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.

Monroe County, West Virginia

Monroe County Education, Geography, and History

Monroe County, West Virginia Courthouse

Monroe County is a county located in the state of West Virginia. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 13,502. Its county seat is Union. Monroe County was created from Greenbrier County in 1799 and was named for James Monroe who eventually became the fifth President of the United States

Etymology - Origin of Monroe County Name

For James Monroe, 5th President


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Early History of Monroe County, West Virginia

Monroe County was created by an act of the Virginia General Assembly on January 14, 1799 from parts of Greenbrier County. According to the national census of 1800, Monroe County had a population of 4,188, the 9th largest population of the 13 counties then in existence in the present state of West Virginia. Berkeley County had the largest population at that time (22,006) and Wood County had the smallest (1,217).

The county was named in honor of James Monroe (1758-1831), who was serving as the Governor of Virginia when the new county was formed. He was born on April 29, 1758 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, served in the Continental Army, and then as a member of the Virginia General Assembly in 1782. He then represented Virginia in the Continental Congress (1783-1786) and in the US Senate (1790-1794). In 1794, he was named Minister to France by President George Washington. He then served as the Governor of Virginia (1799-1802, 1811), Special Ambassador to France to negotiate the purchase of Louisiana (in 1804), US Secretary of State (1811-1817), and 5th President of the United States (1817-1825). His administration was dubbed the "Era of Good Feelings" because the politics of the era had relatively few factional battles and his Monroe Doctrine set the tone for American foreign policy for generations. He died on July 1, 1834.
Thomas Batt, Robert Fullam and Thomas Wood were the first Englishmen to set foot in present day Monroe County. They explored the area in 1671. John Moss was the first permanent English settler in the county. He built a cabin near Sweet Springs in 1760. Christian Peters moved into the county in 1770, near the present site of Peterstown. That same year, a group of settlers (Adam and Jacob Mann, Valentine Cook, John and George Miller, and Isaac Estill) moved into the county and built Mann's Fort. A survey completed in 1774 indicated that there were 54 families living in the county. The county's first school opened in 1795, with Samuel Harper serving as the schoolmaster.

Union, the county seat, was settled in 1774 by James Alexander. The town was chartered by the Virginia General Assembly in 1799 and laid out on James Alexander's land. In 1800, he donated land for a courthouse. The town was named Union because it was a rendezvous site where the troops would gather (forming a union) during the French and Indian Wars (1754-1763). Richard Shanklin was the first merchant in the town, opening his doors for business in 1800. James A. Shanklin became the town's postmaster that same year. In 1802, Charles Friend opened the town's first hotel. The town was incorporated in 1868. From: West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia, compiled by Hardesty.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 474 square miles (1,230 km2), of which 473 square miles (1,230 km2) is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) (0.2%) is water

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Greenbrier County
  • Northeast: Alleghany County, Va.
  • Northwest: Summers County
  • Southeast: Craig County, Va.
  • Southwest: Giles County, Va.


James Monroe High School

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