The Town of Beverly, (West) Virginia
A Brief History of Beverly
(For more complete information, see the HISTORIC BEVERLY website.)
The first settlers here were the Files (Foyles) and Tygart (Taggart) families in 1753. The Files homestead was attacked and burned by Indians the following year. All of the family were killed except one boy, who fled with the Tygarts.
|Union camp at Beverly after the Battle of Rich Mountain - Summer 1861 (period drawing)|
In 1772, permanent settlers were returning to the valley. Randolph County was formed in 1787, and a town was laid out on the lands of James Westfall. At first known as Edmundton, the town was chartered as Beverly in 1790, and established as the county seat.
Beverly was the commercial and trading center of the county. With the completion of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike in 1847, and the Beverly - Fairmont Pike in 1852, it became a major crossroads as well.
The Civil War brought many changes to the town. At first a Confederate supply post, the Battle of Rich Mountain, fought five miles to the west, established Union control over the area. Many of the towns residents held southern sympathies, and some left town when the Union troops arrived. Beverly was occupied by Federal troops through most of the war. It was raided by Confederates four times, twice successfully, but they were not able to maintain control for long.
Confederate Prisoners after the Battle of Rich Mountain - July 1861 (period drawing)
Following the war, many refugees and soldiers returned home, and damaged and destroyed buildings were rebuilt. The town slowly recovered as a trading center. The coming of the railroads and lumber and coal industries in the 1890's brought prosperity to the region, but most of the activity was centered around the new town of Elkins. In 1898, after years of controversy, the county seat was moved from Beverly to Elkins.
The historical heart of Beverly today: The Beverly Heritage Center