On November 30, 1796 the Virginia General Assembly formed Brooke County, from parts of Ohio County, and made “Charlestown” the county seat. However, confusion existed because across the Appalachian Continental Divide to the east in Jefferson County, another Charlestown had been incorporated, which is now known as Charles Town, and yet another Charleston had been established at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in 1788. Addressing this confusion, the Virginia General Assembly on December 28, 1816 changed the Brooke county seat’s name from “Charlestown” to Wellsburg, supposedly to honor Charles Wells, who had married Charles Prather’s daughter.
Located in the Wellsburg Historic District, the Brooke County Courthouse, is the second structure to bear that name. The construction of the first county courthouse was authorized in August 1797, and completed in April 1799. The carpenter of that building, Samuel Herdman, was alive to see his handiwork torn down and replaced by the present structure in 1849. The current courthouse is a two-story brick building with gable roof and octagonal cupola. Although altered in the early 20th century to the present appearance, the Brooke County Courthouse retains classical elements and remains one of the oldest continuously occupied buildings in the community.
The voters of each county shall elect a sheriff, who shall hold their respective offices for the term of four years. A person who has been elected or who has served as sheriff during all or any part of two consecutive terms shall be ineligible for the office of sheriff during any part of the term immediately following the second of the two consecutive terms. The person holding the office of sheriff when this section is ratified shall not be prevented from holding the office of sheriff during the term immediately following the term he is then serving.
The Sheriff is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the county as well as the Treasurer of the county, who collects taxes and sign all county business issued checks and deposits.