Wayne, formed in 1842 from Cabell County to the northeast, is West Virginia's westernmost county. Both it and the county seat were named for Anthony Wayne, the famous Revolutionary War hero whose name is almost always preceded by “Mad.” In the nineteenth century timber and agriculture formed the bases of the county's economy, followed by coal in the early twentieth century. In recent decades the county's proximity to Huntington and Ashland, Kentucky, has accounted for much of its growth. The population peaked in 1980 with a figure of 46,021, while the 2000 census counted 42,903.
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