Darke fought in the French & Indian War as a young man and may have been at Braddock’s defeat in 1755. He raised one of the first companies for the 8th Virginia in 1776 and was promoted from captain to major in 1777 shortly before his capture at Germantown. That was followed by three years in British captivity. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel while in enemy hands. He was exchanged late in 1780 and returned home just before Lord Cornwallis invaded Virginia. Darke helped General Daniel Morgan recruit a force of 18-month Continentals in the lower Shenandoah Valley and was present for the victory at Yorktown.
Those who survived, however, made it out alive because Lt. Colonel Darke led one last desperate charge through the Indian line, opening a hole through which the panicking soldiers could flee. Darke himself was wounded in the leg. His son, Captain Joseph Darke, was shot in the head and would die after a month of “unparalleled suffering.” Colonel Darke returned home just in time to witness the death of another of his three sons. (Darke’s last surviving son died five years later, leaving the hero with no one to carry on his name—something that bothered him greatly.)
I recently stopped in Darkesville (now in West Virginia) to look around. For the casual observer, there is little to distinguish the village from more modern development along the road (Route 11). The state historic marker appears to be missing and I wasn’t able to find General Darke’s Headquarters, though I was later able to find its apparent location on a map.
Charles E. Streitwieser
10/2/2018 10:32:12 am
2/15/2020 08:07:36 pm
Some of these historic houses were significantly damaged due to a tornado touching down right in the center 10-15 years ago.
2/15/2020 11:27:52 pm
Ashlee--Thanks for this. Do you know if General Darke's HQ was one of the buildings that was hit? I wasn't able to find it when I visited and wonder if it's no longer there.
2/15/2020 09:27:43 pm
2/15/2020 09:30:06 pm
My mom lives in darkesville, have often wonder about her home, was always told the place was used for meetings among captains and such her house sits beside the old toll booth and in front of brayles old Mill, would love to know more history pertaining to her house from back then, please if you have any information I would greatly appreciate anything you have found.
2/15/2020 11:26:31 pm
Tracey--This might be helpful to you. Do you know anything about General Darks' HQ?
Tracey a Smith
2/16/2020 04:39:52 pm
Not sure, I've been trying to do research to find out more about her home and the area, I was always told that her house was where they ( general, captains etc) would have their meetings and all that good stuff but I can never find any kind of books or anything. So with you looking an everything maybe I can finally get results I've been searching for years, thank you so very much with helping me with this, greatly appreciated my friend.
Darlene Henry Parks
2/16/2020 08:44:59 am
5/21/2020 12:35:28 pm
I used to mow Mr Henry's grass my brother and I along with the rest of our NEIGHBORS never seen his children tho he was a nice man and spoke often with us about his divorce and children
Judy Flick Shultz
2/16/2020 04:38:41 pm
I too grew up in Darkesville. My mother Laura Glenna Lewis Flick used to have information on the town, but our house was one that was lost in the tornado. I’m not sure if there was anything that was left to give you more information. I know she did some investigating herself. I think the house she grew up I was the home that housed General Darke. We ended up tr
2/17/2020 12:37:14 am
Looks like you got cut off--you know which house was Darke's?
Judy Flick Shultz
2/17/2020 09:00:24 pm
I think it was the house beside my mom’s and the house she lived in was the one for the soldiers The house for General Darke would be on the left hand side of the road two houses down from Fish Hatchery Road going toward Inwood. The first place is a pet grooming and then it was our place but it was destroyed and another house is there. Sally’s alley was between our house and what I think was General Darkes. There is a stone fence between the two properties
Tracey a Smith
2/17/2020 09:22:01 pm
Judy, my mom's house is diagonal from the old Rice's tavern it's sets up on the hill, it's white, has camper that is behind house it's right beside of the nasty car lot,(don't know why they won't make that owner clean it up).. But growing up I was always told that the generals and all used as a meeting place,, I was and still am curious about what it was used for an all that good stuff, I've been trying forever to get information on her place, went to the library still couldn't find nothing.. I'm just so curious!!!!
5/21/2020 12:41:42 pm
Yes I remember your Dad and your Mom we lived and took care of Hazel Mish in Grantha Grims house
2/17/2020 01:44:23 pm
Have you checked with Jefferson County Tax Appraisers Office? https://jefferson.wvassessor.com/Contact-Us
2/17/2020 04:55:56 pm
5/21/2020 01:07:15 pm
Sad but some history in darksvile has changed because of the people who sat on historical society...like where I lived was 2 homes built in the late 1600 a sawmill and barns along with the old store slash dinner we used for a play house that sat near the tracks in the woods be hind our house of which Grantha and luther Grim owned and grantha was raised and sally her mother hit by a police car there in the drive which is where the storage buildings sit today across from the old brick house built in 1701 that sat beside the Robert's
2/17/2020 04:53:18 pm
2/17/2020 10:22:02 pm
Article was a fantastic read, please take my email and copy me on any future article locations so I can keep up with your research. There are properties all over the place around there with old buildings left on them. On 480 in kearneysville not far away at all if you drew a line from the property to darkesville there are at least 2 old buildings I believe had a military beginning.
2/17/2020 10:27:35 pm
Alec--Many thanks. Please send your email address to GabeNeville@8thVirginia.com
2/17/2020 10:29:16 pm
For those who liked this one--here is a longer biography of William Darke: https://www.8thvirginia.com/blog/the-darke-side-of-washington
2/18/2020 04:28:35 pm
A friend on Facebook posted this link. Nice piece and great information from it and comments. I'm distantly related to Belle Boyd and have portrayed her in 1st person since 2001 at speaking engagements and reenactments. Boyd Tavern was a family home. Always been fascinated with Darkesville and Boyd Tavern. wish I owned it! Lol. Love old houses, buildings, and the history.
1/20/2022 10:52:26 am
2/19/2020 05:03:03 pm
I read your article with great interest, since I was raised in Darke County, but leaving the area in 1965. Currently, I am reading David McCullough's book "The Pioneers," which describes the poor judgment of St. Claire.
Michael Cheladyn / James Coleman
2/20/2020 08:59:09 am
We own the old Boyd’s Tavern on the corner of Sir Washington street. I just wanted to thank you for this article it was really interesting
2/23/2020 06:48:02 am
I think Judy Flick Shultz is correct. There used to be a house there beside her parents. It is since gone. My understanding is that is where it was. Gorgeous log home. I remember a stone wall there. As a child, I remember the home and then I remember it being gone. Sorry to hear about your parents house Judy.
Judy Flick Shultz
2/23/2020 04:25:53 pm
I have a picture of our house in Darkesville before it was torn down, but I don’t know how to post it
5/21/2020 12:42:38 pm
That's a shame. I would love to see it for old time memory sakes. I remember your dads track out back.
11/4/2020 11:18:42 pm
I own a house across the street from Fort Jefferson in Ohio. This is the fort that they retreated to during the battle. There is some written history about the fort but I would really like to find out more. My house is believe to be the oldest there and I suspect that it may date back to or near the time the fort was occupied but cannot confirm. Great article. Thanks
1/20/2022 12:14:31 pm
1/25/2022 09:46:06 pm
I just moved into the 2 story home beside Darkesville UMC. From what I found online it is known as the Jonathan Seaman home. I have searched high and low for photos of this home over the years and haven't been successful. It was built in 1795. Any help is appreciated. Dawnreynolds1229@gmail.com
2/14/2022 08:46:54 am
I lived in Mrs. Mason's house from 1989-1998. Loved growing up in that area back then. So many historical places and you could definitely feel that vibe it had. Too young to know much about it though at the time. The address was rt1 box 66 which I see wasn't listed. Like that's much help. Anyways thanks for the article I really enjoy reading about Darkesville
9/25/2022 11:44:05 pm
I was raised where t he storage buildings set now, there was 2 houses there owned by luther and grantha grim a barn and a small old store near the tracks I made a mistake on dates earlier wrote 1600s but it was 1710 our houses were built thet were there until the 90s when my brother john Cordova sold the property and later the storage buildings were built tho b4 the sale of property historical society was going to redo the homes until L my brother sold them
James S Hannahs
2/15/2022 02:48:34 pm
Now we know who my ancestor DARKE BUTT was named after. Thanks. DARKE, BUTT and RICHARDSON/RICHESON came down together from PA
2/25/2022 10:30:09 am
My husband and I visited Darkesville about 5 years ago. We were looking for info about Samuel Birkhead Harris. He was a Quaker from the Eastern Shore @ Parker"s Landing across from the Scientist's Cliffs Nuclear Reactor. He moved to Darkesville in 1787, Online, when I typed his name in, a result came back referencing the Methodist Cemetery there. We stopped at the ME Church and knocked at the house beside the parking lot on the North side. The lady there was so nice. She drove ahead of us to the cemetery because she said we could never find it by ourselves as it was behind a house and we had to drive into the driveway. She let us into the cemetery area behind a gate. She said the church found out it was their cemetery so a group of citizens had cleared it out of junk and brush. We did not find any tombstones with Samuel's name but took pictures. The Historical Society searched the early deeds and said his land was on the West side of the interstate going North from Darkesville near the Mall? The land is still full of trees, etc. Samuel Harris married Alcy Griggs, daughter of Thomas Griggs who lived at Middleway and had an office in Charles Town which is a white house beside a little add-on building which was Charles Washington's office. Griggs was a dealer in slaves. He was also a person who collected rents on Bull Run for George Washington. I read that any Quaker who wanted to own slaves joined the "Episcopal : church because Quakers were against slavery. As we looked around the small town, we were awestruck at the houses and apparent history imbedded there in the building. I have also found Darke in the early history of Pa in the Cumberland Valley and on into Bedford. Would love to find out more about Darkesville. I sent most of what I could find about Samuel Harris to the historical society there in Martinsburg. The Harris family lived in that area from the early settlement in 1787 into the 1850s. Thomas Griggs Harris was in charge of completing the C&O Canal in Shepherdstown in the 1940's. His father, Samuel, moved and built a house @ Moler's Corners near Harper's Ferry bridge. I would love to hear from anyone in Darkesville, Martinsburg who might know more history about the town.
3/30/2022 10:00:31 pm
I have Harris Quaker ancestors. You may find information from the Fairfax Meetinghouse in Waterford, Loudon CO,VA. There were also Harris ancestors at Pipe Creek, Frederick County,MD.
2/25/2022 11:22:23 am
oops..there are some errors in my last post. Namely, Thomas Griggs Harris was in charge of completing the last lock of the Canal at Shepherdstown. The Harris family was in .around Darkesville from 1787 until about 1811 when Samuel Birkhead Harris built a house @ Moler's Corners. This house is shown in the book "Uncommon Vernacular" about historic houses in/around Charles Town.
Sandy McKinney Kemner
3/5/2022 11:27:56 am
This article was so interesting to me. I grew up in Inwood, WV, and was very familiar with the small town Darksville, not so much with it's history. I moved away from WV as an adult, and now in my retirement, I am researching my family genealogy. I recently discovered that the son of my great-grandfather X5, Dr. Thomas McKinney, had a medical practice in Darksville in the early 1800's. He is also supposed to be buried in a cemetery in that town. If you might have any type of information about him, his practice, where he lived, etc., I would be SO happy to hear from you.
2/11/2023 03:33:37 pm
Hello, I am researching a Civil War skirmish involving my ancestor Lt. Albert Henry Carroll, CSA and the 12th Illinois Cavalry on September 7th, 1862. Albert and a Captain McDonnel were reported killed, and 40 confederates captured. This was reported by Major Arno Voss of the Union forces. Do you know of any information regarding this area in the Civil War? Thank you.
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is researching the history of the Revolutionary War's 8th Virginia Regiment. Its ten companies formed on the frontier, from the Cumberland Gap to Pittsburgh.
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