History Of Weston
The City of Weston has a vast history, home to former congressmen, a former senator, even an NFL player. Set on approximately 2 square miles, the story of Weston began in 1818 when it was founded under the name "Preston", this was soon changed to "Flesherville", and then "Weston" in 1819. Since then Weston has become home to many historical landmarks, including the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Jonathan M. Bennett House, and the former Weston Colored School. The City of Weston now has approximately 4,044 people that call this beautiful city their home.
The City of Weston Council meets the first Monday of the month at 6pm at the Weston Fire Department.
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Agenda's are posted on the front door of the City building three (3) days prior to the meeting.
The following are excerpts taken from the manuscript by the historian M. William Adler, titled “A Walking Tour of Weston”:
In the late-colonial-American year of 1769, the section of densely forested, uncharted Virginia wilderness west of the Alleghenies that would become Lewis County half a century later was, for the first time, trod upon by a vanguard of settlers. These were true pioneers of the early-American tradition — brave explorers of the unknown, daring men and women with few material possessions, but with stout hearts, strong backs and independent souls, searching for a new beginning in their lives. They had crossed the mountains singly and as families from former homes in Pennsylvania, Maryland and eastern Virginia, with a brief stop in the rapidly developing South Branch of the Potomac River region of Hampshire County, where they learned the agriculturally productive bottomlands had already been acquired.
Their new and farther-west homesteads — the first of them on later-named Hacker’s Creek, a tributary of the West Fork of the Monongahela River — lay in the vast territory of Augusta County, Virginia, a part of Great Britain's embryonic Empire that would be lost to it several years later in the outcome of the Revolutionary War. In 1773, transmontane Augusta was designated as the District of West Augusta, a roughly defined quasi-county that comprised most of what is today’s northern half of West Virginia and as well what would later become the states of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
From this mammoth expanse in 1776 came Monongalia County, the south dominions of which would be taken away in 1784 to establish Harrison County, State of Virginia (the war for independence (1775-83) having ended and the United States being born). By 1810, the southern reaches of Harrison had a population of some 3,000 souls, many of them agitating for the formation of a new county with a seat of government more convenient than Clarksburg. In December 1816, the Virginia Assembly answered years of clamorous debate by authorizing the creation of Lewis County.
The new jurisdiction named for Colonel Charles Lewis — a frontier hero of the French and Indian Wars killed in the October 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant — encompassed approximately 1750 square miles, which was more than four times its present limits (and half again the size of Rhode Island). Within the original boundaries were the lands that make up almost all of present-day Braxton and Gilmer, over half of Calhoun and Upshur, and portions of Barbour, Doddridge, Ritchie and Webster Counties. Even so, at the outset the widespread domain had only two recognizable communities: the recently Assembly-sanctioned towns of Buckhannon and Westfield, both of which yet contained only a handful of scattered, log-built homes.
However, neither Buckhannon nor Westfield made for a suitable courthouse site, as the former was too far east and the latter too far north of the county’s geographic center. That left only one course of action: the founding of a new town. But where to locate it?
The following are excerpts taken from the 1920 book by the historian Edward C. Smith, titled “A History of Lewis County West Virginia”:
As customary in acts providing for the creation of new counties, no town was designated as the (new Lewis) county seat. Instead the act named a commission, to consist of Edward Jackson (who in later years would be the grandfather of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson), Elias Lowther, John McCoy, Lewis Maxwell and Daniel Stringer, to “ascertain the proper place for holding courts, erection of public buildings, etc.”
The (new) county government was organized . . . on March 10, 1817.
Immediately, the commissioners met and organized and then began inspecting the most eligible sites in the county to find “the proper place for holding courts.”
At the following term of the county court, the commissioners reported: “The most suitable place for the purpose aforesaid is on the farm of Henry Flesher (Jr.) and the particular spot of the grounds on said farm agreed upon by us (for the location of the public square and where the courthouse is to be built) is on the rising ground east of said Flesher’s dwelling house, near the threshing floor of said Flesher, where his stack now stands.”
The improved farm of Henry Flesher (Jr.) became a thriving village soon after its selection by the commissioners as the county seat of Lewis County. Henry Flesher (around this time) seems to have conveyed about one-third of his farm to Lewis Maxwell and (Daniel) Stringer.
The new proprietors immediately took measures to develop the old farm as a town-site. In 1817, Colonel Edward Jackson was employed to lay off the town into lots and mark the streets. Later a day was set for a great lot sale, and the announcement was posted all over the new county and in Clarksburg. A great crowd was attracted, partly by the desire to secure lots in the new town, partly to partake of the refreshments, partly to meet their friends. Lots were sold to Thomas M. Batten, James M. Camp, George Conley, Edward H. Jackson, Paulser Butcher, Adam Flesher, Alex Kester, William Moneypenny, Sarah Batton, Richard Johnson, John Sprigg, Moses and John West, Charles West and John Pritchard.
The plan of the town as laid off by Edward Jackson is practically the same as the plan of Weston today. The lots each contained practically one-fourth acre, having seventy-two and one-half feet frontage and extending back from the street one hundred and fifty feet.
In January, 1818, the General Assembly passed an act establishing the town as Preston.
The following is taken from Chapter 110 of the ACTS OF THE VIRGINIA ASSEMBLY of 1817-1818, as it relates to the creation of Weston, being first named Preston:
An Act Establishing Several Towns.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly . . .
That the lots and streets, as already laid off, on the lands of Daniel Stringer and Lewis Maxwell, around the public ground, in the county of Lewis, be established a town by the name of Preston; and that Paulser Butcher, Henry McWhorter, William Peterson, James Camp and Robert W. Collins, gentlemen, be and they are hereby appointed trustees thereof. . . .
The trustees of the said towns respectively, and their successors or a majority of them, are empowered to make such rules and orders, for the regular building of houses therein, as to them shall seem best; to settle all disputes concerning the bounds of the lots, and to make all by-laws and regulations, not contrary to the laws and constitution of this State or the United States, as they may deem necessary for the good government of the said towns. . . .
So soon as the purchaser of any lot in either of the said towns shall have built a dwelling house thereon, equal to twelve feet square, with a brick or stone chimney, such purchaser shall enjoy the same privileges which the freeholders and inhabitants of other towns, not incorporated, hold and enjoy. . . .
This act shall be in force from the passing thereof.
This act was passed on January 1st, 1818.
The following is an excerpt from a 1923 essay by the historian Roy Bird Cook, titled “A Short History of Weston”:
If it were possible for Henry Flesher, Sr., to again look upon the site of the City of Weston he no doubt would look in vain for some point of identification to connect it with his day and time. About him would be structures of steel, brick, and concrete, rising by “pack horse roads” now embraced in paved streets. By him would go bustling street cars propelled by, to him, unknown power; and perhaps speeding faster, funny wagons with no visible means of locomotion. To be sure there would be the singular hill in the center of the city, the streams of Polk Creek, Stone Coal, and the West Fork visited by William Hacker, the noted Jesse Hughes and contemporaries of 1769. But he would look in vain for the open spaces of land; the vast ravine that ran into present Bank Street from the river that set down the fact that the river had changed its course, and nowhere would be seen the great swamps where Polk Creek debouches into the valley and like ones around the mouth of Stone Coal. All of which he had first viewed in 1776 as a member of a company of (so-called) “Indian Spies” and for which he obtained title on September 25th, 1787, securing 400 acres, erecting thereon his home on present First street near Main. The census of 1790 shows that his family of nine made up the embryonic town of Weston, and that his life was not uneventful is shown by the fact that on Saturday, September 18, 1784, he and his family were attacked by a Shawnee.
In 1792, the location became Fleshers Station. Adam Flesher erected at the present corner of Main and Second a log house which stood until 1804, and in which was housed a garrison of seven “Indian Spies”, a mixture of Scotch-Irish and German extraction, who have left descendants until this day. Title passed to a portion of the town-site-to-be to Peter Flesher, and the eastern section to Henry Flesher, Jr., who later sold it to Lewis Maxwell and others. Out of this grew in 1817 the beginning of an organized town as the county seat of Lewis, which in January 1818 became the legal town of Preston, with three streets and a series of lots 72 1⁄2 x 150 (feet). The three best corners were owned by Weeden Hoffman, Levi Maxwell and Daniel Stringer. The town of Preston, by name lasted until February 20, 1819, when it became Fleshersville, which did not suit the powers in control and on December 19, 1819 the Assembly directed that it be called Weston. Why and for whom or what, no one knows, but as Weston it has now passed over 104 years of eventful history.