Jackson County, West Virginia

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Jackson County Courthouse is located at 214 West Main Street, Ripley WV 25271; phone: 304-373-2314.

Beginnings [1]

Jackson County was formed in 1831 from parts of Wood, Mason and Kanawha Counties. It was named for Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States. As with many of West Virginia's counties, Jackson County was formed for the convenience of its citizens. The population often lived great distances from their respective courthouses and due to high water on the many rivers and creeks, they were unable to reach the courthouses to conduct their business. The people who lived along the Ohio River lobbied for a county seat to be located there and those who lived away from the waterways wanted the courthouse to be located in their area. A commission of five members was selected to make the decision including John McWhorter of Lewis County, John Miller of Kanawha County, William Spurlock of Cabell County, Cyrus Cary of Greenbrier County, and John McCoy of Tyler County.

Jacob Starcher, an early settler in the area, bought from William John title to 400 acres of land in Jackson County. Starcher, as a response to the courthouse location dilemma, gave the county eight acres of ground for the county seat. It was specified that it would be laid out so as to form three sides of the public square with the courthouse building in the center. The court accepted the gift. Two acres was for the purpose of erecting a courthouse and a jail and six additional acres on the front and sides of the square for the "use and benefit of Jackson County." The deed from Jacob and Ann Starcher was dated March 28, 1832. This central "courthouse square" remains intact to the present.

In January of 1832, a contract was let to James Smith for the construction of the first courthouse and a jail building. The court of Jackson County stated that the buildings were to be of brick with the jail to be 34'-0" X 17'-0" and the courthouse to be 36 feet square. It was to cost $3,700.00. The work was completed and the first term in the new building was held on October 28, 1833.

  1. Gioulis, Michael, Ripley Historic District, nomination document, 2004, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

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