Buckhannon West Virginia
“What Small Town Charm Is All About”
Town of Buckhannon WV
The city of Buckhannon is located in Upshur County, West Virginia, along the Buckhannon River. When you visit downtown Buckhannon, you’ll love strolling up & down the historic streets where you will find locally owned restaurants, an active farmersʼ market, unique shops, antique stores, coffee shops, and boutiques. Within 30 minutes, you’ll find a resort & spa, excursion train rides, and endless opportunities to create an adventure & lasting memory.
Buckhannon is home to West Virginia Wesleyan College and the West Virginia Strawberry Festival, held annually on the third week of May. Buckhannon is the pride of West Virginia hospitality and small-town charm. The city is located 115 miles northeast from the capital city of Charleston and 140 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
History of Buckhannon WV
The history of Upshur County begins with the settlement of the Buckhannon River Valley. Brothers Samuel and John Pringle were English soldiers serving in the French and Indian War who deserted their post at Fort Pitt in 1761. They traveled southward and upstream along the Monongahela and Tygart Valley rivers, continuing up what is now called the Buckhannon River. They lived there for three years, living off game and fish.
The City of Buckhannon was established on January 15, 1816, named after the river. Buckhannon was part of the Commonwealth of Virginia until the secession of West Virginia on June 20, 1863 during the American Civil War. Because of its near-central geographic location, Buckhannon was long considered a prospective site for the capital. In 1866, the legislature approved a bill including Buckhannon among the choices for capital, but officials decided the river was not wide enough to accommodate desired commerce.
Although there was some support for the Confederate cause within the county, including the formation of the Upshur Grays, most of the county’s residents sided with the Union during the Civil War. In June and July 1861, Buckhannon became an important staging area for the Union Army both as it prepared for the important Battle of Philippi that took place on June 3, 1861 in Barbour County, and in its attempt to cut off the Confederate Army’s retreat following its defeat at Philippi. At any given time that summer, several thousand Union troops were camped in and around Buckhannon.
For most the war, the Union Army maintained control of central West Virginia. However, there were many skirmishes in the region throughout the war. For example, in August and September 1862, approximately 550 Confederate troops under the command of General Albert G. Jenkins marched through central West Virginia, capturing several hundred prisoners, destroying Union supplies, and destroying public records. On August 30, 1862, his troops engaged about 200 Union troops commanded by a Captain Marsh on the outskirts of Buckhannon. The Union forces were routed. Captain Marsh was among those taken prisoner. The Confederate troops then entered the city and, according to General Jenkins’s journal, destroyed everything of value. The following day, the Confederate troops left the town and headed for Weston. Confederate troops also recaptured the town on April 28, 1863.
West Virginia Wesleyan College was founded in 1890 in downtown Buckhannon by the West Virginia Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.