|GENERAL ADAM STEPHEN MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION, INC., MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA|
|General Adam Stephen House|
309 East John Street, Martinsburg
Berkeley County, West Virginia
Built of native limestone in the late 1770s to early 1780s, the Adam Stephen House is a fine example of colonial stone architecture. The land on which the house was constructed was purchased by Adam Stephen in 1770 as part of a 255-acre tract. It is believed that the large stone house was built on the site of a smaller log home constructed by Adam Stephen around 1770. Stephen also operated two nearby mills, a distillery, and an armory along the Tuscarora Creek in the town that was chartered by the Virginia assembly in 1778 as Martinsburg (named after Thomas Bryan Martin, a nephew of Thomas, Lord Fairfax and the collector of Lord Fairfax's rents). The house was given to the city in 1959 by William Evers, a former town resident living then in California, and the General Adam Stephen Memorial Association was formed with the purpose to restore it as a memorial to the town founder and to acquire furnishings suitable for the period of its early habitation.
|Biography of Adam Stephen |
Adam Stephen was born in Scotland around the year 1718. There he attended the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh, receiving a degree in surgery around 1746. Coming to America in 1748, he set up a doctor's practice in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Having purchased land in Frederick County, Virginia in 1750 (the "Bower" property, which is in present-day Jefferson County, W.Va.), he accepted a military post on the Virginia frontier in 1754 at the beginning of the French and Indian War and was present with General Braddock and Colonel Washington at the opening of hostilities. In 1770, he first acquired land along the Tuscarora Creek in present-day Berkeley County, where he later sold lots to develop the town of Martinsburg. Stephen provided leadership as a colonel in the French and Indian War and as a major-general during the American Revolution. In between the wars, he negotiated treaties with the Native Americans in South Carolina, western Virginia and Ohio. Perhaps his greatest contribution to America's future was his stirring speech at the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1788 which influenced the Virginia delegates to ratify the United States Constitution, which in turn led other states to ratify the Constitution at their state conventions. In 1789, Adam Stephen wrote an article for the Virginia Gazette entitled "Expostulations on the Potomack" to promote the location of the federal capitol on the Potomac River. Adam Stephen died in Martinsburg on July 16, 1791 and was buried on his brother Robert Stephen's estate on "the monument lot" in the 600 block of South Queen Street in Martinsburg.
The Adam Stephen Monument--Burial site of Adam Stephen
|The Triple Brick Museum |
The Triple Brick Building
Located at 313 East John Street next to the Adam Stephen House, this structure was built by Philip Showers in 1874 and rented out as housing to railroad workers. In early records, it was listed as the "Tribble (Triple) House" or "the brick house divided into three dwellings."
The building now contains a museum of artifacts and memorabilia of life in old Martinsburg. Items on permanent exhibit include early surveying equipment, flax and wool spinning wheels, quilts, railroad items, and various items related to the industrial, social, and cultural history of the town from the 1800s to the early 1900s.
Also on display are fossils, primitive stone tools and arrowheads, as well as a collection of military uniforms from various American wars. Artifacts, including late-18th century china, glassware and pottery shards, which were uncovered during archaeological excavations on the Adam Stephen House property, are also featured.
A natural underground tunnel system lies in the limestone geology on the eastern edge of Martinsburg. The Adam Stephen House was built over one of the cave openings which led into this tunnel system, perhaps as an escape route from a possible Indian raid or an attack by the British or other foes. Parts of the tunnel system were open as late as the early 1950s when neighborhood children used to play in them. At that time, many of the homeowners who had homes built over the entrances filled them with rocks and dirt to prevent access into the tunnel system. In the 1990s, a serious effort to open the entrances to the tunnel was started with the help of the Tri-State Grotto, a local chapter of the National Speleological Society. At this time, the recently-uncovered entrance under the Adam Stephen House and another entrance under a house on East King Street, with stone steps leading into a man-made underground room with a stone vaulted-arched ceiling and another set of steps leading into the cavern below, have been opened for public viewing.
Stone steps in the tunnel
|GENERAL ADAM STEPHEN MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION, INC., MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA309-313 East John Street (PO Box 1496) Martinsburg, WV 25402|