(Taken from West Virginia Hertiage Enclyclopedia, pgs. 3951 - 3952.)
(Twenty-six West Virginia counties were in existence (but in Virginia) in 1835, at which time Joseph Martin compiled his famous New and Comprehensive Gazetteer of Virginia. Randolph was one.)
"RANDOLPH was established by act of Assembly in the year 1787, and formed from a portion of Harrison county. It is bounded N. by Preston, - N. E. by the Allegheny Mountain, which separates it from Hardy, - E. by the same mountain, separating it from Pendleton, - S. by Pocahontas, - S. W. by Nicholas, - W. by Lewis and Harrison, and N. W. by Monongalia."
"This county is one of the finest on the western side of the Allegheny Mountains, and is made up of several parallel ranges of mountains with their intervening valleys. The largest of these mountains commencing on the east is Allegheny, which runs north and south dividing this county from Pendleton; the next in order are Rich, Middle and Shaver Mountains, running in the same direction. At the foot of the latter, flows Shaver's Fork, which is stocked with some of the finest fish which the western waters afford. This stream empties into the Monongahela, 12 miles below Morganton. The next mountain is the Valley Mountain, which derives its name from Tygart's Valley. This valley constitutes a considerable portion of the county, being about 35 miles in length, and 2 in breadth, and a body of as fine land as any in Western Virginia, and in a high state of improvement. Through this valley flows the middle branch of the Monongahela, or Tygart's Valley river, to which it gives source. The next mountain in the Laurel, which runs also a north and south course, the whole length of the valley; at the extremity of which it makes a bend and takes a northeast direction, till it meets Cheat river, whench it flows nearly in a north course, till it enters the State of Pennsylvania. At the foot of Tygart's Valley, where the Laurel Hill makes its angle to the east, Chester river breaks through the mountain. The valley and mountains presenting the strongest evidence that at some early day they had formed a lake. These mountains afford some of the finest streams of water in Western Virginia. The principal of which are the Dry Fork - Laurel Fork - Glade Fork - and Shaver's Fork - all handsome streams, having their rise in the S. W. part of the county, running parallel within a few miles of each other, and after traversing a considerable distance through the county emptying into Cheat River. The mountains are well stocked with the finest timber, such as every description of the oak, poplar, cherry, pine, fir, red cedar, &c. - and they are almost a mass of stone coal and iron ore. The soil of these mountains is very rich, and abounds with lime stone, slate and free stone. In some parts of these mountains are found small caverns or caves, in which is found a kind of copperas - fit for dye, and which is used for that purpose, - and along some of the water courses is found the alum peeping out of the joints of the rocks, forming in the shape of icicles. Among all these water courses and low grounds are found salt springs. There has been salt to a considerable amount, but for the want of funds and men of enterprise, these useful materials remain in their natural state."
"In this county are a considerable number of fine stock farms, which graze and raise annually for market live stock of every description, which is the principal source of its wealth. There were raised and sent to market from this county during the past year ending Nov'r 1st, 1833, 1,500 head of horned cattle, 300 sheep, and 100 horses."
"County Seat: Elkins. Magisterial Districts: (9): Beverly, Dry Fork, Huttonsville, Leadsville, Middle Fork, Mingo, New Interest, Roaring Creek, Valley Bend and Whitmer."