FRANKFORT, LATER FORT ASHBY WV
Frankfort Community came into being before the pages of American History were numbered, and lived through perilous periods while they were being rapidly turned. The Red Man is known to have made many incursions in to Patterson’s Creek Valley in which nestles the quite village of Frankfort.
In 1755, Col George Washington gave orders to build a stockade and fort on the East side of Patterson’s Creek. This was built at the present site of Frankfort village and is still standing and owned by DAR since 1927.
The only really important battle at Frankfort occurred in 1756, when Lieutenant Robert Rutherford and his company of rangers was defeated here by a hand of French and Indians. After the French had gone from the vicinity, the Indians remained watching for t\the inmates of the fort. It was during this se\siege that Col John Ashby, while out of the fort on what is now Cemetery Hill, was attacked by the Indians and made a most remarkable escape to the fort. It is from this incident that the name of Ashby’s Fort was applied.
Immediately after the close of the war, Frankfort community seems to have developed rapidly. Many new settlers came, including the names of Keller, Richards, Brockhart and Daniels. It was about this time that the two hotels, one brick and one stone were being built.
Through the influence of several men of the village, particularly Dennis Daniels, 139 acres of land belonging to John Keller were surveyed into lots with streets and alleys running between. A charter was passed through the Legislature of Va, and on Dec 5, 1787, establishing the town of Frankfort. From the time of the establishment of the town of Frankfort for many years, this was the trading center of the entire countryside. Before the completion of the B&O Railroad, Frankfort was on the direct route from Winchester to Wheeling, over which hundreds of tons of merchandise passed monthly. It was the wagon trains passing over the route that furnished business for two large hotels in Frankfort. Many times the Public Square had been crowded over the night with canvas covered wagons loaded with valuable merchandise.
The important tradesmen in the early days of Frankfort were Dennis Daniels, cooper; Isaac Richards, blacksmith; Richard Berry, shoemaker; Hezekiah Whiteman, tanner and Col John Johnson, surveyor, and others farming.
The citizens of Frankfort were not willing to have their children grow up without religious and educational advantages. And there are numerous records which show that the church was established shortly after the coming of the first settlers to the region.
The Church of England, or Episcopal, was the first to be established here. Parish dues were being paid by the pioneer settlers here as early as 1745. Presbyterian history had its beginning in this community in 1768. Patterson’s Creek congregation appears in the Donegal records as a separate entity on Oct 13, 1767, with a request for a licentiate to supply with, of course, a view to a settlement. The first resident minister was the Rev Thaddeus Dod – March 1777.
In 1782, the first Frankfort Church was organized, and the Rev John Lyle assumed the pastorate of Frankfort Romney and Springfield Churches. Mr. Lyle remained here until his death, 1807.
The great Methodist circuit rider, Bishop Asbury, was the founder of the Methodist church here. He made numerous trips through the mountains of Western Va. Other iterate preachers followed Rev Francis Asbury; but there are not records of an established church here until 1851, Rev Jesse K Powers was the first regular pastor of Frankfort M E Church South. There is a very active Methodist Church here now, two Baptist Churches, the Presbyterians have joined in with Springfield at this time.
MINERAL COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA, FAMILY TRAITS, TRACKS AND TRAILS