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West Virginia Counties
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West Virginia Counties

There are fifty-five counties in the state of West Virginia. Fifty of them existed at the time of the Wheeling Convention in 1861, before which West Virginia was part of the state of Virginia. The remaining five (Grant, Mineral, Lincoln, Summers and Mingo) were formed within the state after its admission to the United States on June 20, 1863. 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 US Congress passed a joint mandate assenting to their inclusion.

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Jackson County, West Virginia

Jackson County Education, Geography, and History

Jackson County, West Virginia Courthouse

Jackson County is a county located in the state of West Virginia. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 29,211. Its county seat is Ripley, and its largest municipality is Ravenswood. The county was formed in 1831 from parts of Kanawha, Wood, and Mason Counties, and named for Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States. 

Etymology - Origin of Jackson County Name

For Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Early History of Jackson County

Jackson County was created on March 1, 1831 from parts of Kanawha, Mason and Wood counties. It was named in honor of Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), who was then President of the United States (1829-1837).

President and General Andrew Jackson (known as "Old Hickory"), had a distinguished military and political career. He practiced law, represented Tennessee in the US House of Representatives in 1796 and in the US Senate (1797-1798, 1823-1825). He gained fame in the War of 1812 for his successful campaign against the Creek Indians (known to the Indians as the Trail of Tears) and for his defense of New Orleans. He served as Governor of the Florida Territory in 1821, ran unsuccessfully for President in 1824, losing to John Quincy Adams (he received a majority of the popular vote, but did not get a majority of the electoral college). He then won the Presidency in 1828 and was re-elected in 1832, becoming the 7th President of the United States. Although the modern Democratic party's roots go back to Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson is generally credited for starting the Democratic political party.

Robert Cavelier de La Salle was probably the first European to set foot in present Jackson County. He sailed down the Ohio River in 1669. James Le Tort, a French fur trader, was probably the first European to settle in Jackson County. He established a trading post sometime before 1740 near the current border of Jackson and Mason Counties. In 1749, Louis Bienville de Celeron explored the Ohio River and claimed all of the lands drained by the Ohio River for King Louis XV of France. He met several English fur traders on his journey and ordered them off of French soil and wrote strong letters of reprimand to the colonial governors protesting the English's presence on French soil.

In February 1752, Christopher Gist led a survey expedition into the present county on behalf of the Ohio Land Company and killed four bison while camped there. He reported that he could not recommend any permanent settlements in the area because of the harsh living conditions and the unfriendliness of the Indians, who claimed the area as part of their hunting grounds. In 1770, George Washington explored the region and claimed two tracts of land in the county (2,448 acres near the present site of Ravenswood and 4,395 acres in the Millwood area) for his service during the French and Indian Wars (1754-1763). William Hannamon, Benjamin Cox, and James McDade were the first known English settlers in Jackson County, moving into the Mill Creek area in May 1796. The first two built homes and took up permanent residence in the county. McDade served as an Indian scout, traveling the banks of the Ohio River, with his only companion, a faithful dog, at his side. It was said that his sole ambition in life was to alert some poor traveler of the presence of Indians and preventing them from becoming a victim of what he viewed were murderous savages. The first school was built in the county in 1806 and the first teacher, Andrew Hushan, had 15 students when it opened in 1807. In addition to being the county's first teacher, Andrew Hushan also constructed the county's first mill in 1799.

The land upon which Ripley, the county seat, sits was originally owned and settled by William John and Lewis Rodgers who received a grant of 400 acres in 1768 where "Sycamore Creek joins Big Mill Creek" (the current site of Ripley). The land was later sold to Jacob (and Ann) Starcher, most probably in 1803. Captain William Parsons was one of the county's most prominent citizens. He arrived in the area shortly before 1800, and resided near the current site of Ripley. Jacob Starcher laid out the town in 1830 and named it in honor of Harry Ripley, a young minister who was about to be married, but drowned shortly before the ceremony was to take place in Big Mill Creek, one and a half miles north of the town. In 1832, the Starchers donated land for the location of the county courthouse, county jail, a public school, and a burial ground. The town was chartered by the Virginia General Assembly in 1832.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 472 square miles (1,220 km2), of which 464 square miles (1,200 km2) is land and 7.3 square miles (19 km2) (1.5%) is water.

The Ohio River forms part of Jackson County's western border. Sandy Creek and Mill Creek, tributaries of the Ohio, flow through the northern and central portions of the county 

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Northeast: Wood County; Wirt County
  • Northwest: Meigs County, Ohio
  • Southeast: Roane County
  • South: Kanawha County
  • Southwest: Putnam County
  • West: Mason County


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