Randolph County
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 00:16
Elkins is the county seat of Randolph County. It is situated in a shallow bowl-shaped valley in a bend in the Tygarts Valley River. The town goes up gentle slopes. Railroad shops and yards are located in Elkins.

Before 1889 the area was home to a scattered rural community known as Leadsville, where the farmers' corn was loaded on boats and floated down river.

Elkins was incorporated in 1890 and renamed for U.S. Senator Stephen Benton Elkins, son-in-law of U.S. Senator Henry Davis. Together they promoted business, industry, and commerce.

Senator Elkins became a railroad magnate, coal baron, lumber king, banker, and as astute and powerful politician.

He was secretary of war under President Benjamin Harrison. Later he was chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission under President Theodore Roosevelt.

The town of Elkins became the county seat in 1900 after a three-year fight with Beverly, which also sought the honor. Bands of armed men were trained to defend their towns. At one point a special train was formed at Elkins to attack Beverly. The attack was averted, though, by a speech given by C. Wood Dailey, chief counsel for the Western Maryland Railroad.

The original Davis and Elkins estates are now the site of Davis and Elkins College.

Randolph County is in Eastern West Virginia at the base of the Eastern Panhandle. Much of it is in e Monongahela National Forest. The county has coal mines, timber operations, and limestone quarries. There are livestock, fruit, and tobacco farms.

Randolph County is the largest county in the state. Consisting of 1046 miles of area, the county is named in honor of Edmund Jennings Randolph. This easy central county was established in 1787. Several West Virginia "firsts" took place here. The first white settler in what is now West Virginia located on the shores of the Monon River. The first Indian massacre took place here. Randolph County also became the site of the first 4-H camp in the world. Points of interest include Kumbrabow State Forest, the Rich Mountain Battlefield, and parts of the Monongahela National Forest. During the Civil War, federal forces maintained the highest fortified camp of the war at White Mountain. The elevation of the camp was over 4000 feet.

Randolph served as Governor of Virginia from 1786 to 1788. He had served as an aide to General Washington during the Revolutionary War. He had been a member of the Continental Congress. A delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Randolph proposed the famous Virginia Plan. He refused to sign the Constitution, feeling that it was not adequately republican, but urged Virginia to ratify the Constitution.
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