Welcome to Brooke County's History
Located in the northern panhandle of the beautiful state of West Virginia, Brooke County holds a vibrant tapestry of history that extends back to its formation in 1797. It's a place where the waters of the Ohio River whisper tales of Native American tribes, pioneers, industrious settlers, and brave soldiers. This page is dedicated to sharing the rich, colorful history of Brooke County, taking you on a journey back through time.
Brooke County was officially formed on November 30, 1797, from parts of Ohio County, making it one of the oldest counties in the state. The county was named in honor of Robert Brooke, Virginia's governor at that time.
Native American Roots
Before European settlers arrived, the region was home to Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and the Mingo. Their history and cultural influence are still felt today, particularly through their contributions to the region's place names and the stories passed down through generations.
The late 1700s brought the first European settlers, primarily Scots-Irish immigrants looking for fertile land and opportunities. One of the earliest settlements, Wellsburg, was established in 1772 by Charles Prather. By 1816, the settlement had grown and was incorporated as the town of Wellsburg, named in honor of Alexander Wells, Prather's son-in-law. Wellsburg served as the county seat and remains so today, carrying the honor of being the oldest town in the county.
Industrialization and Growth
The 19th century marked a period of rapid growth and industrialization in Brooke County. The county's location along the Ohio River and access to abundant natural resources such as coal and natural gas fostered the development of iron, steel, and glass industries. The Follansbee Steel Corporation, founded in 1901, was one of the key players in the region's industrial landscape.
Heritage of Bravery
Brooke County has a rich military history, with its citizens playing pivotal roles in numerous conflicts. Its men and women have served in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, both World Wars, and subsequent conflicts, exhibiting exemplary bravery and resilience. The Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park, located in Wellsburg, is a testament to their valor and sacrifice.
Today’s Brooke County
Today, Brooke County remains a vibrant community. The history and heritage of our past resonate within our present-day culture, from our thriving industries to our community events, like the Brooke County Fair and the Applefest. Here in Brooke County, we're proud of our heritage, but we're even prouder to share it with you.
Whether you're a resident, visitor, or history enthusiast, we invite you to delve deeper into Brooke County's rich history. Check out our local museums, historical landmarks, and community events to experience our county's history firsthand.
Join us on this exciting journey of exploration and discovery, as we celebrate Brooke County's past and shape its future.