Hampshire County is the oldest county in West Virginia, being created by the Virginia General Assembly on December 13, 1753 (effective May 1, 1754) from parts of Frederick and Augusta counties (Virginia) with over twenty-six hundred square miles, including parts of present day Hardy, Morgan, Mineral and Grant counties. Since it was the western frontier of the Virginia Colony it became Virginia's route to the upper Ohio River valley, an important gateway to the developing west. By 1786 a state road had been completed from Winchester, Virginia through the Capon Bridge area to Romney, but the building of the Northwestern Turnpike (U.S. Route 50) in the 1830s from Winchester to Parkersburg on the Ohio River in the western part of the state, was critical to further development.
The name Cacapon River is believed to be derived from the Indian name "KaKapon" meaning "to be found again," and over the years has been used for floating lumber as well as transportation to the Potomac. Prior to completion of the Northwestern Turnpike, crossing of the Cacapon River was by ferry south of what is today Capon Bridge. As part of the building of the Northwestern Turnpike the first bridge, a wooden covered structure, was constructed in 1836 downstream of the ferry. The covered bridge was washed out in 1889 and replaced with an open wooded structure, and has been replaced two more times, the last time in 1933 with the steel structure bridge that exists today.
The area was initially settled by Europeans in 1738 by James Caudy and Joseph Edwards. Local lore has it that Caudy was a famous Indian fighter, pushing off Indians from a high rocky crag, known today as Caudy's Castle, into the Cacapon River; and it was Edwards' fort just north of present day Capon Bridge that played an important role in the French and Indian War (1754–1763). During the Civil War Hampshire County residents were generally Confederate sympathizers and played a role in several Virginia regiments. West Virginia became a state in 1863 at the close of the War. A tannery was operated in Capon Bridge as early as 1820, with the tannery business playing a major role in the economic well-being of the area for more than a century, supporting other related industries such as hides and skins, bark peelers and teamsters. Amos L. Pugh is considered the founder of Capon Bridge because he led the effort to incorporate the Town in 1902.
Founders Day Festival
The Capon Bridge Founders Day Festival was initially conceived by the Capon Bridge, WV Ruritan Club in 2007. It was intended to celebrate the incorporation of Capon Bridge on December 5th 1902 and to be a means by which the club could show its appreciation to the local community for their support of Ruritans over the years. It was to be free admission and provide family entertainment. If successful, the intent was for it to become an annual event. 2011 marks the 4th year of the festival. Each year the festival has grown and new events have been added such as the car show, chili-cook off, sock hop and exotic animal exhibits. One of our sponsors is the National Guard. Over the years they have provided the festival with various attractions such as the Orange County Chopper motorcycle, Black Hawk helicopter, Rock Wall, and many more. The festival attracts various businesses in our Business Expo and local crafters and artisans. Last year over 6,000 people attended the growing festival.