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Clay is the location of the county government for Clay County. Both the city and the county are named for Henry Clay, American statesman and Whig Party leader. He served as speaker of the house and then several terms in the U.S. Senate.
The county was originally named Henry and then Marshall. Later it, too, was named for the early American politician. It was formed in 1858.

The county is located in central West Virginia on the Allegheny Plateau. Contributing to the economy of the county are coal mines, natural gas wells, farming, and small businesses.

Called the "President Maker" and later famous for his Compromise of 1850 which sought to avoid the Civil War, Henry Clay was honored by the naming in 1858, of some 350 square miles of rich central West Virginia lands. Clay County is also remembered as the home of the Golden Delicious apple, which originated on Porters Creek.

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