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Barboursville, with a population of 3,964 in 2010, was chartered in 1813 and named for James Barbour, the governor of Virginia (1812–14). It was designated the county seat of Cabell County in 1814. Barboursville is located on the Guyandotte River and Interstate 64, near Huntington.

Union troops under Gen. Jacob Cox drove Confederate militia and cavalry out of the town during the Battle of Barboursville, July 14, 1861. Union forces remained in control of Barboursville for the remainder of the war. Barboursville was incorporated by an act of the state legislature on February 12, 1867. After the completion of the C&O Railway to Huntington, Barboursville no longer was the center of activity in Cabell County. Consequently, the courthouse was moved to Huntington in 1887.

On September 12, 1888, the Barboursville Seminary, later Barboursville College, opened in the former courthouse. In 1901, Morris Harvey, a Fayette County sheriff, businessman, and coal operator, and his wife, Rosa, donated $10,000 to the school. In recognition of this gift, the school’s name was changed to Morris Harvey College. In 1935, the college was moved to Charleston, where it continues as the University of Charleston. The lower level of the former college was used for a junior high school, and the buildings on the upper level became a state mental health facility. In 1981, Governor Rockefeller converted the upper buildings into the state’s first and only veterans home. The Barboursville Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

The Huntington Mall, which is located within the boundaries of Barboursville, opened in February 1981.

Read the National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Barboursville Historic District.

This Article was written by Joseph Platania

Last Revised on January 23, 2013


Cite This Article

Platania, Joseph "Barboursville." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 23 January 2013. Web. 19 December 2018.

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