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Kanawha county was formed in an Act of the Virginia Legislature in 1789, from portions of Greenbrier and Montgomery counties. "Kanawha" comes from an indian name meaning "place of white stone" this was probability because of the salt that was found in the area. The original county was about 120 miles long and nearly 100 miles wide. The western border was at the Big Sandy River and the county extended east to Sewell Mountain on what was the Greenbrier county line. To the north the county was bounded by the Little Kanawha River and extended south to the boundaries of Montgomery and Tazewell counties, Virginia and the state of Kentucky. In 1804 and 1809, Mason and Cabell counties respectively, were formed from part of Kanawha county. Over the first century of the county history, many new counties would be formed in portions of the original Kanawha county territory: Nicholas 1818, Logan 1824, Fayette 1831, Jackson 1831, Braxton 1836, Boone 1847, Gilmer 1843, Putnam 1848, Calhoun 1855, Roane 1856, Clay 1856, and Lincoln 1867. After the Civil War erupted in 1861, the northwestern portion of Virginia separated from Virginia, and Kanawha county became a part of West Virginia.