Preston County, West Virginia

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Preston County, West Virginia
Preston County Courthouse.JPG
Preston County Courthouse
Map of West Virginia highlighting Preston County
Location in the U.S. state of West Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting West Virginia
West Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded January 19, 1818
Named for James Patton Preston
Seat Kingwood
Largest city Kingwood
Area
 • Total 651 sq mi (1,686 km2)
 • Land 649 sq mi (1,681 km2)
 • Water 2.6 sq mi (7 km2), 0.4%
Population (est.)
 • (2015) 33,940
 • Density 52/sq mi (20/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.prestoncountywv.org

Preston County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,520.[1] Its county seat is Kingwood.[2] The county was formed from Monongalia County in 1818 and named for Virginia Governor James Patton Preston.[3]

Preston County is part of the Morgantown, WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, and is the southernmost county of the Pittsburgh media market. It is the home of The Buckwheat Festival, a county fair known for making buckwheat cakes.

History[edit]

Native Americans lived in and traveled through what became Preston county as they crossed from the Ohio River watershed (which drains into the Mississippi River), into the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Although white traders and explorers also lived in the county after 1736, and one boundary stone (the Fairfax Stone marking the limits of the North Branch of the River) was laid in 1746, white settlers began arriving in 1766. Traveling by foot or horseback, settlers established log cabins after the American Revolutionary War. Further development ensued after 1818, when the National Road was built slightly to the north. When the earliest railroads came in 1851, all land passed into private ownership, population increased 70% in a decade, and industrialization began.[4]

During the American Civil War, more Preston County men enlisted in Union service than with the Confederacy. In part this was explained by the few slaves in the county, almost none outside a half-hour walk from the Clarksburg, West Virginia to Wincester, Virginia road that dated back to the late colonial era. The most slaves in Preston County occurred in 1830, with 125 slaves and 27 free colored persons.[5]

Geography[edit]

The U.S. Census Bureau determined the county has a total area of 651 square miles (1,690 km2), of which 649 square miles (1,680 km2) is land and 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2) (0.4%) is water.[6]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

State parks[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 3,422
1830 5,144 50.3%
1840 6,866 33.5%
1850 11,708 70.5%
1860 13,312 13.7%
1870 14,555 9.3%
1880 19,091 31.2%
1890 20,355 6.6%
1900 22,727 11.7%
1910 26,341 15.9%
1920 27,996 6.3%
1930 29,043 3.7%
1940 30,416 4.7%
1950 31,399 3.2%
1960 27,233 −13.3%
1970 25,455 −6.5%
1980 30,460 19.7%
1990 29,037 −4.7%
2000 29,334 1.0%
2010 33,520 14.3%
Est. 2016 33,758 [7] 0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790–1960[9] 1900–1990[10]
1990–2000[11] 2010–2015[1]

2000 census[edit]

As of the 2010 census,[12] there were 33,520 people, 12,895 households, and 9,038 families residing in the county. The population density was 52 people per square mile (20/km²). There were 15,097 housing units at an average density of 23 per square mile (9/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.63% White (97.13% non-Hispanic), 1.08% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.16% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 0.68% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

There were 12,895 households out of which 29.03% included children under the age of 18, 56.10% were married couples living together, 9.07% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.92% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.91% were non-families. 24.63% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.84.

The age distribution was 19.55% under the age of 18, 7.36% from 18 to 24, 27.58% from 25 to 44, 29.83% from 45 to 64, and 15.68% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 106.63 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.48 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,866, and the median income for a family was $48,942. Full-time male workers had a median income of $41,073 versus $25,911 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,796. About 8.3% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.2% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 33,520 people, 12,895 households, and 9,038 families residing in the county.[13] The population density was 51.7 inhabitants per square mile (20.0/km2). There were 15,097 housing units at an average density of 23.3 per square mile (9.0/km2).[14] The racial makeup of the county was 97.6% white, 1.1% black or African American, 0.2% American Indian, 0.1% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.7% of the population.[13] In terms of ancestry, 29.4% were German, 14.3% were Irish, 9.5% were American, and 8.9% were English.[15]

Of the 12,895 households, 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.1% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 29.9% were non-families, and 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.84. The median age was 42.0 years.[13]

The median income for a household in the county was $40,753 and the median income for a family was $46,622. Males had a median income of $38,713 versus $25,808 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,329. About 10.1% of families and 13.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.0% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.[16]

Politics[edit]

Whereas most of West Virginia has become a Republican bastion in the twenty-first century after having leaned heavily Democratic between the New Deal and Bill Clinton, Preston County has always been a Republican stronghold, if not quite so rock-ribbed as neighbouring Grant County or Garrett County, Maryland. Those two counties have never voted for a Democrat since being created after the Civil War, whereas Preston County has voted Democratic on one occasion since then, during Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 landslide – although Johnson’s win over Barry Goldwater was much more decisive than his narrow victory in analogous Upshur County, and Bill Clinton came within twenty votes in 1996.

Presidential election results[17][18]
Year Republican Democrat
2016 74.72% 9,501 19.36% 2,462
2012 70.54% 7,889 26.21% 2,931
2008 62.10% 7,325 35.65% 4,205
2004 65.85% 7,855 33.22% 3,963
2000 63.29% 6,607 33.67% 3,515
1996 41.31% 4,257 41.11% 4,237
1992 42.20% 4,429 37.47% 3,933
1988 56.92% 5,804 42.73% 4,357
1984 63.05% 6,955 36.75% 4,054
1980 54.23% 5,828 40.17% 4,317
1976 50.55% 5,719 49.45% 5,595
1972 72.39% 7,807 27.61% 2,977
1968 55.16% 5,636 39.35% 4,020
1964 39.06% 7,855 60.94% 3,963
1960 62.07% 6,908 37.93% 4,221
1956 70.27% 7,953 29.73% 3,365
1952 65.32% 8,059 34.68% 4,278
1948 62.73% 6,020 36.75% 3,527
1944 69.36% 6,785 30.64% 2,997
1940 63.46% 8,213 36.54% 4,730
1936 58.11% 7,553 41.62% 5,410
1932 56.05% 6,359 42.94% 4,872
1928 76.18% 7,783 23.05% 2,355
1924 68.22% 6,396 26.08% 2,445
1920 74.73% 6,729 23.88% 2,150

Communities[edit]

City[edit]

Towns[edit]

Census-designated place[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ West Virginia Counties. Wvculture.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-24.
  4. ^ Oren Morton, A History of Preston County, part 1 (Kingwood W.Va., Journal Publishing Company 1914) pp. 9-11
  5. ^ Morton p. 138
  6. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  13. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-04-03. 
  14. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-04-03. 
  15. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-04-03. 
  16. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-04-03. 
  17. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  18. ^ Scammon, Richard M. (compiler); America at the Polls: A Handbook of Presidential Election Statistics 1920-1964; pp. 494-498 ISBN 0405077114

Further reading[edit]

  • Cox, Connie Loraine, Our Place In History: Southwestern Preston County, West Virginia, Headline Books, Terra Alta, WV, 2005. (Written and oral histories, photographs)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°28′N 79°40′W / 39.47°N 79.67°W / 39.47; -79.67