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Hardy County, West Virginia facts for kids

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Hardy County
Hardy County Courthouse
Hardy County Courthouse
Map of West Virginia highlighting Hardy 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 October 17, 1786
Named for Samuel Hardy
Seat Moorefield
Largest town Moorefield
 • Total 584 sq mi (1,510 km2)
 • Land 582 sq mi (1,510 km2)
 • Water 2.2 sq mi (6 km2)  0.4%%
 • Total 14,025
 • Estimate 
 • Density 24.015/sq mi (9.272/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Hardy County is a county in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 14,025. Its county seat is Moorefield. The county was created from Hampshire County in 1786 and named for Samuel Hardy, a distinguished Virginian.


The first European known to visit this area was John Van Meter in 1725. The earliest permanent European settlements were established in the 1730s.

Hardy County was formed in 1786 from Hampshire County in Virginia. When West Virginia was admitted to the Union in 1863 it followed.

Hardy County has a rich African American history, with many free African Americans living there before the Civil War. This history is discussed in part 2 of the Henry Louis Gates television series African American Lives.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 584 square miles (1,510 km2), of which 582 square miles (1,510 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (0.4%) is water.

Through this county flows the South Branch Potomac River with its surrounding magnificent valley. Several miles wide, "the Valley," as it is commonly called, contains lands whose fertility lends itself to successful farming. Agriculture and stock raising have always been the main source of employment in this area, with corn, wheat, apples, peaches, melons, cattle and poultry having important interests. Truck-farming has a vital role, each household possessing its own small garden.

On either side of the Valley are high mountains with rough terrain and heavy timber. Throughout the area wildlife is plentiful, and hunting has always been a major diversion and source of meat supply. In the winter snows are whipped by winds of gale force, and snowdrifts are usually numerous.

The South Branch is a clear stream, quite wide, and of considerable depth in many places. Watering the Valley, the river abounds in fish and creates many picturesque settings. At times the usually calm waters surge from low banks and spread over the Valley, enveloping and ravishing the rich surrounding lands. The river has a peculiar feature in the field of geology as it flows through the Valley. At one point the river, thousands of years ago, did not cut across the mountains from one side to the other, but made a passage through them from end to end. This geological exception is now in the form of a narrow, trough-like gap, about seven miles (11 km) long, and appropriately called "The Trough". At the present day, the gorge is several hundred feet deep, and the South Branch flows in a narrow channel at the bottom, with almost perpendicular walls of rock on either side.

In the very center of the South Branch Valley, surrounded by high mountains, and located on the east side of the junction of the South Fork South Branch Potomac River and the South Branch Potomac, is Moorefield, the county seat of Hardy County. A quiet farming center in 1860, the population of the Moorefield area at that time was about 1,500. At this period there were no bridges at Moorefield, and the South Branch had to be forded some three miles (5 km) up the Valley, or the ferryboat, which was usually busy, had to be used. The main towns that communicated with Moorefield were Petersburg, Romney, and New Creek (presently Keyser) the latter having a stage line between the two points.

Major highways

  • US 48.svg U.S. Highway 48
  • US 220.svg U.S. Highway 220
  • WV-28.svg West Virginia Route 28
  • WV-29.svg West Virginia Route 29
  • WV-55.svg West Virginia Route 55
  • WV-59.svg West Virginia Route 59
  • WV-259.svg West Virginia Route 259

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

  • George Washington National Forest (part)
  • United States National Radio Quiet Zone (part)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 7,336
1800 6,627 −9.7%
1810 5,525 −16.6%
1820 5,700 3.2%
1830 6,798 19.3%
1840 7,622 12.1%
1850 9,543 25.2%
1860 9,864 3.4%
1870 5,518 −44.1%
1880 6,794 23.1%
1890 7,567 11.4%
1900 8,449 11.7%
1910 9,163 8.5%
1920 9,601 4.8%
1930 9,816 2.2%
1940 10,813 10.2%
1950 10,032 −7.2%
1960 9,308 −7.2%
1970 8,855 −4.9%
1980 10,030 13.3%
1990 10,977 9.4%
2000 12,669 15.4%
2010 14,025 10.7%
2019 (est.) 13,776 −1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2019

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 14,025 people, 5,818 households, and 3,900 families living in the county. The population density was 24.1 inhabitants per square mile (9.3/km2). There were 8,078 housing units at an average density of 13.9 per square mile (5.4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 93.8% white, 2.5% black or African American, 1.0% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 1.5% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 3.4% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 42.7% were German, 13.2% were English, 11.0% were American, and 9.9% were Irish.

Of the 5,818 households, 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.0% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.0% were non-families, and 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.86. The median age was 42.8 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,347 and the median income for a family was $41,401. Males had a median income of $37,506 versus $23,865 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,944. About 11.1% of families and 14.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.9% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those age 65 or over.



Unincorporated communities

Images for kids

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