Sutton was named for John D. Sutton, who arrived in 1809 as one of the area's first settlers. When the town was established and named several decades later, Sutton donated the town square. When the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike came through, the village began to grow. A suspension bridge, built c. 1852, carried the turnpike across Elk River one block from the town square. Sutton was a major Union stronghold early in the Civil War, but it was almost completely burned by Confederate forces on December 19, 1861. Following the war, the town rebuilt, but the courthouse ( BX1) was not replaced until 1881–1882.
Sutton's major streets were brick-paved in 1904, and many of them, including a portion of Main Street, still have this covering. By the early twentieth century, the rapacious lumber companies had clear cut the surrounding forests, and Sutton ceased to build. With little development over the ensuing decades, Sutton, with a 2000 population of 1,011, maintains a compact, turn-of-the-twentieth-century townscape, focused on the courthouse and jail. The Sutton Downtown Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
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