Pleasants County Courthouse
Monday - Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm
“County government as we know it today in West Virginia originated with the passage of the Judicial Amendment of 1880. The Amendment provided for a three-member, elective body; removed most of the county commissions judicial function except limited ones as in settlement of accounts and appointment of guardians and committees; and retained the county court (now commission) with central authority in fiscal matters as its primary function.
West Virginia’s counties do not possess inherent rights of self government. They are under the State’s complete control as its creation; and their authority to perform even local functions is spelled out in the Constitution or by legislative enactments. In addition to members of the county commission, the elective officials are sheriff, assessor, prosecuting attorney, surveyor, county clerk and circuit clerk.”
—Richard Shelton 1913-2000
Founder of the West Virginia Association of Counties
Pleasants County History
By reference to the history of Wood county, contained in this volume, an account will be found of the divisions of that tract of country to which Pleasants county belongs, from the time it was known only as a part of the district of West Augusta until the formation of Wood county. In 1851, Pleasants county was formed from Wood, Tyler and Ritchie. Its Ohio river margin is about twenty-five miles in length, and it embraces rich and wide-spreading bottoms of the best of lands for agricultural purposes. The county is divided into two nearly equal parts by Middle Island creek, which contains along its border fertile bottoms and uplands. This creek enters the county from Tyler, and running nearly southwest, parallel with the Ohio, until it reaches the central part of the county, turns abruptly to the northwest and empties into the Ohio.
The principal crops of the county are wheat, corn, oats, and most varieties of grain and vegetables, tobacco, etc. Great attention is paid to the raising and improvement of stock. There are immense quantities of valuable timber throughout the interior of the county, although that along the Ohio river and Middle Island creek has been mostly cut. It is being extensively worked into lumber, staves, cross-ties, etc., which find a ready market. Throughout the county are immense tracts of coal sandstone, limestone and oil lands, which have only been partially developed, and there are also strong indications of iron. Ohio bottom lands are worth from $80 to $100 per acre; creek bottoms, $40 to $50; hill land, $15 to $20; timber land $10 to $20. Middle Island creek is navigable for flatboats, rafts, etc., during high water.
Upon ascending some of the hills in Pleasants county along the river or in the interior, the traveler is immediately impressed with the singular dryness and purity of the atmosphere, the chrystalline limpidity of the springs and streams, and the tonic-bracing effect of the air at all seasons of the year. The sensation first experienced here by the lowland dweller is one of singular freedom of spirit, of sudden relief from the cares of health and the fears of premature death. Miasma - the horror which haunts the dweller in low, flat sections, and conduces to fevers and ague - is unknown here.
Under the influence of a genial climate, many forms of semi-tropical vegetation are almost native to its soil, and the flora will equal, in variety and beauty, that of any other section. Among the hills, living springs flow from the crevices in the rocks, and rills, rivulets and larger streams are encountered in numerous glens and ravines. The scenery is wonderful in its variety of forest and lawn, lofty hill and river, rocky cliffs and green meadows, or growing fields of grain. The sturdiness of the forests, the hardy vigor of all vegetable life, and the munificence of all visible nature cannot fail to impress the traveler. There is nothing of poverty suggested and no intimation of sterility on the hill tops and slopes, and no rough rocks, piled heap upon heap, offend the eye as it sweeps the gracefully rounded knobs, which are generally covered with a rich, calcareous loam.
The undergrowth, which obstructs the view and increases the labor of clearing in the lower sections, is almost totally absent here, and does not even make its appearance after the clearing or girdling of the timber lets in the light of the sun. These lands in Pleasants county are unsurpassed by any in the country for grazing purposes, and seem specially adapted to the raising of sheep. Some attention is already being given to this subject but not as much as it deserves, and no doubt the time is not far distant when these facts will become more full known and appreciated, and enterprise thoroughly developed.
—From Hardesty's Biographical Atlas, Volume V, 1882