Greenbrier County, West Virginia
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Greenbrier County (//) is a county in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 35,480. Its county seat is Lewisburg. The county was formed in 1778 from Botetourt and Montgomery counties in Virginia.
|Greenbrier County, West Virginia|
Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg
Location within the U.S. state of West Virginia
West Virginia's location within the U.S.
|Founded||October 20, 1778|
|• Total||1,025 sq mi (2,655 km2)|
|• Land||1,020 sq mi (2,642 km2)|
|• Water||4.9 sq mi (13 km2), 0.5%|
|• Density||35/sq mi (14/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC−5/−4|
Prior to the arrival of European-American settlers around 1740, Greenbrier County, like most of West Virginia, was used as a hunting ground by the Shawnee and Cherokee nations. They called this land Can-tuc-kee.
Shawnee leaders, including Pucksinwah and later his son Tecumseh, were alarmed by the arrival of the European settlers, who by 1771 had set up extensive trade in the area. The day books of early merchants Sampson and George Mathews recorded sales to the Shawnee that included such luxury items as silk, hats, silver, and tailor-made suits. Shawnee leaders feared the loss of their hunting lands, which were vital to their survival. They believed the white settlers would continue to encroach on their territory downriver on the Ohio.
Confrontations, sometimes violent, increased between the Native Americans and settlers. In 1774, the Earl of Dunmore, then governor of the colonies of New York and Virginia, decided to raise an army of 3,000 men to attack the Shawnees in their homeland in present-day Ohio. Half of these men were inducted at Fort Pitt, while the other half assembled at Fort Union under the command of General Andrew Lewis. The town of present-day Lewisburg developed around the fort and was named for that commander. By early October of that year, Lewis' force had marched downstream to the mouth of the Kanawha River. They fought the Battle of Point Pleasant against a Shawnee force led by Hokoleskwa, also known as Cornstalk. This site later developed as the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
European settlers were subjected to a number of raids by Native Americans during the colonial period, including a raid on Fort Randolph and later on Fort Donnally, then inhabited by 25 men and 60 women and children. One of the heroic defenders of Fort Donnally was an African American slave named Dick Pointer. Pointer, said to have been nearly 7 feet (2.1 m) tall, defended the log door with Philip Hamman, giving the settlers enough time to awaken and defend themselves. Pointer later addressed the Virginia General Assembly and gave a moving appeal that "in the decline of life" he requested to be freed for his defense of Fort Donnally. Historic accounts differ as to whether the legislature granted his wish. His grave is marked beside Carnegie Hall in the county seat of Lewisburg, and a historical marker stands prominently in the midst of the Lewisburg Cemetery. Pointer’s gun is on permanent display at The Greenbrier Historical Society and John A. North House Museum in Lewisburg.
During the secession crisis of 1861 Greenbrier citizens chose Samuel Price as their delegate to the Richmond convention. On April 17, 1861, the day Virginia's secession ordinance was passed he voted against it, but later changed his mind and signed the official document. When the public vote on the secession ordinance was held on May 23, 1861, Greenbrier county voted 1,000 to 100 in favor of secession. The Civil War came to the county in mid 1861, and several battles were fought in the area, including Lewisburg in May 1862 and White Sulphur Springs in August 1863. Both battles were Union victories. Greenbrier County became part of the new state of West Virginia, although it never participated in any of the votes held by the Restored Government in Wheeling. Though most West Virginians fought for the Union during the war, approximately 2,000 men from Greenbrier county joined the Confederate army.
Sam Black Church is the location of the trial of the famous "Greenbrier Ghost" of Elva Zona Heaster-Shue, a local woman who was found dead on January 23, 1897. The coroner listed the cause of her death as "everlasting faint" and then as "childbirth." Shue's mother, Mary Jane Heaster, testified in court that her daughter's ghost visited her on 4 different occasions telling her that her neck had been broken by her husband Edward Shue, who had strangled her in a fit of rage. The local prosecutor exhumed Elva's body and tried and convicted Edward Shue on the evidence from the autopsy. It is claimed to be the only known time that a ghost's testimony brought a conviction in court. The state erected a highway marker on US Highway 60 in commemoration of the event.
During World War II The Greenbrier hotel was used as a military hospital. Sections were used as an internment center for Axis diplomats who were stranded in the United States during the war. When the war ended, the military returned the hotel to private control, and it re-opened as a hotel. During the years of the Cold War, a large underground bunker was built beneath a section of new construction at the hotel, to serve as a secret Congressional refuge in case of nuclear attack. It was one of the sites to be used as part of the United States Continuity of Operations Plan. After it was reported in a 1992 article, following the fall of the Soviet Union, the US government decommissioned it as a government site.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,025 square miles (2,650 km2), of which 1,020 square miles (2,600 km2) is land and 4.9 square miles (13 km2) (0.5%) is water. It is the second-largest county in West Virginia by area.
In 2005, Invenergy, LLC of Chicago Illinois announced plans to build the $300 million, 124-turbine Beech Ridge Wind Farm along the tops of several Greenbrier County mountains. The wind farm would produce 186 megawatts of electricity. Development, which was originally expected to begin in late 2007, was stalled when the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case brought by opponents of the project. Ultimately, The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the developers, clearing the way for construction to begin in the summer of 2009. However, in July of that year, a U.S. District Court in Maryland agreed to hear a case filed by opponents.
National protected areasEdit
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 34,453 people, 14,571 households, and 9,922 families residing in the county. The population density was 34 people per square mile (13/km²). There were 17,644 housing units at an average density of 17 per square mile (7/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.23% White, 3.04% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.15% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. 0.68% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 14,571 households out of which 27.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.20% were married couples living together, 10.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.90% were non-families. 28.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.83.
In the county, the population was spread out with 21.60% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 26.10% from 25 to 44, 26.90% from 45 to 64, and 17.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $26,927, and the median income for a family was $33,292. Males had a median income of $26,157 versus $19,620 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,247. About 14.50% of families and 18.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.70% of those under age 18 and 16.00% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 35,480 people, 15,443 households, and 9,903 families residing in the county. The population density was 34.8 inhabitants per square mile (13.4/km2). There were 18,980 housing units at an average density of 18.6 per square mile (7.2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.6% white, 2.8% black or African American, 0.4% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.2% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 17.8% were Irish, 17.0% were German, 12.0% were English, and 10.0% were American.
Of the 15,443 households, 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 35.9% were non-families, and 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.79. The median age was 45.0 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $33,732 and the median income for a family was $43,182. Males had a median income of $34,845 versus $27,254 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,044. About 14.7% of families and 19.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.5% of those under age 18 and 13.6% of those age 65 or over.
Law and governmentEdit
Like all West Virginia Counties, Greenbrier County is governed by a three-person, elected County Commission. Other elected officers include the Sheriff, County Clerk, Circuit Clerk, Assessor, Prosecuting Attorney, Surveyor, and three Magistrates.
Greenbrier County's public schools are operated by the Greenbrier County Board of Education, which is elected on a non-partisan basis. The Superintendent of Schools, who is appointed by the Board, provides administrative supervision for the system. Each school is administered by a Principal and, in some cases, one or more Assistant Principals. The School Board Office is located on Chestnut Street in Lewisburg. Following a trend in West Virginia, schools at the secondary level are consolidated, while elementary schools continue to be located within small communities.
- Alderson Elementary School
- Crichton Elementary School
- Eastern Greenbrier Middle School
- Frankford Elementary School
- Greenbrier East High School
- Greenbrier West High School
- Lewisburg Elementary School
- Rainelle Elementary School
- Ronceverte Elementary School
- Rupert Elementary School
- Smoot Elementary School
- Western Greenbrier Middle School
- White Sulphur Springs Elementary School
- Alderson High/Jr. High School
- Alvon/Neola School (Near White Sulphur Springs)
- Boling School (Caldwell)
- Charmco School
- Crichton High/Jr. High (Quinwood)
- Crawley School
- East Rainelle School
- Frankford High/Jr. High School
- Greenbrier Church/School (Bingham Mountain)
- Greenbrier High/Jr.High School (Ronceverte)
- Lewisburg Intermediate School
- Lewisburg Elem./Jr. High School (Lewisburg High/Jr./Elem.)
- Rainelle Christian Academy (RCA)
- Rainelle High/Jr. High School
- Renick High/Jr. High School
- Renick Elementary School
- Rupert High/Jr. High School
- Smoot High/Jr. High School
- White Sulphur Springs High/Jr. High School (Now Greenbrier Episcopal School)
- Williamsburg High/Jr. High School
- Williamsburg Elementary School
- Greenbrier Episcopal School
- Seneca Trail Academy
- Renick Christian School
- Lewisburg Baptist Academy
- Alternative/Home Schooling (County-wide)
- Greenbrier Nursing School (Located at Greenbrier East High School)
Colleges and universitiesEdit
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 20, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "West Virginia: Individual County Chronologies". West Virginia Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2003. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- Handley, Harry E. (1963), "The Mathews Trading Post", published in The Journal of the Greenbrier Historical Society: Volume 1, Number 1 (Lewisburg, West Virginia: Greenbrier Historical Society, August 1963) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-18. Retrieved 2012-11-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Retrieved October 28, 2012
- "Virginia Convention of 1861 and Delegate Records" (PDF). virginiamemory.com. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- Curry, Richard Orr, A House Divided, A study of Statehood Politics and the Copperhead Movement in West Virginia, Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1964, pg. 146
- McKinney, Tim, The Civil War in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, Quarrier Press, 2004, pg. xiii
- Cereno, Benito. "the Most Famous Ghosts In American History". Grunge.com. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- "Greenbrier Ghost Trial Marker". RoadsideAmerica.com. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
- Wolford, Lindsey (2007). "Winds of Change: Supreme Court to Hear Appeal". West Virginia Daily News. 110 (78). pp. 1, 14.
- Beech Ridge Wind Farm
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 21, 2019.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
- "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
- "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
- "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
- "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 23 March 2018.