In 1734, Thomas Shepherd was granted 222 acres on the south side of the "Potowmack" river. From that tract he selected fifty acres and laid out a town. In 1762, the Virginia Assembly chartered the town of Mecklenburg. Thomas Shepherd was the sole trustee: he owned the town and was responsible for its government. In 1798, the corporate limits were extended and the name was changed to Shepherd's Town. In 1863, the western counties of Virginia, including the area of Shepherdstown, split off from the parent state and became the 35th state, West Virginia. After the Civil War, the town's name was officially contracted to Shepherdstown.