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Cabell County Courthouse

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Register of Historic Places)


Cabell County was formed on January 2, 1809 and was named in honor of William H. Cabell, who served as Governor of Virginia from 1805 to 1808. The first meeting of the Cabell County court took place in 1809 the home of William Merritt who lived in Barboursville. The county seat was then located in Guyandotte and remained there until 1814, when it was moved to Barboursville. In 1863, the county seat was returned to Guyandotte for two years due to Barboursville being occupied by the Confederate Army. When the Civil War ended, Barboursville was once again named the county seat, where it stayed until 1887 when the county voters moved it to Huntington. The construction for this courthouse began in 1898 and was completed and opened for business in 1901. The Cabell County Courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1982.

The courthouse in a 1911 postcard.


Robert Cavelier de La Salle was allegedly the first European to set foot in present-day Cabell County when he sailed down the Ohio River in 1669. While the earliest English explorers to enter Cabell County were Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam, who explored the area in September 1671. In 1772, a grant of 28,628 acres, including much of the current county, was given to John Savage and 60 other persons for military service during the French and Indian War. William Buffington of Hampshire County purchased lot 42 of the Savage Grant from John Savage and willed it to his two sons, Thomas and William Buffington. Thomas Buffington and his brother, Jonathan, came to present-day Cabell County in 1796 and found Thomas Hannon, who had settled along the Little Guyan River. Hannon is regarded as the first permanent English settler in Cabell County.

Throughout the 1800s, Cabell County's location along the Ohio River made it a natural resting place for settlers headed to the frontier lands in the west. Prior to the Civil War many settlers followed primitive Indian trails to the west. Several of these trails passed through the county. On the advice of George Washington, Virginia commissioned the James River Company to upgrade these trails into roads. One of the company's largest and most important road project was the James River and Kanawha Turnpike. The turnpike traversed the frontier from Lexington, Kentucky to Charleston, Virginia. In 1814, the road was extended to Barboursville in present-day Cabell County.

Although most of the state's residents sided with the Union during the Civil War, the residents of present-day Cabell County were divided. Trouble began when, Eli Thayer, an abolitionist congressman from Massachusetts, spoke to some citizens in the county in 1857. Thayer supported the creation of colonies of northern workers in southern states. He hoped this would change the social makeup of the state, and turn the tide against slavery. After the Thayer controversy, many Cabell County citizens organized to pledge their allegiance to the state of Virginia. As the country moved closer to war, tensions in the county began to rise. After the election of President Lincoln in 1860, some of the county's citizens organized a militia loyal to the South known as the Border Rangers. William McComas, Cabell County's representative to the Virginia secession convention of 1861, voted for Virginia to remain in the Union. Although McComas voted as a unionist, the area's congressman, Albert Gallatin Jenkins, who owned a farm in the county, was a staunch secessionist. He was the leader of the Border Rangers. Jenkins later became a General in the Confederate Army, and was wounded in battle at Gettysburg. While Virginia, as a whole, voted to secede from the Union, Cabell County's citizens voted to remain in the Union. However, the town of Guyandotte, located within the county, voted to secede.

The county's economy become stagnant during the Civil War, and the burning of Guyandotte, however during Reconstruction Huntington became a railroad town which boosted the city's economy again. Thanks to the railroad, industrial development occurred in Cabell County during the 1900s with the addition of the glass industry, along with the construction of Interstate 64 in the 1960s. 


1. History of Cabell County." History of Cabell County. Accessed September 26, 2016.

750 5th Ave
Huntington, WV 25701
Phone Number
Monday 8:30AM–4:30PM Tuesday 8:30AM–4:30PM Wednesday 8:30AM–4:30PM Thursday 8:30AM–4:30PM Friday 8:30AM–4:30PM Saturday Magistrate Only 12pm-12am Sunday Magistrate Only 12pm-12am
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This location was created on 2014-03-30 by Taylor Casto .   It was last updated on 2017-08-11 by Matthew Tackett .

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