Berkeley County, West Virginia Biography of Michael ROONEY


         Michael ROONEY was born in Ireland. He was a seaman in the British Navy, with the reputation of being an expert sailor and a skillful navigator. He was well educated for his day. He emigrated to Berkeley County about 1800 and purchased a large body of land on Cherry Run in Back Creek Valley.

         He was commissioned a Magistrate for Berkeley County and continued to hold that position for a number of years. When Morgan County was formed in 1820 from parts of Berkeley, Michael Rooney lived on the western bank of this stream and that threw his new residence in the new county. He promptly moved to the eastern side of the stream so he might still be a resident of Berkeley County. He held his court at the old Robert Snodgrass tavern on Back Creek, dispensing justice and deciding cases. That place became so much noted for his trials that it received the name of “Mike Rooney’s Court” by the inhabitants from miles around. He was elected sheriff of Berkeley County one term.

         When he died, he left a will emancipating his slaves and providing means for their transportation to the colony in Liberia, Africa, but the slaves, though grateful for their freedom, refused to be transported to their ancestral home. Descendants of Michael Rooney, of which Lewis Rooney was one, continued to live in Back Creek Valley.


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

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