About Upshur County
Upshur County is in the central part of the state located south of Fairmont, west of Elkins, and about 95 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was formed in 1851 from parts of Barbour, Lewis, and Randolph counties. The county is named after Abel Parker Upshur (1790-1844), a Virginia legislator and U.S. Cabinet member who died on the Potomac River in an accidental explosion on board the American warship “Princeton.”
It is rural with a present territory of 355 square miles with a population of 23,721. Its county seat and major city is Buckhannon (pop. 5,725) located in the north-central part of the county. The Buckhannon River is the major watercourse flowing generally south to north, through the east-central part of the county, and it courses through Buckhannon. Also Buckhannon and the county have rail connections. In the south-central part of the county is the West Virginia State Wildlife Center near French Creek.
Major employment is in health care and social assistance, manufacturing, retail, education, accommodation and food service, construction, and mining. General medical and surgical hospital employment is over one-fourth of that in health care and social assistance. Over half of the manufacturing employment is in wood product making. About half of the wood product manufacturing employment is in the making of engineered wood products such as veneer and plywood. The remainder of manufacturing employment is in the making of clay building material, glass and glass products manufacturing, and plastic pipe and pipe fitting manufacturing. Half of the construction employment is in heavy construction. Most of the employment in education is at West Virginia Wesleyan College, a private church affiliated (United Methodist Church) school of higher education in Buckhannon. There is some mining employment in the extraction of oil and gas, but most is related to coal mining. There is twice as much tonnage produced from bituminous underground coal mining than by surface coal mining. Forestry and logging activities are noticeable but employ few, and the county is a member of the West Virginia Hardwood Alliance Zone. Agriculturally there is some notable production in the raising of horses, growing of Christmas trees, and in the products of nurseries and greenhouse; but the major products are eggs, forage, and livestock.