About Harrison County

County Origins

Harrison County was created from Monongalia County, Virginia, in 1784 and was named for Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. It is located in the north central section of the state, 120 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Harrison County is in the north central region of West Virginia located east of Parkersburg and southwest of Fairmont and about 100 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and mid-way between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. It was formed in 1784 from Monongalia County. The county is named after Benjamin Harrison (1726-1791), a Virginia legislator and governor (and signer of the Declaration of Independence) who was the father of U.S. President William H. Harrison and great-grandfather of U.S. President Benjamin Harrison.

Clarksburg, the county seat, was originally chartered in 1785. It was named for General George Rogers Clark, a renowned explorer and Indian fighter. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was born there on January 21, 1824, and spent his youth near Weston (located southwest of Lost Creek) at his family home, now called Jackson’s Mill. General Jackson fought for the Confederacy, although Clarksburg was a Union stronghold.

Its present territory is 417 square miles with a population of 68,369. Its county seat and major city is Clarksburg (pop. 16,743) located near the center of the county. Its other major cities and towns are Bridgeport (pop. 7,306); Despard (pop. 1,039); Nutter Fort (pop. 1,686); Salem (pop. 2,006); Shinnston (pop. 2,295); and Stonewood (pop. 1,815). Bridgeport, Nutter Fort, and Stonewood are suburbs of Clarksburg. The smaller communities of the county are Anmore (pop. 685) which is a suburb of Clarksburg; Enterprise (pop. 939); Lost Creek (pop. 467); Lumberport (pop. 937); and West Milford (pop. 651). Interstate 79 runs north to south through the eastern part of the county between Bridgeport and Clarksburg. Clarksburg and the county have rail connections. There is a commercial airport for Clarksburg at Bridgeport. The county is drained by the West Fork River and its tributaries. In the southern part of the county close to Interstate 79 is the Watters Smith Memorial State Park.

Major employment is in retail, health care and social assistance, accommodation and food service, manufacturing, construction, transportation and warehousing, wholesale, and mining. Less than half of the retail employment is in department and general merchandise stores. General medical and surgical hospital and ambulatory health care services are about half the employment in health care and social assistance. Major manufacturing employment is in bakeries and food making; glass and glass products; aluminum production; fabricated metal products; electrical equipment, appliances, and components; carbon and graphite products; aircraft engines and parts; and burial caskets. Glass products include flat glass, glassware, and pressed and blown glass. There is also some employment in the manufacture of rubber products, wood products, and mining machinery. Most construction employment is in general and special trades contracting. About half of the transportation is in natural gas pipeline transport. About one-fourth of transportation employment is in air transport support. Over half the mining employment is in bituminous underground coal mining and about one-fourth of the employment is in oil and gas extraction. The rest of the mining employment is in surface coal mining, stone mining and quarrying, and mine support activities. Some employment and noticeable economic activity occurs in electric power generation and transmission, broadcasting and telecommunications, publishing, and education. The county is the home of a private school of higher education, Salem International University, and in Clarksburg there is a major branch campus of Fairmont State University, a public school of higher education. In agriculture there is some notable production of eggs as well as in dairying and horse raising, but the major products are livestock and forage.

Cities and Towns

Arlington
Anmoore
Bridgeport
Clarksburg
Despard
Enterprise
Gypsy
Jimtown
Lost Creek
Lumberport
Nutter Fort
Salem
Shinnston
Stonewood
West Milford