Founded in 1778 by General Adam Stephen
Born around 1720 in Scotland, Stephen received a surgeon's degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1746. He came to America in 1748, settling in Fredericksburg, Va., where he practiced as a doctor. In 1754 he joined the Virginia colonial troops and rose to the rank of colonel during the French and Indian War. During the 1760s he served as a member of the House of Burgesses and participated in negotiations with Native American Indians. In the 1770s he served on the church vestry of the new Norbome Parish, became the sheriff of Berkeley County, and donated land for the county courthouse. During the Revolutionary War, Stephen was elevated to the rank of Major General. He served as a delegate favoring ratification of the new U.S. Constituion at the Virginia constitutional convention in 1788. Stephen died in Martinsburg in 1791 and is buried at the Monument lot on South Queen Street.
Martinsburg began as a settlement of a few houses and buildings along the Tuscarora Creek in the early 1750s. Adam Stephen planned the town and sold lots after the creation of Berkeley County in 177. It was chartered by the Virginia Assembly as the town of Martinsburg in 1778 and was name for Thomas Bryan Martin, a nephew of Lord Fairfax. The Town's location at the intersection
of the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road and the Alexandria-to-Warm Springs Road and its central location in the newly-formed county made it an important site for development of early industries and agriculture. the construction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and its shops here after 1840 made the town a strategic pawn during the Civil War from 1861 to 1865 but later supported many industries including textile, cement, distilling and fruit growing.