Berkeley County, West Virginia Biography of Daniel BURKHART


         Daniel BURKHART moved to Martinsburg, Berkeley County, about 1810. There he married Miss Ruth FLAGG and was the Sheriff of Berkeley County. He organized the Berkeley Savings Bank, the first bank operated in that county, and it flourished until the outbreak of the Civil War, when Daniel Burkhart, its president, took all the money - $60,000 – out to his farm house on Tuscarora (later owned by his grandson John D. Burkhart, Jr.). He proceeded to bury the money, under the cover of darkness, burying $20,000 in gold and silver currency in the garden, another $20,000 in U.S. money (green backs) in a satchel and secreted in the hollow of an old tree, and the remaining $20,000 in an iron box and buried in the cow stable in a fit 3 feet deep. It stayed there until the end of the war when he took it to Martinsburg and applied it toward starting another bank called The Bank of Berkeley. Daniel Burkhart was the president and his son, Dr. William Burkhart, was cashier, and banker George S. Hill began his career as a clerk in that institution.

         The law office of W.W. Downey held the “safety” vault of the first bank of Martinsburg, a meager protection against burglary compared to the “modern vaults” of the banks in the early 1900’s.

         Daniel Burkhart was the great-grandfather of Harwood Burkhart, Deputy Sheriff under Sheriff J.C. McKown. John D. Burkhart II and John D. Burkhart III later lived on the farm on Tuscarora.


    Submitted by Marilyn Gouge and extracted from History of Berkeley County, West Virginia, 1928.

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