Raleigh County, West Virginia

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Raleigh County
The Raleigh County Courthouse in Beckley
The Raleigh County Courthouse in Beckley
Official seal of Raleigh County
Map of West Virginia highlighting Raleigh County
Location within the U.S. state of West Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting West Virginia
West Virginia's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 37°47′N 81°16′W / 37.78°N 81.26°W / 37.78; -81.26
Country United States
State West Virginia
FoundedJanuary 23, 1850
Named forSir Walter Raleigh
SeatBeckley
Largest cityBeckley
Area
 • Total609 sq mi (1,580 km2)
 • Land605 sq mi (1,570 km2)
 • Water4.0 sq mi (10 km2)  0.7%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total78,859
 • Estimate 
(2019)
73,361
 • Density130/sq mi (50/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district3rd
Websitewww.raleighcounty.com

Raleigh County is a county in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 78,859.[1] Its county seat is Beckley.[2] The county was founded in 1850 and is named for Sir Walter Raleigh.[3] Raleigh County is included in the Beckley, West Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit]

Raleigh County and the surrounding area have long been home to many indigenous peoples. Early encounters describe the land as being the ancestral home of the Catawba-speaking Moneton people, who referred to the surrounding area as "okahok amai", and were allies of the Monacan people .[4] The Moneton's Catawba speaking neighbors to the south, the Tutelo, (a tribe since absorbed into the Cayuga Nation[5]) may have absorbed surviving Moneton communities, and claim the area as ancestral lands. Cherokee and Shawnee and Yuchi peoples also claim the area as part of their traditional lands.[6] Waves of conflict and displacement connected to European settler-colonial conquest also resulted in varied communities finding home and refuge in southern West Virginia, becoming identified as Mingo—remote affiliates of the Iroquois Confederacy.[7]

Raleigh County was formed on January 23, 1850, from portions of Fayette County, then a part of Virginia. Alfred Beckley (1802–88) said that he named the county for Sir Walter Raleigh (1552–1618), the "enterprising and far-seeing patron of the earliest attempts to colonize our old Mother State of Virginia".[8]

Raleigh was one of fifty Virginia Counties that were admitted to the Union as the state of West Virginia on June 20, 1863. Later that year, the counties were divided into civil townships, with the intention of encouraging local government. This proved impractical in the heavily rural state, and in 1872 the townships were converted into magisterial districts.[9] Raleigh County was initially divided into six townships: Clear Fork, Marsh Fork, Richman, Shady Spring, Town, and Trap Hill. These became magisterial districts in 1872, and the same year a seventh district, Slab Fork, was created from land that had previously belonged to Wyoming County. These remained largely unchanged over the next century, but in the 1970s the seven historic magisterial districts were consolidated into three new districts: District 1, District 2, and District 3.[10]

Heavily involved in the coal mining industry, Raleigh County has been the scene of numerous deadly incidents, of which the most severe was the Eccles Mine Disaster in 1914. At least one hundred and eighty miners died in what was the second-worst coal mining disaster in state history. More recently, the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, which killed twenty-nine miners, occurred in Raleigh County. Raleigh County miners were also killed by violent suppression of labor organizing, such as in the so-called Battle of Stanaford during the 1902-1903 New River coal strike in which an armed posse led by a US Marshall who shot up miners' houses while they and their families slept, killing at least six. The perpetrators were later acquitted.[11] The lead-up and aftermath were witnessed and widely recounted by Mother Jones,[12] and the massacre is considered a prelude to the West Virginia coal wars.[13]

The town of Sophia in Raleigh County was the home of Senator Robert C. Byrd.

Geography[edit]

The New River flows northwestward along the county's east border. The county terrain consists of wooded hills, carved with drainages.[14] The terrain slopes to the north and west; its highest point is near its southmost corner, at 3,524' (1074m) ASL.[15] The county has a total area of 609 square miles (1,580 km2), of which 605 square miles (1,570 km2) is land and 4.0 square miles (10 km2) (0.7%) is water.[16]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Protected areas[edit]

[14]

Lakes[edit]

[14]

  • Flat Top Lake
  • Glade Creek Reservoir
  • Little Beaver Lake
  • Stephens Lake

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18501,765
18603,36790.8%
18703,6739.1%
18807,367100.6%
18909,59730.3%
190012,43629.6%
191025,633106.1%
192042,48265.7%
193068,07260.2%
194086,68727.3%
195096,27311.1%
196077,826−19.2%
197070,080−10.0%
198086,82123.9%
199076,819−11.5%
200079,2203.1%
201078,859−0.5%
2019 (est.)73,361[17]−7.0%
US Decennial Census[18]
1790–1960[19] 1900–1990[20]
1990–2000[21] 2010–2019[1]
The Flag Of Raleigh County in Beckley

2000 census[edit]

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 79,220 people, 31,793 households, and 22,096 families in the county. The population density was 131/sqmi (50.6/km2). There were 35,678 housing units at an average density of 59/sqmi (22.8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 89.63% White, 8.52% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.72% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.12% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. 0.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 31,793 households, out of which 28.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.30% were married couples living together, 11.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.50% were non-families. 27.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.88.

The county population contained 21.50% under the age of 18, 8.70% from 18 to 24, 28.60% from 25 to 44, 25.70% from 45 to 64, and 15.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 96.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,181, and the median income for a family was $35,315. Males had a median income of $33,000 versus $20,672 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,233. About 14.60% of families and 18.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.70% of those under age 18 and 10.50% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 78,859 people, 31,831 households, and 21,322 families in the county.[22] The population density was 130/sqmi (50.3/km2). There were 35,931 housing units at an average density of 59.4/sqmi (22.9/km2).[23] The racial makeup of the county was 88.5% white, 8.2% black or African American, 0.9% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.3% of the population.[22] In terms of ancestry, 41.8% were American, 9.1% were English, 8.6% were German, and 8.5% were Irish.[24]

Of the 31,831 households, 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.2% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.0% were non-families, and 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.87. The median age was 41.1 years.[22]

The median income for a household in the county was $38,036 and the median income for a family was $49,837. Males had a median income of $42,405 versus $27,347 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,457. About 14.5% of families and 17.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.1% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.[25]

Politics[edit]

Raleigh County voters have tended to vote Republican in recent decades. In 67% of national elections since 1980, the county selected the Republican Party candidate (as of 2020).

United States presidential election results for Raleigh County, West Virginia[26]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 24,673 74.53% 7,982 24.11% 451 1.36%
2016 22,048 73.76% 6,443 21.55% 1,401 4.69%
2012 20,614 71.48% 7,739 26.84% 484 1.68%
2008 17,548 62.10% 10,237 36.23% 474 1.68%
2004 18,519 60.67% 11,815 38.71% 191 0.63%
2000 12,587 52.31% 11,047 45.91% 427 1.77%
1996 8,628 36.53% 12,547 53.12% 2,447 10.36%
1992 8,700 34.50% 13,171 52.24% 3,343 13.26%
1988 10,395 41.95% 14,302 57.71% 85 0.34%
1984 14,571 50.03% 14,442 49.59% 109 0.37%
1980 10,713 37.16% 16,955 58.81% 1,163 4.03%
1976 10,637 34.98% 19,768 65.02% 0 0.00%
1972 19,150 64.40% 10,586 35.60% 0 0.00%
1968 8,775 29.74% 17,744 60.14% 2,987 10.12%
1964 6,952 22.75% 23,606 77.25% 0 0.00%
1960 12,088 37.15% 20,448 62.85% 0 0.00%
1956 16,318 50.08% 16,264 49.92% 0 0.00%
1952 14,005 38.15% 22,704 61.85% 0 0.00%
1948 10,414 34.42% 19,697 65.09% 148 0.49%
1944 10,323 36.46% 17,988 63.54% 0 0.00%
1940 11,752 33.71% 23,105 66.29% 0 0.00%
1936 9,001 28.23% 22,840 71.63% 44 0.14%
1932 11,441 42.25% 15,456 57.08% 181 0.67%
1928 11,581 52.77% 10,366 47.23% 0 0.00%
1924 8,643 49.43% 7,776 44.47% 1,067 6.10%
1920 7,668 56.19% 5,916 43.35% 62 0.45%
1916 3,791 52.21% 3,319 45.71% 151 2.08%
1912 897 13.74% 2,343 35.89% 3,288 50.37%


Communities[edit]

City[edit]

Towns[edit]

Magisterial districts[edit]

Current[edit]

  • District 1
  • District 2
  • District 3

Historic[edit]

  • Clear Fork
  • Marsh Fork
  • Richmond
  • Shady Spring
  • Slab Fork
  • Town
  • Trap Hill

Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved May 30, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Emrick, Isaac J. (2015). "Maopewa iati bi: Takai Tonqyayun Monyton "To abandon so beautiful a Dwelling": Indians in the Kanawha-New River Valley, 1500-1755". Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. doi:10.33915/etd.5543.
  5. ^ Vest, Jay Hansford C. (2005). "An Odyssey among the Iroquois: A History of Tutelo Relations in New York". American Indian Quarterly. 29 (1/2): 124–155. doi:10.1353/aiq.2005.0072. JSTOR 4138803. S2CID 201754013.
  6. ^ https://native-land.ca/
  7. ^ Jennings, Francis (December 1993). "A Country Between: The Upper Ohio Valley and Its Peoples, 1724–1774. By Michael N. McConnell. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992. Xiv, 357 pp. $40.00, ISBN 0-80323142-3.)". Journal of American History. 80 (3): 1056. doi:10.2307/2080440. JSTOR 2080440.
  8. ^ Wood, Jim. Raleigh County: West Virginia, p. 91 (1994). BJW Printing & Office Supplies, Beckley WV
  9. ^ Otis K. Rice & Stephen W. Brown, West Virginia: A History, 2nd ed., University Press of Kentucky, Lexington (1993), p. 240.
  10. ^ United States Census Bureau, U.S. Decennial Census, Tables of Minor Civil Divisions in West Virginia, 1870–2010.
  11. ^ "February 25, 1903: Lawman Cunningham Leads an Armed Posse into Stanaford". February 25, 2020.
  12. ^ "Chapter 9 - Murder in West Virginia | Industrial Workers of the World".
  13. ^ "E-WV | Battle of Stanaford". Archived from the original on March 5, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c Raleigh County WV Google Maps (accessed 20 March 2019)
  15. ^ ""Find an Altitude/Raleigh County WV" Google Maps (accessed 20 March 2019)". Archived from the original on May 21, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  16. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". US Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  17. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  18. ^ "US Decennial Census". US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  19. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  20. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  21. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  22. ^ a b c "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  23. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  24. ^ "Selected Social Characteristics in the US – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  25. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  26. ^ Leip, David. "Atlas of US Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 28, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°47′N 81°16′W / 37.78°N 81.26°W / 37.78; -81.26