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Middlebourne, the county seat of Tyler County, lies on Middle Island Creek, 12 miles southeast of Sistersville on State Route 18. The town’s population was 715 in 2020, a decrease of 100 people since 2010. Many residents work in the chemical and manufacturing plants along the Ohio River.

Robert Gorrell came to the area in 1798. He purchased all the land that is now Middlebourne and built a cabin. About 1812, he laid out town lots, and on January 27, 1813, Middlebourne was officially founded and named. In 1816, it became the county seat of recently created Tyler County. Middlebourne was incorporated on February 3, 1871. The town had a tannery and other businesses, and in the 1890s the area experienced an oil boom. A hotel was constructed to house visitors. In 1905, Jim Sellers and J. W. Grimm bought a brick-making machine. Their brickyard provided bricks for many of the buildings in town.

Middlebourne is home to small businesses and several churches, plus county government buildings. The county historical society is located in the old Tyler County High School building, a handsome brick structure built in the Neoclassical style in 1907. The Middlebourne Historic District, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993, includes the school, the courthouse, and many commercial and residential properties.

Read the National Register nomination.

This Article was written by Jane Kraina

Last Revised on February 20, 2023


Tyler County Heritage & Historical Society. History of Tyler County. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Pub., 1984.

Cite This Article

Kraina, Jane "Middlebourne." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 20 February 2023. Web. 12 July 2024.


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