November 17, 1766: Pioneer Morgan Morgan Died
Pioneer Morgan Morgan died on November 17, 1766. Generations of schoolchildren grew up being taught that Morgan was the first permanent white settler in present West Virginia. Now, though, we know that others came before him.
A native of Wales, Morgan emigrated in 1712 to Delaware, where he worked as a tailor and a coroner. In 1731, he settled in the Bunker Hill area of present Berkeley County. Four years later, he received a land patent in the region for 1,000 acres. He was an influential member of the Bunker Hill community and helped found Christ Episcopal Church. Today, his grave is part of the church’s cemetery, and a log cabin he built stands nearby.
So, if Morgan Morgan wasn’t West Virginia’s first permanent white resident, then who was? The answer might forever be a mystery. We do know that by the time Morgan arrived in 1731, some white settlers already lived here. One possibility for the earliest settlement is a community known only as Potomoke. Some historians believe that Potomoke, which was settled as early as 1717, could be the site of modern-day Shepherdstown.