Skip Navigation

Sign In or Register


SharePrint Lydia Boggs Shepherd


Society hostess Lydia Boggs Shepherd Cruger (February 26, 1766-September 26, 1867) was born in present Berkeley County. She passed her childhood on the Virginia frontier, where father John Boggs served as a militia captain. The family settled near Wheeling in 1774, where they experienced the dangers of the period’s recurring Indian wars.

About 1782, Lydia married Moses Shepherd. By 1800, the couple’s business success, growing political influence, and enormous land holdings gave them great wealth. It was symbolized by Shepherd Hall, their stone mansion, which hosted some of the era’s most famous political figures, including six U.S. presidents. The Shepherds’ friendship with Sen. Henry Clay helped to secure the routing of the National Road Road from Wellsburg to Wheeling. After Moses’s 1832 death, Lydia married Daniel Cruger, a former New York congressman.

Lydia Boggs Shepherd Cruger sparked a controversy in 1849 by denying that Betty Zane had made the famous gunpowder run to save Wheeling’s Fort Henry during the 1782 siege near the end of the Revolutionary War. According to Cruger, the heroine actually was Molly Scott. The truth remains unclear. No contemporary documentation is known to exist proving who carried the powder or even if the incident occurred at all. Solid secondary evidence, however, some of it dating as early as 1802, substantiates the traditional account with Zane as its central figure.

Lydia Boggs Shepherd Cruger died, eccentric and reclusive, at Shepherd Hall. Shepherd Hall, also known as Monument Place, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Read the National Register nomination.

This Article was written by Ray Swick

Last Revised on February 07, 2023

Cite This Article

Swick, Ray "Lydia Boggs Shepherd." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 07 February 2023. Web. 24 May 2024.


There aren't any comments for this article yet.

West Virginia Humanities Council | 1310 Kanawha Blvd E | Charleston, WV 25301 Ph. 304-346-8500 | © 2024 All Rights Reserved

About e-WV | Our Sponsors | Help & Support | Contact Us The essential guide to the Mountain State can be yours today! Click here to order.