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Hampshire County

May 15, 2013

Hampshire County is the oldest county in West Virginia. The white man first traded with Indian traders and hunters in the area around 1725. The Seneca Trail had been an important north-south route for Indians before that.

The county was formed in 1753 from parts of Frederick and Augusta (Virginia) counties. At that time the county included what is now Hampshire, Hardy, Grant, Mineral and part of Morgan counties.

Control of the county was important to both the north and the south during the Civil War, though no major battles were fought in the county, skirmishes were common. The community of Romney changed hands 56 times during the war.

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Romney, which was established in 1762 by Lord Fairfax, is the county seat. The town is named after a port city in England.

The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind are located in Romney.

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: 20,203

Land in square miles: 642

Number of people per square mile: 31.5

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