Old Frederick County




By Wilmer L. Kerns

OLD FREDERICK COUNTY, represents or includes 12 present-day counties, 7 of which are now in West Virginia. More than likely, the ferry was on the Potomac River in one of the WV counties, but there were also ferries on the Shenandoah and Cacapon Rivers. I believe that we know the names, dates and locations of all the ferries, because they were State approved. You asked for a rundown of the rivers:

There are 9 unconnected rivers that flow through Old Frederick County, and all empty into the Potomac River. From East-to West, the nine water basins (rivers) are:

(1) Shenandoah River flows through Page, Warren, Shenandoah, and Frederick Counties in Virginia, and Jefferson County in WV.

(2) Opequon Creek flows through Frederick County in VA and Jefferson and Berkeley Counties, WV.

(3) Back Creek flows through Frederick County and Berkeley County, WV

(4) Sleepy Creek flows through Frederick County and Morgan County, WV.

(5) Great Cacapon River flows through Hardy, Hampshire and Morgan Counties, WV

(6) Little Cacapon River flows through Hampshire County.

(7) South Branch of the Potomac River flows through Grant, Hampshire and Hardy Counties, WV

(8) Pattersons' Creek flows through Grant and Mineral Counties.

(9) New Creek flows through Mineral County, WV

When you visit the Handley Library in Winchester, check my book on this subject (Frederick County, Virginia: Settlement and Some First Families of Back Creek, 1730-1830). It contains a lot of detail about the rivers, and useful maps showing river basins and settlements. Also, ask to see (or you might want to purchase for $15) a copy of a book titled, The Story of Frederick County, edited by Sam Lehman. It's possible that the County Court Clerk's Office still has copies for sale. The book was published in 1988 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Frederick County. Chapter 18 is titled Canals and Ferries. I wrote one chapter (wagon roads), and participated in the research for several other chapters.

If you're going to Winchester, you can purchase a copy in a local bookstore called the Winchester Book Gallery. Or you might want to use the copy in the Handley Library. The Archivist of Handley, Rebecca Ebert, is co-author of the book.

You will find lots of good records in both courthouses in Winchester, and friendly people.



Contact Us| ©2006, 2007 Alice Warner


Frederick County, Virginia