Formed in 1858 from parts of Braxton and Nicholas counties, Clay County is named in honor of Henry Clay.
The county saw widespread development following the construction of the Coal and Coke Railroad in the 1890s.
Coal remained a strong business for the county until the closing of the Widen Mine in the 1960s. More than half the coal mined in the county today is from strip mine operations. Many in the county now work in nearby Kanawha County.
The community of Clay is the county seat of the county.
Source: The 55 West Virginias: A guide to the State's Counties, by E. Lee North, Published by The West Virginia University Press.