Greenbrier County, West Virginia

Greenbrier County, West Virginia

Infobox U.S. County
county = Greenbrier County
state = West Virginia

map size = 225
founded = 1782
seat = Lewisburg | area_total_sq_mi =1024
area_land_sq_mi =1021
area_water_sq_mi =3
area percentage = 0.31%
census yr = 2000
pop = 34453
density_km2 =13
web =

Greenbrier County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of 2000, the population was 34,453. Its county seat is LewisburgGR|6.


Prior to the arrival of European settlers around 1740, Greenbrier County, like most of West Virginia, was used as a hunting grounds by the Shawnee and Cherokee Nations. This land, which they called Can-tuc-kee, was thought to be inhabited by ghosts of Azgens, a white people from an eastern sea who were said to be killed off by the Shawnee's ancestors. According to the legend, the area was owned by the bones and ghosts of the Azgens, who would permit responsible hunting but, according to Black Fish, "we are never allowed to kill the game wantonly, and we are forbidden to settle in the country...if we did, these ghosts would not rise from their caves and mounds and slay us, but they would set father against son and son against father and neighbor against neighbor and make them kill one another." Thus, while hunting parties were permitted to camp and exploit the area, permanent settlements east and south of the Spay-lay-we-theepi (Ohio River) were forbidden. cite book |author=Allan W. Eckert |title=The frontiersmen: a narrative |publisher=Jesse Stuart Foundation |location=Ashland, Ky |year=2001 |isbn=0-945084-90-0 |oclc= |doi=Page 65-66.

Shawnee leaders, including Pucksinwah and, later, his son Tecumseh, were alarmed by the arrival of the European settlers. In the first place, they viewed the white settlements as violating the Azgen taboo. Second, they feared for the loss of their hunting lands, which they viewed as being vital to their survival. Last and not least, they correctly suspected that it was only a matter of time before the white settlers would cross the river and invade their homelands in present-day Ohio. "Id."

By 1774, the Earl of Dunmore, then governor of the colonies of New York and Virginia, decided to raise an army of three thousand to go against the Shawnees in their homeland in present-day Ohio. Half of these men were inducted at Fort Pitt, while the other half assembled at Fort Union, the site of present day Lewisburg, under the command of General Andrew Lewis. By early October of that year, Lewis' force had marched downstream to the mouth of the Kanawha River, currently the site of Pt. Pleasant, West Virginia, where they fought a famous but indecisive battle against a Shawnee force led by Hokoleskwa, or Cornstalk. "Id."Page 78, 98-99.

European settlers were subjected to a number of raids by Native Americans during the colonial period, including a raid on Fort Randolph and later on Fort Donnally, then inhabited by 25 men and 60 women and children. The most heroic of the defenders of Fort Donnally was an African American slave named Dick Pointer. Pointer, said to have stood 7 feet tall, defended the log door, giving the settlers enough time to awaken and defend themselves against the attack. Pointer later addressed the Virginia General Assembly and gave a moving appeal that "in the decline of life" he be freed for his defense of Fort Donnally. Historic accounts differ as to whether the legislature ever provided his freedom. His grave is marked beside Carnegie Hall in the county seat of Lewisburg along with a historical marker placed prominently in the midst of the Lewisburg Cemetery. Pointer’s musket is on permanent display at The North House Museum in Lewisburg.

The county was officially chartered in 1782.

The Civil War came to the county in 1861 and several battles were fought in the area including Lewisburg in May 1862 and White Sulphur Springs in August 1863. Both battles resulted in Union victories.

What is said to be the oldest golf course in the United States was founded in 1884 just north of White Sulphur Springs by the Montague family.

During the decade prior to World War II, several Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps were located along the Greenbrier River.

During World War II The Greenbrier hotel was used as a hospital, and also an internment center for Axis diplomats who were stranded in the United States during the war. When the war ended, it was returned to its former use as a hotel.

Later, during the Cold War, the Greenbrier served as the site of a secret Congressional bunker, built as part of the United States Continuity of Operations Plan.

Law and government

Like all West Virginia Counties, Greenbrier County is governed by a three-person, elected County Commission. Other elected officers include the Sheriff, County Clerk, Circuit Clerk, Assessor, Prosecuting Attorney, Surveyor, and three Magistrates.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,024 square miles (2,653 km²), of which, 1,021 square miles (2,645 km²) of it is land and 3 square miles (8 km²) of it (0.31%) is water.

Much of the area of the northern and western parts of the county is either public (Monongahela National Forest), coal land, or private forest, owned by companies such as MeadWestvaco.

In 2005, Invenergy LLC of Chicago Illinois announced plans to build the $300 million, 124-turbine Beech Ridge Wind Farm along the tops of several Greenbrier County mountains. The wind farm would produce 186 megawatts of electricity. Development, which was originally expected to begin in late 2007, was stalled when the state Supreme Court agreed in April to hear the case brought by opponents of the project. [ Citation
title=Winds of Change: Supreme Court to Hear Appeal
periodical=West Virginia Daily News

Major highways



As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 34,453 people, 14,571 households, and 9,922 families residing in the county. The population density was 34 people per square mile (13/km²). There were 17,644 housing units at an average density of 17 per square mile (7/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.23% White, 3.04% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.15% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. 0.68% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 14,571 households out of which 27.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.20% were married couples living together, 10.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.90% were non-families. 28.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the county, the population was spread out with 21.60% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 26.10% from 25 to 44, 26.90% from 45 to 64, and 17.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,927, and the median income for a family was $33,292. Males had a median income of $26,157 versus $19,620 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,247. About 14.50% of families and 18.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.70% of those under age 18 and 16.00% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns

*Falling Spring
*Sam Black Church
*White Sulphur Springs


Public schools

Greenbrier County's public schools are operated by the Greenbrier County Board of Education, which is elected on a non-partisan basis. The Superintendent of Schools, who is appointed by the Board, provides administrative supervision for the system. Each school is administered by a Principal and, in some cases, one or more Assistant Principals. The School Board Office is located on Chestnut Street in Lewisburg. Following a trend in West Virginia, schools at the secondary level are consolidated, while elementary schools continue to be located within small communities.

Public schools:

* Alderson Elementary
* Crichton Elementary
* Eastern Greenbrier Middle School
* Frankford Elementary
* Greenbrier East High School
* Greenbrier West High School
* Lewisburg Elementary
* Ronceverte Elementary
* Rainelle Elementary
* Rupert Elementary
* Smoot Elementary
* Western Greenbrier Middle School
* White Sulphur Springs Elementary

Private schools:

* Rainelle Christian Academy
* Seneca Trail Christian Academy

Colleges and universities

* [ New River Community and Technical College (NRCTC)] , Lewisburg Branch, (Administered by Bluefield State College)
* West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM)

Adjacent counties

*Webster County (north)
*Pocahontas County (northeast)
*Bath County, Virginia (east)
*Alleghany County, Virginia (southeast)
*Monroe County (south)
*Summers County (southwest)
*Fayette County (west)
*Nicholas County (northwest)

National Natural Landmarks in Greenbrier County

* Lost World Caverns
* Organ Cave System

ee also

* Beartown State Park
* Beech Ridge Wind Farm
* Greenbrier River
* Greenbrier River Trail
* MeadWestvaco
* Monongahela National Forest
* The Greenbrier
* Cat Rock Hollow


External links

* [ Greenbrier County Official Website]
* [ Greenbrier County Convention & Visitors Bureau]
* [ Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation]
* [ Greenbrier County Schools]
* [ Greenbrier County Public Library]
* [ Greenbrier State Forest]
* [ New River Community and Technical College (NRCTC)]
* [ Rainelle local news (on line)]
* [ WVGenWeb Greenbrier County]
* [ West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine]
* [ Greenbrier Valley Theatre]

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