From: West Virginians
Published by The West Virginia
Biographical Association, 1928
Submitted by Linda Fluharty.
was created by an act of Virginia general
assembly adopted March 12, 1835, its territory being taken from the older county of Ohio.
It forms the "neck" of the northern pan-handle
and lies in a narrow strip between Pennsylvania
and the Ohio river, which forms its western
boundary. The land area of Marshall county is 315.26 square miles. The population in 1920 was 33,681, but an
estimate given out by the United States Bureau of the Census as of July 1,
1925, fixes it as 34,413. Marshall is an
agricultural and industrial county, with development of coal, oil and gas as
natural resources. It has a great number of manufacturing plants at its chief
points, Moundsville, McMechen, Benwood
The valuation of property in 1927, according to the official returns
made to the State Tax Commissioner, is as follows: Real estate, $32,328,790; personal property,
$10,170,290; public utility property, $14,914,035, a grand total of $57,413,095
assessed property for the purpose of taxation within the county.
is sub-divided into nine magisterial districts, as follows: Cameron, Clay, Franklin, Liberty, Meade,
Sand Hill, Union, Washington and Webster. An independent school district is maintained for the city of Moundsville.
is West Virginia's monument to the memory of
John Marshall, the great expounder of the Constitution, and Chief Justice of
the United States
for thirty-four years. While Chief
Justice Marshall was honored in life by naming this
county, his death occurred but a few months after its erection.
Moundsville, the county seat, is the consolidation of two old
established towns at the mouth of Grave Creek, growing out of the settlement by
Joseph Tomlinson in 1770. This early
settler established a town on his property in 1798, called Elizabethtown,
in honor of his wife, and in the same year established a ferry across the Ohio. The town was given a legal
standing by legislature enactment adopted January 18, 1803, and was
incorporated February 17, 1830, by the same authority. In 1831 the town of Moundsville was laid out
by Simeon Purdy, and established as a town by the assembly on January 28, 1832.
became the seat of government upon the organization of the county. The two towns were
consolidated into one corporation by an act of the legislature of West Virginia, passed
February 23, 1866.
Moundsville is situated at an elevation of 689
feet above the sea. In 1920 the population was 10,669, but this had increased to
11,660 by July 1, 1925, according to an estimate of the United States Bureau of
The name of the town is suggested by the
mammoth mound, a relic of the vanished race of mound builders. The mound is sixty-nine feet in height and
nine hundred feet in circumference at its base.
It is one of the largest in the United States, and its age can not be determined from the various objects found when it
was opened in 1838. A large oak taken
from the summit at that time, indicated by its annular rings an age of more
than five hundred years. Burial vaults with human remains, beads and ornaments were found, but the most baffling object was a small stone
inscribed with queer characters. It was
hoped that this would prove another Rosetta stone to unlock the secrets of the
Mound Builders, but so far no translation has been
made. The stone has
been discussed by learned societies in this country and abroad and
created quite a sensation when first discovered. Some have held that the stone was a clumbsy forgery; others that it is
genuine but undecipherable. It is lodged in the
Smithsonian Institute at Washington.
The West Virginia Penitentiary, second oldest of the state institutions,
is located at Moundsville. The
Penitentiary was established and located by an act of the
legislature at the session of 1866.
The institution is now in charge of Warden L. M. Robinson and on May 30,
1928, had 1,935 prisoners in custody.
At the 1920 census Benwood
had a population of 47,773; Cameron, 2,405; and McMechen,