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.

Marion County, West Virginia

Marion County Education, Geography, and History

Marion County, West Virginia Courthouse

Marion County is a county located in the state of West Virginia. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 56,418. Its county seat is Fairmont. The county was named in honor of General Francis Marion (ca. 1732-1795), known to history as "The Swamp Fox".

Marion County comprises the Fairmont, WV Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Morgantown-Fairmont, WV Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Marion County Name

In honor of General Francis Marion of the Revolutionary War, known as the "Swamp Fox"


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Early History of Marion County, West Virginia

Marion County was created by an act of the Virginia Assembly on January 14, 1842, from parts of Harrison and Monongalia counties. The county was named in honor of General Francis Marion (1732-1795), the legendary hero of the American Revolutionary War. He was born at Winyaw, South Carolina and was a plantation owner. When the American Revolutionary War started he was appointed a Captain in the Second South Carolina regiment. He was later promoted through the ranks to General. His nickname was the "Swamp Fox." The nickname was derived from his hit and hide battle tactics. Typically outnumbered throughout the war, his troops would strike the enemy's supply lines, and then disappear into the woods and wetlands, like a swamp fox. After the war, he retired to his plantation near Eutaw, South Carolina.
The first English settlers in the county arrived in the Fairmont area during the 1760s. Jacob Prickett may have been the first, arriving in 1766. Captain James Booth and John Thomas arrived in 1770 or 1772, as did Thomas Helen. David Morgan and Nicholas Woods constructed cabins about five miles south of the present site of Fairmont in 1772. They were soon followed by Peter Straight, William Snodgrass, Henry Button, Thomas Button, John Dragoo and Frederick Ice. Together, they built Prickett's Fort, now reconstructed and a tourist attraction, for protection against the Indians in 1773 or 1774.

John Fleming and his brothers' three sons were the first settlers in Fairmont, the county seat. They arrived from Delaware in 1789. In 1793, Jacob Paulsley built a home on the east side of the Monongahela River in present day Fairmont. At that time, most of the future city was a dense, laurel thicket. The area's population remained very low until the construction of a road between Clarksburg and Morgantown in 1819. A halfway resting point was needed along the road. Boaz Fleming's land on the west side of the river was considered no good for cultivating, so the town was started there, and incorporated in 1820 as Middletown. Three ferries and a hotel owned by Frederick Ice were the first businesses in the town. Across the river, a post office was opened and called Paulsley, in honor of John Paulsley. In 1838, Paulsley was incorporated as Palatine. On February 4, 1843, the two towns merged and, by an act of the General Assembly, was renamed Fairmont, a contraction of Fair Mountain, one of the choices under consideration as the name for the new town. Fairmont was long known in the state for its saw, grist and woolen mills. The town experienced a growth spurt when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad extended a line to the town on January 22, 1852.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 312 square miles (810 km2), of which 309 square miles (800 km2) is land and 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2) (0.9%) is water.

Neighboring Counties:

  • Northeast: Monongalia County
  • Northwest: Wetzel County
  • Southeast: Taylor County
  • Southwest: Harrison County


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