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Fayette County, West Virginia facts for kids

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Fayette County
Fayette County courthouse in Fayetteville
Fayette County courthouse in Fayetteville
Map of West Virginia highlighting Fayette 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.
Country  United States
State  West Virginia
Founded February 28, 1831
Named for Marquis de la Fayette
Seat Fayetteville
Largest city Oak Hill
 • Total 668 sq mi (1,730 km2)
 • Land 662 sq mi (1,710 km2)
 • Water 6.8 sq mi (18 km2)  1.0%%
 • Total 46,039
 • Estimate 
 • Density 68.92/sq mi (26.610/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 3rd
Cathedral Falls 2014
Cathedral Falls

Fayette County is a county in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 46,039. Its county seat is Fayetteville. It is part of the Beckley, WV Metropolitan Statistical Area in Southern West Virginia.


Fayette County was created by Act of the Virginia General Assembly, passed February 28, 1831, from parts of Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas, and Logan counties. It was named in honor of the Marquis de la Fayette, who had played a key role assisting the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Virginia previously had a Fayette County, which was lost to form the new state of Kentucky. Accordingly, in the State records of Virginia, there will be listings for Fayette County from 1780–1792 and Fayette County from 1831-1863. Neither location is still located in Virginia and despite naming a county after him twice, Virginia no longer has a county named for the Marquis de la Fayette.

A substantial portion was subdivided from Fayette County to form Raleigh County in 1850. Fayette was one of 50 counties that broke off from the rest of Virginia and formed the new state of West Virginia during the American Civil War. In 1871, an Act of the West Virginia Legislature severed a small portion to form part of Summers County.

Fayette County was home to a disastrous mine explosion at Red Ash in March 1900, in which 46 miners were killed.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 668 square miles (1,730 km2), of which 662 square miles (1,710 km2) is land and 6.8 square miles (18 km2) (1.0%) is water. Plum Orchard Lake, a reservoir southwest of Oak Hill, is the second largest lake in West Virginia.

Major highways

  • I-64.svg Interstate 64
  • I-77.svg Interstate 77
  • US 19.svg U.S. Route 19
  • US 60.svg U.S. Route 60
  • WV-16.svg West Virginia Route 16
  • WV-39.svg West Virginia Route 39
  • WV-41.svg West Virginia Route 41
  • WV-61.svg West Virginia Route 61
  • WV-612.svg West Virginia Route 612

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 3,924
1850 3,955 0.8%
1860 5,997 51.6%
1870 6,647 10.8%
1880 11,560 73.9%
1890 20,542 77.7%
1900 31,987 55.7%
1910 51,903 62.3%
1920 60,377 16.3%
1930 72,050 19.3%
1940 80,628 11.9%
1950 82,443 2.3%
1960 61,731 −25.1%
1970 49,332 −20.1%
1980 57,863 17.3%
1990 47,952 −17.1%
2000 47,579 −0.8%
2010 46,039 −3.2%
2019 (est.) 42,406 −7.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2019

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 46,039 people, 18,813 households, and 12,459 families living in the county. The population density was 69.6 inhabitants per square mile (26.9/km2). There were 21,618 housing units at an average density of 32.7 per square mile (12.6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 93.5% white, 4.6% black or African American, 0.2% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.9% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 16.9% were German, 15.5% were Irish, 10.8% were English, and 9.5% were American.

Of the 18,813 households, 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.8% were non-families, and 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.87. The median age was 43.0 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,912 and the median income for a family was $42,077. Males had a median income of $39,301 versus $24,874 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,082. About 16.4% of families and 21.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.9% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over.




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities


The county has a tradition of coal mining, which still serves as a primary source of employment in the area. A Georgia Pacific lumber mill has its home to the west of Mt. Hope, adjacent to U.S. Route 19. There exists a large metal alloy plant in Alloy. The Mount Olive Correctional Complex, West Virginia's only maximum security state prison, is also located in Fayette County. The economy has shifted significantly in recent years, with a large amount of money being spent in outdoor recreation and tourism.

Notable people

  • George Cafego, All-American football player at University of Tennessee, first player selected in the 1940 NFL Draft
  • DJ Cheese, first DMC World DJ Champion (1986)
  • Walt Craddock, former professional baseball player
  • Bob Elkins, character actor
  • Randy Gilkey, singer, songwriter, and music producer
  • Tunney Hunsaker, professional boxer and former police chief
  • Julia Neale Jackson, mother of Stonewall Jackson
  • Harley M. Kilgore, former member of the United States Senate
  • Jason Kincaid, professional wrestler, former NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • John McClung, musician and performer of old-time music
  • Charlie McCoy, musician and singer
  • MacGillivray Milne, former governor of America Samoa
  • Tom Pridemore, former safety from Ansted, West Virginia who played eight seasons in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons and served one term as a legislator
  • Timothy Truman, writer, artist, musician
  • Lonnie Warwick, professional football player

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Fayette (Virginia Occidental) para niños

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