Founded in the 18th century, Martinsburg developed into an important shipping center with the construction of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in the 1850s. During the late 19th century orchards were planted in surrounding areas, and today Martinsburg has become a distribution center for apples and peaches.
Martinsburg was torn apart by the Civil War because of Union and Confederate occupation, internal strife and the proximity of many battles. The town was the home of Belle Boyd, a beautiful 17 year old Confederate spy who shot a Union soldier in her parents' home after he had made threats against her mother. Martinsburg is part of the Washington metro area.