My name is Glenda Thompson and I'm the volunteer county coordinator for the Upshur County site of the WVGenWeb project, which is part of The USGenWeb Project. Patricia Viellenave was the previous county coordinator (starting in 1996).

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1883 map of Upshur CountyUpshur County was formed in 1851 from parts of Barbour County, Lewis County & Randolph County, Virginia. June 30, 1863 it became Upshur County, West Virginia. Buckhannon is the county seat.

Upshur County was named in honor of Abel P. Upshur, Secretary of State under President John Tyler.

There are 354.86 square miles in Upshur County.

Click on the image on the right to get a closer view of the 1883 map.

There were six Magisterial Districts formed on July 31, 1863

  1. Banks District - - was named in honor of New England statesman Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
  2. Buckhannon District - - was named for the river and town, Buckhannon is the county seat.
  3. Meade District - - was named for General George Gordon Meade
  4. Union District - - was named for the Union military soldiers
  5. Warren District - - was named for Kemble Warren, Civil War Soldier
  6. Washington District - - was named for President George Washington

For whom was the town/river Buckhannon named?

"The History of Upshur County West Virginia" by W. B. Cutright, page 274 has the following:

"Buckhannon takes its name from the river whose head-waters are in the hemlock forests of the Allegheny and whose mouth is near the northern boundary of the county. The river was so named on account of this historical fact. The family document of Jacqueline Ambler Treasurer of the State of Virginia several years before and at his death in 1797, contains this entry. "There was living (1785) in Richmond a poor old Scotch clergyman, named John Buchannon, whom I invited to make my house his home until he should be able to have better support and care." Taking this entry as a starting point, my researches led me into the early church history of the Mother State. We learn by reading widely that John Buchannon was a missionary minister and teacher for several years after his arrival in this country, that he was very active in his work, braving sore trails and privations in order that he might do good for his fellow-man, be he a pioneer white or vindictive red. One one occasion his bishop sent him to the head-waters of the Monongahela on a tour of inspection and a mission of help. He crossed the mountains to Tygarts Valley and from thence was going to a mission which he learned was on the West Fork near where the town of Weston now is. We are unable to find whether he made more than this one trip, as we also are unable to possess facts of his discovery and exploration. Our personal opinion is that he thought that the river which runs from south to north through Upshur county, had not been discovered, named and explored by any white man, thoroughly. He assumed to do both and being desirous to perpetuate the deed, called the river after his own name."

Note: Other thoughts as to how Buckhannon was named can be found in the above book.