Early owners of land in or
near Alderson's present site were: William Morris, Andrew Lewis, John
Seers, James Stroud, Moses Hall, Barnabas Cooper, Abraham Hawkins,
Robert Stevenson, and James Burnsides. Elder John Alderson, who settled
on 400 acres of land on the south side of the river, came in 1777. He
evidently acquired his land from Moses Hall, and he had a valid title by
right of settlement as of January 1, 1778. William Morris, Sr. owned
525 acres on the north side of the river in the early 1770s and lived
there. He moved to Kanawha in 1774.
Before 1778 all of Greenbrier
and Monroe counties were a part of Botetourt and Montgomery counties and
prior to 1770, they were in Augusta County. In 1777, because of
the title difficulties owners of land were having, seventy-four
greenbrier land owners petitioned the Assembly of the Commonwealth of
Virginia to establish Greenbrier County. Virginia granted the
request and Greenbrier County came into existence on March 1, 1778.
All the present town of Alderson was in Greenbrier County.
In the 1790s a political feud
developed between John Stuart, "the father of Greenbrier County", his
political associates in the Lewisburg section, and John Hutchinson of
what is now Monroe. Hutchison was a shrewd politician, a member of the
Virginia Assembly until Stuart's cohorts defeated him but John Hutchison
lobbied through the legislature an Act creating Monroe County as May 1,
1799. Thus the future town of Alderson was split in twain. North
of the river was Greenbrier and south was Monroe.
In 1871 Summers County was
formed, with its county line just west of Alderson Thus, the community
is whacked up and is part of three counties, leading to all kinds of
The land on the north side of
the river was originally owned by several persons. At least two
must have settled on the land before 1773. Their names, John Seers
and James Burnsides, appeared in a day book of Matthew's Trading Post,
found recently. this first known store in Greenbrier Valley was
located at the mouth of Howard's Creek on the Greenbrier below Caldwell.
Both these men traded there in 1772 and 1773. James
Burnsides was one of the petitioners for the formation of Greenbrier
County in 1777.
In 1804 Oliver Towles, Junior,
of Spotsylvania County, Virginia, purchased 1227 acres of land in five
tracts. This land included all of what is now the Greenbrier area
of the Alderson community. Towles then built a fine stone house on
the exact site of the large brick house now occupied by W. B. Rogers,
Jr., family. In 1811 Towles moved to New Orleans, and sold the
stone house and 1000 acres of land to Joseph Alderson, who lived there
until his death in 1845. (From the time this first fine residence in the
community was built, it changed hands seven times before 1916,, when J.
S. Thurmond tore it down to build the present brick house.)
The Reverend Lewis A. Alderson
inherited from Joseph Alderson a part of the land which is now west of
North Monroe Street. He had it laid off in lots in 1856-58, and
this was the first residential property sold in what is now the
corporate limits. These lots were near the old Baptist Spring.
In 1871 George Alderson owned
what is now South Alderson. Surveyor Elliot Vawter surveyed and
platted the land for sale. The first buyers were George W.
Nickell, M. L. Hughes, the first blacksmith, and Abraham E. T. Scruggs,
When the railroad arrived in
1873, Alderson began to boom. Lewis Watts was probably the first
merchant and Scruggs, the second. George W. Nickell, and L. T.
Dickey operated a store call Nickell and Dickey. Jesse Jones of
Wolf Creek bought Dickey's share and the store became Nickell and Jones.
Jones' son, Andrew, operated the business. Dr. Thomas Clay was the
first doctor, and shortly thereafter, Dr. Benjamin Irons began
practicing medicine also. Morgan Conner and B. F. Jones ran the
first drug store, and B. A. Knapp was the first jeweler. (This does not
mean that there were no millers, merchants, blacksmiths, doctors, etc.
before 1873 when the railroad was finished. There were. They were living
in Palestine. This list of the "first business men" list those
businesses were in what is now South Alderson.)
Alderson Post Offices
The contents contained in this series is copyrighted
and the sole property of
Historical Society - Lewisburg, WV
Used by permission - November 18, 2008