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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
October 3, 2012     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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October 3, 2012

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pirit of JEFFERSON and FARMER'S ADVOCATE [NJ eWS Wednesday, October 3, 2012 ROBERT SNYDER Gerrardstown was once a bustling community with taverns, stores, lawyers' and doctors' offices and other businesses. Now a bedroom community, the Berkeley County village is marking its 225th year with a free community celebration this weekend and next. Gerrardstown FROM PAGE A1 ~after Washington's death, the Hayes-Gerrard House still can -be seen on the site of its con- .,struction in 1742. Don Wood, -the late Berkeley County histo- ,rian, described the home as one of the oldest known structures in the county. Fully restored for the nation's ,bicentennial in 1976, the build- ,ing that sits alongside Dominion Road is a unique piece of pio- ,neer history situated amid hectic "21st-century life. W.Va. 51 is a -stone's throw away and Inwood ,and busy Interstate 81 are just three miles east. When Washington visited, the .area at the base of North Moun- tain was called Middletown and ,was known as the home of the -first Baptist church established west of the Blue Ridge. Nothing ,bf the church remains, though :.a stone marker situated behind "the Hayes-Gerrard House shows .where it once stood. This year marks the 225th an- .;niversary of Gerrardstown's :founding. Members of the Vir- ~ginia House of Burgesses for- anally incorporated the village on Nov. 22, 1787. '~ , Labeling the hamlet "Ger- rardstown" made sense both to eliminate confusion created by multiple Middletowns in Virgin- ,~a and to honor the Gerrard fam- ,ily. After the Rev. John Ger- rard died on Aug. 19, 1787, his son inherited a massive tract of land, including what today is the downtown section of Gerrard- ~town. Hoping to encourage more settlers, the Rev. David Ger- i:ard designed a town made up ~40 lots, each measuring 100 feet long and 60 feet wide. Thanks also to the area's proximity to .Mills Gap, a natural gatewiay for travelers headed west over North Mountain, the town did prosper. It eventually boasted taverns, a tannery, lumber mill, wagon maker, two blacksmith shops, physicians' and lawyers' offices, a newspaper, an under- baker's and other shops. ' At one time, Gerrardstown was home to five country stores, according to Don Silvius of the Berkeley County Historical So- ciety. Today, the one established ~n 1867 at the intersection of Dominion Road and W.Va. 51, ~s open?seven days a week, sell- ing coffee, sandwiches, lottery ~ickets, newspapers, cold beer ~md other fare, along with lots of ice cream and candy for the neighb0rhood's sweet-toothed youngsters. But the railroad never came through Gerrardstown, which kept the village from experi- encing the kind of development seen in nearby towns and cit- ies such as Inwood, Martinsburg and Winchester. It instead mor- phed into an agricultural mec- ca; home to small farmers and to orchards where thousands of bushels of apples and peaches would be harvested each year. Today, Gerrardstown is large- ly a bedroom community that also attracts weekend visi- tors, who view the village as a time capsule they can mosey through. History lovers come to check out the unique architecture such as the log home Marshy Dell, from 1774; Prospect Hill, a stately plantation dating to 1795; and Aspen Hall, built in the 1860s for University of Maryland-trained physician James Pendleton Carter. Religious landmarks are an- other draw to the town. Mount Olive Church, created when for- mer slaves took jobs in the or- chards, hosts an annual reunion called All Days Meeting each August. Not far from the Hayes-Ger- rard House is the brick Apple Chapel, a carefully restored Gothic Revival structure that began life in 1883 as a Southern Methodist Episcopal Church - a haven for Confederate sympa- thizers following the Civil War - was eventually abandoned and sat unused for a half-century. Revived by architect Kevin Lee Sarring, the Apple Chapel since 2010 has been the scene of community gatherings, art KEVIN LEE SARRING The Apple Chapel, one of, Gerrardstown's newest hot spots, dates to 1883. Architect Kevin Lee Sarring completely restored the one- time Methodist Episcopal Church on Dominion Road. Tours of the building wilt be available during Saturday's birthday celebration for the town. The party continues Oct. 13. shows, weddings and other spe- cial events. Gerrardstown also is the fi- nal resting place of Ward Hill Lamon, Abraham Lincoln's law partner and the man seated be- side him on the dais as he pre- pared to deliver the Gettysburg Address in 1863. Lamon's grave can be found in the hemlock- lined cemetery beside the his- toric Gerrardstown Presbyte- rian Church, which dates to the 1790s. In 1991, the town was des- ignated as a National Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. Though Gerrardstown is a singular destination, it has ties to communities in neighboring states. David Gerrard, who died in 1821, was part of a pioneer- ing clan that stamped the family name - with various spellings - on communities such as Garards Fort, Pa., Garrodsburg, Ky., and Gerards Landing, OhiO. In some historical documents, the family name is spelled Jar- ret. It's believed that that ex- plains why natives pronounce the name of their hometown not as "Gir-ards-town" as one would expect, but as "Jarrets- town." "What's in a name?" is the Spirit's occasional feature high- lighting towns in the area. Pre- vious installments in the series examining Bolivar, Bakerton and Scrabble may be viewed on- line at Spiritofjefferson. GERRARDSTOWN - Tours, living history presentations, an art show, flee kids' fun and other special events will put this historic South Berkeley town on the map Saturday as it celebrates its land- mark 225th year. "I don't think people realize how much history there is at G-er- rardstown," said Don Silvius, a South Berkeley native who will rep- resent the Berkeley County Historical Society at Saturday's birth- day celebration kickoff. Silvius will be set up in the Germrdstown Presbyterian Church Hall, where he'll show off a display of photos of Germrdstown from the Historical Society's archives. He'll also be on hand to answer questions about the town, including its early progressive attitude to- ward African-Americans. "[That's] one of the most interesting things I've found out about is that Germrdstown," he said. "As early as 1820 or so, there was a free woman of color who owned property near Gerrardstown. Then just after the Civil War, on North Mountain south of Gerrardstown, a small community grew made up entirely of African-American families. "Their church and school were in the same building, and it is still standing - and on the National Registry of Historic Properties." Gerrardstown - located 3 miles west of Inwood on W.Va. 51 - was officially created by the Virginia House of Burgesses on Nov. 22, 1787. Kevin Lee Sarring is the chief organizer for Germrdst0wn's big celebration, which unfolds from 10 am. to 4 pan. Saturday and again from 10 4pan. on Oct. 13. Both days, highlights will include the chance to tour a number of 18th- and early 19th-century structures in the Germrdstown Historic District, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places for more than two decades. Must-see stops on the tour include the Hayes-Gerrard House, built in 1742. One of the oldest structures in the Panhandle, the stone home includes slim ammunition drawers built in beneath the windows and a Imp door from the upper level to the ground floor. Both features were designed to aid early residents who faced angry confrontations from their displaced Native American neighbors. Visitors also can tour the Germrdstown Presbyterian Church, built in 1892 on the site of the congregation's original church, which had opened its doors a century earlier; the lovely church cemetery; and the church hall, built in 1912 and once a venue for live theater and for showing movies, with a box office, small balcony and unusual, floor-to-ceiling wainscoting. Tours will be available at the Apple Chapel, the red-brick Gothic Revival church built in 1883 and restored in 2010 by Sarring. Additional fun for young people and other visitors during the birthday bash: a moon bounce, horse rides, face painting, re-enac- tors, storytelling, living history demonstrations, an art exhibition and sale, displays recounting the town's history and a showcase of Ger- rardstown memorabilia, plus a community yard sale and more. For more on the 225th celebration, call 304-229-3560 or find Kevin Lee Sarring on Facebook. - Christine Miller Ford ~~ HEALTH Convenient Location Flexible Hours WELLNESS, PLLC J J J J J J J J J J J J J MONDAY SPECIAL 1 Hour Infrared Wrap + 1 Hour Massage + 1 Hour Signature Facial for $160 (Value $205) (value $205) NIASSAGE SPECIAL 1 Hour Massage or 45 Minute Reflexology for $49.00 (Va!ue First Time Clients Only AND Do you suffer = = from Low Back pain? , Find out if Chiropractic .care can help you. , Call (304) 724-9401 L Jason Winseck, D.C., Over 10 Years Experience 304.724.9401 121) Commerce Circle Kearoeysville Burdane Exit off new Rt. 9 Football Bus Trip! This is Mountaineer country so come join us as we go root for one of the best college football teams in the country. West Virginia will be playing Kansas State on Saturday, October 20th. Time TBA. The bus will pick up at Sam Michael's Park. Fee is $100 per person (includes ticket and bus ride). Call JCPRC at 304-728-3207 to register! Coun roads take us hora ' Jefferson County Parks & Recreation Commission 235 Sam Michael's Lane, Shenandoah Jct., WV 25442 Phone: (304) 728-3207 Parks & 2~r- I