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List of extinct U.S. counties

This article provides a list of United States counties which no longer exist. They were established by a state, provincial, colonial, or territorial government. Most of these counties were created and disbanded in the 19th century; county boundaries have changed little since 1900 in the vast majority of states. A county is repeated on the list if its jurisdiction changed from one state/colony/territory to another.

This list includes (but is not limited to) counties that were renamed but retained their territorial integrity, or counties that were transferred wholesale to another state when it was separated from another state (Massachusetts counties transferred to Maine; Virginia counties transferred to West Virginia).

Contents

Alabama

Alaska

Alaska has never created counties. Under Section 9 of the 1912 organic act creating the Territory of Alaska, Alaska was prohibited from establishing counties without explicit approval from the U.S. Congress. The framers of the Constitution of Alaska chose to forgo consideration of a county system in favor of a system of boroughs, both organized and unorganized. In 1961, the Alaska Legislature formalized the borough structure to encompass multiple, separate organized boroughs and a single unorganized borough. Alaska currently has 18 organized boroughs. The United States Census Bureau, beginning with the 1970 United States Census, divided the Unorganized Borough into census areas. The boundaries of these census areas were largely based upon the early election districts of the state, which in turn were largely based upon the recording districts of the territory. Following is a list of former boroughs in Alaska:

Arizona

  • Pah-Ute County, Arizona (1865–1871) majority of the county transferred to Nevada in 1866, the remainder transferred to Mohave County

Arkansas

California

  • Klamath County - created in 1851 from the northern half of Trinity County, but in 1874 it was divided between Humboldt and Siskiyou counties.
  • Pautah County - created by the California legislature in 1852 out of territory the state believed would be ceded to it north of Lake Tahoe, but which was given to Nevada. The county was never officially organized.
  • Coso County - created in 1864 by the California legislature out of territory of Tulare County on the east slope of the Sierra Nevada but was never officially organized. The region was later organized in 1866 as Inyo County with additions from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
  • Buena Vista County - created in 1855 by the California legislature out of the southeastern territory of Tulare County on the west of the Sierra Nevada but was never officially organized. Some of that region was later organized as Kern County in 1866, with additions from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

Colorado

Main article: Historic Colorado counties

Colorado Territory was formed from the lands of four organized territories: Kansas to the southeast, New Mexico to the south, Utah to the west, and Nebraska to the northeast. Before Colorado Territory was organized, all of these except Nebraska had declared county boundaries that included part of modern-day Colorado.

Counties formed by New Mexico Territory

Counties formed by Utah Territory

On March 3, 1852, the following counties were organized by Utah Territory, with boundaries reaching into what is now western Colorado:

  • Great Salt Lake County
  • Iron County
  • Sanpete County
  • Utah County
  • Washington County

Upon the organization of Colorado Territory in 1861, which became law on February 28, these counties ceased to have jurisdiction in Colorado.

Green River County was also created on March 3, 1852, but never organized; it was dissolved in 1857 and recreated in 1859. After losing land to Colorado Territory in 1861 and Wyoming Territory in 1868, Green River County was finally dissolved in 1872.

Beaver County was formed on January 5, 1856 from parts of Iron and Millard counties, and like other Utah counties, ceased to have jurisdiction in Colorado.

Counties created by Kansas Territory

Kansas Territory's western reaches encompassed the mining centers of Aurora and Pike's Peak. Beginning with the massive Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory provided for a number of counties in what would become Colorado, but organized none of them before achieving statehood in 1861.

Arapahoe County was proclaimed August 25, 1855 but never organized; it reverted to unorganized territory when Kansas joined the Union on January 29, 1861. On February 7, 1859, several counties were split from Arapahoe County; none of them were organized, and also reverted to unorganized territory when Kansas became a state. They were:

Peketon County was created on the same day in 1859, but never organized. Like Arapahoe and its daughter counties, it reverted to unorganized territory upon Kansas achieving statehood.

Note on Nebraska Territory

No counties were organized in Nebraska Territory's portion of the future Colorado Territory.

Counties created by the Provisional Territory of Jefferson

On November 28, 1859, the Provisional General Assembly of the extralegal Territory of Jefferson proclaimed the boundaries of 12 counties:

It was never recognized by Federal authorities, but the provisional government of the Territory of Jefferson held effective control of what became Colorado for a year and a half. Although the act establishing the Colorado Territory became law on February 28, 1861, the first Federal governor, William Gilpin, did not arrive in Denver until late May, and the Jefferson government disbanded itself on June 6, 1861. In November 1861, Colorado's territorial legislature would establish counties of its own, with many boundaries following those of the Jefferson counties.

Counties created by Colorado Territory

Counties created by the State of Colorado

Connecticut

District of Columbia

The United States Census Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget currently consider the District of Columbia to be a county equivalent. Otherwise the District of Columbia currently has no counties or county equivalents. The former counties of the District of Columbia are:

  • Alexandria County, D.C. (1791–1846) retroceded to Virginia becoming Alexandria County, Virginia.
  • Washington County, D.C. Abolished in 1871 and consolidated with the District of Columbia. Under the current (2001, revised through 2005) District of Columbia Code, the entire District of Columbia is a single body corporate for municipal purposes; the code does not mention Washington County except to make the District of Columbia the successor in title to its property.

Georgetown City and Washington City are former county equivalents. The District of Columbia comprised three county equivalents when it was consolidated in 1871: Georgetown City, Washington City, and the Remainder of the District—as they are termed in the Ninth Census of the United States (1870). There had been four county equivalents in the District prior to the retrocession of Alexandria to Virginia in 1846. In its retrospective decennial population counts the Ninth Census lists four for 1840 back to 1810, Alexandria and Washington counties alone for 1800, and none for 1790 prior to the creation of the district.

Florida

Georgia

Idaho

Illinois

Revolutionary era

Former counties of the Northwest and Indiana territories

Before Illinois Territory was created in 1809, it was part of the Northwest Territory from 1788 to 1800, and Indiana Territory from 1800 to 1809. At first, two counties of the Northwest Territory were created to govern what became the modern state of Illinois, followed by two others:

  • St. Clair County, Northwest Territory established April 27, 1790, later St. Clair County, Indiana Territory; upon the organization of Indiana Territory in 1800, St. Clair County was enlarged to take in present-day Wisconsin, eastern Minnesota, and the western portion of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. When Illinois Territory was set off from the Indiana Territory in 1809, St. Clair County was included in the new government.
  • Knox County, Northwest Territory, established June 20, 1790, later Knox County, Indiana Territory, 1800; its boundaries in 1795 included the eastern half of the future state of Illinois. Portions of Knox County would be transferred to Michigan Territory upon its organization in 1805 and to Illinois Territory upon its organization in 1809; the remainder was included in the state of Indiana upon its achieving statehood in 1816.
  • Randolph County, Northwest Territory, proclaimed 1795, from part of St. Clair County; transferred to Indiana Territory in 1800 and Illinois Territory in 1809, now Randolph County, Illinois.
  • Wayne County, Northwest Territory, proclaimed on August 15, 1796 following the British evacuation of Detroit; out of portions of Hamilton County, Northwest Territory and unorganized land, mostly in the present-day Lower Peninsula of Michigan. This first Wayne County originally included a slice of the present Lake Michigan shoreline of Illinois, the site of present-day Chicago; its lands would be transferred to Knox County, Indiana Territory and later, the Illinois Territory. Transferred to Indiana Territory in 1803 and to Michigan Territory in 1805.

Counties organized by Illinois Territory

Other counties were organized by the Illinois Territory from the lands of St. Clair County between 1812 and 1819 and notionally included parts of the future Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin territories in their boundaries:

Before Illinois achieved statehood in 1818, the part of Illinois Territory excluded from the new state (Wisconsin, eastern Minnesota, and the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan) was transferred to Michigan Territory. No county governments were included in this transfer.

Indiana

Revolutionary era

Former counties of the Northwest and Indiana territories

Indiana Territory was created in 1800, and had since 1788 been part of the Northwest Territory; the new territory included modern-day Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota, as well at the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. At first, one county of the Northwest Territory had been created to govern what became the modern state of Indiana, and three others would be included in the Indiana Territory:

  • Knox County, Northwest Territory, established June 20, 1790, later Knox County, Indiana Territory, 1800; its boundaries in 1795 included the eastern half of the future state of Illinois, and its 1800 boundaries included the western half of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. The northern portions of Knox County would be transferred to Michigan Territory upon its organization in 1805, and the westernmost to Illinois Territory upon its organization in 1809; the remainder was included in the state of Indiana upon its achieving statehood in 1816.
  • St. Clair County, Northwest Territory established April 27, 1790, later St. Clair County, Indiana Territory; upon the organization of Indiana Territory in 1800, St. Clair County was included in the new territory and enlarged to take in present-day Wisconsin, eastern Minnesota, and the western portion of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. When Illinois Territory was set off from the Indiana Territory in 1809, St. Clair County was included in the new government.
  • Randolph County, Northwest Territory, proclaimed 1795, from part of St. Clair County; transferred to Indiana Territory in 1800 and Illinois Territory in 1809, now Randolph County, Illinois.
  • Wayne County, Northwest Territory, proclaimed on August 15, 1796 following the British evacuation of Detroit; out of portions of Hamilton County, Northwest Territory and unorganized land, mostly in the present-day Lower Peninsula of Michigan. This first Wayne County originally included a slice of northern Indiana; all of Wayne County west of the present Indiana-Ohio line was transferred to Knox County, Indiana Territory in 1800. After losing other lands to the new state of Ohio, the remaining portion of Wayne County was transferred to Indiana Territory in 1803 and to Michigan Territory in 1805. The current Wayne County, Michigan is considered a successor of the 1796 establishment.

Former districts of the Louisiana Territory

Former counties of the State of Indiana

Iowa

Counties of Iowa created by Michigan Territory

Counties of Iowa created by Wisconsin Territory

Former counties of the State of Iowa

Kansas

Counties created by Kansas Territory

Several counties were created by the government of Kansas Territory in its western reaches, which included the mining districts of Auraria and Pike's Peak. None were ever organized, and all reverted to unorganized territory when Kansas achieved statehood in 1861. See also the Colorado section, above.

Counties created by the State of Kansas

Kentucky

Because Kentucky began as a political dependency of Virginia, its earliest counties were organized by that government. See also Virginia & Virginia Colony, below

Historic counties created by Virginia

Modern counties created by Virginia

In 1780, Kentucky County was divided by the Virginia government into three counties:

Between 1784 and 1788, six more counties would be created in Kentucky by the Virginia authorities:

These nine counties gained statehood in 1792 as the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Former counties created by the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Louisiana

The Territory of Orleans was divided into 12 counties on 10 Apr 1805; these were later reorganized into parishes on 31 Mar 1807:

  • Acadia County, Orleans Territory
  • Attakapas County, Orleans Territory
  • Concordia County, Orleans Territory
  • German Coast, Orleans Territory
  • Iberville County, Orleans Territory
  • LaFourche County, Orleans Territory
  • Natchitoches County, Orleans Territory
  • Opelousas County, Orleans Territory
  • Orleans County, Orleans Territory
  • Ouachita County, Orleans Territory
  • Pointe Coupée County, Orleans Territory
  • Rapides County, Orleans Territory

Former Parishes

  • Biloxi Parish formed in 1811 from West Florida territory. It was eliminated in 1812 when part of the former West Florida area was transferred to Mississippi Territory.[8]
  • Carroll Parish formed in 1838 from part of Ouachita Parish. In 1877, it was divided into East Carroll Parish and West Carroll Parish.[8]
  • Feliciana Parish formed in 1810 from West Florida territory. In 1824, it was divided into East Feliciana Parish and West Feliciana Parish.[8]
  • Pascagoula Parish formed in 1811 from West Florida territory. It was eliminated in 1812 when part of the former West Florida area was transferred to Mississippi Territory.[8]
  • Warren Parish formed in 1811 from part of Concordia Parish, and merged into Concordia Parish and Ouachita Parish in 1814.[8]

Maine

Counties organized by Massachusetts in the future State of Maine

The following counties of Massachusetts were organized by the 1780 constitution into the District of Maine, which became a state in 1820:

See also Massachusetts, below.

Maryland

  • Charles County: formed in 1650 from part of Saint Mary's County. Abolished in 1654. Referred to as Old Charles County.
  • Durham County: formed in 1669 from part of Somerset County and nonorganized territory. Abolished in 1672 and incorporated in Worcester County.
  • Worcester County: formed in 1672 from part of Durham County and nonorganized territory. Lost in 1685 when Delaware Colony was established.

Massachusetts

Former counties of the colonial era

Counties transferred from other colonies

Counties organized by Massachusetts in the future State of Maine

The following counties of Massachusetts were organized by the 1780 constitution into the District of Maine, which became a state in 1820:

Michigan

Revolutionary era

Former counties of the Northwest, Indiana and Illinois territories

  • Wayne County, Northwest Territory, proclaimed on August 15, 1796 following the British evacuation of Detroit; out of portions of Hamilton County, Northwest Territory and unorganized land. This first Wayne County originally encompassed all of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, including northwestern Ohio, northern Indiana, and a small portion of the present Lake Michigan shoreline of Illinois, the site of present-day Chicago. In 1800, the area west of the extension of the present Indiana-Ohio border became part of Knox County, Indiana Territory, and a section in the east of the county's Ohio lands was included as part of the new Trumbull County. This first Wayne County was split upon Ohio's achievement of statehood in 1803; north of the Ordinance Line became part of Indiana Territory as a reorganized Wayne County; the county's remaining lands in Ohio briefly reverted to an unorganized status.
  • Wayne County, Indiana Territory, established 1803 as a revival of the former county government, and included in Michigan Territory upon its creation in 1805.
  • Knox County, Indiana Territory, established as Knox County, Northwest Territory in 1790; upon the organization of Indiana Territory, Knox County was enlarged to take in the western side of the Lower Peninsula and a large slice of the Upper Peninsula. It is unknown if Knox County ever exercised jurisdiction over its lands in the future Michigan.
  • St. Clair County, Indiana Territory, established as St. Clair County, Northwest Territory in 1790; upon the organization of Indiana Territory, St. Clair County was enlarged to take in the western portion of the Upper Peninsula. When Illinois Territory was set off from the Indiana Territory in 1809, St. Clair County was included in the new government. It can be presumed that this St. Clair County never exercised jurisdiction over its share of the future Michigan, due to the lack of non-native settlers.

Other counties organized by the Illinois Territory between 1809 and 1819, including Madison, Crawford, Bond, and Edwards, notionally included parts of the future Michigan and Wisconsin territories in their boundaries, but do not appear to have exercised jurisdiction north of the current state line.

Former districts of Michigan Territory

The first governor of Michigan Territory, William Hull, declared a county government into existence shortly after assuming power in 1805, but on the same day, ordered that four districts be organized:

  • District of Detroit, the area surrounding the settlement at Detroit; in practice, this district was combined with the Huron district.
  • District of Erie, the area south of the Huron River and centered on present-day Monroe
  • District of Huron, the area north of Detroit, encompassing today's Thumb (Michigan) and Mid-Michigan
  • District of Michilimackinac, centered on the Straits of Mackinac and covering the northern half of the Lower Peninsula

Judicial acts and militia organization took place at the district level; the vestigial county government was never organized. District government lapsed after the British occupation of Detroit and Mackinac in 1812; following the recapture of Detroit in 1813, Hull's replacement as governor (by American reckoning), Lewis Cass, abolished the district scheme. In 1815, the current Wayne County was organized; the county government traces its lineage to the 1796 county of that name.

Former counties of Michigan Territory

Former counties of the State of Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Three Alabama counties were established in the Mississippi Territory that preceded the two states: Baldwin County, Alabama; Madison County, Alabama; Washington County, Alabama.

Missouri

  • Clark County, Missouri (1818-1819) (Not the same as the current Clark County, Missouri)
  • Dodge County, Missouri (1849–1853)
  • Hempstead County, Missouri (1818–1819)
  • Lillard County, Missouri (1821–1825)

Montana

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

Counties formed by the colonial government

Counties transferred to Federal jurisdiction, 1790

Seven counties were established by the State of North Carolina in its western territories following independence; the entire overmountain area (the former Washington District), was transferred to Federal jurisdiction in 1790 and formed into the Territory South of the River Ohio. The so-called Southwest Territory would achieve statehood in 1796, as Tennessee.

Renamed counties

North Dakota

  • Pembina County, Minnesota Territory (1849–1858, reconstituted as Pembina County, Dakota Territory in 1861, eventually reduced to present-day Pembina County, North Dakota.)

Ohio

Oklahoma

Indian Territory

Chickasaw Nation

  • Tishomingo County
  • Pontotoc County
  • Pickens County
  • Ponola County

Choctaw Nation

Oklahoma Territory

Oregon

  • Umpqua County, Oregon created 1851, gradually reduced in size until 1862, when what remained was incorporated into Douglas County[9]
  • Champooik or Champoeg County, one of the four original districts into which the Oregon Country was divided in 1843; Renamed Marion County in 1849.[10]
  • Twality, Tuality or Falatine County, one of the four original districts into which the Oregon Country was divided in 1843; Renamed Washington County in 1849.[11]

Pennsylvania

South Carolina

Beware: South Carolina legally dissolved all overarching "districts" (which often included multiple counties) in 1800. Nevertheless, surviving counties were often referred to incorrectly as "districts" as late as the 1860s.
  • Bartholomew County created in 1785 from Charleston District. Abolished 1791.[12]
  • Beaufort District created in 1768 from Granville County. Abolished 1800.[12]
  • Berkeley (1) County created in 1682 from Craven County. Abolished 1768.[12]
  • Berkeley (2) County created in 1785 from Charleston District. Abolished 1791. The third version of Berkeley County was created in 1882 and remains today.[12]
  • Camden District created in 1768 from Craven County. Abolished 1800.[12]
  • Carteret County created in 1684 from Colleton County. Abolished 1708.[12]
  • Charles Town District created in 1768 from Berkeley and Colleton Counties. It was renamed Charleston District in 1785, and abolished in 1800.[12]
  • Charleston (1) County created in 1785 from Charleston District. Abolished 1791. A second Charleston County was created in 1800 and remains today.[12]
  • Cheraws District created in 1768 from Craven County. Abolished 1800.[12]
  • Claremont County created in 1785 from Camden County. Abolished 1800.[12]
  • Clarendon (1) County created in 1785 from Camden County. Its county seat was in Jamesville. Abolished 1800. Clarendon (2) County was reestablished in 1855 with its county seat in Manning and remains today.[12]
  • Colleton (1) County created in 1682 from Craven County. Abolished 1768.[12]
  • Colleton (2) County created in 1785 from Charleston District. Abolished 1791. A third Colleton County was created in 1800 from Charleston District and remains today.[12]
  • Craven County was part of Carolina's first charter in 1664. Abolished 1768.[12]
  • Georgetown District created in 1768 from Craven County. Abolished 1800.[12]
  • Granville (1) County created in 1708 from Carteret County. Abolished 1768.[12]
  • Granville (2) County created in 1785 from Beaufort District. Abolished 1791.[12]
  • Hilton County created in 1785 from Beaufort District. Abolished 1791.[12]
  • Kingston County created in 1785 from Georgetown District. Abolished 1801.[12]
  • Lewisburg County created in 1785 from Orangeburg District. Abolished 1791.[12]
  • Lexington (1) County created in 1785 from Orangeburg District. Abolished 1791. Lexington (2) County was reestablished in 1804 from Orangeburg County and remains today.[12]
  • Liberty County created in 1785 from Georgetown District. Abolished 1798.[12]
  • Lincoln County created in 1785 from Beaufort District. Abolished 1791.[12]
  • Marion County created in 1785 from Charleston District. Abolished 1791.[12]
  • Ninety-six District created in 1768 from Indian lands. Abolished 1800.[12]
  • Orangeburgh District created in 1768 from Orangeburgh Township and Amelia Township. Spelling officially changed to Orangeburg District in 1783. Abolished 1800.[12]
  • Orange County created in 1785 from Orangeburg District. Abolished 1791. (Note: Orangeburg County was created in 1791 from Orangeburg District and remains today.)[12]
  • Pendleton County was created in 1789 from Cherokee Indian lands. It was joined to the overarching Washington District in 1791 along with Greenville County. In 1798 Washington District was renamed Pendleton District an overarching district including Pendleton County and Greenville County. In 1800 South Carolina abolished all the overarching districts. So in 1800 only the separate Pendleton County and Greenville County emerged. The remaining Pendleton County was abolished in 1826.[12]
  • Pendleton District was created in 1798 by renaming Washington District. This overarching Pendleton District was dissolved two years later in 1800. However Pendleton County remained and emerged from a part of Pendleton District. Pendleton County was abolished 1826.[12]
  • Pinckney District created in 1791 from Ninety-six District and Cheraws District. Abolished 1800.[12]
  • Salem County created in 1792 from Claremont County and Clarendon County. Abolished 1800.[12]
  • Shrewsbury County created in 1785 from Beaufort District. Abolished 1791.[12]
  • Spartan County created in 1785 from Ninety-six District. Changed to Spartanburg County in 1791 and remains today.[12]
  • Washington County created in 1785 from Charleston District. Abolished 1791.[12]
  • Washington District created in 1791 from Cherokee Indian lands. Washington District included Greenville County (created 1786) and Pendleton County (created 1789) Washington District was renamed in 1798 to Pendleton District.[12]
  • Winton County created in 1785 from Orangeburg District. Abolished 1791.[12]
  • Winyah County created in 1785 from Georgetown District. Abolished 1800.[12]

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

In 1849 most Great Basin settlers asked for admission to the Union as the State of Deseret. In 1850 Congress responded by reducing her size and organizing Utah Territory. In 1896 Utah became a state.

Vermont

Virginia

West Virginia

See Virginia & Virginia Colony, above

Wisconsin

Revolutionary-era claims of Virginia

Counties of Wisconsin created by Michigan Territory

Counties of Iowa created by Michigan Territory and transferred to Wisconsin Territory

Counties of Iowa created by Wisconsin Territory

See also

References

External links

  • Ghost Counties: Your Guide to America's Dead, Forgotten Counties(dead link)
  • Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
  • Handbook of Texas Online: DEFUNCT COUNTIES
  • Iowa's Defunct Counties
  • Defunct Kansas Counties
  • Ancestry.com: County Boundaries & Boundary Changes
  • Formation of South Carolina Counties
  • SDGENWEB Extinct County Selection List
  • Virginia Counties
  • Missing Counties of Virginia
  • Extinct Louisiana parishes and counties

Template:USCountyLists

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