Dan Oates

Having been a resident of Hampshire County now for 70 years, Augusta has mostly been a place I have driven through on the way to somewhere else. Once you start looking at the history of the town, one begins to take note.

Augusta was originally called Barrettsville, founded by a Quaker named William Barrett, who moved to the area from Frederick County, Va. Property was purchased in 1853 and soon a post office was established and Samuel, son of William became the postmaster. 

The post office was named Barrettsville but was often combined with Shanks and Frenchburg. 

In 1882 a letter concerning the application for re-establishing a post office at Barrettsville, which had been discontinued for 5 years, states “As there is now an office in W.Va. called Basnettville [Marion County], the name Barrettsville will not answer. Please select a new name.” 

The suggested name was Junction,  but it was decided the name would be Augusta. The South Branch Intelligencer, the newspaper of the day, first makes mention of “Augusta” in the Aug. 5, 1883, edition within the Pleasant Dale news.

The Barrett home was located just south of Barrettsville, now Augusta, near the  intersection of Mount Zion Road, now called Ford Hill Road, and the Northwestern Turnpike, now U.S. 50.

Since Barrett was a Quaker and as such was neutral during the war, both Union and Confederate soldiers were welcomed at his table. 

William lived to the ripe old age of 91 and rests in the Augusta Methodist Church Cemetery.

The first feed mill was built by Silas Bucklew, but burned down. In 1911 the stones were set for the foundation of a new feed mill, which still stands today.

Jasper Buzzard, a Confederate veteran of the 18th Virginia Cavalry, operated the first telephone exchange around 1912. 

That system remained in place and provided the luxury, as did many local telephone exchanges, of locating people away from their home. 

If someone didn’t answer, then the operator, knowing their habits, would locate them at their neighbors or at the local store. This personal service initiated by Mr. Buzzard was continued by Mrs. Geraldine Robertson, Miss Mary McBride, Mrs. Gladys Mathias, and members of the Riley family. 

In the spring of 1961, a modern dial automatic telephone system came online that promised calls to Romney at no charge.

The cemetery located behind the Methodist Church has graves as old as 1861. This church, which was originally located near Short Mountain, was moved to Augusta in 1915. 

The new brick church was built in 1951 and the old church was dismantled 2 year later. The logs are said to have been sold and used to build a garage on Hoy Road.

This is my first article for the Review, and I look forward to writing more. I hope you enjoyed it. 

For more information about Hampshire County history, please visit www.fortpearsallpress.com, www.historichampshire.org, Hampshire History Facebook page, and Hampshire Times Facebook page. 

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