List of counties in West Virginia

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Hancock Brooke Raleigh Fayette Kanawha McDowell Wyoming Boone Mingo Logan Greenbrier Mercer Summers Monroe Nicholas Lincoln Pocahontas Wayne Cabell Clay Putnam Mason Jackson Roane Wood Calhoun Wirt Pleasants Ritchie Gilmer Braxton Webster Tyler Doddridge Lewis Randolph Pendleton Upshur Barbour Ohio Marshall Wetzel Harrison Monongalia Marion Taylor Preston Tucker Grant Mineral Hardy Hampshire Morgan Berkeley Jefferson
West Virginia counties (clickable map)

The U.S. state of West Virginia has 55 counties. Fifty of them existed at the time of the Wheeling Convention in 1861, before which West Virginia was part of the state of Virginia.[1] The remaining five (Grant, Mineral, Lincoln, Summers and Mingo) were formed within the state[1] after its admission to the United States on June 20, 1863.[2] At that time, Berkeley County and Jefferson County, the two easternmost counties of West Virginia, refused to recognize their inclusion in the state. In March 1866, the United States Congress passed a joint mandate assenting to their inclusion.[3]

The West Virginia Constitution was ratified in 1872, replacing the state constitution created in 1863 when West Virginia became a state.[4] Article 9, Section 8, of the West Virginia Constitution permits the creation of additional counties if a majority of citizens in the proposed new county vote for its creation and the new county has a minimum area of 400 square miles (1,036 km2) and a population of at least 6,000. Creation of a new county is prohibited if it would bring another county below these thresholds.[5] Three counties (Greenbrier, Kanawha and Randolph) have sufficient population and land area to allow a new county to be split off.[5][6][7] The remaining counties cannot be split, as either their land area would decrease to under 400 square miles (1,036 km2) or their population would decrease to under 6,000.[5][6][7] Population figures are based on the 2010 United States Census.

The role of counties in local government had been minimized under the 1863 constitution, which vested most local government authority in a system of townships based on the New England model. The authors of the 1872 constitution chose to return to the system used in Virginia, in which each county was governed by a county court with combined authority for executive, legislative and judicial functions of the county government.[8] In 1880, West Virginia amended its constitution and replaced the county court system with an arrangement that divides county government powers between seven county offices, each of which is independently elected: the county commission, county clerk, circuit clerk, county sheriff, county assessor, county prosecuting attorney, and county surveyor of lands.[9] Counties have only those powers that are expressly granted to them by the state Constitution or by state statute. These powers include, but are not limited to, maintaining the infrastructure of the state, funding libraries, maintaining jails and hospitals, and waste disposal.[9] Reforming public education became a county function in 1933. In May 1933, a county unit plan was adopted. Under this plan, the state's 398 school districts were consolidated into the current 55 county school systems. This enabled public schools to be funded more economically and saved West Virginia millions of dollars.[10]

Randolph County is the largest by area at 1,040 square miles (2,694 km2), and Hancock County is the smallest at 83 square miles (215 km2).[7] Kanawha County contributed land to the founding of 12 West Virginia counties[11] and has the largest population (193,063 in 2010). Wirt County has the smallest population (5,717 in 2010).[7] The oldest county is Hampshire, established in 1754, and the newest is Mingo, established in 1895.[1] Spruce Knob, located in Pendleton County, is the state's highest point at 4,863 feet (1,482 m).[12] Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) codes, which are used by the United States government to identify counties uniquely, are five-digit numbers. For West Virginia, they start with 54 and end with the three-digit county code (for example, Barbour County has FIPS code 54001). Each county's code is provided in the table below, linked to census data for that county.[13]

Counties[edit]

County
FIPS code
[13]
County seat
[6]
Established
[1]
Origin
[1][11]
Etymology
[1][11]
Population
[7]
Area
[6]
Map
Barbour County 001 Philippi 1843 Harrison, Lewis and Randolph counties Philip Pendleton Barbour
(1783–1841)
United States Speaker of the House
(1821–23)
16,589 341 sq mi
(883 km2)
State map highlighting Barbour County
Berkeley County 003 Martinsburg 1772 Frederick County (Virginia) Norborne Berkeley
(1717–70)
Royal Governor of Virginia
(1768–70)
104,169 321 sq mi
(831 km2)
State map highlighting Berkeley County
Boone County 005 Madison 1847 Cabell, Kanawha, and Logan counties Daniel Boone
(1734–1820)
American frontiersman
24,629 503 sq mi
(1,303 km2)
State map highlighting Boone County
Braxton County 007 Sutton 1836 Kanawha, Lewis, and Nicholas counties Carter Braxton
(1736–97)
Signer of the Declaration of Independence
14,523 514 sq mi
(1,331 km2)
State map highlighting Braxton County
Brooke County 009 Wellsburg 1796 Ohio County Robert Brooke
(1761–1800)
Governor of Virginia
(1794–96)
24,069 89 sq mi
(231 km2)
State map highlighting Brooke County
Cabell County 011 Huntington 1809 Kanawha County William H. Cabell
(1772–1853)
Governor of Virginia
(1805–08)
96,319 282 sq mi
(730 km2)
State map highlighting Cabell County
Calhoun County 013 Grantsville 1856 Gilmer County John C. Calhoun
(1782–1850)
United States Vice President
(1825–32)
7,627 281 sq mi
(728 km2)
State map highlighting Calhoun County
Clay County 015 Clay 1858 Braxton and Nicholas counties Henry Clay
(1777–1852)
United States Senator Kentucky
(1823–25)
United States Speaker of the House
(1849–52)
9,386 342 sq mi
(886 km2)
State map highlighting Clay County
Doddridge County 017 West Union 1845 Harrison, Lewis, Ritchie, and Taylor counties Philip Doddridge
(1773–1832)
United States Congressman (Virginia)
(1829–32)
8,202 320 sq mi
(829 km2)
State map highlighting Doddridge County
Fayette County 019 Fayetteville 1831 Kanawha, Greenbrier, Logan and Nicholas counties Marquis de Lafayette
(1757–1834)
French-born American Revolutionary War General
46,039 664 sq mi
(1,720 km2)
State map highlighting Fayette County
Gilmer County 021 Glenville 1845 Kanawha and Lewis counties Thomas Walker Gilmer
(1802–44)
United States Secretary of the Navy
(1844)
Governor of Virginia
(1840–41)
8,693 340 sq mi
(881 km2)
State map highlighting Gilmer County
Grant County 023 Petersburg 1866 Hardy County Ulysses S. Grant
(1822–85)
United States President
(1869–77)
11,937 477 sq mi
(1,235 km2)
State map highlighting Grant County
Greenbrier County 025 Lewisburg 1778 Montgomery County (Virginia) and Botetourt County (Virginia) Greenbrier River 35,480 1,021 sq mi
(2,644 km2)
State map highlighting Greenbrier County
Hampshire County 027 Romney 1754 Augusta County (Virginia) and Frederick County (Virginia) County of Hampshire in England 23,964 642 sq mi
(1,663 km2)
State map highlighting Hampshire County
Hancock County 029 New Cumberland 1848 Brooke County John Hancock
(1737–93)
One of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence
Governor of Massachusetts
(1780–85)
and (1787–93)
30,676 83 sq mi
(215 km2)
State map highlighting Hancock County
Hardy County 031 Moorefield 1786 Hampshire County Samuel Hardy
(1758–85)
Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress
(1783–85)
14,025 583 sq mi
(1,510 km2)
State map highlighting Hardy County
Harrison County 033 Clarksburg 1784 Monongalia County Benjamin Harrison V
(1726–91)
Governor of Virginia
(1781–84)
69,099 416 sq mi
(1,077 km2)
State map highlighting Harrison County
Jackson County 035 Ripley 1831 Kanawha, Mason, and Wood counties Andrew Jackson
(1767–1845)
United States President
(1829–37)
29,211 466 sq mi
(1,207 km2)
State map highlighting Jackson County
Jefferson County 037 Charles Town 1801 Berkeley County Thomas Jefferson
(1743–1826)
United States President
(1801–09)
53,498 210 sq mi
(544 km2)
State map highlighting Jefferson County
Kanawha County 039 Charleston 1789 Greenbrier and Montgomery County (Virginia) Kanawha River 193,063 903 sq mi
(2,339 km2)
State map highlighting Kanawha County
Lewis County 041 Weston 1816 Harrison County Charles Lewis
(1736–74)
American Colonel killed at the
Battle of Point Pleasant[14]
16,372 389 sq mi
(1,008 km2)
State map highlighting Lewis County
Lincoln County 043 Hamlin 1867 Boone, Cabell, Kanawha and Putnam counties Abraham Lincoln
(1809–65)
United States President
(1861–65)
21,720 438 sq mi
(1,134 km2)
State map highlighting Lincoln County
Logan County 045 Logan 1824 Cabell and Kanawha counties, Giles County (Virginia) and Tazewell County (Virginia) Chief Logan
(c.1723-80)
Mingo leader
36,743 454 sq mi
(1,176 km2)
State map highlighting Logan County
Marion County 049 Fairmont 1842 Harrison and Monongalia counties Francis Marion
(1732–95)
American Revolutionary War General
(1757–82)
56,418 310 sq mi
(803 km2)
State map highlighting Marion County
Marshall County 051 Moundsville 1835 Ohio County John Marshall
(1755–1835)
United States Secretary of State
(1800–01)
Chief Justice of the United States
(1801–35)
33,107 307 sq mi
(795 km2)
State map highlighting Marshall County
Mason County 053 Point Pleasant 1804 Kanawha County George Mason
(1725–92)
United States Constitutional Convention
"Father of the Bill of Rights"
27,324 432 sq mi
(1,119 km2)
State map highlighting Mason County
McDowell County 047 Welch 1858 Tazewell County (Virginia) James McDowell
(1795–1851)
Governor of Virginia
(1843–46)
22,113 535 sq mi
(1,386 km2)
State map highlighting McDowell County
Mercer County 055 Princeton 1837 Giles County (Virginia) and Tazewell County (Virginia) Hugh Mercer
(1726–77)
American Revolutionary War General
(1775–76)
62,264 420 sq mi
(1,088 km2)
State map highlighting Mercer County
Mineral County 057 Keyser 1866 Hampshire County abundant mineral resources 28,212 328 sq mi
(850 km2)
State map highlighting Mineral County
Mingo County 059 Williamson 1895 Logan County Mingo Native Americans 26,839 423 sq mi
(1,096 km2)
State map highlighting Mingo County
Monongalia County 061 Morgantown 1776 Augusta County (Virginia) Latin derivation for Monongahela River 96,189 361 sq mi
(935 km2)
State map highlighting Monongalia County
Monroe County 063 Union 1799 Greenbrier County James Monroe
(1758–1831)
United States Senator (Virginia)
(1790–94)
Governor of Virginia
(1799–1802)
and (1811)
United States President
(1817–25)
13,502 473 sq mi
(1,225 km2)
State map highlighting Monroe County
Morgan County 065 Berkeley Springs 1820 Berkeley and Hampshire counties Daniel Morgan
(1736–1802)
United States Congressman (Virginia)
(1797–99)
17,541 229 sq mi
(593 km2)
State map highlighting Morgan County
Nicholas County 067 Summersville 1818 Greenbrier, Kanawha and Randolph counties Wilson Cary Nicholas
(1761–1820)
United States Senator (Virginia)
(1799–1804)
Governor of Virginia
(1814–16)
26,233 649 sq mi
(1,681 km2)
State map highlighting Nicholas County
Ohio County 069 Wheeling 1776 Augusta County (Virginia) Ohio River 44,443 106 sq mi
(275 km2)
State map highlighting Ohio County
Pendleton County 071 Franklin 1788 Augusta County (Virginia), Rockinham County (Virginia) and Hardy Edmund Pendleton
(1721–1803)
First Continental Congress
(1774)
7,695 698 sq mi
(1,808 km2)
State map highlighting Pendleton County
Pleasants County 073 Saint Marys 1851 Ritchie, Tyler, and Wood counties James Pleasants, Jr.
(1769–1836)
United States Senator (Virginia)
(1819–22)
Governor of Virginia
(1822–25)
7,605 131 sq mi
(339 km2)
State map highlighting Pleasants County
Pocahontas County 075 Marlinton 1821 Bath County (Virginia), Pendleton and Randolph Pocahontas
(c. 1595–1617)
Powhatan Native American who assisted early English settlers
8,719 940 sq mi
(2,435 km2)
State map highlighting Pocahontas County
Preston County 077 Kingwood 1818 Monongalia County James Patton Preston
(1774–1843)
Governor of Virginia
(1816–19)
33,520 648 sq mi
(1,678 km2)
State map highlighting Preston County
Putnam County 079 Winfield 1848 Cabell, Kanawha, and Mason counties Israel Putnam
(1718–90)
American Revolutionary War General
55,486 346 sq mi
(896 km2)
State map highlighting Putnam County
Raleigh County 081 Beckley 1850 Fayette County Sir Walter Raleigh
(1554–1618)
English explorer and poet
78,859 607 sq mi
(1,572 km2)
State map highlighting Raleigh County
Randolph County 083 Elkins 1787 Harrison County Edmund Jennings Randolph
(1753–1813)
Governor of Virginia
(1786–88)
First United States Attorney General
(1789–94)
29,405 1,040 sq mi
(2,694 km2)
State map highlighting Randolph County
Ritchie County 085 Harrisville 1843 Harrison, Lewis, and Wood counties Thomas Ritchie
(1778–1854)
nationally influential Virginia newspaper publisher
10,449 454 sq mi
(1,176 km2)
State map highlighting Ritchie County
Roane County 087 Spencer 1856 Gilmer, Jackson and Kanawha counties Spencer Roane
(1762–1822)
Virginia Supreme Court Justice
(1794–1822)
14,926 484 sq mi
(1,254 km2)
State map highlighting Roane County
Summers County 089 Hinton 1871 Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer and Monroe counties George W. Summers
(1804–68)
United States Congressman (Virginia)
(1843)
13,927 361 sq mi
(935 km2)
State map highlighting Summers County
Taylor County 091 Grafton 1844 Barbour, Harrison, Marion counties John Taylor of Caroline
(1753–1824)
United States Senator (Virginia)
(1792–94) and
(1803) and
(1822–24)
16,895 173 sq mi
(448 km2)
State map highlighting Taylor County
Tucker County 093 Parsons 1856 Randolph County Henry St. George Tucker
(1780–1848)
United States Congressman (Virginia)
(1815–19)
Virginia Supreme Court
(1831–41)
7,141 419 sq mi
(1,085 km2)
State map highlighting Tucker County
Tyler County 095 Middlebourne 1814 Ohio County John Tyler, Sr.
(1747–1813)
Governor of Virginia
(1808–11)
9,208 258 sq mi
(668 km2)
State map highlighting Tyler County
Upshur County 097 Buckhannon 1851 Barbour, Lewis and Randolph counties Abel Parker Upshur
(1790–1844)
United States Secretary of the Navy
(1841–43)
United States Secretary of State
(1843–44)
24,254 355 sq mi
(919 km2)
State map highlighting Upshur County
Wayne County 099 Wayne 1842 Cabell County "Mad" Anthony Wayne
Major General
(1745–96)
American Revolutionary War
(1775–83)
and (1792–96)
United States Congressman Georgia
(1791)
42,481 506 sq mi
(1,311 km2)
State map highlighting Wayne County
Webster County 101 Webster Springs 1860 Braxton, Nicholas, and Randolph counties Daniel Webster
(1782–1852)
United States Senator Massachusetts
(1827–41) and
(1845–50)
United States Secretary of State
(1841–53) and
(1850–52)
9,154 556 sq mi
(1,440 km2)
State map highlighting Webster County
Wetzel County 103 New Martinsville 1846 Tyler County Lewis Wetzel
(1763–1808)
noted frontiersman
16,583 359 sq mi
(930 km2)
State map highlighting Wetzel County
Wirt County 105 Elizabeth 1848 Jackson and Wood counties William Wirt
(1772–1834)
United States Attorney General
(1817–29)
5,717 233 sq mi
(603 km2)
State map highlighting Wirt County
Wood County 107 Parkersburg 1798 Harrison County James Wood
(1741–1813)
Governor of Virginia
(1796–99)
86,956 367 sq mi
(951 km2)
State map highlighting Wood County
Wyoming County 109 Pineville 1850 Logan County derived from Lenape Native American term for "wide plain" 23,796 501 sq mi
(1,298 km2)
State map highlighting Wyoming County

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Lewis, Virgil (1896). History and Government of West Virginia (1st ed.). New York NY: Werner School Book Company. pp. 264–270.  (WV County Founding Dates and Etymology). Other editions available at ASIN B009CI6FRI and Google Books.
  2. ^ Littlefield, Charles (1910). Commonwealth of Virginia, plaintiff vs. ... State of West Virginia, defendant (1st ed.). Charleston, WV: Lovett Printing Company. pp. 9–10.  (WV Statehood). Other editions available at ISBN 9781274843111 and Google Books
  3. ^ Rice, Otis; Brown, Stephen (1993). West Virginia, A History (2nd ed.). Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky. p. 153.  (WV State Boundaries). Other editions available: ISBN 9780813118543
  4. ^ Bastress, Robert (1995). The West Virginia Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 18. ISBN 0313274096. 
  5. ^ a b c Warth, John (1887). The Code of West Virginia. Wheeling and Charleston WV: West Virginia Printing Company, Printers and Binders. pp. 271–273. . Other editions available at ISBN 9781231066737 and Google Books.
  6. ^ a b c d "Find A County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved February 4, 2013.  (Find a county)
  7. ^ a b c d e "West Virginia QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 4, 2013.  (2010 Census)
  8. ^ Bastress, p. 20
  9. ^ a b Brisbin, Richard (1996). West Virginia Politics and Government. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 142–146. ISBN 0803212712. 
  10. ^ Rice, p. 247
  11. ^ a b c "West Virginia Counties". West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Retrieved February 4, 2013.  (WV County Formation)
  12. ^ Morton, Oren (1910). A History of Pendleton County, West Virginia (1st ed.). Dayton, VA: Ruebush-Elkins Company. p. 3. . Other editions available at ISBN 9781165299102.
  13. ^ a b "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". EPA.gov. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ American Historical Magazine Volume 3. New York NY: Americana Society. 1908. pp. 628–629.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help). Available at ISBN 1144825210 and Google Books.