Tazewell County, Virginia and Mercer County, West Virginia were once part of Virginia’s large West Augusta region, but on December 20, 1799, the region became part of one political entity called Tazewell County. The county was named for Henry Tazewell, a Virginia political leader who was among the framers of the Virginia Constitution in 1776, and was a U.S. senator from Virginia when the county was established.
The original Tazewell County was formed from portions of Wythe and Russell counties and included parts of what are now Giles, Bland and Buchanan counties in Virginia and Logan, Mercer, McDowell and Wyoming counties of West Virginia.
Some of the land in the region was granted to soldiers of the Continental Army in return for service during the American Revolution, but several tracts of land in the region were subject to the land speculation boom of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
As population grew in various parts of the huge county, new political entities were created. Mercer County, Virginia was formed in 1837. But of course, a major change in the parallel development of both counties occurred during the American Civil War when Mercer County joined the group of 55 western Virginia counties that broke off from the Old Dominion to form the 35th state on June 20, 1863.
Virginia is the nation’s oldest representative democracy and is a commonwealth. Thus, the state’s governing body is a General Assembly with a senate and house of delegates. The governor is limited to a single four-year term and the other two statewide positions are lieutenant governor, who presides over the senate, and attorney general. The local elected constitutional officers include a county board of supervisors, sheriff, commissioner of revenue, circuit court clerk, treasurer, commonwealth attorney and school boards. Circuit court judges are appointed by the general assembly.
West Virginia has a state legislature with a senate and house of delegates and the governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general and commissioner of agriculture serving as statewide office-holders. County elected officials include three county commissioners, a sheriff, circuit court clerk, county clerk, assessor, two circuit court judges, a family law judge, magistrates, prosecuting attorney and board of education.
The City of Bluefield, WV has a paid City Manager form of government with a five member elected Board of Directors. Similarly the Town of Bluefield, VA has five council members, an elected Mayor and Town Manager. The border between the two Bluefields offers many unique opportunities for cooperation between the two entities.