotel, also known as Wor...
02/25/2020

#DYK the building below was the site of a hotel and two different women’s schools?

The Powhatan Hotel, also known as Wormley’s Inn, was built in 1892 on 3rd Avenue in Ranson. The hotel was founded by James T. Wormley, son of James Wormley, a prominent African American hotelier in Washington, D.C.

The hotel later became the site of the Powhatan College for Young Women in 1900 and then St. Hilda’s Hall in 1915.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

Need a warm cup of tea on this cold day? This intricately designed tea set #fromourcollection features a weeping cherry ...
02/21/2020

Need a warm cup of tea on this cold day? This intricately designed tea set #fromourcollection features a weeping cherry tree with pink blossoms. It was used by a Jefferson County resident.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

#ThrowbackThursday to local residents in costume for the Jefferson County Sesquicentennial held in 1951. The photograph ...
02/13/2020

#ThrowbackThursday to local residents in costume for the Jefferson County Sesquicentennial held in 1951. The photograph was taken on the west porch of Harewood, the home of Samuel Washington.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

History sleuths, do you know what today’s #MysteryObject is? The body is tin and the handle and head are made of wood. #...
02/10/2020

History sleuths, do you know what today’s #MysteryObject is? The body is tin and the handle and head are made of wood.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

“One of the greatest meetings that American Negroes ever held…” –W.E.B. DuBois #DYK in 1906 Storer College in Harpers Fe...
02/03/2020

“One of the greatest meetings that American Negroes ever held…” –W.E.B. DuBois

#DYK in 1906 Storer College in Harpers Ferry hosted the second conference of the Niagara Movement, a civil rights group formed by Dr. W.E.B. Dubois and other African Americans to combat the debilitating racism imposed by Jim Crow-era laws. The organization was a forerunner of the NAACP, formed in 1909.

#BlackHistoryMonth #localhistory #JeffersonCounty

What to know more about the Niagara Movement? Visit: https://www.nps.gov/articles/niagara-movement-cornerstone-of-the-modern-civil-rights-movement.htm

#OnThisDay in 1951, a truck carrying 14 tons of dynamite caught on fire and exploded along Route 340, near Halltown. The...
02/01/2020

#OnThisDay in 1951, a truck carrying 14 tons of dynamite caught on fire and exploded along Route 340, near Halltown. The explosion created an eight-foot-deep hole in the highway and resulted in the death of one individual. Homes in the surrounding area suffered damage with effects of the explosion being felt as far away as Knoxville, Maryland, where the large front window of the Post Office was broken.

#localhistory #JeffersonCounty

Address

200 E Washington St
Charles Town, WV
25414

General information

JEFFERSON COUNTY MUSEUM CLOSED In light of recent federal and state emergency declarations regarding COVID-19, the Jefferson County Museum is closed indefinitely. We regret not being able to welcome you to the museum and hope you will visit again once restrictions are lifted. In the interim, to contact museum staff with research questions or other matters, please use staff email addresses posted here. To view our collection, visit our Online Collection Database. Open Tues through Sat 11am to 4pm Regular admission: Adults - $4 Children (under 18) - Free Students (with ID) - Free Members of the Charles Town Library - Free

Opening Hours

Tuesday 11:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 11:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(304) 725-8628

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Jefferson County Museum posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Category

About the Jefferson County Museum

The Jefferson County Museum is located in historic downtown Charles Town and shares a building with its partner organization, the Charles Town Library. Since its founding in 1965, the museum has been dedicated to fostering the understanding and love of history. The museum is committed to the acquisition, preservation, and exhibition of objects of historical value and relevance to the county and the region. Our permanent exhibits include Early Settlement and the Washingtons, John Brown's Raid and the Civil War, People and Industries, and Jefferson County Photos: Then and Now. We add new exhibits to our gallery each winter, and reveal these when we reopen to the public in the early spring.

Nearby museums


Comments

#tdih (Oct. 16, 1859) Remembering John Brown’s raid on the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry. His soul is marching on!
I am coming for a visit Friday...can't wait to see the new layout!
His soul is (still) marching on! John Brown musical tribute- https://soundcloud.com/user660132316/glory-glory-john-brown-tribute
Thanks for inviting me to join. The "sometimes" boyfriend has a second home in Shepherdstown. We really like it up there. 💞😇
Thanks for hosting a wonderful evening for us last night, and for everyone who attended. Two of our guest speakers collaborated on this delightful rendition of "Cotton Eye Joe."
Info on Vestal Bloomery:
CALL FOR EASTERN PANHANDLE COMMUNITY INFO 100,000 Poets For Change Sat, Sept 30th, 10AM-3PM The Timber Frame Folly, Shepherdstown ...is providing a COMMUNITY TABLE for info - brochures, rack cards, flyers... Please submit the your organization’s material with a ROCK to hold secure against breezes (business cards can be placed in baggie) DROP OFF: PANERA, Ranson, Thursday, Sept 28th, 4 -5 PM Or CONTACT: for other arrangements - [email protected] Thanks.