List of counties in West Virginia

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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]


FIPS code
County seat
Barbour County001Philippi1843Harrison, Lewis and Randolph countiesPhilip Pendleton Barbour
United States Speaker of the House
700416589000000000016,5897002341000000000000341 sq mi
(7002883000000000000883 km2)
State map highlighting Barbour County
Berkeley County003Martinsburg1772Frederick County (Virginia)Norborne Berkeley
Royal Governor of Virginia
7005104169000000000104,1697002321000000000000321 sq mi
(7002831000000000000831 km2)
State map highlighting Berkeley County
Boone County005Madison1847Cabell, Kanawha, and Logan countiesDaniel Boone
American frontiersman
700424629000000000024,6297002503000000000000503 sq mi
(70031303000000000001,303 km2)
State map highlighting Boone County
Braxton County007Sutton1836Kanawha, Lewis, and Nicholas countiesCarter Braxton
Signer of the Declaration of Independence
700414523000000000014,5237002514000000000000514 sq mi
(70031331000000000001,331 km2)
State map highlighting Braxton County
Brooke County009Wellsburg1796Ohio CountyRobert Brooke
Governor of Virginia
700424069000000000024,069700189000000000000089 sq mi
(7002231000000000000231 km2)
State map highlighting Brooke County
Cabell County011Huntington1809Kanawha CountyWilliam H. Cabell
Governor of Virginia
700496319000000000096,3197002282000000000000282 sq mi
(7002730000000000000730 km2)
State map highlighting Cabell County
Calhoun County013Grantsville1856Gilmer CountyJohn C. Calhoun
United States Vice President
70037627000000000007,6277002281000000000000281 sq mi
(7002728000000000000728 km2)
State map highlighting Calhoun County
Clay County015Clay1858Braxton and Nicholas countiesHenry Clay
United States Senator Kentucky
United States Speaker of the House
70039386000000000009,3867002342000000000000342 sq mi
(7002886000000000000886 km2)
State map highlighting Clay County
Doddridge County017West Union1845Harrison, Lewis, Ritchie, and Taylor countiesPhilip Doddridge
United States Congressman (Virginia)
70038202000000000008,2027002320000000000000320 sq mi
(7002829000000000000829 km2)
State map highlighting Doddridge County
Fayette County019Fayetteville1831Kanawha, Greenbrier, Logan and Nicholas countiesMarquis de Lafayette
French-born American Revolutionary War General
700446039000000000046,0397002664000000000000664 sq mi
(70031720000000000001,720 km2)
State map highlighting Fayette County
Gilmer County021Glenville1845Kanawha and Lewis countiesThomas Walker Gilmer
United States Secretary of the Navy
Governor of Virginia
70038693000000000008,6937002340000000000000340 sq mi
(7002881000000000000881 km2)
State map highlighting Gilmer County
Grant County023Petersburg1866Hardy CountyUlysses S. Grant
United States President
700411937000000000011,9377002477000000000000477 sq mi
(70031235000000000001,235 km2)
State map highlighting Grant County
Greenbrier County025Lewisburg1778Montgomery County (Virginia) and Botetourt County (Virginia)Greenbrier River700435480000000000035,48070031021000000000001,021 sq mi
(70032644000000000002,644 km2)
State map highlighting Greenbrier County
Hampshire County027Romney1754Augusta County (Virginia) and Frederick County (Virginia)County of Hampshire in England700423964000000000023,9647002642000000000000642 sq mi
(70031663000000000001,663 km2)
State map highlighting Hampshire County
Hancock County029New Cumberland1848Brooke CountyJohn Hancock
One of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence
Governor of Massachusetts
and (1787–93)
700430676000000000030,676700183000000000000083 sq mi
(7002215000000000000215 km2)
State map highlighting Hancock County
Hardy County031Moorefield1786Hampshire CountySamuel Hardy
Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress
700414025000000000014,0257002583000000000000583 sq mi
(70031510000000000001,510 km2)
State map highlighting Hardy County
Harrison County033Clarksburg1784Monongalia CountyBenjamin Harrison V
Governor of Virginia
700469099000000000069,0997002416000000000000416 sq mi
(70031077000000000001,077 km2)
State map highlighting Harrison County
Jackson County035Ripley1831Kanawha, Mason, and Wood countiesAndrew Jackson
United States President
700429211000000000029,2117002466000000000000466 sq mi
(70031207000000000001,207 km2)
State map highlighting Jackson County
Jefferson County037Charles Town1801Berkeley CountyThomas Jefferson
United States President
700453498000000000053,4987002210000000000000210 sq mi
(7002544000000000000544 km2)
State map highlighting Jefferson County
Kanawha County039Charleston1789Greenbrier and Montgomery County (Virginia)Kanawha River7005193063000000000193,0637002903000000000000903 sq mi
(70032339000000000002,339 km2)
State map highlighting Kanawha County
Lewis County041Weston1816Harrison CountyCharles Lewis
American Colonel killed at the
Battle of Point Pleasant[14]
700416372000000000016,3727002389000000000000389 sq mi
(70031008000000000001,008 km2)
State map highlighting Lewis County
Lincoln County043Hamlin1867Boone, Cabell, Kanawha and Putnam countiesAbraham Lincoln
United States President
700421720000000000021,7207002438000000000000438 sq mi
(70031134000000000001,134 km2)
State map highlighting Lincoln County
Logan County045Logan1824Cabell and Kanawha counties, Giles County (Virginia) and Tazewell County (Virginia)Chief Logan
Mingo leader
700436743000000000036,7437002454000000000000454 sq mi
(70031176000000000001,176 km2)
State map highlighting Logan County
Marion County049Fairmont1842Harrison and Monongalia countiesFrancis Marion
American Revolutionary War General
700456418000000000056,4187002310000000000000310 sq mi
(7002803000000000000803 km2)
State map highlighting Marion County
Marshall County051Moundsville1835Ohio CountyJohn Marshall
United States Secretary of State
Chief Justice of the United States
700433107000000000033,1077002307000000000000307 sq mi
(7002795000000000000795 km2)
State map highlighting Marshall County
Mason County053Point Pleasant1804Kanawha CountyGeorge Mason
United States Constitutional Convention
"Father of the Bill of Rights"
700427324000000000027,3247002432000000000000432 sq mi
(70031119000000000001,119 km2)
State map highlighting Mason County
McDowell County047Welch1858Tazewell County (Virginia)James McDowell
Governor of Virginia
700422113000000000022,1137002535000000000000535 sq mi
(70031386000000000001,386 km2)
State map highlighting McDowell County
Mercer County055Princeton1837Giles County (Virginia) and Tazewell County (Virginia)Hugh Mercer
American Revolutionary War General
700462264000000000062,2647002420000000000000420 sq mi
(70031088000000000001,088 km2)
State map highlighting Mercer County
Mineral County057Keyser1866Hampshire Countyabundant mineral resources700428212000000000028,2127002328000000000000328 sq mi
(7002850000000000000850 km2)
State map highlighting Mineral County
Mingo County059Williamson1895Logan CountyMingo Native Americans700426839000000000026,8397002423000000000000423 sq mi
(70031096000000000001,096 km2)
State map highlighting Mingo County
Monongalia County061Morgantown1776Augusta County (Virginia)Latin derivation for Monongahela River700496189000000000096,1897002361000000000000361 sq mi
(7002935000000000000935 km2)
State map highlighting Monongalia County
Monroe County063Union1799Greenbrier CountyJames Monroe
United States Senator (Virginia)
Governor of Virginia
and (1811)
United States President
700413502000000000013,5027002473000000000000473 sq mi
(70031225000000000001,225 km2)
State map highlighting Monroe County
Morgan County065Berkeley Springs1820Berkeley and Hampshire countiesDaniel Morgan
United States Congressman (Virginia)
700417541000000000017,5417002229000000000000229 sq mi
(7002593000000000000593 km2)
State map highlighting Morgan County
Nicholas County067Summersville1818Greenbrier, Kanawha and Randolph countiesWilson Cary Nicholas
United States Senator (Virginia)
Governor of Virginia
700426233000000000026,2337002649000000000000649 sq mi
(70031681000000000001,681 km2)
State map highlighting Nicholas County
Ohio County069Wheeling1776Augusta County (Virginia)Ohio River700444443000000000044,4437002106000000000000106 sq mi
(7002275000000000000275 km2)
State map highlighting Ohio County
Pendleton County071Franklin1788Augusta County (Virginia), Rockinham County (Virginia) and HardyEdmund Pendleton
First Continental Congress
70037695000000000007,6957002698000000000000698 sq mi
(70031808000000000001,808 km2)
State map highlighting Pendleton County
Pleasants County073Saint Marys1851Ritchie, Tyler, and Wood countiesJames Pleasants, Jr.
United States Senator (Virginia)
Governor of Virginia
70037605000000000007,6057002131000000000000131 sq mi
(7002339000000000000339 km2)
State map highlighting Pleasants County
Pocahontas County075Marlinton1821Bath County (Virginia), Pendleton and RandolphPocahontas
(c. 1595–1617)
Powhatan Native American who assisted early English settlers
70038719000000000008,7197002940000000000000940 sq mi
(70032435000000000002,435 km2)
State map highlighting Pocahontas County
Preston County077Kingwood1818Monongalia CountyJames Patton Preston
Governor of Virginia
700433520000000000033,5207002648000000000000648 sq mi
(70031678000000000001,678 km2)
State map highlighting Preston County
Putnam County079Winfield1848Cabell, Kanawha, and Mason countiesIsrael Putnam
American Revolutionary War General
700455486000000000055,4867002346000000000000346 sq mi
(7002896000000000000896 km2)
State map highlighting Putnam County
Raleigh County081Beckley1850Fayette CountySir Walter Raleigh
English explorer and poet
700478859000000000078,8597002607000000000000607 sq mi
(70031572000000000001,572 km2)
State map highlighting Raleigh County
Randolph County083Elkins1787Harrison CountyEdmund Jennings Randolph
Governor of Virginia
First United States Attorney General
700429405000000000029,40570031040000000000001,040 sq mi
(70032694000000000002,694 km2)
State map highlighting Randolph County
Ritchie County085Harrisville1843Harrison, Lewis, and Wood countiesThomas Ritchie
nationally influential Virginia newspaper publisher
700410449000000000010,4497002454000000000000454 sq mi
(70031176000000000001,176 km2)
State map highlighting Ritchie County
Roane County087Spencer1856Gilmer, Jackson and Kanawha countiesSpencer Roane
Virginia Supreme Court Justice
700414926000000000014,9267002484000000000000484 sq mi
(70031254000000000001,254 km2)
State map highlighting Roane County
Summers County089Hinton1871Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer and Monroe countiesGeorge W. Summers
United States Congressman (Virginia)
700413927000000000013,9277002361000000000000361 sq mi
(7002935000000000000935 km2)
State map highlighting Summers County
Taylor County091Grafton1844Barbour, Harrison, Marion countiesJohn Taylor of Caroline
United States Senator (Virginia)
(1792–94) and
(1803) and
700416895000000000016,8957002173000000000000173 sq mi
(7002448000000000000448 km2)
State map highlighting Taylor County
Tucker County093Parsons1856Randolph CountyHenry St. George Tucker
United States Congressman (Virginia)
Virginia Supreme Court
70037141000000000007,1417002419000000000000419 sq mi
(70031085000000000001,085 km2)
State map highlighting Tucker County
Tyler County095Middlebourne1814Ohio CountyJohn Tyler, Sr.
Governor of Virginia
70039208000000000009,2087002258000000000000258 sq mi
(7002668000000000000668 km2)
State map highlighting Tyler County
Upshur County097Buckhannon1851Barbour, Lewis and Randolph countiesAbel Parker Upshur
United States Secretary of the Navy
United States Secretary of State
700424254000000000024,2547002355000000000000355 sq mi
(7002919000000000000919 km2)
State map highlighting Upshur County
Wayne County099Wayne1842Cabell County"Mad" Anthony Wayne
Major General
American Revolutionary War
and (1792–96)
United States Congressman Georgia
700442481000000000042,4817002506000000000000506 sq mi
(70031311000000000001,311 km2)
State map highlighting Wayne County
Webster County101Webster Springs1860Braxton, Nicholas, and Randolph countiesDaniel Webster
United States Senator Massachusetts
(1827–41) and
United States Secretary of State
(1841–53) and
70039154000000000009,1547002556000000000000556 sq mi
(70031440000000000001,440 km2)
State map highlighting Webster County
Wetzel County103New Martinsville1846Tyler CountyLewis Wetzel
noted frontiersman
700416583000000000016,5837002359000000000000359 sq mi
(7002930000000000000930 km2)
State map highlighting Wetzel County
Wirt County105Elizabeth1848Jackson and Wood countiesWilliam Wirt
United States Attorney General
70035717000000000005,7177002233000000000000233 sq mi
(7002603000000000000603 km2)
State map highlighting Wirt County
Wood County107Parkersburg1798Harrison CountyJames Wood
Governor of Virginia
700486956000000000086,9567002367000000000000367 sq mi
(7002951000000000000951 km2)
State map highlighting Wood County
Wyoming County109Pineville1850Logan Countyderived from Lenape Native American term for "wide plain"700423796000000000023,7967002501000000000000501 sq mi
(70031298000000000001,298 km2)
State map highlighting Wyoming County

See also[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". Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ American Historical Magazine Volume 3. New York NY: Americana Society. 1908. pp. 628–629. . Available at ISBN 1144825210 and Google Books.