One hundred and fifteen years passed away after Columbus first saw the shores of the New World before a permanent English settlement (in 1607) was made in America. For several years the population was confined to the coast of Virginia, but as additions were made by emigration from the Old World, the settlements extended as far to the north as the present southern boundary of Maryland, and as far south as the river Dan, so that by the year 1631 Virginia was divided into eight shires or counties similar to those of England. During the intervening period from the above date to the year 1700 the settlements were extended to the west, so that at the close of the period the homes of the pioneers dotted the landscape along the eastern base of the Blue Ridge. Another half century rolled away before the banner of civilization was planted west of the mountains. But the French had lost their sovereignty in the New World, and all the vast continent stretching away to the Pacific had passed under the dominion of the "Island Empire," the monarch of which was now bestowing titles to large tracts of land in the Ohio Valley, upon his soldiers, who had carried his successful arms against his powerful rival both in Europe and America. It was the year 1772 when Washington -- afterward the most illustrious name in the annals of America -- with Col. William Crawford (burned at the stake by the Delaware Indians in 1781) as his first assistant, together with about thirty others, mostly survivors of the massacre at Braddocks Field, left Williamsburg -- then the capital of Virginia -- and after being joined by Dr. Craik, a physician of Philadel- phia, came by way of Pittsburg, and descended the Ohio to the mouth of the Great Kanawha, and there began locating vast tracts of land, which they received patents for the next year. These were the only surveys made on the banks of the Ohio prior to the Revolution, which began a year later and continued for eight dreadful years; but the storm ceased; the Briton was forever driven from our shores. Virginia was free; the hoarse murmurs of her unnavigated rivers no longer responded to the tread of her armed oppressors, and she in turn now parceled out her vast western domain among her sons, who had by force of arms decided that the decaying institutions of the Middle Ages should not be transplanted from Europe to the New World, but that institutions having civil liberty and universal suffrage as their foundation stone should exist instead; and now these old war-worn veterans were not slow in securing a home for them- selves and their posterity. In 1788 Virginia ceded all her territory beyond the Ohio to the General Government, and by close of the eighteenth century nearly all her lands lying between the Allegheny mountains and the Ohio river,. had been "entered" and "taken up" by those who were willing to stand the shock of savage warfare, who with a steady nerve could listen to the warwhoops of the merciless savage and witness night made lurid by burning homes. Such were the men who settled what is now West Virginia, and such were the fathers of the men who felled the forests and converted her hills and valleys into gardens. The organization of counties followed fast in the wake of the thousands of pioneers. Greenbrier in 1777, Kanawha in 1789, Wood in 1795, Mason in 1831, and the many early settlers who had found homes on the banks of the Little Kanawha and Hughs river now wearied with long jaunts to Parkersburg or Ripley, in 1847 petitioned the General Assembly of Virginia, asking for the formation of a new county. The prayer was heard with favor, and on the 19th day of January, 1848, a bill entitled "An Act establishing the county of Wirt of part of the counties of Wood and Jackson" passed that body. By its provisions the new county was to contain so much of the counties Wood and Jackson as is contained within the following boundaries: "Begin- ning where the Ritchie county line crosses Goose creek; and thence a straight line to the mouth of Hughs river; thence down the Little Kanawha river to the mouth of Daileys run; thence a straight line to the head of the Buckeye fork of Sandy creek, near John Stephens, jr.; thence with and along the top of the dividing ridge between Sandy and Tuckers creeks and Sandy and Reedy creeks to the Jackson trace road, where the same crosses said dividing ridge; and thence running with and along said road to and including the residence of John P. Thomasson in Jackson county; and thence continuing with and along said road to and including the residence of William Goff on Spring creek; thence to the head of Tripletts run on the Gilmer county line; thence running with and along said Gilmer and Ritchie county line to the place of beginning." Another provision was that the first court for the county should be held at the residence of Alfred Beau- champ in the county of Wood, situated in the town of Elizabeth, on the first Monday in May ensuing.