1928 - Alderson High School - 1968

The Journal Of The
Greenbrier Historical Society
Alderson, West Virginia
Written by Kenneth D. Swope

Early Growth

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 inconveniences.
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, a merchant.
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.) 

Next, Alderson Post Offices

The contents contained in this series is copyrighted and the sole property of The Greenbrier Historical Society - Lewisburg, WV
Used by permission - November 18, 2008