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Marshall County Tourism
609 Jefferson Avenue
Moundsville, WV 26041

Local Info: (304) 845-2773

attactions Places to eat where to shop

The Cockayne Farmstead

1111 Wheeling Ave
Glen Dale, WV 26038
(304) 845-1411
(304) 845-9750 (weekdays)

Group Tours: By Appointment Only

No Facilities


Preservation - Not Restoration...

The Cockayne farmhouse (pictured above circa 1910 and at right in 2003) was built in 1850 by Bennett Cockayne. Due to the reclusive nature of its last owner, Samuel Cockayne, the farmhouse is in a virtually unchanged state from its 19th Century appearance. Mr. Cockayne lived in only two rooms of his farmhouse with extremely primitive electrical, plumbing and heating resources. His lifestyle of deprivation was in stark contrast to the lifestyle of his grandparents. The Cockaynes of the late 19th Century were social, political and agricultural leaders of the community. The Cockayne daughters were interested in art, music and photography, while the son dabbled in local politics. The Cockayne properties at that time encompassed all of southern Glen Dale, and the farmhouse befitted the family’s Social standing.
The 19th Century Cockayne Farm was recognized for the Merino Wool it produced, winning awards at International Exhibitions held in Philadelphia in 1876 and again in 1880. In honor of its status, Samuel A. J. Cockayne commissioned a print of the Cockayne Farm “sketched from life” by S. B. Smith, which was reproduced in an 1877 Illustrated Atlas of the Upper Ohio River Valley from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati. Samuel’s wife, Hannah, gave the name “Glendale Farm” to the property and, when the town of Glen Dale incorporated in 1924, it adopted the name of the farm.
As Mr. Cockayne used only two rooms of his farmhouse, the remainder of the house was closed off, dust gathering on rooms filled with 19th and early 20th Century furnishings, writings, and family memorabilia. In addition to period furniture, examples of clothing and accessories (hats, handbags and shoes), original artwork, toys, jewelry, baby memorabilia, dishes, crocks, magazines and tools, all belonging to the Cockayne Family, exist in the house. Even the bronze medal, diploma and award booklet related to the 1876 International Award “For one Fleece of Good Merino Wool” remains. Over 1500 large and small Cockayne artifacts have been identified and logged.
This ongoing discovery process permits a unique view of life in 19th Century Rural West Virginia. In one weekend in October, 2003, more than 1000 area residents toured the Cockayne farmhouse as it opened for the first time. Group tours have been available by appointment since that time. The slate roof was replaced in 2005 and the exterior restoration of the farmhouse was completed in 2009. In 2012, humidistatic climate control will be undertaken, which will provide some measure of comfort during the hot summer and cold winter months. No renovations have been made to the interior, as the goal is preservation, not restoration. The Cockayne farmhouse has been described as a living museum, the very smell of history in the air.
Behind the farmhouse is a Native American Mound reunited to the Farmstead in 2005. This Mound was long protected by the Cockayne family and adds a new dimension to the overall project. Concretion stones, nutting stones and arrowheads were found in the house, likely taken from the farmland as it was worked by the Cockaynes. A smaller 19th Century Cockayne frame house immediately north of the farmhouse will soon be added to the project. (See inset of the smaller house as it appeared on the 1877 farm print). This house is presently leased to the Society and provides the site for the project’s offices, welcome center and educational and cultural center. When acquired, this house, which is also available to be toured, will also house some of the over 1500 family artifacts and over 12,000 scanned pages of documents found in the farmhouse and dating from the early 1800's through the 1950's. These primary source artifacts and documents from the Farmstead capture insights into American History covering such periods as both World Wars as well as glimpses into social, cultural, economic and political values.

To Learn More, Visit...
The Cockayne House Website
Hosted By Linda Fluharty