Wetzel County, West Virginia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wetzel County
Wetzel County Courthouse
Wetzel County Courthouse
Map of West Virginia highlighting Wetzel 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: 39°37′N 80°38′W / 39.61°N 80.64°W / 39.61; -80.64
Country United States
State West Virginia
FoundedJanuary 10, 1846
Named forLewis Wetzel
SeatNew Martinsville
Largest cityNew Martinsville
Area
 • Total361 sq mi (930 km2)
 • Land358 sq mi (930 km2)
 • Water3.3 sq mi (9 km2)  0.9%%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total16,583
 • Estimate 
(2018)
15,270
 • Density46/sq mi (18/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district1st
Websitewww.wetzelcounty.wv.gov

Wetzel County is a county in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,583.[1] Its county seat is New Martinsville.[2] The county, founded in 1846, is named for Lewis Wetzel, a famous frontiersman and Indian fighter.[3] Its northern border aligns with the Mason-Dixon line but is to the west of the line's western terminus.

History[edit]

Wetzel County was formed in 1846 from part of Tyler County, Virginia. On June 20, 1863, at the height of the Civil War, Wetzel was one of fifty Virginia counties admitted to the Union as the state of West Virginia.

Later that year, West Virginia's 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.[4] Wetzel County was divided into six districts: Center,[i] Church, Grant, Green, Magnolia, and Proctor. A seventh district, Clay, was formed in the 1880s. New Martinsville, the county seat, was in Magnolia District. Except for minor adjustments, the seven historic magisterial districts remained largely unchanged for a century, until the 1980s, when they were consolidated into three new districts: District 1, District 2, and District 3.[5]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 361 square miles (930 km2), of which 358 square miles (930 km2) is land and 3.3 square miles (8.5 km2) (0.9%) is water.[6]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18504,284
18606,70356.5%
18708,59528.2%
188013,89661.7%
189016,84121.2%
190022,88035.9%
191023,8554.3%
192023,069−3.3%
193022,334−3.2%
194022,3420.0%
195020,154−9.8%
196019,347−4.0%
197020,3145.0%
198021,8747.7%
199019,258−12.0%
200017,693−8.1%
201016,583−6.3%
Est. 201815,270[7]−7.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790–1960[9] 1900–1990[10]
1990–2000[11] 2010–2018[1]

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 17,693 people, 7,164 households, and 5,079 families residing in the county. The population density was 49 people per square mile (19/km²). There were 8,313 housing units at an average density of 23 per square mile (9/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.92% White, 0.08% Black or African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.03% from other races, and 0.53% from two or more races. 0.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 7,164 households out of which 30.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.70% were married couples living together, 9.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.10% were non-families. 25.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.80% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 26.50% from 25 to 44, 26.80% from 45 to 64, and 16.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 94.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,935, and the median income for a family was $36,793. Males had a median income of $37,296 versus $19,339 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,818. About 15.30% of families and 19.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.60% of those under age 18 and 15.20% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 16,583 people, 6,968 households, and 4,768 families residing in the county.[13] The population density was 46.3 inhabitants per square mile (17.9/km2). There were 8,173 housing units at an average density of 22.8 per square mile (8.8/km2).[14] The racial makeup of the county was 98.7% white, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% American Indian, 0.1% black or African American, 0.2% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.5% of the population.[13] In terms of ancestry, 27.5% were German, 16.0% were Irish, 12.8% were American, and 12.4% were English.[15]

Of the 6,968 households, 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 31.6% were non-families, and 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.83. The median age was 44.8 years.[13]

The median income for a household in the county was $36,636 and the median income for a family was $48,523. Males had a median income of $45,833 versus $25,033 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,899. About 13.1% of families and 17.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.5% of those under age 18 and 13.7% of those age 65 or over.[16]

Politics[edit]

Wetzel County was a rarity among northern West Virginia counties in supporting secession at the Virginia Secession Convention,[17] and thus consequently reliably supporting Democratic presidential candidates for the next ninety years.[18] The first Republican to carry Wetzel County was Herbert Hoover in 1928 due to anti-Catholicism, but the county afterwards stayed Democratic until 1952.[18] Since that time Wetzel County has followed the politics of West Virginia: a Democratic-leaning state up to the Clinton Era, after which Democratic party consistent shift to social-liberal positions and its support of green policies – an antithesis to the region's traditional economy – have caused extremely rapid trends toward the Republican Party.

Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results[19]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2016 71.6% 4,519 21.5% 1,359 6.9% 434
2012 59.1% 3,473 37.7% 2,217 3.2% 185
2008 51.8% 3,342 45.6% 2,942 2.6% 170
2004 52.0% 3,656 47.3% 3,330 0.7% 52
2000 51.5% 3,239 45.3% 2,849 3.2% 200
1996 32.5% 2,037 51.1% 3,209 16.4% 1,031
1992 29.9% 2,271 49.4% 3,753 20.7% 1,573
1988 46.0% 3,381 53.4% 3,928 0.6% 41
1984 56.4% 4,626 43.2% 3,549 0.4% 32
1980 44.8% 3,588 50.3% 4,035 4.9% 392
1976 42.9% 3,793 57.1% 5,042
1972 64.9% 6,046 35.1% 3,276
1968 46.1% 4,122 45.1% 4,038 8.8% 789
1964 34.0% 3,215 66.0% 6,239
1960 54.3% 5,149 45.7% 4,338
1956 56.9% 5,024 43.1% 3,809
1952 50.6% 4,476 49.4% 4,375
1948 42.5% 3,326 57.2% 4,477 0.3% 26
1944 45.4% 3,604 54.6% 4,335
1940 44.3% 4,443 55.7% 5,590
1936 36.7% 3,770 63.0% 6,463 0.3% 29
1932 35.1% 3,351 64.1% 6,118 0.8% 78
1928 51.9% 4,428 47.5% 4,052 0.7% 59
1924 39.6% 3,458 57.2% 4,998 3.2% 276
1920 46.4% 3,619 52.6% 4,103 1.1% 82
1916 39.9% 1,910 58.5% 2,797 1.6% 77
1912 23.2% 1,092 57.7% 2,710 19.1% 896

Local lore[edit]

In the mid-to-late 19th century a band similar to the James Gang of legend existed that was known as the Jennings Gang. A number of robberies and murders were accounted to this gang. They were known to be located near the head of Doolin Run near Tarpan Ridge. The home they occupied was found to have an escape tunnel that had been used to escape capture on several occasions. A local group of citizens known as the "Redmen" ultimately cornered the gang at this home and a number of the members were killed. A detailed description exists in the Wetzel County History written approximately in 1900.

The oldest oil well location known is of one drilled on Long Run near Doolin Run which reached oil at a depth about 360 ft.

Wetzel County has a long history in the Oil and Gas producing industry. During the Oil boom of the 19th century it is reported that the Proctor Creek watershed had 12 saloons and numerous livery/hotels to accommodate the hundreds of logging and oil field workers.

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Towns[edit]

Magisterial districts[edit]

Current[edit]

  • District 1
  • District 2
  • District 3

Historic[edit]

  • Center
  • Church
  • Clay
  • Grant
  • Green
  • Magnolia
  • Proctor

Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 39°37′N 80°38′W / 39.61°N 80.64°W / 39.61; -80.64

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Initially spelled "Centre".

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2001-09-23. Retrieved 2013-02-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Otis K. Rice & Stephen W. Brown, West Virginia: A History, 2nd ed., University Press of Kentucky, Lexington (1993), p. 240.
  5. ^ United States Census Bureau, U.S. Decennial Census, Tables of Minor Civil Divisions in West Virginia, 1870–2010.
  6. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  7. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 16, 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. ^ ‘How Virginia Convention Delegates Voted on Secession, April 4 and April 17, 1861, and Whether They Signed a Copy of the Ordinance of Secession’
  18. ^ a b Menendez, Albert J.; The Geography of Presidential Elections in the United States, 1868-2004, pp. 334-337 ISBN 0786422173
  19. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-03-28.