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Ritchie County

May 15, 2013

Hilly Ritchie County is located in the west central part of West Virginia. Formed in 1843 from parts of Harrison, Lewis and Wood counties, the county is named for Thomas Ritchie who was a Virginia journalist and politician.

Farming has always been the primary economic base for the county. Around 1900 however, oil and gas created a boom for the area, the population peaked in 1900 at 18,901. The boom died down and with it the population of the county, dropping to 10,145 by 1970, and remaining at that level today.

The county seat is Harrisville. The town was laid out in 1832 and later named for its founder Thomas Harris. The named was later changed to Ritchie Court House before be changed again back to Harrisville, this time to honor the founder's nephew, General Thomas Harris.

Article Photos

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: 10,343

Land in square miles: 454

Number of people per square mile: 22.8

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