West Virginia’s youngest county came into existence on January 30, 1895, when the legislature created Mingo County from Logan County. When West Virginia entered the Union in 1863, it had 50 counties. Grant, Mineral, Lincoln, and Summers counties were added during the first four years of statehood.
The count stood at 54 for nearly a quarter-century. But, by the 1890s, the southern part of Logan County was booming thanks to the Norfolk & Western Railway, which was expanding through the region. The N&W, as it was known, built a major rail yard at Williamson, which would become the Mingo County seat. The main beneficiaries of the railroad were the coal and timber industries.
New mines were opening daily, and crews could now load cut logs directly onto rail cars instead of floating them downstream on the Tug Fork River. And the region’s population grew quickly due to an influx of African Americans and immigrants, including Italians, Russians, and Poles as well as Jews, Greeks, and Lebanese. Today, Mingo County still relies largely on the coal industry; however, a growing tourism business is emerging through the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System.