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Milton, in Cabell County, is situated in a level basin of the Mud River, 31 miles west of Charleston and 18 miles east of Huntington.

In the 1780s, cheap land, wild game, and good soil drew settlers to the region. Some of the first comers were John Morris, Edmund Morris, John Jordan, Andrew Jordan, Charles Venable, James Beckett, Joseph Rece, Abia Rece, John Everett, Nathan Everett, and Thomas Harmon.

The first semblance of a town or village at Milton occurred in relation to the James River & Kanawha Turnpike, which was built in the early 1830s. The Mud River covered bridge, which has been restored and moved to the fairgrounds, was a vital link for the turnpike. By 1869, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway had begun construction in the vicinity, and a train station was subsequently built. The depot attracted numerous small interests, and in 1872 a town was laid out and lots were sold. On September 16, 1876, the town of Milton was incorporated and named in honor of Milton Rece, a large landowner at the time.

In the early 1900s, gas and oil were discovered in the area. The abundance of these important natural resources attracted such industries as Blenko Glass, which was established in 1921. Farms historically have dotted the region, and tobacco has been an important cash crop. Timbering also was an important early industry, with the logs floated down the Mud River to the sawmill.

Milton saw significant growth with the completion of Interstate 64, and many residents who live there now commute to Charleston or Huntington. In 2020, the town’s population was 2,831, a 28.3 percent increase since 2000 and the largest total in its history.

Milton is home to the Pumpkin Festival, held during the first full weekend in October. The Union Baptist Church, a Milton landmark, was founded in 1809. The church has been restored, but bayonet marks and bullet holes from the Civil War can still be seen. Writer Breece D’J Pancake (1952–79) was a Milton native.

Last Revised on February 20, 2023

Cite This Article

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Milton." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 20 February 2023. Web. 18 June 2024.


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