Following the abolition of slavery, African American communities were rapidly established throughout Jefferson County. Churches were cornerstones of these communities — serving as houses of worship, schools, and community centers. The African American community in Kearneysville was known as Hartstown.
Following the end of the Civil War, formerly enslaved men, women and children developed many self-sustaining communities based on proximity to employment opportunities. Hartstown (or Harts Town) was the name of one such community that developed in Kearneysville, West Virginia.
Appalachia is often viewed through a narrow lens. The stories of Black communities throughout the region are often left untold or simply overlooked. Acknowledging these communities and preserving their stories helps us to truly understand the broad patterns of the cultural landscape in which we live today.