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19. The Adam Crawford House

James Westfall sold this half-acre, original town lot #16, to Benjamin Wilson in 1792.

It is on the west side of what is now Main Street. The house is reputed to date from the early 1800's, and Adam Crawford and his family already lived here when he bought the house in 1846. Tradition claims that the first telegraph office in a private home was set up in a second floor bedroom of this house immediately following the Union victory at Rich Mountain. If so, it is likely that General McClellan's victory telegram was sent from this location.

For much of the war, the Crawford family had to live in one room while the rest of the house was used for quarters for Union officers and, at times, as a hospital. As a result, the house was not substantially damaged or altered during the war.

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The Crawfords' daughter Harriet found this occupation especially galling. On one occasion, she waved a Confederate flag from the window. She hid the flag up a chimney, and the Union soldiers sent to search for the flag failed to find it. She was still arrested and might have been sent to prison camp but for the intervention of a Union officer who was a friend of her father. She also fell in love with Union telegrapher George Prinz but refused to marry a "Yankee." He escaped a secret way over Rich Mountain, deserted the Union, and joined the Confederates at Huttonsville. The couple were later married and lived in Beverly, where he was a carpenter.

adam_crawford4.jpg (44782 bytes) The house is relatively unaltered from its original plan. It is two-story, five bays wide, with a back ell. Details such as the simplified Federal styling, sidelighted door with transom, and the short "returns" at the bottom of the gables argue for an early construction date.It has a low metal roof and inside end chimneys.