History of Romney

The town of Romney, the oldest town in West Virginia, is situated in the fertile valley of the South Branch of the Potomac River. In 1762, Romney was incorporated as the Hampshire County seat.  In 2012, Romney will celebrate its 250th anniversary.

During the Civil War, Virginia was divided, and Hampshire County became part of the new state of West Virginia. The county had strong southern ties--Stonewall Jackson had an early campaign in Northern Hampshire County to cut a vital transportation link. Because of this strategic location, there were many troop movements through the area.

Romney is said to have changed hands 56 times during the war. After the Civil War, on September 26, 1867 local citizens dedicated what was perhaps the first Confederate Memorial in the United States. It still stands today in Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney. 

The city is also home to the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind as well as Davis History House, Hampshire County Courthouse, Taggart-Hill House (the original tavern), and the Wilson-Wodrow-Mytinger House (oldest public office building in West Virginia).


Natural beauty has played a large role in the developing recreational opportunities in Romney. The "Trough" shown in the photo above is a favorite area for boating and sightseeing.  It is formed where the South Branch River squeezes through a narrow canyon and is one of the best locations in the state for spotting bald eagles.  The Potomac Eagle, a scenic railroad, runs through the Trough so tourists may view the majestic scenery of this natural geologic formation.

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