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Article Archive >> Winter Tourism

Charles Town

Charles Town-
Named After the Youngest Full Brother of George Washington

Charles Town is a city in Jefferson County, West Virginia USA. The population was 2,907 at the 2000 census. Due to its similar name, travelers have sometimes confused this city with the state's capital, Charleston. It is the county seat of Jefferson County.
Charles Washington, the founder of Charles Town, was born in Hunting Creek, now Fairfax County, Virginia on May 2, 1738. He was the youngest full brother of George Washington. He came to present Jefferson County between April and October 1780.
The home of Charles Washington, Happy Retreat, was erected in 1780. In 1786, on 80 acres of his adjoining land, Charles laid out the streets of Charles Town, naming many of them after his brothers and one after his wife, Mildred. The four corner lots at the intersection of George and Washington Streets, which he donated for public buildings of the town and county, provided the town become the seat of the county separated from Berkeley County. Jefferson County was formed in 1801 as he anticipated. The county court house stands on one of these lots, as did the jail until 1919 when it was demolished to be replaced by the post office.
Charles Washington died sometime between July and September 1799, only a short while before the death of his brother, George. Charles' and his wife Mildred's gravesites near Evitts Run have recently been located and surrounded by a stone wall. In 2006, a non-profit corporation, called the Friends of Happy Retreat, Inc. (FOHR), purchased an option to buy the property outright. The goal of this group is to see Happy Retreat preserved as a national historic treasure while at the same time contributing to the public's appreciation of the arts, local culture, and the rich history of the Washington family and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

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