Mercer Co. namesake - Hugh Mercer
Welch, West Virginia


Mercer County is among the most diverse and complex of West Virginia’s 55 counties. Its 420.8 square miles range from the rolling farmland of the New River Valley on the east, to the craggy promontory of Pinnacle Rock State Park to the west, and the coalfields beyond. Mercer County’s history is as varied as its geography.

Drained by the New, Bluestone, and East rivers, Mercer County has the highest mean elevation of any of the state’s counties. Its most prominent topographic features are the towering edifice of East River Mountain to the south and the Bluestone Gorge to the northeast. Mercer lies on the Virginia state line, surrounded by Summers, Raleigh, Wyoming, and McDowell counties in West Virginia, and the Virginia counties of Giles, Bland, and Tazewell. Substantial evidence attests to the prehistoric habitation of the region, including palisaded Mississippian culture corn-farming villages at Crump’s Bottom and Clover Bottom.

White settlers migrated into the region before 1800, and established settlements at Beaver Pond, Lake Shawnee, Oakvale, and Flat Top. There was no resident native population at the time of white settlement, but the region participated in the bloody conflict with Indian raiders that characterized the late 18th century. Additional settlers, including Primitive Baptist dissenters at Camp Creek, brought the population to 2,000 by 1837. Mercer County was created on March 17, 1837, from parts of Giles and Tazewell counties. The county was named for Revolutionary War Gen. Hugh Mercer. Princeton, the new county seat, was named for the 1777 Battle of Princeton, New Jersey, at which General Mercer fell. Most of the people were farmers, growing corn, oats, and wheat, and in their isolation they created a self-sustaining local economy including a saltworks, tannery, gristmill, and foundry.

The sectional tensions that brought on the Civil War found Mercer County decidedly southern in its sentiments. There were several hundred slaves among the 6,000 inhabitants of 1860. Remoteness and rugged terrain kept Mercer County from playing a significant role in the conflict, yet incursions by both sides resulted in skirmishes in the New River Valley and especially at Princeton, where the May 1862 Battle of Pigeon Roost resulted in the burning of the county seat. Several companies of Confederate troops were recruited from the eastern portion of the county along the New River. 
(The West Virginia Encyclopedia -

Neighboring Counties:

Raleigh Co. (north), Summers Co. (northeast), Giles Co., VA (east), Bland Co., VA (south), Tazewell Co., VA (southwest),
McDowell Co. (west), Wyoming Co. (northwest)

Mercer County CC -  Jeff Kemp



Mercer Co Courthouse
Mail address: P.O. Box 1716,
Princeton, WV 24740
Hours: 8:30-4:30 (plan on 9-4) weekdays)
Phone numbers: (Area Code 304)
clerk: 487-8313, deeds: 487-8321,
Birth/marriage/deeds: 487-8313,
Fiduciary/wills/Estates: 487-8312.

Mercer Co Historical Society
P.O. Box 5012
Princeton, WV 24740.
Publishes a monthly newsletter
(either email or US mail).
Dues are $15-single, $20-family, $150-life member

Find-A-Grave - Mercer Co. Princeton Times The Athens We Knew
Tombstone Inscription Project Bluefield Daily Telegraph Historic Bramwell, WV
WV Vital Records Bluefield Telephone Directory, McComas, WV
WVGenWeb Archives

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Mercer Co., WV -News Articles

Query Page Mercer Co. Books Glenwood
Mercer Co Families 1870 Mercer Co, Census Pisgah
Surnames Mercer County, 1790-1871- Maps Spanishburg
USGenWeb Archive Search Engine Official Blue Book of Mercer County Will of Joseph Bradford, Probated 1869
Mitchel Clay Historical Marker A History of the Middle New River
Settlements & Contiguous Territory
151st Militia Regiment - Civil War -
Organization - Roster
Clay Cemetery Markers Misadventure in Princeton in 1852 Horton G. Cowan, Bluefield Pioneer
Read/Reed/Reid Marriages 1856-1899 Shortcuts to Ancestor Counties  


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