Tucker County’s rich history is visible and pervasive in our culture. Exploring the county will make this evident. Mill buildings and coke ovens survive as unique landmarks from Tucker’s booming years of the coal and timber industries. Corrick’s Ford Battlefield, on the edge of Parsons, marks the site where the first general of the Civil War died (Confederate General Robert S. Garnett), resulting in the Union army’s control of “Western” Virginia. Landmarks and monuments are scattered across the county — some of which (the Fairfax Stone and the Potomac Stone) have been the subject of land disputes between West Virginia and Maryland. Isolated chimneys stand as testament to the area’s settlers, and our downtowns are filled with buildings more than a century old.
Tucker County’s National Register of Historic Places
- Fairfax Stone Site
- Cottrill’s Opera House
- Tucker County Courthouse and Sheriff’s Residence/Jail
- Western Maryland Depot
- Thomas Commercial Historic District
- St. George Academy
- Herman A. Meyer House
- Tucker County Bank Building
- Davis Coal and Coke Company Administrative Building
Named for industrialist and United States Senator, Henry Gassaway Davis (1823-1916), paid between $5 and $15 an acre for the land. The town was incorporated in 1880 with a population of 909. Davis was dubbed “stump town” as Robert Eastham had barely cut down the trees before people moved in. The stumps left from the forests of spruce and hardwoods were left in place and buildings constructed around them. People claimed they could walk from one end of town to the other from stump to stump without touching the ground. By 1902, Davis had a population of about 3,000 and more than 80 businesses. Many of these historic buildings, including hotels, saloons, the opera house and the saw mill in Davis were eventually dismantled.
Thomas was named for Thomas Beall Davis (1828-1911), brother of Senator Henry Gassaway Davis. In 1883 the Davis brothers opened a mine and had coal ready for shipment when the railroad arrived one year later. By 1892 Davis Coal and Coke was among the largest and best known coal companies in the world, holding over 100,000 acres of coal lands. The populations of the six towns in the Fairfax District (Thomas, Pierce, Benbush, Douglas, Coketon and William) totaled nearly 5,000. The one-and-one half mile stretch between Thomas and Douglas was aglow with the fires of over1,000 coke ovens.
Parsons was named for Ward Parsons and although he was not the first to settle in the area, he built the first house and was the largest land-owner. In 1876 he was elected sheriff of Tucker County. A democrat, he served until 1881. In 1888 a decision to bring the railroad to the area was made, and Parsons hired a civil engineer to lay out 135 lots of his land on the west side of Shaver’s Fork River for a town. Parsons advocated moving the county seat over from St. George. In February 1889, Parsons and a number of other men petitioned the county court to relocate the courthouse from St. George to Parsons. More petitions were later filed to make the Tucker County Seat where it is today.