Located at the extreme northern tip of the state, Hancock is the smallest and most densely populated of the West Virginia counties.
The area was first visited by French adventurers lead by Celoron de Blainville in 1749. They buried lead tablets in the hills along the Ohio River in an attempt to claim the area for France. English settlers began moving into the area around 1776. The county was formed from Brooke County in 1848.
Unlike the coal and agriculture based economy of many West Virginia counties, the economy of Hancock County is based on steel. Weirton Steel is a major employer in the area and is owned by the employees. The company found the largest city in the county, Weirton, in 1909. The town is named for the Weir family that started the steel business in the area.
The county seat is New Cumberland, the community was laid out in 1839 and is located along the Ohio River.
Source: The 55 West Virginias: A guide to the State's Counties, by E. Lee North, Published by The West Virginia University Press.
Land in square miles: 83
Number of people per square mile: 394.4