Raleigh Revisited

    The Raleigh County Historical Society (RCHS) was formed to perpetuate study of the history and development of Raleigh County, West Virginia. In common with many sister organizations, the RCHS has experienced periods of activity and dormancy since its initial creation. The society was initially established in 1926, regenerated in 1948, and reemerged phoenix-like in 1967.

   Raleigh County itself was created on 23 January 1850 by division of existing Fayette County, Virginia. In 1871, a district was transferred to Raleigh from Wyoming County. The county was named after English adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh. The county seat was founded on 4 April 1838 by Alfred Beckley, who named if for his father John James. The latter had the dual distinction of being the first Clerk of the House of Representative and then first Librarian of Congress. The town existed largely "on paper" for many years, and was usually referred to as Raleigh Court House Raleigh, or Beckleyville. It was later officially renamed Beckley.

    The Society logo consists of a black lozenge, symbolizing the "black diamond" of mined coal upon which the county's prosperity was based for so many decades. The lozenge is embossed with a portrait of Sir Walter, along with the foundation date of 1850.

    Current Society officers are:

    President - Tom Sopher
    Vice President - Tom Lemke
    Secretary - Becky Leach
    Treasurer - Micheal Farris
    Historian - Scott Worley    
    Trustees - Eric Acord, Gerry Godfrey and Sam Interdonato

    Significant Society projects and activities include:

    *    maintenance of Wildwood, General Alfred Beckley's home;

    *    getting the Beckley/Worley Mill placed on the National Register of
          Historic Places (accomplished 1 May 2017);

    *    partnering with the City of Beckley and National Park Service to                 develop the mill site as a historic attraction linked into local trail             systems;

    *      having historic markers installed or approved to commemorate                  James Bird Cole (first Beckley resident and business man), the                  ancient Indian stone fort site in Blue Jay, the Beckley Mill                          Site, Shady Spring, the City of Beckley, the State Police                            Company D barracks/radio station, and Grade Creek Reservoir;  

    *   presenting Great War 2018 and State Police 2019 centennial                       observance events; 

    *   presenting Carter Hall/Woodrow Wilson High School 2018 centennial         observance in conjunction with WVU-Institute of Technology; 

    *   rescuing the mystery-shrouded Ferguson stone for public                             display; and, 

    *   sponsoring a cartography club (site URL ).

Webmaster: Merle T. Cole  ltcmtc47@gmail.com 
Updated:  30 December 2019

Subpages (1): Foundation Documents