Quick Facts

Upshur County History

  • The first native settlers in central West Virginia (including Upshur County) were the Adena people, who were Mound builders.
  • Some of the other native people who inhabited (and claimed ownership of) the area throughout history were Hurons, the Iroquois Confederacy which consisted of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida and Seneca tribes. Shawnee, Mingo Delaware and other Indian tribes also inhabited the lands and hunted here.
  • In 1744, Virginia officials purchased the Iroquois title of ownership to West Virginia in the Treaty of Lancaster.
  • Samuel and John Pringle were the first Englishmen to set foot on the present site of Upshur County. They reached the present county in 1762 after deserting their post at Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) in 1761. They lived in the county for about three years a short distance from what is now Buckhannon. It was said that they lived in the hollow of a giant Sycamore tree.
  • Buckhannon (which became the county seat) was legally established on January 15, 1816
  • The origin of the name of Buckhannon is disputed. One account is that it is named for a Delaware Indian Chief named Buck-on-ge-ha-non. Another account suggests that it was named for the Buckhannon River which was named for John Buckhannon, a clergyman who explored the area in the 1780’s.
  • Upshur County was created March 26, 1851 from parts of Barbour, Lewis and Randolph counties by an act of the Virginia General Assembly.
  • The first session of the Upshur County Court was held at the home of Andrew Poundstone in Buckhannon on June 17, 1851.
  • Upshur County was named in honor of Abel Parker Upshur (1790-1843). Some of his accomplishments included: he practiced law for ten years, served as a member of the Virginia General Assembly, served as a judge in the Virginia General Court, was a member of the Virginia Constitutional Convention. He also served as President John Tyler’s Secretary of the Navy in addition to many other endeavors.
  • Upshur County’s first Courthouse was completed in 1854 and was situated on the same two lots on which it is currently situated. The cost of construction was $7,300.00. The Courthouse was damage by fire three times during the first six months and saw heavy abuse during the Civil War. The remains of the building were removed in 1898 and replace with the current Courthouse.
  • The current Upshur County Courthouse was built in 1899 at a cost of $37,650.00.
  • Following a 2.3 million dollar bequeath from Judge Jack Dowell Jennings, the Upshur County Courthouse Annex was constructed in 1994.
  • Notable natives of Upshur County include: Professor Maurice Brooks (1900-1993) noted biologist, naturalist and educator born in and long time resident of French Creek; Stephen Coonts (1946-) novelist of thrillers and suspense, born and grew up in Buckhannon and Jayne Anne Phillips (1952-) novelist and short story writer born in Buckhannon.
  • Upshur County has one (1) incorporated community which is the City of Buckhannon and sixty-eight (68) unincorporated communities as follows: Abbott, Adrian, Alexander, Alton, Arlington, Atlas, Beans Mill, Canaan, Carter, Craddock, Daysville, Deanville, Eden, Ellamore, Evergreen, Excelsior, Five Forks, Freeman, French Creek, Frenchton, Gaines, Gale, Goodwin, Gormley, Goshen, Gould, Hampton, Heavener Grove, Hemlock, Hinkleville, Hodgesville, Holly Grove, Hoover Town, Imperial, Ingo, Ivy, Kanawha Head, Kedron, Kesling Mill, Lorentz, McCuetown, Midvale, Nebo, Newlonton, Overhill, Palace Valley, Post Mill, Queens, Red Rock, Reger, Rock Cave, Rocky Ford, Ruraldale, Sago, Sand Run, Selbyville, Shahan, South Buckhannon, Swamp Run, Tallmansville, Tenmile, Teter, Vegan, White Oak, Wilsontown, Yokum, and Zion.
  • The area of Upshur County is 355 square miles
  • The population of Upshur County has remained fairly consistent—1980 approximately 23,541, 2005-approximately 23,712