Home  |  History  |  Recreation  |  Education

Lincoln County Portal

West Virginia

History

Lincoln County was created by an act of the West Virginia state legislature on February 23rd, 1867, from parts of Boone, Cabell, Kanawha and Putnam counties. The county was named in honor of President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), the 16th President of the United States (1861-1865). Historians regard him as America's greatest President.

Jesse, John, David, William and Moses McComas were the first English settlers in Lincoln County. They cultivated 20 acres of corn, the first ever grown in the area, in 1799. Later that year, they returned to Virginia to get their families. Their families were initially left behind because it was not known if there were any Indians in the area, or if the soil would be suitable for cultivation. John Lucas, William Hinch and John Johnson soon joined the McComas settlers in the county. They build cabins in the county around 1800.

There is some debate concerning who the county seat, Hamlin, is named for. Some historians believe that the town was originally incorporated by the Virginia Generally Assembly in 1833 as Hamline, in honor of Bishop Leonidas L. Hamline of the Methodist Episcopal Church. A postmaster later dropped the final "e", claming that Bishop Hamline had added the "e" to the family name. Others argue that the town was named in honor of Hannibal Hamlin, President Lincoln's Vice-President during his first administration. It is difficult to determine which claim is correct, largely because most of the county's records were destroyed when the county courthouse burned to the ground in 1909.

The act of creating the county provided that the county seat was to be built on the lands of Charles Lattin, now Hamlin. The land was originally an old brier field, cleard by David Stephenson who had patented the land and built a cabin on it in 1802. The first public building constructed on the land was the county jail, in 1867. Hamlin was made the permanent county seat by the state legislature on February 26th, 1869.

Isolated by the tightness of the hills, settlers developed strong family and community ties. These survive even now, when an upgraded WV State Route 10 and the recent construction of US Route 119 have facilitated access to and from the county. The 22,000 residents of Lincoln County's 453 square miles are proud and protective of their beautiful hills and "hollers" and of the wildlife that thrives here. While some reach out to the benefits of modern technology, others jealously guard the simple lifestyle still possible among these serene and comforting hills.