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Wetzel County, West Virginia facts for kids

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Wetzel County
Wetzel County Courthouse
Wetzel County Courthouse
Map of West Virginia highlighting Wetzel 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 January 10, 1846
Named for Lewis Wetzel
Seat New Martinsville
Largest city New Martinsville
 • Total 361 sq mi (930 km2)
 • Land 358 sq mi (930 km2)
 • Water 3.3 sq mi (9 km2)  0.9%%
 • Total 16,583
 • Estimate 
 • Density 45.94/sq mi (17.736/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 1st

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


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.

Major highways

  • US 250.svg U.S. Highway 250
  • WV-2.svg West Virginia Route 2
  • WV-7.svg West Virginia Route 7
  • WV-180.svg West Virginia Route 180
  • WV-20.svg West Virginia Route 20
  • WV-69.svg West Virginia Route 69

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge (part)


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%
2019 (est.) 15,065 −9.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2019

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 16,583 people, 6,968 households, and 4,768 families living in the county. The population density was 46.3 inhabitants per square mile (17.9/km2). There were 8,173 housing units at an average density of 22.8 per square mile (8.8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.7% white, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% American Indian, 0.1% black or African American, 0.2% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 27.5% were German, 16.0% were Irish, 12.8% were American, and 12.4% were English.

Of the 6,968 households, 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 31.6% were non-families, and 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.83. The median age was 44.8 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,636 and the median income for a family was $48,523. Males had a median income of $45,833 versus $25,033 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,899. About 13.1% of families and 17.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.5% of those under age 18 and 13.7% 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

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Wetzel para niños

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