ELIZABETH'S BEAUCHAMP-NEWMAN MUSEUM AN EYE-OPENER - Early 19th Century Little Kanawha Life

(09/28/2011)

MUSEUM OPEN DURING PIONEER DAY AT ELIZABETH

Visitors will be surprised when they visit
Elizabeth's Beauchamp-Newman Museum

One of the museum's prize attractions is this elegant grand piano

The dining room was likely the location of
discussions about the creation of Wirt County

The museum now houses furniture
and fixtures from the original "county court"

By Bob Weaver

It may be a surprise to regional residents to discover the Beauchamp-Museum.

Located in the Town of Elizabeth, one of the state's most attractive villages and county seats that has somehow managed to keep some of its old houses and buildings, even with the loss of the historic Roberts Store and Hardware to fire this week.

The museum was dedicated in 1955 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 1835 structure is filled to the brim with furniture, artifacts and collections that reflect life along the Little Kanawha River and Wirt County.

Next door is another historic structure, which will hopefully be saved - the Little Kanawha Hotel, originally built in 1802.

In 1796 William Beauchamp settled on 1400 acres of land near the Little Kanawha River which he named Beauchampís Mill, now the Town of Elizabeth.

Volunteer Carol Menefee tells the stories behind a secretary (desk)
the wood for the piece came from the Wheaton family of Burning
Springs and clothing worn by slave girl Mariah Green of Freeport

A 19th century brass sit-down tub is a favorite attraction,
in addition to this 20th century electrified "contraption" for curling hair

Beauchamp was a minister, farmer, and served as a sailor during the American Revolution.

Beauchamp died in 1808 and is buried in Beauchamp-Newman Cemetery.

William Beauchampís son, David, married Elizabeth Woodyard in 1806. David laid the land off in lots and sold building sites. He named the settlement, Elizabeth, after his wife.

In 1800, David built the first mill on Tuckerís Creek and in 1803 he built a sawmill at Tuckerís Riffle on the lower end of Court Street.

When the mill burned in 1822 he and his wife and two sons, Alfred and David, moved to Ohio.

In 1835 Davidís wife, Elizabeth, and her son Alfred returned to Elizabeth. He built another mill and a two-story red brick house that over the years has housed the communityís first store, post office, and hotel.

The house is now the Beauchamp-Newman Museum.

The County of Wirt was created in 1848 from a portion of Wood County. The first county court was organized in Beauchampís house and the town of Elizabeth started to prosper.

One of several bedrooms in the 1835 house

Alfred Beauchampís daughter, Mary Elizabeth, married Henry Newman. One of their children, Robert B. Newman helped finance the purchase of the red brick house to be used by the Daughters of American Pioneers as a museum. In 1974 the museum was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The museum is a repository of priceless early Wirt County memorabilia including the original county seal and early Elizabeth Town Council minutes.

On display in the Newman room is an original desk that belonged to Alfred Beauchamp and a piano that belonged to Elizabeth Beauchamp Baldwin. Other attractions are a copper bathtub, rope bed, dolls, cobblerís bench, glassware and old cooking utensils.

Next door to the museum is the historic Little
Kanawha Hotel, first established along the river in 1802


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