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Harrison County, West Virginia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Harrison County
Harrison County Courthouse
Harrison County Courthouse
Official seal of Harrison County
Map of West Virginia highlighting Harrison County
Location within the U.S. state of West Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting West Virginia
West Virginia's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 39°17′N 80°23′W / 39.29°N 80.38°W / 39.29; -80.38
Country United States
State West Virginia
FoundedMay 3, 1784
Named forBenjamin Harrison V
Largest cityClarksburg
 • Total417 sq mi (1,080 km2)
 • Land416 sq mi (1,080 km2)
 • Water0.5 sq mi (1 km2)  0.1%%
 • Total69,099
 • Estimate 
 • Density170/sq mi (64/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district1st

Harrison County is a county in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 69,099.[1] The county seat is Clarksburg.[2]

Harrison County is part of the Clarksburg, WV Micropolitan Statistical Area.


Indigenous peoples lived in the area that would become Harrison County for thousands of years. The Oak Mounds outside Clarksburg were built by the Hopewell culture mound builders during the first millennium CE.

18th century

White trappers visited the area that is now Harrison County as early as the 1760s. Some traded with the Native Americans of the area. The Virginia Colony claimed the area as part of its vast Augusta County. The first permanent settler in the area was hunter and trapper John Simpson, who erected a cabin at the mouth of Elk Creek on the West Fork River in 1763 or '64.[3][4] Simpson's name remains on "Simpson's Creek" (its mouth is about 9 miles downstream from present Clarksburg).[5] Settler Daniel Davisson (1748-1819), from New Jersey,[6] claimed the land upon which present-day Clarksburg, Harrison County, was formed in 1773;[7] the area was re-designated as part of Monongalia County, Virginia three years later. Simpson's story did not end well. According to a 19th-century local historian, he ...

... continued to hunt and trap for a year without encountering any other human being. In 1765, he went to the South Branch to dispose of a stock of skins and furs, and returning to his camp, remained until permanent settlements were made in the vicinity. ... Simpson's cabin was located about one mile from Clarksburg, on the west side of the West Fork River ... Simpson became indebted to a man named Cottrial[8] to the amount of "one quart of salt" (a precious article at the time), which he agreed to pay, either in money or salt, upon his return from Winchester, whither he was going to dispose of a stock of skins and furs. Upon his return, a dispute arose between them, regarding the payment, and Cottrial, in the heat of passion, hastened from the house, and grasping Daniel Davisson's gun, which stood leaning against the cabin, took aim through the space between the logs, and attempted to shoot Simpson. The latter, however, was too quick for him, and springing outside, grasped the gun from Cottrial's hands and killed him. This was the first tragedy of this nature in the vicinity.[9]

Harrison County was organized in 1784, with territory partitioned from Monongalia County. It was named for Benjamin Harrison V,[10] who had recently retired as the Governor of Virginia. (He was the father of William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States and great-grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president.) Over the next 72 years, all of eight present-day West Virginia counties and parts of ten others were formed from this original Harrison County.[11]

The first meeting of the Harrison County court was held on July 20, 1784, at the home of George Jackson. The group designated the county seat as Clarksburg. The town, named for explorer General George Rogers Clark (1752–1818), was chartered by the Virginia General Assembly in October 1785, and it was incorporated in 1795.[12]

19th century

Controversial Statue of Civil War Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, in front of the Harrison County Courthouse
Controversial Statue of Civil War Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, in front of the Harrison County Courthouse

Clarksburg's first newspaper, The By-Stander, began publication in 1810. Construction of the Northwestern Turnpike connecting Winchester and Parkersburg, reached the town in 1836, stimulating development by connecting it to other markets. Clarksburg's economic development was also helped by the arrival of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1856. The railroad was instrumental in the development of the local coal mining industry during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

In 1863, West Virginia's counties were divided into civil townships, with the intention of encouraging local government. This proved impractical in the heavily rural state, and in 1872 the townships were converted into magisterial districts.[13] Harrison County was divided into ten districts: Clark, Clay, Coal, Eagle, Elk, Grant, Sardis, Simpson, Tenmile,[i] and Union. These districts remained stable for a century, but in the 1970s they were consolidated to form six new districts: North Clarksburg, South Clarksburg, Suburban, Northern, Southeast, and Southwest. In the 1980s, North and South Clarksburg Districts became North Urban and South Urban. In the 1990s, the Southeast and Suburban Districts were discontinued, and replaced by the Eastern and Southern Districts.[14]


The county terrain consists of low rolling hills, largely wooded, etched by drainages and creeks.[15] The terrain slopes to the West Fork River valley from both east and west borders, and also generally slopes to the north. Its highest point is on its south corner, at 1,736' (529m) ASL.[16] The county has a total area of 417 square miles (1,080 km2), of which 416 square miles (1,080 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) (0.1%) is water.[17] The county is drained by the north-flowing West Fork River and its tributaries, including Tenmile Creek, Simpson Creek, and Elk Creek.[18]

Major highways


Left, the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival in Clarksburg, WV. Center, the Scottish Festival & Celtic Gathering in Bridgeport, WV. Right, the West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival in Clarksburg.
Left, the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival in Clarksburg, WV. Center, the Scottish Festival & Celtic Gathering in Bridgeport, WV. Right, the West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival in Clarksburg.

Adjacent counties

Protected areas

  • Watters Smith State Park


  • Deegan Lake
  • Lake Floyd
  • Maple Lake
  • Mine 95 Water Supply Reservoir
  • Oral Lake
  • Salem Auxiliary Lake


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)67,256[19]−2.7%
US Decennial Census[20]
1790–1960[21] 1900–1990[22]
1990–2000[23] 2010–2019[1]

2000 census

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 68,652 people, 27,867 households, and 19,088 families in the county. The population density was 165/sqmi (63.7/km2). There were 31,112 housing units at an average density of 74.8/sqmi (28.9/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.55% White, 1.61% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. 0.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 27,867 households, out of which 29.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.30% were living together, 11.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.50% were non-families. 27.70% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.94.

The county population contained 23.10% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 27.50% from 25 to 44, 24.50% from 45 to 64, and 16.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,562, and the median income for a family was $36,870. Males had a median income of $30,721 versus $22,110 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,810. About 13.60% of families and 17.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.10% of those under age 18 and 9.40% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 69,099 people, 28,533 households, and 18,992 families in the county.[24] The population density was 166/sqmi (64.1/km2). There were 31,431 housing units at an average density of 75.6/sqmi (29.2/km2).[25] The racial makeup of the county was 96.0% white, 1.6% black or African American, 0.5% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.3% of the population.[24] In terms of ancestry, 19.8% were German, 19.0% were American, 18.3% were Irish, 13.2% were English, and 10.4% were Italian.[26]

Of the 28,533 households, 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.4% were non-families, and 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.92. The median age was 41.8 years.[24]

The median income for a household in the county was $39,191 and the median income for a family was $46,882. Males had a median income of $42,615 versus $28,867 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,010. About 15.0% of families and 18.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.0% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.[27]


Harrison County Courthouse
Harrison County Courthouse



Magisterial Districts

  • Eastern
  • Northern
  • North Urban
  • Southern
  • South Urban
  • Southwest

Census-designated places

Charles Pointe Master-Planned Community

Harrison County is the site of a master-planned community, Charles Pointe, which is currently under construction in the city of Bridgeport and comprises 1,700 acres (6.9 km2) that will combine commercial, residential, and recreational areas into one master-planned community.[28] Adjacent to Charles Pointe, the United Hospital Center, a $278 million state-of-the-art medical facility.[29] Across from the United Hospital Center site, White Oaks, a planned business community is also under construction, and will support the hospital and the FBI CJIS complex, which is also located near the White Oaks site.[30][31] This area of West Virginia's Interstate 79 is considered part of a "High Tech Corridor."[32]


During the 20th century Harrison County voters tended Democratic. However, since 2000 the county has selected the Republican Party candidate in every national election (as of 2020).

United States presidential election results for Harrison County, West Virginia[33][34]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 20,683 67.89% 9,215 30.25% 567 1.86%
2016 18,750 66.14% 7,694 27.14% 1,907 6.73%
2012 15,876 60.43% 9,732 37.04% 663 2.52%
2008 17,824 55.56% 13,582 42.34% 672 2.09%
2004 17,111 55.94% 13,238 43.28% 239 0.78%
2000 12,948 48.72% 13,009 48.95% 621 2.34%
1996 8,857 33.00% 14,746 54.93% 3,240 12.07%
1992 9,687 31.93% 15,480 51.02% 5,174 17.05%
1988 13,364 43.93% 17,005 55.90% 49 0.16%
1984 19,400 56.33% 14,969 43.47% 68 0.20%
1980 14,251 41.19% 18,813 54.37% 1,538 4.44%
1976 15,172 41.41% 21,467 58.59% 0 0.00%
1972 22,196 63.23% 12,910 36.77% 0 0.00%
1968 13,703 39.37% 18,872 54.22% 2,234 6.42%
1964 9,986 28.00% 25,683 72.00% 0 0.00%
1960 18,378 47.00% 20,727 53.00% 0 0.00%
1956 21,860 55.48% 17,541 44.52% 0 0.00%
1952 21,193 50.80% 20,527 49.20% 0 0.00%
1948 14,534 40.65% 21,109 59.03% 114 0.32%
1944 14,408 44.42% 18,028 55.58% 0 0.00%
1940 17,087 43.09% 22,570 56.91% 0 0.00%
1936 14,180 36.66% 24,361 62.98% 137 0.35%
1932 14,641 43.90% 18,081 54.21% 632 1.89%
1928 17,502 57.70% 12,483 41.16% 346 1.14%
1924 15,165 49.38% 13,470 43.86% 2,075 6.76%
1920 13,784 55.67% 10,206 41.22% 769 3.11%
1916 6,262 48.86% 5,970 46.58% 584 4.56%
1912 1,754 16.47% 4,378 41.10% 4,520 42.43%

Historical landmarks

Views of Main Street in Clarksburg (left) and the Benedum Civic Center in Bridgeport (right). Clarksburg and Bridgeport are the largest cities in Harrison County.
Views of Main Street in Clarksburg (left) and the Benedum Civic Center in Bridgeport (right). Clarksburg and Bridgeport are the largest cities in Harrison County.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ Originally spelled "Ten-Mile", and later both "Tenmile" and "Ten Mile", before the present spelling stuck in the early 1900s.


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Withers, Alexander Scott (1831), Chronicles of Border Warfare, or, A History of the Settlement by the Whites, of north-western Virginia: and of the Indian wars and massacres, in that section of the state; with reflections, anecdotes, &c., Clarksburg, Va.: J. Israel, p. 90.
  4. ^ Hardesty's Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia; "Special Virginia Edition" (1883-84; originally in 13 vols); reprinted in 1974 in Comstock, Jim (editor), West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia; 51 vol. [Exclusive run of 3,000 sets; never reprinted] (1974-1976). Supplemental series, Vol 6., Chapter I ("Harrison County"), pp. 10-11.
  5. ^ Kenny, Hamill (1945). West Virginia Place Names: Their Origin and Meaning, Including the Nomenclature of the Streams and Mountains. Piedmont WV: The Place Name Press. p. 579.
  6. ^ Zimmerman, Diane (2017), The Davissons: A Founding Family of Harrison County, WV; (Part III: Six Generations); Harrison County Genealogical Society
  7. ^ "... Daniel Davisson (1748-1819), was the proprietor of the city of Clarksburg, West Virginia ...": Hess, Alice Jo (1978), History of Medicine in Harrison County, West Virginia; Harrison County Medical Society, p. 550.
  8. ^ This incident occurred sometime around 1779-1781. The Mr. Cottrial, or Cotrill, in question was one of two brothers who both died around that time: Andrew Cotrill, Jr (1736-c. 1781) and Samuel Cotrill (1740-1779). See: Haymond, Henry (1910), History of Harrison County, West Virginia: From the Early Days of Northwestern Virginia to the Present; Morgantown WV: Acme Publishing Co., p. 384.
  9. ^ Hardesty's Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia (1883-84), Op. cit., pp. 10-11.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Some of these counties left Harrison County by way of intermediate county names. Former Harrison County now includes: (1) all of present day Barbour (1843; via Randolph and Lewis also), Gilmer (1845), Harrison, Lewis (1816), Randolph (1787), Ritchie (1843; parts via Lewis and Wood also), Upshur (1851; via Lewis), and Wood (1798) Counties; and (2) parts of Braxton (1836; via Lewis), Calhoun (1856; via Gilmer), Doddridge (1845; via Lewis and Ritchie also), Marion (1842), Pleasants (1851; via Wood), Pocahontas (1821; via Randolph), Tucker (1856; via Randolph), Taylor (1844; via Marion and Barbour also), Webster (1860; via Braxton and Randolph), and Wirt (1848; via Wood) Counties. ("History of County Formations in Virginia, 1617-1995")
  12. ^ Haymond, Henry (1910), History of Harrison County, West Virginia: From the Early Days of Northwestern Virginia to the Present; Morgantown, West Virginia: Acme Publishing Company; 245 ff.
  13. ^ Otis K. Rice & Stephen W. Brown, West Virginia: A History, 2nd ed., University Press of Kentucky, Lexington (1993), p. 240.
  14. ^ United States Census Bureau, U.S. Decennial Census, Tables of Minor Civil Divisions in West Virginia, 1870–2010.
  15. ^ a b c Harrison County WV  Google Maps (accessed April 15, 2019)
  16. ^ ""Find an Altitude/Harrison County WV"  Google Maps (accessed April 15, 2019)". Archived from the original on May 21, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  17. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". US Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  18. ^ DeLorme (1997). West Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme. pp. 24-25, 35-36. ISBN 0-89933-246-3.
  19. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  20. ^ "US Decennial Census". US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  21. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  22. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  23. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  24. ^ a b c "rofile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  25. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  26. ^ "Selected Social Characteristics in the US – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  27. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  28. ^ "Welcome to Charles Pointe". Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  29. ^ "United Hospital Center | WVU Medicine". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  30. ^ "; Work.Shop.Live". Archived from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  31. ^ "Overview". Archived from the original on September 16, 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  32. ^ I-79
  33. ^ Leip, David. "Atlas of US Presidential Elections". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  34. ^ The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 3,443 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 1,077 votes.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 March 2022, at 16:32
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