Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Second Sunday Drive, Wetzel County WV

According to the state history sign at the Wetzel/Tyler County line, Wetzel County was “formed in 1846 from Tyler.  Named for Lewis Wetzel, the great frontiersman who, with his brothers during Indian days, ranged the settlements from their home in Marshall County throughout northern West Virginia.”    This sign tells us two things, both indirectly.  First is that Wetzel County was one of the original eighteen counties that voted to separate from Virginia during the War Between the States.  The second is that Lewis Wetzel, that “great frontiersman,” was in today’s terms a psychopathic serial killer who made it his life’s goal to exterminate the Native American race.   Of course for 18th and 19th century European-Americans, that would make him a hero.  (See James P. Pierce’s biography of Wetzel, “Lewis Wetzel, Dark Hero of the Ohio,” by clicking on the link.

The Wetzel County Courthouse
New Martinsville, WV

The New Martinsville City Hall

The Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce
New Martinsville, WV

Littleton, WV

19 - Exchange Bank - 06
Littleton, WV
Littleton United Methodist Church
Littleton, WV

Hundred, West Virginia

Hundred United Methodist Church

Off U.S. Highway 250

Wetzel County Farm

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wetzel County has 16,583 residents, of whom 5,366 live in the county seat, New Martinsville.  The county is 98.8% white.  Less than half the county residents are church-goers, a fact which surprised me in West-By-Gawd-Virginia, but of those, twenty-seven percent belong to the United Methodist Church, the largest single denomination in the county.  Average size of Wetzel County farm is 146 acres, and the average value of agricultural products sold per farm is $2,137.  Since the average total farm production expenses per farm amount to $4,173, farming would seem to be a losing proposition here.  The largest industry in the county is the chemical industry with Bayer Material Science and PPG Industries both being members of the Chamber of Commerce.

Informative Web Sites:
Wetzel County
US Census Bureau
Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce

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