Historical Landmarks in Putnam County

Putnam County is home to over 20 historical landmarks. The full list and locations are below from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History website. 

Title: Battle of ScaryCounty: Putnam

Inscription: First Confederate victory in Kanawha Valley fought here July 17, 1861. Charge of the Rangers under Captain (later General) Jenkins won the day. Whitelaw Reid described the event as a war correspondent with Gen. Cox’s Union forces.

Location: WV 817, 0.1 miles south of County Route 33 (Teays Valley Road), 2.7 miles north of US 60, and 0.6 miles south of Exit 44 (St. Albans)

Title: Kanawha County/Putnam CountyCounty: Kanawha/Putnam

Inscription: Authorized, 1788; organized in 1789 from Greenbrier and Montgomery. Named for the Kanawha River, bearing name of Indian tribe. Salt making brought early settlers into the valley and from it grew vast modern chemical plants.

Formed in 1818 from Cabell, Mason and Kanawha. Named for Gen. Israel Putnam, a Revolutionary War hero. The county is cut by trails made by American bison to the Ohio River. Its oldest town, Buffalo, is named for them.

Location: WV 25 at Nitro (missing)

Title: Red HouseCounty: Putnam

Inscription: Site of Federal homestead project, located on land granted to George Washington in 1773. The “Red House” was built by Joseph Ruffner in 1840. Here, February 2, 1864, General E. P. Scammon, Union commander, was captured by Confederates.

Location: Eleanor, WV 62 1.7 miles west of Winfield Bridge (WV 34); 28.0 miles east of WV 2

Title: WinfieldCounty: Putnam

Inscription: Named for General Winfield Scott, hero of the Mexican War. In attack upon Federal troops entrenched here in 1864, the Confederates were repulsed and Captain Philip Thurmond killed. The Union rifle pits may still be seen.

Location: WV 817, Winfield

Title: Red House Shoals/Civil War ActionCounty: Putnam

Inscription: Oldest community on the Kanawha River between Charleston and Point Pleasant, being settled circa 1795. In 1819, steamboat “Robert Thompson” failed to navigate the shoals here on a trip to Charleston. This led to an 1820 Act of Virginia Assembly providing for the first improvements on the river. By 1823 cargo boats could travel to Charleston safely. By 1830, tow boats with barges were making the trip.

During the Civil War, there was conflict in this area as armies vied for control of the Kanawha River. Local action included a skirmish here, battles at Scary Creek and Cross Lanes in 1861, and a battle at Winfield in 1864. Armies met twice at Hurricane in 1863 and again in 1864. Union General E. P. Scammon, his boat, and several men were captured at this place 2 February 1864 in a surprise raid by the Confederates.

Location: Red House, WV 62, 9/1 miles west of WV 25 & 0.9 miles east of Winfield Bridge (WV34)

Title: Kanawha County/Putnam CountyCounty: Kanawha/Putnam

Inscription: Authorized, 1788; organized in 1789 from Greenbrier and Montgomery. Named for the Kanawha River, bearing name of Indian tribe. Salt making brought early settlers into the valley and from it grew vast modern chemical plants.

Formed in 1848 from Cabell, Mason, and Kanawha. Named for Gen. Israel Putnam, a Revolutionary War hero. The county is cut by trails made by American bison to the Ohio River. Its oldest town, Buffalo, is named for them.

Location: WV 62 at Cross Lanes

Title: Washington’s LandCounty: Putnam

Inscription: This “Poca River Tract” of 7,276 acres was acquired by George Washington, and surveyed by Wm. Crawford, 1773. It bordered Kanawha River, “12 miles and 227 poles”. Washington’s nephew, Lawrence, resided at Red House Shoals.

Location: WV 62 in roadside park, 1.2 miles north of Bancroft

Title: Indian Village/ExcavationsCounty: Putnam

Inscription: The Buffalo Indian Village and Cemetery, between the road and the Kanawha River, was one of the largest Indian towns in West Virginia. It was occupied about 1650 by Shawnee Indians who later moved westward.

Excavations, 1963-64, showed a central plaza surrounded by large ceremonial buildings and a semi-circle of ordinary houses; all were enclosed by a stockade. Hundreds of burials were found at this Fort Ancient village site.

Location: WV 62, just east of Buffalo, 7.3 miles west of Winfield Bridge (WV 34), 22.4 miles east of WV 2

Title: Buffalo AcademyCounty: Putnam

Inscription: Established in 1849 by a joint stock company. First principal was George Rosetter. The school flourished until Civil War began, when it was occupied alternately by soldiers of the Federal and Confederate armies. After the War, the property was deeded to the Buffalo District Board of Education. One of the students at Buffalo during the academy years, John McCausland, became an illustrious Confederate General.

Location: Buffalo, WV 62, at Buffalo Historic Square, 9.7 miles west of Winfield Bridge (WV 34), 20.0 miles east of WV 2

Title: “Lawnvale”/”Coin” HarveyCounty: Putnam

Inscription: One mile north, home of Dr. T. C. Atkeson, head of Grange for many years, Dean of the W. Va. College of Agriculture and author of many works on agriculture. For nearly 50 years, Atkeson was a leader among farmers of America.

Birthplace of William Hope “Coin” Harvey, son of Colonel Robert Harvey. Builder of a pyramid at Monte Ne, Ark. Author of “Coin’s Financial School” in 1894 and other works on finance, which proposed silver inflation.

Location: Buffalo, WV 62, at Buffalo Historic Square, 9.7 miles west of Winfield Bridge (WV 34), 20.0 miles east of WV 2

Title: Andrew & Charles Lewis MarchCounty: Putnam

Inscription: The nearby highway is part of route traversing W. Va. from Lewisburg to Point Pleasant memorialized by the state to commemorate the march of the American Colonial army of 1,200 men led by Andrew & Charles Lewis. After a month’s march this army defeated a Shawnee Indian force led by Cornstalk at the Battle of Point Pleasant on the banks of the Ohio & Kanawha rivers, October 10, 1774.

Location: WV 62 at roadside park west of Bancroft, 6.7 miles west of WV 25, 3.3 miles east of Winfield Bridge (WV 34)

Title: Kanawha County/Putnam CountyCounty: Kanawha/Putnam

Inscription: Authorized, 1788; organized in 1789 from Greenbrier and Montgomery. Named for the Kanawha River, bearing name of Indian tribe. Salt making brought early settlers into the valley and from it grew vast modern chemical plants.

Formed in 1848 from Cabell, Mason, and Kanawha. Named for Gen. Israel Putnam, a Revolutionary War hero. The county is cut by trails made by American bison to the Ohio River. Its oldest town, Buffalo, is named for them.

Location: WV 817

Title: Cabell County/Putnam CountyCounty: Cabell/Putnam

Inscription: Formed, 1809, from Kanawha. Originally included several of the present counties of West Virginia. Named for William H. Cabell, Virginia governor, 1805-08. Big Sandy River was the western end of the James River and Kanawha Turnpike.

Formed in 1848 from Cabell, Mason, and Kanawha. Named for Gen. Israel Putnam, a Revolutionary War hero. The county is cut by trails made by American bison to the Ohio River. Its oldest town, Buffalo, is named for them.

Location: US 60 (missing)

Title: Lincoln County/Putnam CountyCounty: Lincoln/Putnam

Inscription: Formed in 1867 from Cabell, Kanawha, Boone and Putnam. Named for Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States. Producer of oil, gas and coal. Also noted for high quality of tobacco grown on its agricultural lands.

Formed in 1848 from Cabell, Mason and Kanawha. Named for Gen. Israel Putnam, a Revolutionary War hero. The county is cut by trails made by American bison to the Ohio River. Its oldest town, Buffalo, is named for them.

Location: WV 34

Title: Mason County/Putnam CountyCounty: Mason/Putnam

Inscription: Formed, 1804, from Kanawha. Named for George Mason. Here Virginia frontiersmen, under Gen. Andrew Lewis, cleared way for American independence, 1774, by defeating federated western tribes under Chief Cornstalk.

Formed in 1848 from Cabell, Mason and Kanawha. Named for Gen. Israel Putnam, a Revolutionary War hero. The county is cut by trails made by American bison to the Ohio River. Its oldest town, Buffalo, is named for them.

Location: US 35 (missing)

Title: Mason County/Putnam CountyCounty: Mason/Putnam

Inscription: Formed, 1804, from Kanawha. Named for George Mason. Here Virginia frontiersmen, under Gen. Andrew Lewis, cleared way for American independence, 1774, by defeating federated western tribes under Chief Cornstalk.

Formed in 1848 from Cabell, Mason and Kanawha. Named for Gen. Israel Putnam, a Revolutionary War hero. The county is cut by trails made by American bison to the Ohio River. Its oldest town, Buffalo, is named for them.

Location: WV 62 (missing)

Title: Jackson County/Putnam CountyCounty: Jackson/Putnam

Inscription: Formed in 1831 from Kanawha, Mason, and Wood. Named for General Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States. Jesse Hughes, noted Indian fighter, spent his declining years in the county where he is buried.

Formed in 1848 from Cabell, Mason and Kanawha. Named for Gen. Israel Putnam, a Revolutionary War hero. The county is cut by trails made by American bison to the Ohio River. Its oldest town, Buffalo, is named for them.

Location: WV 34

Title: Kanawha County/Putnam CountyCounty: Kanawha/Putnam

Inscription: Authorized, 1788; organized in 1789 from Greenbrier and Montgomery. Named for the Kanawha River, bearing name of Indian tribe. Salt making brought early settlers into the valley and from it grew vast modern chemical plants.

Formed in 1848 from Cabell, Mason and Kanawha. Named for Gen. Israel Putnam, a Revolutionary War hero. The county is cut by trails made by American bison to the Ohio River. Its oldest town, Buffalo, is named for them.

Location: US 60 (missing)

Title: Hurricane Baptist Church/Hurricane Bridge SkirmishCounty: Putnam

Inscription: Hurricane Baptist Church was founded May 26, 1860, near the old Hurricane Bridge. F.H. Reynolds was first clerk and James Mitchell, the first moderator. This log meeting-house was burned in 1863 by soldiers of the Civil War. Its congregation was scattered but reassembled in 1871. April 2, 1877, it received a deed from C.P. Huntington, president of the Central Land Company, for the site of the present Baptist structure. “

Federal troops of the 13th Virginia Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Colonel W.R. Brown, encamped here, were engaged in a five-hour skirmish with a Confederate force commanded by General Albert G. Jenkins, March 28, 1863. Defeated, the Confederates withdrew and continued their march toward their objective, Point Pleasant, where it was rumored that a vast quantity of Federal stores was deposited.

Location: US 60, at junction with WV 34, Hurricane

Title: Battle of Atkeson’s GateCounty: Putnam

Inscription: On September 27, 1862, the 91st Ohio of Col. John Turley, marching from Pt. Pleasant, learned that Jenkins’ Cavalry was camped near Buffalo. As the Ohioans approached the Confederate position, light skirmishing ensued; for four hours, Turley’s men drove back Jenkins. Lacking promised reinforcements, Turley could not exploit the rout and had to withdraw his troops.

Location: WV 62, north of Buffalo

Title: Battle of Winfield/WinfieldCounty: Putnam

Inscription: Lt. Col. Vincent Witcher and Capt. Phillip Thurmond led two columns of Confederates on October 26, 1864, against Federal troops that were protecting Winfield and local river traffic. Though outnumbered, Company D of the 7th WV Cavalry under Capt. John Reynolds repulsed the attack, killing Thurmond and taking several prisoners without suffering any major casualties.

Sited on land owned by Charles Brown, who started a ferry here in 1818, the town was named for Gen. Winfield Scott, Mexican-American War hero. Putnam County’s seat, it was incorporated in 1868. Its location along the Kanawha made it an important hub for trade and commerce and of strategic value during the Civil War. Use of ferry ended with bridge opening in 1957.

Location: WV 817, in front of courthouse, Winfield