Raleigh County was once a favorite site for fur traders who traveled through the country in search of beaver pelts. The first settlers came to the area in 1792. The most prominent of these was Brigadier General Alfred Beckley for whom the City of Beckley was named. Differences of opinion on the issues that brought forth the Civil War led to the creation of the new state of West Virginia on June 20, 1863. Raleigh County was named after Sir Walter Raleigh, an English soldier, adventurer, and the favorite of Queen Elizabeth, and was formed from parts of Fayette County on January 23, 1850.
Beckley, the county seat, was founded on General Alfred Beckley's land and was originally called Beckleyville. Chartered by the Virginia General Assembly in 1838, some historians claim that the town was named for General Alfred Beckley's father, John Beckley. He was the first Clerk of the Congress during the administration of Presidents George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and later served as the first Librarian of Congress. Others claim that the town was named for General Alfred Beckley. In either case, the town had a very slow start. The first business did not locate in the town until 1850; and prior to that time, the local settlers sarcastically referred to Beckley's land as "Beckley's Paper Town." By 1860 the town's population had grown to only 160, with another 160 living in the vicinity. From 1881 to 1897, the town was called Beckleyville, Town of Beckley, and Raleigh Court House. The name Beckley finally won out around 1897. It was incorporated by the West Virginia state legislature on April 26, 1927.
Leading industries and chief agricultural products are health, tourism, coal and coal related products, timber, mining equipment, electronic parts, building blocks, cattle, potatoes, peppers, corn, strawberries, and show horses.
Municipalities in Raleigh County are Beckley, Lester, Mabscott, Rhodell, and Sophia
Total acreage in Raleigh County is 390,496, which is equivalent to 610 square miles.
The Raleigh County Commission Meets on the First and Third Tuesday of Each Month. All Meetings Start At 10:00 A.M.