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History of West Virginia

West Virginia was used as a hunting grounds by a number of Indian tribes as early as 14,000 years ago until the 1700s when they were forced out by white settlers.
[1669] - German explorer John Lederer and his group reached the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in an western expedition and is believed to be the first white men to see West Virginia.
[1671] - Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam led an expedition in search of hunting grounds and transportation routes into what is now West Virginia.
[1726-1731] - Morgan Morgan of Delaware, believed to be the first white settler in what is now West Virginia, established a home at Bunker Hill, now Berkeley county.
1727 - Germans establish a settlement at New Mecklenburg, now Shepherdtown in Berkeley county.
1742 - Coal was discovered by John Salley near Racine.
1743 - Frederick county was formed from part of Orange county and included what is now the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.
1745 - Augusta county was formed from part of Orange county and included almost all of what is now West Virginia.
1754 - Hampshire county was formed from parts of Augusta and Frederick counties.
1770 - Botetourt county wasformed from part of Augusta county and included what is now southern West Virginia, as well as southwest Virginia, southern Ohio and Kentucky. (Freddie Spradlin has a map of Botetourt county at formation at his Botetourt County VA page)
1774 - The Battle of Point Pleasant, considered the first battle of the Revolutionary War by some historians, was fought at Point Pleasant, Virginia (now West Virginia).
1775 - West Augusta District was designated by Virginia and included all of West Virginia and the western part of Pennsylvania.
1776 - Monongalia and Ohio counties were formed from part of Augusta county. People in the western counties of Virginia sent petitions to the Continental Congress asking for a separation of government from Virginia. They proposed that the new state be called Westsylvania. The separation was not granted.
1777 - Montgomery county (Virginia) was formed from Fincastle county and included parts of present day southern West Virginia.
1778 - Greenbrier county was formed from Montgomery and Botetourt counties and encompassed most of the southern half of present day West Virginia.
1779 - Virginia ceded much of the northern part of the West Augusta District to Pennsylvania.
1780 - Map
1781 - Thomas Jefferson's Answers to Questions About Virginia (via vt.edu gopher)
1784 - Harrison county was formed from part of Monongalia county.
1786 - Hardy county was formed from the southern half of Hampshire county.
1787 - Randolph county was formed from part of Harrison county.
1789 - Kanawha county was formed from parts of Greenbrier and Montgomery counties.
1790 - Map - Wythe county was formed from Montgomery county and included part of what is now southern West Virginia. The estimated total population of what is now West Virginia was 55,873 in 1790.
1797 - Brooke county was formed from northern Ohio county.
1798 - Wood county was formed from part of eastern Harrison county.
1799 - Monroe county was formed from the southern part of Greenbrier county.
1800 - Map - Tazewell county was formed from parts of Wythe and Russell and included a section of what is now southern West Virginia. The 1800 Virginia Federal Census was taken and the estimated population of that part which began West Virginia was 78,592.
1801 - Jefferson county was formed from the eastern section of Berkeley county.
1804 - Mason county was formed from a northwestern section of Kanawha county.
1806 - Giles county was formed from parts of Montgomery, Monroe and Tazewell counties and includes a section of what is now in southern West Virginia.
1809 - Cabell county was formed from a southwestern section of Kanawha county.
1810 - Map - The 1810 Virginia Federal Census was taken and the estimated population of what is now West Virginia is estimated to be 105,469.
1814 - Tyler county was formed from southern Ohio county.
1816 - Lewis county was formed from the southwestern section of Harrison county.
1818 - Preston county was formed from eastern Monongalia county. Nicholas county was formed from parts of Greenbrier, Kanawha and Randolph counties near the middle of present day West Virginia.
1820 - Map - Morgan county was formed from parts of Berkeley and Hampshire counties. The 1820 Virginia Federal Census was taken and the population of the part that later became West Virginia is estimated to be 136,808.
1821 - Pocahontas county was formed from parts of Bath, Pendleton and Randolph counties along the eastern boundary of present day West Virginia.
1824 - Logan county was formed from parts of Giles, Cabell, Tazewell and Kanawha counties along the southern boundary of present day West Virginia.
1830 - Map - The 1830 Virginia Federal Census was taken and the estimated population is 176,924 for that portion which later became West Virginia.
1831 - Fayette county was formed from parts of Logan, Greenbrier, Nicholas and Kanawha counties. Jackson county was formed from parts of Mason, Kanawha and Wood counties.
1835 - The first railroad reaches Harper's Ferry. Marshall county was formed from the southern part of Ohio county.
1836 - Braxton county was formed from parts of Lewis, Kanawha and Nicholas counties.
1837 - Mercer county was formed from parts of Giles and Tazewell counties.
1840 - Map - The 1840 Virginia Federal Census was taken and the population of that portion which later became West Virginia is estimated at 224,537.
1842 - Marion county was formed from parts of Monongalia and Harrison county. Wayne county was formed from a western section of Cabell county.
1843 - Ritchie county was formed from Harrison, Lewis and Wood counties. Barbour county was formed from Harrison, Lewis and Randolph counties.
1844 - Taylor county was formed from Harrison, Barbour and Marion counties.
1845 - Gilmer county was formed from Lewis and Kanawha counties. Doddridge county is formed from parts of Harrison, Tyler, Ritchie and Lewis counties.
1846 - Wetzel county was formed from part of Tyler county.
1847 - Boone county was formed from part of Kanawha, Cabell and Logan counties.
1848 - Hancock county was formed from the northern part of Brooke county. Wirt county was formed from parts of Wood and Jackson counties. Putnam county was formed from parts of Kanawha, Cabell and Mason counties.
1850 - Raleigh county was formed from part of Fayette county. Wyoming county is formed from part of Logan county. The 1850 Virginia Federal Census was taken and the population in the area which later became West Virginia was 302,313.
1851 - Upshur county was formed from parts of Randolph, Barbour and Lewis counties. Pleasants county was formed from parts of Wood, Tyler and Ritchie counties.
1856 - Calhoun county was formed from part of Gilmer county. Roane county was formed from parts of Kanawha, Jackson and Gilmer counties. Tucker county was formed from part of Randolph county.
1858 - McDowell county was formed from part of Tazewell county and formed a southern boundary for present day West Virginia. Clay county was formed from part of Braxton and Nicholas counties.
1859 - John Brown and his followers attacked the federal arsenel at Harper's Ferry.
1860 - Webster county was formed from parts of Nicholas, Braxton and Randolph counties. The 1860 Virginia Federal Census was taken and the population of that portion which shortly after became West Virginia was 376,688 persons.
1861 - Virginia seceded from the Union. The counties of western Virginia refuse to secede and organized a separate government supporting the Union. West Virginia contributed 32,000 soldiers to the Union army and about 9,000 to the Confederate army.
Members of West Virginia's First Constitutional Convention (November, 1861)
1863 - West Virginia became the 35th state.
1866 - Mineral county was formed from part of Hampshire county. Grant county was formed from part of Hardy county.
1867 - Lincoln county was formed from part of Boone, Cabell, Kanawha and Putnam counties.
1870 - West Virginia's First Census was taken and it had a population of 442,014 people.
1871 - Summers county was formed from parts of Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer and Monroe counties.
1880 - The 1880 Federal Census was taken and West Virginia had a population of 618,457 persons.
1885 - The capitol of West Virginia was established in Charleston.
1890 - The 1890 Federal Census was taken and West Virginia's population was 762,794.
1895 - Mingo county was formed from part of Logan county.
1900 - The 1900 Federal Census was taken and West Virginia's population increased to 958,800.
1910 - The 1910 Federal Census saw the population increased to 1,221,119 persons.
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