The government offices for Ritchie County are located in Harrisville. The first settler in the vicinity of Harrisville was Lawrence Maley who arrived there in 1801. The area was originally known then as "Maley's Settlement." The town was platted in 1822 and chartered by the State of Virginia as Harrisville, and named for Thomas Harris. The first post office was established on July 25th, in 1833 and was called Solus because a Harrisville post office already existed in the State of Virginia. The name was changed June 15th, 1847 to Ritchie Court House, Virginia. It was changed again February 14th, 1870 to Harrisville, West Virginia. Then on May 11th, 1874, it was changed back to Ritchie Courthouse. The final change was made on August 19th, 1985 to Harrisville, in honor of General Thomas M. Harris. General Harris was the nephew of Thomas Harris for whom the town was orginally named. General Harris was also one of the commissioners in the military trial of those accused of plotting the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
Ritchie County, was formed in 1843 from parts of Wood, Harrison, and Lewis counties. When it was formed, it also included land that is now included in Doddridge and Pleasants Counties. In the 1860s a small portion of what was Gilmer County was added to Ritchie County.
Ritchie county was named in honor of Thomas Ritchie, a distinguished early American journalist. Ritchie was the founder and editor of the Richmond Enquirer in 1804. The paper, under his leadership, became one of the leading newspapers in the country. As editor of the newspaper he championed the cause for the western counties of Virginia. Ritchie's uncle was Judge Spencer Roane, whom Roane County was named after.
There are numerous attractions in the county including the North Bend State Park & Lake and the North Bend Rail Trail. This trail has numerous bridges and tunnels and is part of the 5,500-mile coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail. Also, State Route 47 is designated as part of a National Scenic Byway as it closely faollows the orignia lroute of the historic Staunton-Parkersburg turnpike.
The county has many businesses, several museums, and other attractions. For further information about the county, visit the following web sites:
Leading industries and chief agricultural products include: petroleum, natural gas, timber, window manufacturing, automobile carpet manufacturing, aluminum truck bed manufacturing, glass and glassware, livestock, hay, and grain.