News Archive

May 5, 2012
The Marion County Historical Society & Museum would like to welcome the new Museum Director, D. Jane Gilchrist who is relocating to Belleview in May.

D. Jane Gilchrist comes to the Marion County Historical Society with more than 30 years of experience in local and regional historical organizations. Born and raised in Ohio, she always says that she “moved home to WV” seven years ago, and for her it truly was a homecoming.

Jane GilchristJane’s sixth great grandfather was John Hacker, a pioneer of English descent, who had a profound impact upon the settlement of the region. This newest chapter in her life is motivating Jane to reexamine her family genealogy specifically related to her Sullivan connections in Marion County.

Jane is active in a variety of regional historical organizations including serving as a volunteer and Life Member of Hacker’s Creek Pioneer Descendants, Jackson’s Mill Heritage Foundation, the Horner Club of Lewis County Cooperative Extension Outreach Services, Jackson’s Mill Heritage Guild and the Trans-Allegheny Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Jane is the current president of the West Virginia Association of Museums, and was Program Co-Chair for the Association of Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums 2011 national conference which was hosted at Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County.

Her hobbies and interest include heritage textiles and books. She was the recipient of an Apprenticeship Award through the Augusta Heritage Foundation in 2011, where she explored traditional overshot coverlet weaving with her mentor, Betty Tustin of Middleburg, WV. She tries to find time to spin wool and weave on a regular basis. Storytelling and historical interpretation are also important.

In May of 2012, Jane is graduating with a Regents Bachelor of Arts Degree (with honors) from Fairmont State University. Her emphasis in study has been Folklore and Library Science. In 2010 she graduated from Pierpont Community & Technical College with an Associates in Applied Science (with honors), with an emphasis in Museum Studies. She intends to begin Graduate Studies at Fairmont State immediately. She has been employed at the Frank & Jane Gabor WV Folklife Center on the campus of FSU & PC&TC for the past three years.

You may contact Jane through the Marion County Historical Society at (304) 367-5398 or at


March 17, 2012
Local resident Christa Greco is currently compiling a photographic history of Fairmont and is looking for your help! She is assembling historic images of Fairmont and the stories that go with them to include in an upcoming book to be published by Arcadia Publishing, the nation's leading publisher of local and regional history. To share your photographs and stories, please submit them by either 1) US Mail to the Marion County Historical Society c/o Christa Greco, PO Box 1636, Fairmont, WV 26554, and include your name phone number, return address, date of photograph and a short description of the photograph; 2) via e-mail (scanning specifications! 300dpi,8 bit grayscale, output: 8" wide, TlFF); or 3) in person at the MCHS located at 215 Adams Street. You will be provided a receipt for your submission and if your photograph is selected for publication, you will be credited for the photograph in the book. Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the MCHS. Any photograph used for publication will also entitle the owner to one entry per photo in a drawing for a free book upon publication. The deadline for receipt of photographs is January 31st, 2012. Photographs will be returned via US Mail or in person on or about March 31st, 2012. If you have any questions, please call the Marion County Historical Society at 304-367-5398.

January 3, 2012
Tuesday, January 3rd is a day of celebration for all area residents. It is the beginning of January 2012: Founders' Month and it marks the 254th birthday of Boaz Fleming, Fairmont's Founding Father. Without Boaz Fleming Fairmont would not exist.

It is a time to remember and appreciate Boaz Fleming's efforts. The Marion County Historical Society Museum will have open House from 10-2 with birthday cake served at 12:30 and WesBanco in the Watson Building, where Boaz' Church once stood, will have birthday cake from 11-2. Perhaps others will celebrate as well, the man who gave us Fairmont and made possible Marion County.

Founders' Month continues with celebrations of the establishment of Marion County, January 14, 1842; the establishment of Fairmont, January 19, 1820; and the birthday of Francis H. Pierpont, "The Father of West Virginia", January 25, 1814.

In 1787, he , along with his wife Elizabeth Hutchinson, their one-year old daughter Clarissa, and forty-some other pioneers came across the Alleghenies from Delaware, to this part of the beautiful Monongahela Valley to settle. He was 29 years old, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War, and the leader of the group. Also among those pioneers were his brothers Nathan and Benoni and his Uncle John. One of Nathan's great grand children, A. B. Fleming, became the 8th Governor of West Virginia. Benoni is remembered by Benoni Avenue which goes through land Benoni once settled , and Boaz , a farmer, created a town in 1817-1818 that he named Middletown which changed its name to Fairmont in 1843.

He and others in the area wanted a new county to be made from parts of Monongalia and Harrison Counties. It had to do with paying their taxes, but they had a problem. To have a county there must be a town to serve as a county seat and there was none.

So Boaz had 40 acres of his 254 acres along the Monongahela River surveyed into 85 one-half acre building lots, named the streets—Adams, Jackson, Jefferson, etc., set up a trustee form of government and began to sell the lots—except three, one he donated for a school and two he donated for a Presbyterian Church and cemetery. WesBanco stands on those lots now. The old City Building on Monroe stands where the school stood. That little log school was a forerunner of Fairmont State.

One Fairmont myth is that Middletown just grew here to serve as a "rest stop" between Morgan's Town and Clarksburg which, as the saying goes, were just" wide places in the road." Obviously 85 building lots with a church and a school were somewhat "overkill" to serve as a "rest stop." Probably a stable and a tavern would have served very well.

Another Fairmont myth is that it was called Middletown because it was in between Morgan's Town and Clarksburg. It is much more likely that Boaz named his town for Middletown, Delaware, where he met, "courted", and married the love of his life Elizabeth "Betsy" Hutchinson.

Still another myth is that Boaz' land was "a tangled laurel thicket " as if that were a bad thing. First it wasn't a thicket then. Other people had worked this land before Boaz bought it. Even if it had been a laurel thicket, it would have been a place of breathtaking beauty in the spring.

Boaz efforts were successful. The town prospered and became the county seat of the hoped-for new county but not until 1842. Sadly this was 12 years after Boaz' death.

This article was prepared by JoAnn Lough, member of City of Fairmont Historic Landmarks Commission and Marion County Historical Society.

December 10, 2011
During the annual Holiday Open House at the Marion County Museum on December 10,2012 the Marion County Delegates Presented Dora Kay Grubb, President ofthe Marion County Historical Society, Inc. with a WV State Legislative Citation of her efforts to preserve and promote the history of Marion County

October 29, 2011
Italians In West Virginia by Dr. Judy Prozzillo Byers and Dr. Victor A. Basile.
Now available in the museum shop!

September 15, 2011
For some reason, some folks didn't like Suzan Nourse.

September 13, 2011
Saying goodbye to another Fairmont historic building.

June 23, 2011
A ceremony for the Civil War marker site in downtown Fairmont was the place for history buffs to be on Wednesday.

The purpose of this meeting was to recognize the accomplishment of the Morning Gardeners Garden Club and the work that they had done for the beautification of a historic site.This site also won the McDonald State Award for the preservation of a historical site.This year marks the 150th anniversary, sesquicentennial, of the beginning of the Civil War.

“This will be a real tourist attraction for our state, as part of the Sesquicentennial,” said Dora Grubb, Marion County Historical Society president. “In the past, I looked at this site and it looked so bad that I asked the Morning Gardeners Club to please take this on as a project, so it will look good when people come to visit. I think they did a wonderful job!”

May 17, 2011
The Marion County Historical Society, Inc. is excited to announce the release of its new eNewsletter, the Marion County Historical Dispatch.

May 14, 2011
The Marion County Historical Society, Inc. is excited to announce the addition of James "Jimmy" Ribel as the new part-time Museum Administrator for the Marion County Museum. Ribel is a graduate of Fairmont State University with a degree in Political Science and Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan with a Juris Doctorate. His primary duties will be to explore for grants and corporate support, recruit volunteers, and initiate new fund-raisers and events. Dora Kay Grubb, will remain the President of the Marion County Historical Society. The Society is expanding its scope to additional projects and partnerships. Dr. Coleman and Dr. Swiger are locating the 700 Civil War Veteran's graves, both Union and Confederate, known to be buried in Marion County. They will make GPS coordinate readings and write updated directions to the cemeteries for the general public. As a member of the Marion County WV Civil War Sesquicentennial Coalition, another project is to work towards putting Marion County on the National Civil War Map. This would increase tourism in the area as well as promote the important contribution of Marion County in the Civil War. As a member of the Council of Churches we are working with the preservation of Black History in Marion County. One of our functions is to provide a living history collection library of DVDs for school and public access. A major project is the scanning and identification of over 50,000 historic photographs dating back to the 1800s and artifacts dating back to the 1700s. These eventually will be posted on the Internet for everyone to have free access for use in personal and professional research.

The Society has also been asked to serve on the newly formed State Labor Coalition and the State Black History Thematic Trail. We also have partnerships with Pierpont Community and Technical College, The Folklife Studies and Museum Studies, The Father's Day Church, Main Street, Convention and Visitors Bureau of Marion County, Historic Landmarks, Prickett's Fort, Channel 19, the Telephone Museum, and the Coal Mining Museum.

As the Society continues to expand we are in need of all types of volunteers: Artists, researchers, preservationists, painters, cookie bakers, callers, set-up and clean-up for activities, tour guides, writers, and many more. We encourage youth and senior citizens to join us as you are never too young nor too old to make a difference in preserving and sharing Marion County's rich past.

Come to the Museum located right beside the Marion County Court House and take a look at us and what we have to offer. We also have many new books for sale. If you would like to have a copy of our recent newsletter, please e-mail: Our mailing address is MCHS, P.O. Box 1636, Fairmont, WV 26555-1636. Hope to see you soon.

April 2, 2011
Mountaineer State History Expo: Free Event - This exciting event for all ages will be this Saturday for free to the public.

February 19, 2011
Dora Kay Grubb of Fairmont was nominated by the Marion County Historical Society to be a History Hero for her work in preserving West Virginia's History, and is to be recognized on History Day in Charleston. Read More >>

January 6, 2011
Betty Andrews and Dixie Curtis, members of the Marion County Historical Society, hold up a picture of Clarissa Fleming for the Times West Virginia. Read More >>

November 4, 2010
The Marion County Historical Society presents WV Historical Preservation Alliance, and received much credit and an award for saving the jail.