Society Dinner Meetings
May 18, 2018 Dinner Meeting
The George Pinkney Morgan House
Presented by Jim Rote
2018 Dinner Meeting Schedule: 6:15 PM
Friday, March 16
Friday, May 18
Friday, September 21
Friday, November 16*
*(sometimes moved to accommodate church functions!)
The Society holds four dinner meetings each year on the third Fridays of March, May, September, and November where a program of historical interest is included. Programs are held at 6:15 PM at the Suncrest (Drummond) United Methodist Church on Van Voorhis Road in Morgantown; ample parking is available.
The public and guests are welcome; bring a friend or colleague. Those wishing to join the Society may do so at or after the meeting. The cost of the dinner is $10.00. Persons wishing to only attend the free program, that follows the dinner, are welcome to arrive about 7 PM.
Dinner reservations are required, and may be made by calling Ron Ramsey at 304-599-5264.
Reservations should be made no later than the Tuesday before the meeting. Payment for dinners can be made at the meeting.
The Society must guarantee paying for reservations made, so attendance of those making reservations is greatly appreciated.
The Only Freestanding Early–Morgan House Left in the Monongahela River Valley
In the early 1770s, David and Sarah Morgan moved from the Potomac River Valley to the Monongahela River Valley, settling across the river from what is now Prickett’s Fort. David and Jacob Morgan built the fort in 1774 for protection from the natives. Later David and Sarah moved a few miles upriver to what is now the Rivesville area. David’s younger brother, Zackquill, founded Morgan’s Town, farther down the river. The Morgan families created a legacy of important descendants who shaped the area and the State of what was to become West Virginia. They included William S. Morgan, A Virginia congressman, and Francis H. Pierpont—the “Father” of West Virginia.
George Pinkney Morgan built a fine brick home on family land that was his grandfather’s, David. The red brick home was built near the family cemetery, and dates to the 1850s. First taxes were paid in 1857, but the construction predated that year. In 1975 the house became unoccupied, and by the mid–1980s the house almost became victim to a nearby strip–mining operation. The public, mindful of the importance of the house, rallied to prevent its destruction.
As a result of the work of Jim Rote and others, the house is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In October, 2017, the restoration received recognition from The West Virginia Division of Culture and History for "Historic Preservation-Our Legacy Our Future," for saving an individual resource.
Jim Rote grew up across the street from the house in the 50s and 60s. After the house was saved and sat vacant for years he evaluated the condition of the house, and purchased it in 2000. Jim then started a careful restoration, bringing the house as much as possible to its historical condition. He receives visitors by appointment; a special time is the Christmas season when decorations of a faraway time are used throughout the house. Jim will present the story of the history of the Morgan family and the restoration of the house.
A graduate of Fairmont State College, Jim attended both WVU and Old Dominion University with studies in early childhood special education and school administration. He was an administrator with Prince William County Schools, Manassas, Virginia and owned and operated a bookstores in Newport News and Williamsburg, Virginia. He also served as a character/interpreter as owner of Chowning’s Tavern in Williamsburg. He retired from teaching with the Berkeley County School system in Martinsburg, WV.