Welcome to Mingo County West Virginia
An Unforgettable Experience
Mingo County West Virginia offers visitors a variety of things to see and do. While here you will definitely have an unforgettable experience and look forward to your trip back. Mingo County offers many heritage attractions including the coal house, the historic town of Matewan and more. We also offer loads of adventure with the Hatfield & McCoy Trail System, the Twisted Gun Golf Course Tug Valley Country Club and much more. We would like to invite you to see for yourself all of the
experiences we have to offer here in the southern
mountains of West Virginia.
Mingo County is the youngest county in the state,
formed by an act of legislature in 1895 from parts
of Logan County. The county was named in honor
of the Mingo Indian tribe that had been the
earliest known settlers of the region.
How the Tug River was Named
Around 1790, before the white settlers came to this
area, two "long" hunters, Robin and Steve Hensley,
made periodic trips into the valley from their homes
across the Appalachians to hunt bears for their hides.
Before making their trips, they first hunted deer to
make leather tugs from their hides, to tie up their
bearskins for the journey back. On one occasion there
was a serious drought and the hunters almost starved
to death. To survive they cooked the tugs and ate
them. After that the hunters referred to that area
(about five miles west of Williamson) as where they
ate the tugs, and the river in time took on the name
One of the gateways to the south, the city of Williamson is over 100 years old and remains an important area along the Norfolk Southern Corporation's rail system. Williamson was incorporated as a city in 1892 while Mingo County was still part of Logan County. The city has been the county seat of Mingo County since the
formation of the county. Railroading and coal mining have long been the major industries in the area. The arrival of the railroad and development of the coal mines all along the line caused the Williamson area to be known as the "Heart of the Billion Dollar Coal Field." Williamson offers visitors many fairs and festivals and is the home of The Coal House, and the Williamson Area Railroad Museum. Many other historic buildings and attractions can also be seen in Williamson.
On September 6, 1946, the youngest town in West Virginia's youngest county was incorporated as a town. The town was originally known as Rock House. This name came from the large cliff of rocks on Pigeon Creek, which was said to have sheltered Indian Scouts. According to legends, in the days before the town and Mingo County came into existence, Mingo Indians were stealing horses from Virginia. Victims of the thefts would follow them back to recover the stolen horses. At a later time some of those people came back to settle the area. As time marched on, the name changed to Burch, a name still carried on by the middle and high school. Later the name was changed to Delbarton, which means "Village in the Woods." Delbarton continues to grow and now houses an opry house, Delbarton Inn, and is the home of the Moonshine Hillclimb.
Matewan has intrigued folklore for over one hundred years. In the 1880's the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys raged near Matewan. Forty years later the town was the scene of a fatal conflict between mine workers and coal operators. On election day, August 7, 1882, three sons of Randolph McCoy brutally stabbed and shot Ellison Hatfield, brother of Devil Anse Hatfield in Pike County, Kentucky. After Ellison died, Devil Anse executed the three McCoys across the Tug in Kentucky, near present day Matewan. By 1890 the killings had ended, but the feud continued to be sensationalized by journalist for years to come. Matewan was founded in
1895 when the Norfolk and Western entered the valley to open the Williamson coal field. Matewan is now a National Historic Landmark and is also well known as a site of a bloody confrontation between townspeople,
miners and mine company detectives on May 19, 1920. Visitors can hear an audio presentation of the Battle of
Matewan and also see the Matewan Massacre Reenactment at several times during the year and guided tours are available from the Matewan Development Center. Matewan is also home to the Matewan Flood Wall, which depicts a time line of Matewan's history, and the Matewan Depot Replica which houses a museum andthe Matewan Development Center.
Gilbert was incorporated in 1918 and named after Joseph Gilbert, one of the earliest white settlers to the region. Many historians agree that Jospeph Gilbert and George Washington were important factors in Mingo County history. Washington did his first work as a surveyor here and surveyed several areas of Mingo County. Gilbert was originally called Kettle Creek and was changed to War Creek before becoming its present name. Gilbert is now the home of the Larry Joe Harless Center and the Hatfield McCoy Speed Way.
The town of Kermit, located on the western border of Mingo County, was incorporated in December 1909. The following month, the town elected its first government officials. When Kermit was first settled, the town was called East Warfield, because it was located across the Tug River from Warfield, KY. When the post office opened in 1908 the name was changed to Kermit, reportedly after the younger son of Theodore Roosevelt, who was at that time President of the United States. Kermit now offers visitors beautiful scenic locations and more.