Virginia Counties
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Virginia Counties

The Commonwealth of Virginia is divided into ninety-five counties and thirty-eight independent cities, which are considered county-equivalents for census purposes.

Wise County, Virginia

Wise County Education, Geography, and History

Wise County, Virginia Courthouse

Wise County is a county located in the state of Virginia. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 41,452. Its county seat is Wise. The county was formed in 1856 from Lee, Scott, and Russell Counties and named for Henry A. Wise, who was the Governor of Virginia at the time.

Etymology - Origin of Wise County Name

Wise is named for Governor of Virginia, Henry Alexander Wise


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Wise County History

In 1856, Wise County, Virginia formed from Lee, Russell, and Scott Counties. [Virginia Counties: Those Resulting from Virginia Legislation, by Morgan Poitiaux Robinson, originally published as Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, Volume 9, January, April, July 1916, reprinted 1992 by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD.]

Wise County was named for Henry Alexander Wise, governor of Virginia from 1856 to 1860. It was formed in 1856 from Lee, Russell and Scott Counties. Its area is 404 square miles, and the county seat is Wise.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 405 square miles (1,050 km2), of which, 404 square miles (1,046 km2) of it is land and 1 square miles (3 km2) of it (0.29%) is water. The county is part of the Appalachians and has many mountainous features, including the peak of High Knob and Powell Valley.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Dickenson County, VA to the northeast
  • Harlan County, KY to the west
  • Lee County, VA to the southwest
  • Letcher County, KY to the northwest
  • Pike County, KY to the north
  • Russell County, VA to the east
  • Scott County, VA to the south


Public schools

Wise County Public Schools operates seventeen school facilities in the county including three high schools.

Private schools

Wise County Christian School operates as a private school in the county.

Colleges and universities

University of Virginia's College at Wise, Wise
Mountain Empire Community College, Big Stone Gap

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