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McDowell County

May 15, 2013

ttlers entered rugged McDowell County around 1790. In 1858 the county was created from Tazewell (Virginia) County and named for James McDowell, who was governor of the state form 1843 through 1845.

It was long known that the area had vast coal reserves, but it wasn't until Norfolk and Western Railroad built lines into the area began to grow.

The coal mines brought jobs to the area and population swelled to nearly 100,000 people in 1950.

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In recent years coal production has dropped, and with it the amount of jobs in the area. The population in 2000 was

Source: The 55 West Virginias: A guide to the State's Counties, by E. Lee North, Published by The West Virginia University Press.

Fact Box

Population: 27,329

Land in square miles: 535

Number of people per square mile: 51.1

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