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.

Tyler County, West Virginia

Tyler County Education, Geography, and History

Tyler County, West Virginia Courthouse

Tyler County is a county located in the state of West Virginia. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 9,208. Its county seat is Middlebourne. The county was founded in 1814 and is named after John Tyler, Sr., father of President John Tyler

Etymology - Origin of Tyler County Name

In honor of John Tyler, 8th Governor of Virginia and father of John Tyler, 10th President


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Early History of Tyler County, West Virginia

Tyler County was created by an act of the Virginia General Assembly on December 16, 1814 from parts of Ohio County. The county was named in honor of John Tyler (1747-1813).

John Tyler was born in James City County, Virginia on February 28, 1747. A graduate of William and Mary College, he studied law and was appointed a judge of the admiralty in 1776. He was a member of the Virginia General Assembly (1778-1788), serving as Speaker in 1781 and in 1783. He was elected a judge of the Virginia general court (1789-1808) and later served as the Governor of Virginia (1808 to 1811). After his term had expired, he was appointed by President James Madison Judge of the US District Court for Virginia in 1811. Judge Tyler served in that position until his death on January 6, 1813. His son, John Tyler, was the 10th President of the United States.

The French explorer Rene-Robert Cavalier Sieur de la Salle did not keep very good notes during his exploration of the Ohio River in 1669, but it is very likely that he was the first European to set foot on the present site of Tyler County. The second was probably Anthony Sadowski, an Indian trader and interpreter who traveled along the Ohio River in the early 1700s. In 1749, Louis Bienville de Celeron sailed down the Ohio River and may have set foot in the county. He claimed all of the lands drained by the Ohio River for King Louis XV of France. During his travels, he met several English fur traders and ordered them off of French soil. He also wrote letters of reprimand to the colonial governors protesting the English's presence on French soil.

Charles Wells was the first English settler in the area, building a cabin near the present site of Sistersville in 1776. He was married twice and fathered 22 children, many of whom stayed in the county, helped clear the land, and make it a thriving community. The first meeting of the county court took place at Charles Wells' house on January 9, 1815. After Charles Wells died, his estate was passed onto his daughters, Sarah and Deliah, and Sistersville, built on the Wells' property, was named their honor. One of the most important dates in the town's history was January 28, 1818. On that day, a ferry service was established. It helped the town's economy to prosper and was instrumental in ensuring the town's survival as a viable community. Sistersville was incorporated on February 2, 1839.

Middlebourne, the current county seat, replaced Sistersville as the county seat in 1815, primarily because it was more centrally located and had a larger population (then around 100). It had been established as a town by legislative enactment on January 27, 1813 on the lands of Robert Gorrell. He had settled in the area in 1798. The town was named Middlebourne because it was about halfway between Pennsylvania and the old Salt Wells on the Kanawha River above Charleston. The county court met at various residences throughout Middlebourne until 1854 when a court house was finally built. The town was incorporated on February 3, 1871.

Tyler County is the site of the world's largest gas well, "Big Moses." It produces approximately 100 million cubic feet of gas each day, and was drilled in 1894.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 261 square miles (680 km2), of which 256 square miles (660 km2) is land and 4.4 square miles (11 km2) (1.7%) is water

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Northeast: Wetzel County
  • Northwest: Monroe County, Ohio
  • Southeast: Doddridge County
  • Southwest: Ritchie County; Pleasants County
  • West: Washington County, Ohio


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