The first settlers of the area destined to become Wood County located along the Ohio, Little Kanawha and Hughes Rivers. The population consisted almost entirely of farmers seeking land upon which they could build a home and produce a living. Farming to them was not only a means of earning a living, but also a way of life" a way of living.. They did not need and did not seek large acreages. A small tract of land, fifty to one hundred acres was all they needed. The population increased rapidly during the last two decades of the Eighteenth century and particularly after the Indian War of 1789 and the Treaty of Peace of Fort Greenville in Ohio. Wood County was named for James Wood, Governor of Virginia, 1796-1799.

In 1832, the town of Ripley was incorporated, Elizabeth and Harrisville on January 3, 1822, and Saint Mary's on March 31, 1857. All four of these towns were in Wood County at the time of their incorporation. The people living in the area of Ripley were residents of Wood County, with its Court House at Parkersburg, or Mason County with its Court House at Charleston, and they found it inconvenient, time consuming, and expensive to attend Courts and serve as litigants, witnesses, or jurors, or engage in other activities requiring their presence at the Court House. The people living in the area of Elizabeth were residents of either Wood or Jackson county and experienced great inconveniences form having Court Houses in Parkersburg or Riley.

(From: History of Wood County, West Virginia; Author- Donald F. Black; Vol. II)