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
16,589341 sq mi
(883 km2)
State map highlighting Barbour County
Berkeley County003Martinsburg1772Frederick County (Virginia)Norborne Berkeley
Royal Governor of Virginia
104,169321 sq mi
(831 km2)
State map highlighting Berkeley County
Boone County005Madison1847Cabell, Kanawha, and Logan countiesDaniel Boone
American frontiersman
24,629503 sq mi
(1,303 km2)
State map highlighting Boone County
Braxton County007Sutton1836Kanawha, Lewis, and Nicholas countiesCarter Braxton
Signer of the Declaration of Independence
14,523514 sq mi
(1,331 km2)
State map highlighting Braxton County
Brooke County009Wellsburg1796Ohio CountyRobert Brooke
Governor of Virginia
24,06989 sq mi
(231 km2)
State map highlighting Brooke County
Cabell County011Huntington1809Kanawha CountyWilliam H. Cabell
Governor of Virginia
96,319282 sq mi
(730 km2)
State map highlighting Cabell County
Calhoun County013Grantsville1856Gilmer CountyJohn C. Calhoun
United States Vice President
7,627281 sq mi
(728 km2)
State map highlighting Calhoun County
Clay County015Clay1858Braxton and Nicholas countiesHenry Clay
United States Senator Kentucky
United States Speaker of the House
9,386342 sq mi
(886 km2)
State map highlighting Clay County
Doddridge County017West Union1845Harrison, Lewis, Ritchie, and Taylor countiesPhilip Doddridge
United States Congressman (Virginia)
8,202320 sq mi
(829 km2)
State map highlighting Doddridge County
Fayette County019Fayetteville1831Kanawha, Greenbrier, Logan and Nicholas countiesMarquis de Lafayette
French-born American Revolutionary War General
46,039664 sq mi
(1,720 km2)
State map highlighting Fayette County
Gilmer County021Glenville1845Kanawha and Lewis countiesThomas Walker Gilmer
United States Secretary of the Navy
Governor of Virginia
8,693340 sq mi
(881 km2)
State map highlighting Gilmer County
Grant County023Petersburg1866Hardy CountyUlysses S. Grant
United States President
11,937477 sq mi
(1,235 km2)
State map highlighting Grant County
Greenbrier County025Lewisburg1778Montgomery County (Virginia) and Botetourt County (Virginia)Greenbrier River35,4801,021 sq mi
(2,644 km2)
State map highlighting Greenbrier County
Hampshire County027Romney1754Augusta County (Virginia) and Frederick County (Virginia)County of Hampshire in England23,964642 sq mi
(1,663 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)
30,67683 sq mi
(215 km2)
State map highlighting Hancock County
Hardy County031Moorefield1786Hampshire CountySamuel Hardy
Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress
14,025583 sq mi
(1,510 km2)
State map highlighting Hardy County
Harrison County033Clarksburg1784Monongalia CountyBenjamin Harrison V
Governor of Virginia
69,099416 sq mi
(1,077 km2)
State map highlighting Harrison County
Jackson County035Ripley1831Kanawha, Mason, and Wood countiesAndrew Jackson
United States President
29,211466 sq mi
(1,207 km2)
State map highlighting Jackson County
Jefferson County037Charles Town1801Berkeley CountyThomas Jefferson
United States President
53,498210 sq mi
(544 km2)
State map highlighting Jefferson County
Kanawha County039Charleston1789Greenbrier and Montgomery County (Virginia)Kanawha River193,063903 sq mi
(2,339 km2)
State map highlighting Kanawha County
Lewis County041Weston1816Harrison CountyCharles Lewis
American Colonel killed at the
Battle of Point Pleasant[14]
16,372389 sq mi
(1,008 km2)
State map highlighting Lewis County
Lincoln County043Hamlin1867Boone, Cabell, Kanawha and Putnam countiesAbraham Lincoln
United States President
21,720438 sq mi
(1,134 km2)
State map highlighting Lincoln County
Logan County045Logan1824Cabell and Kanawha counties, Giles County (Virginia) and Tazewell County (Virginia)Chief Logan
Mingo leader
36,743454 sq mi
(1,176 km2)
State map highlighting Logan County
Marion County049Fairmont1842Harrison and Monongalia countiesFrancis Marion
American Revolutionary War General
56,418310 sq mi
(803 km2)
State map highlighting Marion County
Marshall County051Moundsville1835Ohio CountyJohn Marshall
United States Secretary of State
Chief Justice of the United States
33,107307 sq mi
(795 km2)
State map highlighting Marshall County
Mason County053Point Pleasant1804Kanawha CountyGeorge Mason
United States Constitutional Convention
"Father of the Bill of Rights"
27,324432 sq mi
(1,119 km2)
State map highlighting Mason County
McDowell County047Welch1858Tazewell County (Virginia)James McDowell
Governor of Virginia
22,113535 sq mi
(1,386 km2)
State map highlighting McDowell County
Mercer County055Princeton1837Giles County (Virginia) and Tazewell County (Virginia)Hugh Mercer
American Revolutionary War General
62,264420 sq mi
(1,088 km2)
State map highlighting Mercer County
Mineral County057Keyser1866Hampshire Countyabundant mineral resources28,212328 sq mi
(850 km2)
State map highlighting Mineral County
Mingo County059Williamson1895Logan CountyMingo Native Americans26,839423 sq mi
(1,096 km2)
State map highlighting Mingo County
Monongalia County061Morgantown1776Augusta County (Virginia)Latin derivation for Monongahela River96,189361 sq mi
(935 km2)
State map highlighting Monongalia County
Monroe County063Union1799Greenbrier CountyJames Monroe
United States Senator (Virginia)
Governor of Virginia
and (1811)
United States President
13,502473 sq mi
(1,225 km2)
State map highlighting Monroe County
Morgan County065Berkeley Springs1820Berkeley and Hampshire countiesDaniel Morgan
United States Congressman (Virginia)
17,541229 sq mi
(593 km2)
State map highlighting Morgan County
Nicholas County067Summersville1818Greenbrier, Kanawha and Randolph countiesWilson Cary Nicholas
United States Senator (Virginia)
Governor of Virginia
26,233649 sq mi
(1,681 km2)
State map highlighting Nicholas County
Ohio County069Wheeling1776Augusta County (Virginia)Ohio River44,443106 sq mi
(275 km2)
State map highlighting Ohio County
Pendleton County071Franklin1788Augusta County (Virginia), Rockinham County (Virginia) and HardyEdmund Pendleton
First Continental Congress
7,695698 sq mi
(1,808 km2)
State map highlighting Pendleton County
Pleasants County073Saint Marys1851Ritchie, Tyler, and Wood countiesJames Pleasants, Jr.
United States Senator (Virginia)
Governor of Virginia
7,605131 sq mi
(339 km2)
State map highlighting Pleasants County
Pocahontas County075Marlinton1821Bath County (Virginia), Pendleton and RandolphPocahontas
(c. 1595–1617)
Powhatan Native American who assisted early English settlers
8,719940 sq mi
(2,435 km2)
State map highlighting Pocahontas County
Preston County077Kingwood1818Monongalia CountyJames Patton Preston
Governor of Virginia
33,520648 sq mi
(1,678 km2)
State map highlighting Preston County
Putnam County079Winfield1848Cabell, Kanawha, and Mason countiesIsrael Putnam
American Revolutionary War General
55,486346 sq mi
(896 km2)
State map highlighting Putnam County
Raleigh County081Beckley1850Fayette CountySir Walter Raleigh
English explorer and poet
78,859607 sq mi
(1,572 km2)
State map highlighting Raleigh County
Randolph County083Elkins1787Harrison CountyEdmund Jennings Randolph
Governor of Virginia
First United States Attorney General
29,4051,040 sq mi
(2,694 km2)
State map highlighting Randolph County
Ritchie County085Harrisville1843Harrison, Lewis, and Wood countiesThomas Ritchie
nationally influential Virginia newspaper publisher
10,449454 sq mi
(1,176 km2)
State map highlighting Ritchie County
Roane County087Spencer1856Gilmer, Jackson and Kanawha countiesSpencer Roane
Virginia Supreme Court Justice
14,926484 sq mi
(1,254 km2)
State map highlighting Roane County
Summers County089Hinton1871Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer and Monroe countiesGeorge W. Summers
United States Congressman (Virginia)
13,927361 sq mi
(935 km2)
State map highlighting Summers County
Taylor County091Grafton1844Barbour, Harrison, Marion countiesJohn Taylor of Caroline
United States Senator (Virginia)
(1792–94) and
(1803) and
16,895173 sq mi
(448 km2)
State map highlighting Taylor County
Tucker County093Parsons1856Randolph CountyHenry St. George Tucker
United States Congressman (Virginia)
Virginia Supreme Court
7,141419 sq mi
(1,085 km2)
State map highlighting Tucker County
Tyler County095Middlebourne1814Ohio CountyJohn Tyler, Sr.
Governor of Virginia
9,208258 sq mi
(668 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
24,254355 sq mi
(919 km2)
State map highlighting Upshur County
Wayne County099Wayne1842Cabell County"Mad" Anthony Wayne
Major General
American Revolutionary War
and (1792–96)
United States Congressman Georgia
42,481506 sq mi
(1,311 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
9,154556 sq mi
(1,440 km2)
State map highlighting Webster County
Wetzel County103New Martinsville1846Tyler CountyLewis Wetzel
noted frontiersman
16,583359 sq mi
(930 km2)
State map highlighting Wetzel County
Wirt County105Elizabeth1848Jackson and Wood countiesWilliam Wirt
United States Attorney General
5,717233 sq mi
(603 km2)
State map highlighting Wirt County
Wood County107Parkersburg1798Harrison CountyJames Wood
Governor of Virginia
86,956367 sq mi
(951 km2)
State map highlighting Wood County
Wyoming County109Pineville1850Logan Countyderived from Lenape Native American term for "wide plain"23,796501 sq mi
(1,298 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.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help). Available at ISBN 1144825210 and Google Books.