You are here

Adam Stephen House

-A A +A
1774–1789, 1965–1972. 309 East John St. (north side of East John St., southwest of the CSX Railroad tracks)

Major General Adam Stephen (1718–1791), native of Scotland and founder of Martinsburg, came to America in 1748 and practiced as a physician in Fredericksburg, Virginia, until the outbreak of the French and Indian War. That conflict begat his military career, which continued through the early years of the Revolution. In September 1776, he was promoted to brigadier general, and in February 1777, to major general. Unfortunately, after the Battle of Germantown, on October 4, 1777, he was found lying on the field, hopelessly intoxicated, and was relieved of his command. He returned to Martinsburg to finish the house he had started before the Revolution and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, where his speeches at the 1788 Virginia Convention influenced delegates to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

Stephens's sturdy two-story limestone house stands on a rock outcropping. Only the two brick chimneys, which peek all too demurely above the ridge of the gable roof, seem weak in the otherwise solid composition. The house, uncomfortably close to the B&O Railroad tracks, was in ruinous condition when William Evers gave it to the city in 1959. The General Adam Stephen Memorial Association was formed, and a long-term restoration followed. The house and two small outbuildings—one log, one stone—are open to the public.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.


What's Nearby


S. Allen Chambers Jr., "Adam Stephen House", [Martinsburg, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.