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Hamlin is the county seat of Lincoln County. Hamlin is located on the Mud River on State Route 3. The place was first settled by David Stephenson, who erected a cabin around 1802. The town was chartered by the Virginia General Assembly in 1853. It was named after the Hamlin Chapel, itself named for Methodist Bishop Leonidas Hamlin.

During the Civil War, Hamlin was occupied and traversed by troops from both armies. In late March 1863, Confederate Gen. Albert Gallatin Jenkins occupied the town en route to Point Pleasant. After the war, in 1867, Hamlin was chosen as the county seat of newly created Lincoln County. A two-story, red brick courthouse was constructed around 1875, with a ‘‘substantial brick jail’’ built behind it after the original jail burned in 1886. By the mid-1880s, Hamlin was reported to be a prosperous town with five general merchandise stores, one grocery store, two millinery stores, two hotels, a grade school, a flour mill and a sawmill, a post office, one church, three doctors, six lawyers, and about 30 houses.

Hamlin’s 20th-century history was marked by a disastrous courthouse fire in 1909, the construction of a new courthouse in 1911, and the construction of a modern courthouse in the 1960s. Carroll High School was lost to fire in 1949 and replaced by Hamlin High which was closed when the consolidated Lincoln County High School opened in fall 2006. A public library was built in the late 1990s. Hamlin’s population was 1,142 in 2010.

Written by Brandon Ray Kirk


  1. Hardesty's Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia vol. 7. Chicago: H. H. Hardesty, 1883, Reprint, Richwood: Comstock, Hardesty West Virginia Counties, 8 vols., 1973.

  2. Brisco, Alta B. & Gladys B. Smart. Records of Hamlin, WV, Post Office 1857-1861. State Archives.

  3. The Llorrac: The Yearbook of the Carroll High School of Hamlin. 1926.

  4. Ceredo Advance, 11/11/1886.

  5. Charleston Gazette, 8/3/1978.

  6. Lincoln Republican, 1/12/1918 & 11/6/1930.

  7. F. B. Lambert Collection, Special Collections. Morrow Library, Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia .