The homes of the Washington families are still around because they were important people and so their homes were believed worthy of preserving, Theriault said.
But the homes of the early, ordinary settlers were not considered worthy of preserving, so few exist, Theriault said.
The Peter Burr House is a rare example of how an ordinary person lived, he said.
The Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission was given the deed to the house and 7.5 acres of surrounding property by the Jefferson County Development Authority on Dec. 17.
The house is believed to be the oldest wood frame structure still standing in West Virginia, Theriault said. There are older log homes and stone homes in the state, he said.
Little is known about Burr, other than he was a Connecticut farmer before he moved to the area, said Theriault, who intends to do more research on Burr.
Architectural digs also are planned around the home in an attempt to learn more about him and the way his family lived.
When he built the house, the area was still mostly wilderness. Few other settlers would have followed immediately because the area probably was dangerous during the French and Indian War from 1754 to 1763.
Theriault said Burr probably became a respected, prominent resident. There is record of him involved with a church parish house.
The house is in need of extensive restoration before it can be opened to the public. The last work performed on the house was to stabilize it to keep it from deteriorating further.
The next plan is to obtain grants and donations, as well as volunteer labor, to restore the house as it appeared around the 1830s, when an addition was put on, Theriault said.
When that is done, it could be used for educational tours for school students and as a tourist attraction, Theriault said.