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Ridgeley, West Virginia

Ridgeley, West Virginia
Ridgeley and the North Branch of the Potomac River, as viewed from Cumberland, Maryland, in 2007
Ridgeley and the North Branch of the Potomac River, as viewed from Cumberland, Maryland, in 2007
Location of Ridgeley, West Virginia
Location of Ridgeley, West Virginia
Country United States
State West Virginia
County Mineral
 • Type Mayor/council
 • Mayor Lynn Carr
 • Council
  • Butch Hawse
  • Mark Jones
  • Richard Lechliter
  • Don McFarland
  • Bill Shepherd[1]
 • Total 0.30 sq mi (0.78 km2)
 • Land 0.29 sq mi (0.75 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
Elevation 699 ft (213 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 675
 • Estimate (2012[4]) 664
 • Density 2,327.6/sq mi (898.7/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 26753
Area code(s) 304
FIPS code 54-68260[5]
GNIS feature ID 1555480[6]

Ridgeley is a town in Mineral County, West Virginia, United States, and part of the Cumberland Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 675 at the 2010 census.

Ridgeley was initially known as St. Clairsville, named for Sir John St Clair, Lt Colonel and Quartermaster General for the British General Edward Braddock. St Clair accompanied Braddock on his ill-fated march on Fort Duquesne and his disastrous defeat on July 9, 1755.[7] It was incorporated as Ridgeley on November 28, 1914, named for the former owners of the land upon which the town was built.[8]


  • Geography 1
  • Geology 2
  • Demographics 3
    • 2010 census 3.1
  • Education 4
  • History 5
  • References 6
  • Sources 7


Ridgeley is located at (39.643187, -78.769189),[9] along the North Branch of the Potomac River, opposite Cumberland, Maryland.[10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.30 square miles (0.78 km2), of which, 0.29 square miles (0.75 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.[2]


The type locality of the Ridgeley Member of the Old Port Formation is located in the town.[11] The Ridgeley name is given to local sandstone in honor of Ridgeley, WV, the far eastern boundary of the formation. It is primarily a sandstone, and is quarried locally.


As of 2000 the median household income was $26,016 and the median family income was $36,042. Males had a median income of $29,250 compared with $20,227 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,199. About 13.3% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.0% of those under age 18 and 17.7% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 675 people, 301 households, and 180 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,327.6 inhabitants per square mile (898.7/km2). There were 377 housing units at an average density of 1,300.0 per square mile (501.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 92.4% White, 0.6% African American, 0.3% Native American, 4.1% Asian, and 2.5% from two or more races.

There were 301 households of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.2% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.86.

The median age in the town was 40.8 years. 21.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.3% were from 25 to 44; 25.8% were from 45 to 64; and 19.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 45.6% male and 54.4% female.


Ridgeley is within the Mineral County School District. Frankfort High School is located near Short Gap and contains the grades 9-12. Keyser High School, located in Keyser, about 21 miles away from Ridgeley, is also in the Mineral County School District.


The land on which the town is built was originally conveyed from Lawrence Washington. Christopher Gist was in charge of construction of "New Store" [15] which was just over what is now the Blue Bridge leading into Ridgeley from Cumberland. The settlement was used as a headquarters for traders and trappers from 1750 and 1763, and also served as a local fort outpost to shelter travelers or workers in the event of an Indian attack.[16] Early Ohio Company residents who worked at the settlement (and who explored the surrounding countryside) included Hugh Parker and Christopher Gist. According to a history of the time, there were no white settlers in the area at this point.[16] Lowdermilk's 1878 history reflects that at this point, the area was on the very outside of civilization; in fact, Lowdermilk refers to it as the "very outskirts of civilization. The country beyond was an unbroken and almost pathless wilderness. It was separated by many miles of tortuous mountain roads from the settlements in the east".[17]

In May 1754, Joshua Fry at the storehouses at Fort Ohio. Fry was a colonel and commander in the Virginia Militia. He was to take command of the forces sent to the frontier. Fry was thrown from his horse on the way to the fort and died. Washington's notes reflected that Fry was carefully tended to but died, and was buried "on the hill",[18] which is what the area around Fort Ohio (now Ridgeley) was referred to at that time. Washington then took command of the troops, his first military command. Washington staged an attack from Fort Ohio against a French detachment of 40 men that resulted in the death of French diplomat Ensign Joseph Coulon de Jumonville, who had been alleged to be a spy. De Jumonville's brother in law confronted Washington, who eventually signed a document asserting that he had "assassinated" du Jumonville. The document was in French, which Washington could not read; eventually Washington stated that he had signed the document to get himself and his troops safely released and out of the terrible weather. The killing of du Jumonville is considered to have been the first shot fired in the French and Indian War.[19]

In spring 1755, Washington returned to the area to prepare for General Daniel Morgan (age 20) worked in the area to plan and carry out the ill-fated assault.

When Fort Cumberland was all but abandoned in 1763, the Ohio Company reclaimed the land and put it up for sale. Eventually, the land was conveyed to West Virginia Central and Pittsburg Railway built yards and tracks in Ridgeley. In 1904, the West Virginia Central became the Western Maryland Railroad. The town developed as a blue collar community, many of whose residents worked for the railroad. For most of its history, it had been called alternately "St. Clairsville" or "Sinclairsville," but upon incorporation in 1914, it was renamed Ridgeley after Charles Ridgeley (1822–1897) a prominent early resident and businessman.

The town grew throughout the early part of the 20th century to be a vibrant blue-collar community of schools, churches and businesses. Serious flooding from the Potomac River was a challenge to the town until the Army Corps of Engineers completed a major flood control project in the 1950s. During the 1970s and 1980s, as the Mineral County school system consolidated schools in the area, all the Town's schools were closed, challenging Ridgeley's cohesiveness as a community.

In May 2013 Ridgeley mayor James L. Twigg was indicted on eight felony charges in connection with the alleged misuse of the city's purchasing card. He pled guilty that October to four misdemeanor counts of failing to perform his duties.[20]


  1. ^ "Ridgeley voters choose new town leaders".  
  2. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  4. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  5. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  6. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  7. ^ Gary Clites Sr., author of Ridgeley and Carpendale West Virginia from 1750 a History. Published 2008
  8. ^ West Virginia Blue Book, published annually] by the Clerk's Office of the West Virginia Senate.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  10. ^ West Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Me.:  
  11. ^ "Geologic Unit: Ridgeley". National Geologic Maps Database (GEOLEX database). U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  12. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ Callahan, J. (1923) The History of West Virginia Old and New, Volume I, Chapter VI. American Historical Society
  15. ^ Lowdermilk, W. (1878) History of Cumberland. DC: James Anglim, p. 30
  16. ^ a b Lowdermilk, 1878.
  17. ^ Lowdermilk, W. 1878, p. 50.
  18. ^ Lowdermilk, 1878, p. 71.
  19. ^ National Park Service (2012) Jumonville Glen.
  20. ^ Blaisdell, Elaine (October 15, 2013). "Former Ridgely mayor pleads guilty". Cumberland Times-News. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 


  • Clites, Gary, Ridgeley and Carpendale, West Virginia From 1750: A History, Knobley Mountain Press, ISBN 978-1-4357-2044-2, 2008
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