Wetzel County, West Virginia

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Wetzel County, West Virginia
2006-10-05 10-41-03newmartinsvillecourthouse.JPG
Wetzel County Courthouse
Map of West Virginia highlighting Wetzel 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 January 10, 1846
Named for Lewis Wetzel
Seat New Martinsville
Largest city New Martinsville
 • Total 361 sq mi (935 km2)
 • Land 358 sq mi (927 km2)
 • Water 3.3 sq mi (9 km2), 0.9%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 15,988
 • Density 45/sq mi (17/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.wetzelcounty.wv.gov

Wetzel County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,583.[1] Its county seat is New Martinsville.[2] The county, founded in 1846, is named for Lewis Wetzel, a famous frontiersman and Indian fighter.[3] Its northern border aligns with the Mason-Dixon line but is to the west of the actual Mason-Dixon line.


Wetzel County was formed in 1846 out of Tyler County, Virginia


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 361 square miles (930 km2), of which 358 square miles (930 km2) is land and 3.3 square miles (8.5 km2) (0.9%) is water.[4]

Major highways

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 4,284
1860 6,703 56.5%
1870 8,595 28.2%
1880 13,896 61.7%
1890 16,841 21.2%
1900 22,880 35.9%
1910 23,855 4.3%
1920 23,069 −3.3%
1930 22,334 −3.2%
1940 22,342 0.0%
1950 20,154 −9.8%
1960 19,347 −4.0%
1970 20,314 5.0%
1980 21,874 7.7%
1990 19,258 −12.0%
2000 17,693 −8.1%
2010 16,583 −6.3%
Est. 2014 15,988 [5] −3.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790–1960[7] 1900–1990[8]
1990–2000[9] 2010–2014[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 17,693 people, 7,164 households, and 5,079 families residing in the county. The population density was 49 people per square mile (19/km²). There were 8,313 housing units at an average density of 23 per square mile (9/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.92% White, 0.08% Black or African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.03% from other races, and 0.53% from two or more races. 0.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 7,164 households out of which 30.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.70% were married couples living together, 9.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.10% were non-families. 25.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.80% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 26.50% from 25 to 44, 26.80% from 45 to 64, and 16.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 94.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,935, and the median income for a family was $36,793. Males had a median income of $37,296 versus $19,339 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,818. About 15.30% of families and 19.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.60% of those under age 18 and 15.20% of those age 65 or over.

Local lore

In the mid-to-late 19th century a band similar to the James Gang of legend existed that was known as the Jennings Gang. A number of robberies and murders were accounted to this gang. They were known to be located near the head of Doolin Run near Tarpan Ridge. The home they occupied was found to have an escape tunnel that had been used to escape capture on several occasions. A local group of citizens known as the "Redmen" ultimately cornered the gang at this home and a number of the members were killed. A detailed description exists in the Wetzel County History written approximately in 1900.

The oldest oil well location known is of one drilled on Long Run near Doolin Run which reached oil at a depth about 360 ft.

Wetzel County has a long history in the Oil and Gas producing industry. During the Oil boom of the 19th century it is reported that the Proctor Creek watershed had 12 saloons and numerous livery/hotels to accommodate the hundreds of logging and oil field workers.




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

See also

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  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 16, 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 31, 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 16, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 16, 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 16, 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 16, 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>