History and Facts of West Virginia Counties
West Virginia was part of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1863, in which 50 counties had already been established.
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 U.S. Congress passed a mandate saying they were to be in West Virginia.
See Virginia For counties earlier than 1863.
West Virginia divides county government powers between seven county offices, each of which is independently elected:
- county commission
- county clerk
- circuit clerk
- county sheriff
- county assessor
- county prosecuting attorney
- county surveyor of lands
Fun Facts about West Virginia Counties
Counties by Year
- Hampshire County was the first county created in 1754.
- The last county to be formed was Mingo County in 1895.
County Size Facts
- Randolph County (1,040 sq mi) is the largest county in West Virginia.
- Hancock County (83 sq mi) is the smallest county in West Virginia.
County Population (2017 Est.) Facts
- Kanawha County (193,063) is the most populated county in West Virginia.
- Wirt County (5,717) is the least populated county in West Virginia.
West Virginia City Facts
West Virginia’s 10 largest cities (2014) are:
- Charleston (50,404) is in Kanawha County
- Huntington (48,807) is in Cabell County
- Morgantown (31,073) is in Monongalia County
- Parkersburg (30,981) is in Wood County
- Wheeling (27,790) is in Ohio County
- Weirton (19,362) is in Hancock County
- Fairmont (18,740) is in Marion County
- Martinsburg (17,743) is in Berkeley County
- Beckley (17,238) is in Raleigh County
- Clarksburg (16,242) is in Harrison County
Map of West Virginia County Boundary Changes from 1863 to 1915
This Interactive Map of West Virginia Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of West Virginia from 1863-1915.
List of West Virginia Counties
West Virginia is divided into 55 counties.
|County||Created||Created From||Named For||County Seat||Notes|
|Barbour County||03 Mar 1843||Harrison, Lewis and Randolph counties||Philip Pendleton Barbour (1783–1841) United States Speaker of the House (1821–23)||Philippi|
|Berkeley County||10 Feb 1772||Frederick County (VA)||Norborne Berkeley (1717–70) Royal Governor of Virginia (1768–70)||Martinsburg|
|Boone County||11 Mar 1847||Cabell, Kanawha, and Logan counties||Daniel Boone (1734–1820) American frontiersman||Madison|
|Braxton County||15 Jan 1836||Kanawha, Lewis, and Nicholas counties||Carter Braxton (1736–97) Signer of the Declaration of Independence||Sutton|
|Brooke County||30 Nov 1796||Ohio County||Robert Brooke (1761–1800) Governor of Virginia (1794–96)||Wellsburg|
|Cabell County||02 Jan 1809||Kanawha County||William H. Cabell (1772–1853) Governor of Virginia (1805–08)||Huntington|
|Calhoun County||05 Mar 1856||Gilmer County||John C. Calhoun (1782–1850) United States Vice President (1825–32)||Grantsville|
|Clay County||29 Mar 1858||Braxton and Nicholas elk counties||Henry Clay (1777–1852) United States Senator Kentucky (1823–25) United States Speaker of the House (1849–52)||Clay|
|Doddridge County||04 Feb 1845||Harrison, Lewis, Ritchie, and Taylor counties||Philip Doddridge (1773–1832) United States Congressman (Virginia) (1829–32)||West Union|
|Fayette County||28 Feb 1831||Kanawha, Greenbrier and Logan counties||Marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834) French-born American Revolutionary War General||Fayetteville|
|Gilmer County||03 Feb 1845||Kanawha and Lewis counties||Thomas Walker Gilmer (1802–44) United States Secretary of the Navy (1844) Governor of Virginia (1840–41)||Glenville|
|Grant County||14 Feb 1866||Hardy County||Ulysses S. Grant (1822–85) United States President (1869–77)||Petersburg|
|Greenbrier County||20 Oct 1777||Montgomery and Botetourt counties (VA)||Greenbrier River||Lewisburg|
|Hampshire County||13 Dec 1753||Frederick County (VA)||County of Hampshire in England||Romney|
|Hancock County||15 Jan 1848||Brooke County||John Hancock (1737–93) One of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence Governor of Massachusetts (1780–85) and (1787–93)||New Cumberland|
|Hardy County||17 Oct 1785||Hampshire County||Samuel Hardy (1758–85) Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress (1783–85)||Moorefield|
|Harrison County||03 May 1784||Monongalia County||Benjamin Harrison V (1726–91) Governor of Virginia (1781–84)||Clarksburg|
|Jackson County||01 Mar 1831||Kanawha, Mason, and Wood counties||Andrew Jackson (1767–1845) United States President (1829–37)||Ripley|
|Jefferson County||08 Jan 1801||Berkeley County||Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) United States President (1801–09)||Charles Town|
|Kanawha County||14 Nov 1788||Greenbrier County, Montgomery County (VA)||Kanawha River||Charleston|
|Lewis County||18 Dec 1816||Harrison County||Charles Lewis (1736–74) American Colonel killed at the Battle of Point Pleasant||Weston|
|Lincoln County||23 Feb 1867||Boone, Cabell, Kanawha and Logan counties||Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) United States President (1861–65)||Hamlin|
|Logan County||12 Jan 1824||Cabell and Kanawha counties, Giles and Tazewell counties (VA)||Chief Logan (c.1723-80) Mingo leader||Logan|
|Marion County||14 Jan 1842||Harrison and Monongalia counties||Francis Marion (1732–95) American Revolutionary War General (1757–82)||Fairmont|
|Marshall County||12 Mar 1835||Ohio County||John Marshall (1755–1835) United States Secretary of State (1800–01) Chief Justice of the United States (1801–35)||Moundsville|
|Mason County||02 Jan 1804||Kanawha County||George Mason (1725–92) United States Constitutional Convention "Father of the Bill of Rights"||Point Pleasant|
|McDowell County||20 Feb 1858||Tazewell County (VA)||James McDowell (1795–1851) Governor of Virginia (1843–46)||Welch|
|Mercer County||17 Mar 1837||Giles and Tazewell counties (VA)||Hugh Mercer (1726–77) American Revolutionary War General (1775–76)||Princeton|
|Mineral County||01 Feb 1866||Hampshire County||abundant mineral resources||Keyser|
|Mingo County||30 Jan 1895||Logan County||Mingo Native Americans||Williamson|
|Monongalia County||07 Oct 1776||Augusta County (VA)||Latin derivation for Monongahela River||Morgantown|
|Monroe County||14 Jan 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)||Union|
|Morgan County||09 Feb 1820||Berkeley and Hampshire counties||Daniel Morgan (1736–1802) United States Congressman (Virginia) (1797–99)||Berkeley Springs|
|Nicholas County||30 Jan 1818||Greenbrier and Kanawaha counties||Wilson Cary Nicholas (1761–1820) United States Senator (Virginia) (1799–1804) Governor of Virginia (1814–16)||Summersville|
|Ohio County||07 Oct 1776||Augusta County (VA)||Ohio River||Wheeling|
|Pendleton County||04 Dec 1787||Augusta County (VA)||Edmund Pendleton (1721–1803) First Continental Congress (1774)||Franklin|
|Pleasants County||29 Mar 1851||Ritchie, Tyler, and Wood counties||James Pleasants, Jr. (1769–1836) United States Senator (Virginia) (1819–22) Governor of Virginia (1822–25)||Saint Marys|
|Pocahontas County||21 Dec 1821||Bath County (VA), Pendleton and Randolph counties||Pocahontas (c. 1595–1617) Powhatan Native American who assisted early English settlers||Marlinton|
|Preston County||19 Jan 1818||Monongalia County||James Patton Preston (1774–1843) Governor of Virginia (1816–19)||Kingwood|
|Putnam County||11 Mar 1848||Cabell, Kanawha, and Mason counties||Israel Putnam (1718–90) American Revolutionary War General||Winfield|
|Raleigh County||23 Jan 1850||Fayette County||Sir Walter Raleigh (1554–1618) English explorer and poet||Beckley|
|Randolph County||16 Oct 1786||Harrison County||Edmund Jennings Randolph (1753–1813) Governor of Virginia (1786–88) First United States Attorney General (1789–94)||Elkins|
|Ritchie County||18 Feb 1843||Harrison, Lewis, and Wood counties||Thomas Ritchie (1778–1854) nationally influential Virginia newspaper publisher||Harrisville|
|Roane County||11 Mar 1856||Gilmer, Jackson, Kanawha and Wirt counties||Spencer Roane (1762–1822) Virginia Supreme Court Justice (1794–1822)||Spencer|
|Summers County||27 Feb 1871||Greenbrier County||George W. Summers (1804–68) United States Congressman (Virginia) (1843)||Hinton|
|Taylor County||19 Jan 1844||Barbour, Harrison, Marion, and Preston counties||John Taylor of Caroline (1753–1824) United States Senator (Virginia) (1792–94) and (1803) and (1822–24)||Grafton|
|Tucker County||07 Mar 1856||Randolph County||Henry St. George Tucker (1780–1848) United States Congressman (Virginia) (1815–19) Virginia Supreme Court (1831–41)||Parsons|
|Tyler County||06 Dec 1814||Ohio County||John Tyler, Sr. (1747–1813) Governor of Virginia (1808–11)||Middlebourne|
|Upshur County||26 Mar 1851||Barbour and Lewis counties||Abel Parker Upshur (1790–1844) United States Secretary of the Navy (1841–43) United States Secretary of State (1843–44)||Buckhannon|
|Wayne County||18 Jan 1842||Cabell County||"Mad" Anthony Wayne Major General (1745–96) American Revolutionary War (1775–83) and (1792–96) United States Congressman Georgia (1791)||Wayne|
|Webster County||10 Jan 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)||Webster Springs|
|Wetzel County||10 Jan 1846||Tyler County||Lewis Wetzel (1763–1808) noted frontiersman||New Martinsville|
|Wirt County||19 Jan 1848||Jackson and Wirt counties||William Wirt (1772–1834) United States Attorney General (1817–29)||Elizabeth|
|Wood County||21 Dec 1798||Harrison County||James Wood (1741–1813) Governor of Virginia (1796–99)||Parkersburg|
|Wyoming County||26 Jan 1850||Logan County||derived from Lenape Native American term for "wide plain"||Pineville|
List of Old Former / Extinct West Virginia Counties
West Virginia has no counties that are extinct.