Lincoln County, third of the five counties formed after West Virginia became a state, dates from 1867. The 1870 census counted a population of 5,053. In 1910 the count had risen to 20,491, and it has fluctuated little since then. The 2000 count obtained a figure of 22,108. Hamlin, the county seat and largest settlement, had a 2000 population of 1,119.
Agriculture has long been an important part of Lincoln's economy. During the 1930s the county was West Virginia's largest tobacco producer, and until recent years, with suburban growth emanating from Huntington, its settlement patterns were overwhelmingly rural. Brigadier General Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager, who in 1947 became the first man to break the sound barrier, is the county's most famous son. His life-sized bronze statue stands in front of Hamlin High School, from which he graduated. The statue was unveiled in 1987, forty years after his great achievement.
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