Mineral County, West Virginia

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Mineral County, West Virginia
Map of West Virginia highlighting Mineral County
Location in the U.S. state of West Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting West Virginia
West Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded February 1, 1866
Seat Keyser
Largest city Keyser
 • Total 329 sq mi (852 km2)
 • Land 328 sq mi (850 km2)
 • Water 1.4 sq mi (4 km2), 0.4%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 27,578
 • Density 84/sq mi (32/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.mineralcountywv.com

Mineral County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is part of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 28,212.[1] Its county seat is Keyser.[2] The county was founded in 1866.[3]

Mineral County is included in the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Ancient history

Indigenous peoples lived throughout the highlands along rivers in this area for thousands of years. Archeologists have identified artifacts of the Adena culture, dating from 1000 BC to 200 BC. They were among the several early Native American cultures who built major earthwork mounds for ceremonial and burial use. Remnants of their culture have been found throughout West Virginia. They were followed by other indigenous peoples.

With the growth of fur trading to the north after European encounter in the coastal areas, the nations of the Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois Confederacy), based in present-day New York, moved into the Ohio Valley in search of new hunting grounds. By the 17th century they had conquered other tribes, pushed them out to the west, and preserved the area for hunting.

1863 to present

It was not until after West Virginia became a state in 1863 that present-day Mineral County was organized. It was created in 1866 by an Act of the West Virginia Legislature from the existing Hampshire County. The name was selected due to its reserves of minerals, especially coal (although, technically, coal is not a true mineral).


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 329 square miles (850 km2), of which 328 square miles (850 km2) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) (0.4%) is water.[4]


The northern terminus of the Allegheny Front in West Virginia lies in Mineral County, and contains the highest point in the county. Known as the Pinnacle it is 3,104 feet (946 m) above sea level. From the abandoned fire tower you can see four states on a clear day, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. The Allegheny Front is the largest mountain in the county; on the north end it is also known as Green Mountain. On top of the Allegheny Plateau is located the town of Elk Garden, West Virginia in the southwestern portion of the county. The Potomac River Valley lies to west and north of the mountain, and the New Creek Valley lies to the east.

Knobly Mountain lies between the New Creek and Patterson Creek valleys. It is the longest mountain in Mineral County stretching from the Grant County line in the south to the Potomac River in the north at Ridgeley, West Virginia.

To the east of the Patterson Creek Valley lie a series of low hills which form the eastern border of the county with Hampshire County.



Natural gas is found east of the Allegheny Front as well as iron ore deposits. The county no longer produces iron, but several abandoned iron furnaces from the 19th century still exist.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 6,332
1880 8,630 36.3%
1890 12,085 40.0%
1900 12,883 6.6%
1910 16,674 29.4%
1920 19,849 19.0%
1930 20,084 1.2%
1940 22,215 10.6%
1950 22,333 0.5%
1960 22,354 0.1%
1970 23,109 3.4%
1980 27,234 17.9%
1990 26,697 −2.0%
2000 27,078 1.4%
2010 28,212 4.2%
Est. 2014 27,578 [5] −2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790–1960[7] 1900–1990[8]
1990–2000[9] 2010–2014[1]

As of the census[10] of 2010, there were 28,212 people, 10,784 households, and 7,710 families residing in the county. The population density was 83 people per square mile (32/km²). There were 12,094 housing units at an average density of 37 per square mile (14/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.16% White, 2.55% Black or African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 0.58% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 10,784 households out of which 30.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.90% were married couples living together, 9.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.50% were non-families. 25.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.40% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 27.10% from 25 to 44, 25.90% from 45 to 64, and 15.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 95.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,149, and the median income for a family was $37,866. Males had a median income of $32,337 versus $20,090 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,384. About 11.50% of families and 14.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.10% of those under age 18 and 11.60% of those age 65 or over.


County Commission

Mineral County is governed by a three-member commission, one member to be elected every two years to a six-year term of office. The County Commission, as the governing body, is responsible for the fiscal affairs and general administration of county government. The County Commission does not possess home rule per Article 6, Section 39a of the Constitution of West Virginia.[11]


  • Jerry Whisner, Republican Commission President: term ending 2016
  • Roger Leatherman, Republican: term ending 2020
  • Richard Lechliter, Republican: term ending 2018

Appointed commissions

  • The Mineral County Planning Commission is charged with administering Mineral County's land use ordinaces. It operates under section §8A-2-1 of the West Virginia state code.[12] Its subdivisions include Industrial Park Construction, Storm Water Management, and Flood Plain Management. Members are appointed to the planning commission, by the county commission, for 3 year terms.
  • The Mineral County Development Authority administers industrial parks and seeks to bring new business to the county. Current Executive Director, Kevin Clark

Office of Assessor

  • Assessor: Rose Anne Hanna-Maine, Republican: term ending 2009

Circuit Clerk

  • Krista Johnson Dixon, Republican: term ending 2017[13]

County Clerk

The Clerk is elected to a six-year term with the right to succeed himself/herself. The primary duties and responsibilities of the Clerk of the County Commission may be identified as two basic functions:

  1. to act as clerk (fiscal officer, secretary) of the County Commission, and
  2. to act as the receiver of fees charged for the instruments to be filed and recorded within the county. The official books and papers of the Office of the Clerk of the County Commission are considered permanent public records.

The County Commissions through their clerks shall have the custody of all deeds and other papers presented for record in their counties and they shall be preserved therein. They shall have jurisdiction in all matters of probate, the appointment and qualification of personal representatives, guardians, committees, curators and the settlement of their accounts. The Clerk shall have custody of all election records, payroll and budgetary accounting, and accounts payable.[14]

County Clerk: Lauren Ellifritz, Republican, term ending 2011

State Representatives

House of Delegates

District Representative Party County of Residence
54 Allen V. Evans Rep Grant
56 Gary G. Howell Rep Mineral
57 Ruth Rowan Rep Hampshire


District Senator Party County/Counties
14 David Sypolt Republican Barbour, Grant (part), Mineral, (part)
Monongalia (part), Preston, Hardy, Taylor, Tucker
Bob Williams Democratic
15 Craig Blair Republican Berkeley (part), Hampshire, Mineral, (part)
Charles Trump Republican


Industrial parks

The Mineral County Development Authority operates industrial parks near Keyser, featuring rail access, and near Fort Ashby, with fiber optics and sitewide wireless Internet Keyser Industrial Park Fort Ashby Business and Technology Park


High schools

Mineral County Schools includes two high schools: Frankfort High School located near Short Gap and Keyser High School located south of Keyser.


Potomac State College, a two-year school, is located in the county seat of Keyser, West Virginia on the site of Civil War Fort Fuller.

Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College holds classes at Mineral Counties Vocational and Technical School.



The Greater Cumberland Regional Airport is located in Wiley Ford.


CSX lines run along the Potomac River on the northern border of the county. Amtrak service is available in Cumberland, Maryland, just across from Ridgeley, West Virginia. Keyser's railroad station closed in the 1980s.

Major highways

Parks and public recreational attractions

Larenim Park

Owned by Mineral County, the park size is 365 acres (1.48 km2). Includes two pavilions with 10 tables, an amphitheater with seating capacity of 600. One Little League field and one softball field. Fishing Areas; two flood control dams stocked by WVDNR, 5 acres (20,000 m2) and 2.5 acres (10,000 m2). All 365 acres (1.48 km2) are open to public hunting by permit. Approximately 5 miles of trails. An arboretum is under construction at Larenim to include a Shale Barrens Conservancy. Larenim Park is also home to the local theater group, McNeill's Rangers.[citation needed]

Barnum Whitewater Area

Owned by Mineral County with size of approximately 40 acres (160,000 m2). Includes four miles (6 km) of rail/trail. This area has approximately 1-mile (1.6 km) of river frontage on the North Branch of the Potomac River below Jennings Randolph Lake, along the old Western Maryland Railway right-of-way. It is one of the best trout streams in West Virginia and also provides seven miles (11 km) of whitewater rafting and canoeing for the entire family to enjoy. Public hunting permitted on surrounding state lands.


Owned by the Mineral County Board of Education, MINCO Park's size is 13.5 acres (55,000 m2). Its facilities include two pavilions with 50 picnic tables, nine cabins, a dining field, a chapel, meeting room, and bath/shower facilities.

Van Myra Campground

Owned by the State of West Virginia and leased by Mineral County, the campground area is 10 acres (40,000 m2). Three picnic tables, four mini-pavilions, and picnic area only comprise this facility.

Dam Site #21

Owned by Mineral County, 178 acres (0.72 km2), with no facilities. Fishing 10 acres (40,000 m2) flood control dam.

Jennings Randolph Lake

Jennings Randolph Lake, named for Senator Jennings Randolph, near Elk Garden offers extensive recreational opportunity with its 952 acres (3.85 km2) and more than 13 miles (21 km) of shoreline. Howell Run Picnic Area overlooks the lake and contains 40 picnic sites, two pavilions, a playground and vault toilets. The Howell Run Boat Launch consists of a two lane concrete ramp. the Robert W. Craig Campground is situated on a high ridge overlooking the dam site and features 87 campsites, potable water, hot showers, vault toilets and a playground. A 3/4 mile long interpretive trail has been developed in the area. The West Virginia Overlook area contains a two tier Visitor Center. Waffle Rock, a unique natural rock formation, can also be viewed from the Overlook.

Golf courses

  • Polish Pines – Privately owned, nine holes, Club House
  • Mill Creek – Privately owned, nine holes, Club House




Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities


  • Elk District
  • New Creek District
  • Welton District
  • Frankfort District
  • Cabin Run District
  • Piedmont Independent District

Historical sites

Saddle Mountain as viewed from Highland Acres Farm

Notable people

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. http://www.wvculture.org/history/wvcounties.html
  4. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "West Virginia State Constitution" (PDF). West Virginia State Legislature. Retrieved February 15, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. West Virginia State Code
  13. "Ridgeley mayor Lechliter upsets incumbent county commissioner", Cumberland Times-News.
  14. WV Constitution, Article 9, Section 11

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