by Kate Shunney
The commission meeting room and hallway of the Morgan County Courthouse were packed with people on Sunday, February 9 for the county’s bicentennial birthday party. A large cake, decorated with the county’s bicentennial logo, was flanked by stacks of cupcakes in the western hallway of the courthouse. In an over-capacity meeting room, bicentennial organizers and county officials addressed more than 75 people who came to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the vote to form Morgan County.
Jeanne Mozier, bicentennial chairwoman and president of the Museum of the Berkeley
Springs, opened the speeches, and recognized CNB Bank president Mark Harrell for sponsoring the birthday party.
“Two hundred years ago today, legislators sat in Richmond and voted to take a piece of Hampshire County and a piece of Berkeley County to make Morgan County,” Mozier said. The new county was named after Daniel Morgan, the revolutionary war hero.
“His story is incredible. You’ll be hearing more about it,” Mozier said. “This is like a yearlong seminar on Daniel Morgan.”
Angie Hott of the Morgan County Partnership debuted a music video of her original Happy Birthday song for the county, sung in the video by County Commissioners and Partnership staff. Birthday cards for Morgan County, signed by students from schools around the county, were also on display.
Mozier said Sunday’s party “starts a year of celebration” of the county’s history. There are plans to video record local history stories for the future, to collect documents and photos, and to make the bicentennial a theme for many public events all around the county.
County Administrator Stefanie Allemong, bicentennial organizer, said the yearlong celebration is an opportunity to recognize “Morgan County and the history that lies behind it.”
She said a small number of limited edition brass bicentennial coins will be made to mark the year.
Two lifesized cardboard cut-outs of Daniel Morgan have already been made for the bicentennial and will be found migrating around the county.
Commission President Joel Tuttle said the county’s history is so extensive he wouldn’t attempt to cover it all in his remarks.
“We are so very blessed that Morgan County has such a rich history and so blessed we have so many historians,” Tuttle said, naming Mozier and Daniel Morgan biographers and the late John Douglas as notable.
Tuttle talked about the canal, railroad and orchard history of Paw Paw and the history of healing waters in Berkeley Springs. He noted each section of the county has its own individual identity, from the localities of Great Cacapon and Pleasant View to Greenwood and Cherry Run, Magnolia and New Hope.
“How many counties can say they have a castle that sits on the hill?” said Tuttle.
Commissioner Sean Forney said he is excited to be a commissioners during the county’s bicentennial celebration, and to be part of the making of history.
Mozier said events throughout the year will teach residents about the county’s namesake and collect local history.
“We’re going to make connections with our Morgan County family that will go on for another 200, 300, 400 years,” she said.