CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — When West Virginia became a state in 1863, the county map didn’t look quite like it does today.

Based on a county map of Virginia and West Virginia from 1863 by Samuel Augustus Mitchell, West Virginia originally had only 48 counties, and the “thumb” portion of West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle wasn’t even part of the state.

County map of Virginia and West Virginia from 1863 by Samuel Augustus Mitchell (From Library of Virginia Richmond, VA archives through Library of Congress)

The following counties were not part of West Virginia when it became a state:

  • Berkeley County
  • Jefferson County
  • Grant County
  • Mineral County
  • Mingo County
  • Summers County
  • Lincoln County

Eastern Panhandle

During the Civil War, the Eastern Panhandle was made up of only four counties: Pendleton, Hardy, Hampshire and Morgan. At that time, what are now Berkeley and Jefferson counties, including Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry, were part of Virginia. Although the counties were both exacted in 1863, they did not become part of West Virginia until a Joint Resolution in February of 1866 Resolution, which is available in the National Archives.

Although Virginia tried to get the counties back in 1871, the Supreme Court ruled that the counties belonged to West Virginia.

Grant and Mineral counties were created from existing Hardy and Hampshire counties in 1866 after the Civil War.

Southern Border

The southern edge of West Virginia looks slightly different now than it did in 1863 as well. Summers County was added in 1871 from land in Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer and Monroe counties, and Mingo County in 1895 from the existing Logan County. Both counties were formed due to the development of railroads in the area that caused entirely rural areas to boom in population.

Lincoln County

Lincoln County was formed in 1867 partially as a way to honor Abraham Lincoln, called “our late chief magistrate, who paid his life as a forfeit for his devotion to our glorious Union,” in the Establishing Act.

After it was formed with land from Cabell, Putnam, Kanawha and Boone counties, its land shifted around a bit for the next few years. According to the WV Encyclopedia, in 1868, more land was taken from  Boone, Cabell, and Kanawha, new land was incorporated from Logan and Wayne counties, and Putnam County’s territory was given back. But it’s long-term boundary wasn’t set until 1869 when it also acquired more land in the Mud River headwaters area near Harts.