Fire Damages West Virginia’s Historic Greenbrier County Manor

March 3, 2008

Investigators with the West Virginia Fire Marshal’s Office were sifting through ashes, trying to determine what sparked a fire that severely damaged the oldest house in Greenbrier County.

The fire broke out around 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the 229-year-old Stuart Manor, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, Fairlea firefighter Jim Pierce said.

Pierce didn’t have a damage estimate, but said it was extensive.

No injuries were reported and no one was inside the limestone and wooden structure at the time.

Bill Weikle of the Greenbrier County Historical Society says the oldest section of the home was spared from the blaze.

According to documents filed with the national register, Stuart Manor was built by Col. John Stuart, a founder of Greenbrier County and a Virginia statesman who voted on the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

Stuart first settled in the region, which was then part of Virginia, in 1767. A few years later he erected a stockaded fort and later a grist mill.

While serving in the militia, Stuart was at the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1777 and witnessed the killing of Shawnee chieftain Cornstalk.

In 1778, Stuart was appointed clerk of the newly formed county, a post he maintained for more than a quarter of a century.

The manor is still owned by Stuart’s descendants, said Nelle Chilton, one of the family members.

The house means a great deal to the family and to the Greenbrier County community, Chilton said, adding that the property will be restored.

“We’ll be working on it,” she said. “It’s not something that will be left to rot.”

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