Brooke County, Virginia

Brooke Co., VA

Brooke County, VA

Brooke County is one of the counties which separated from Virginia to form West Virginia in 1863.


The Ohio Company of Virginia petitioned the British King for 500,000 acres of land in the Ohio River Valley in 1747, but the first settlers to this area, in what later became known as West Virginia's Northern Panhandle, were brothers Jonathan, Israel and Friend Cox. They staked a "tomahawk claim" to 1200 acres (400 acres for each brother) at the mouth of Buffalo Creek and extending along the Ohio River. Their cousin George Cox staked an adjacent claim a few years later.

In 1788 Charles Prather purchased 481 acres from Friend Cox's heir, John Cox; by that year's end Alexander Wells, formerly of Baltimore, Maryland and later of Cross Creek Township, Pennsylvania, established a trading post (together with his Baltimore cousin Richard Owings). In 1791 the Ohio County Court incorporated the town around the post as "Charlestown" (after Prather's first name). On November 30, 1796, the Virginia General Assembly formed Brooke County, from parts of Ohio County, and designated "Charlestown" as the county seat. Across the Appalachian Continental Divide to the east in Jefferson County, another Charlestown had previously been incorporated (it is now known as Charles Town). In addition, Charleston had been established at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha rivers in 1788.

Addressing this confusion, the Virginia General Assembly on December 28, 1816, changed the Brooke county seat's name from "Charlestown" to Wellsburg, supposedly to honor Charles Wells, Prather's son-in-law. The first Masonic Lodge west of the Allegheny Mountains was established in Wellsburg on March 4, 1799. It was under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for six years, but since December 17, 1817, it has been under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Virginia and later of West Virginia.

When the state government in Richmond joined the Confederacy, many of the state's northwestern counties wanted to remain with the Union, helping form the state of West Virginia in 1863. Brooke County has been part of West Virginia since then.
Source: Wikipedia

Modern Day Adjacent Counties

Hancock County (north)
Washington County, Pennsylvania (east)
Ohio County (south)
Jefferson County, Ohio (west)

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