Charlestown, the seat of justice for the county, is on the line of the rail-road from Winchester to Harper's Ferry, 8 miles from the latter, and 22 from the former. This town was established in October, 1786, and named from the Christian name of its first proprietor, Col. Charles Washington, a brother of George Washington. Eighty lots were divided into lots and streets, and the following named gentlemen were appointed trustees: John Augustine Washington, William Drake, Robert Rutherford, James Crane, Cato Moore, Magnus Tate, Benjamin Rankin, Thornton Washington, "William Little, Alex. White, and Richard Ranson. Col. Charles Washington resided in a log-house, which stood a short distance from the town. A fine spring marks the spot. The whole of the land in the vicinity of Charlestown originally belonged to the Washington family, and a considerable portion still remains in the possession of their descendants. Col. Chas. Washington was the only brother of Washington that settled west of the Blue Ridge. He was an amiable, modest, and dignified gentleman, and in his appearance, as well as character, resembled his illustrious brother.
Braddock's army, in their route to the west, passed through this region; one mile west of the village, on the land of Bushrod Washington, Esq., there is a well dug by them.
The annexed view was taken in the central part of the village, looking down the principal street; the public building on the right, is the court-house, recently erected. The town is flourishing, and contains 11 mercantile stores, a branch of the Bank of the Valley, an academy, newspaper printing-office, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Episcopal, and 1 Methodist church, and a population of about 1,400
Washington’s Masonic Cave is two and a half miles southeast of Charlestown. It is divided into several apartments, one of which is called the lodge-room. Tradition informs us that Washington, with others of the Masonic fraternity, held meetings in this cavern. In the spring of 1844 the masons in this vicinity had a celebration there.