Summersville 2020 - 8

HISTORY OF SUMMERSVILLE

HISTORY OF SUMMERSVILLE

A

n Act of Legislation, dated June
20, 1820, gave life to Summersville, Virginia and also provided
that the County seat of Nicholas County, formed in 1818, be moved from
Hutchinson's on Muddelty to a square
tree on Peters Creek Road, above Galoway improvement. That tree, which had
earlier been hewed with an ax, turned out
to be located in the center of the Quilt
Shoppe in present day Summersville.
The name Summersville was controversial as well. A Virginia legislator by the
name of Burton claimed the County seat
should be named for him because of his
work establishing the town but found the
honor had already been promised to Judge
Lewis Summers who had lobbied hard
for the formation of Nicholas County in
1818, and had also introduced the bill into
the Virginia Assembly to form the new
county. Even the boundaries of the town
were controversial. According to historian
W.G. Brown, "The boundaries of the new
county seat, and fixed by the new county
court, included an irregular area as it was
laid off to exclude certain citizens who
were opposed to the incorporation and
only including the main business places
and the citizens sponsoring the measure."

John Hamilton was both a soldier
and a well-connected speculator and
he was instrumental in the formation
of Nicholas County. Unfortunately, he
passed away in September 1818, a short
month after the county's formation.
Many still consider John Hamilton to
be the father of Summersville.
From its early formation, Summersville was a sleepy farming community, and by 1860 was home to
less than 100 residents. For Summersville, the Civil War changed everything.
During the winter of 1864-65, both
Union and Confederate armies were
encamped in Summersville or nearby.
It was during that winter that the town
and all its buildings were burned to the
ground. Although the war ended soon
after, the destruction of the town was
discouraging, and citizens were very
slow to return and rebuild.
By 1884, Summersville was again
home to over 100 citizens, and slowly
became the commerce center of the county. Agriculture continued to be the major
commerce of the area until the late 1930s
when large coal operations began to spring
up in various locations near Summersville.
-former Mayor Stanley Adkins

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Summersville 2020

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