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In 1670, French explorer, Rene Robert LaSalle was the first known white man to visit what is now Guyandotte. LaSalle and his party of men were on an expedition down the Ohio River, briefly stopping in the area. The first settlement at Guyandotte would be established around 1680 where trading between the native people and white settlers began. Over time the native people would come to lose respect for the settlers and up until the early 1800’s attacks on the white settlers were common.

By 1772 a grant of land was made to John Savage for his military service in the French and Indian War. Much of the Savage Land Grant would later become what is present day Guyandotte. In 1796 Savage sold this land to William Buffington, who would purchase lot 42 consisting of 3,423 acres of land. Buffington willed the land to two of his sons, who would soon settle and build homes overlooking the confluence of the Ohio and Guyandotte Rivers.

In 1809 Cabell County was formed by which time Guyandotte had already become a prosperous area. In 1810, the Virginia Assembly established the town of Guyandotte that would be located on twenty acres of the land owned by Thomas Buffington. Three years following, lots of land would be sold at auction by town trustees. In 1835 it was said that Guyandotte had 40 dwellings, a church, a school, stream grist and sawmill, five storehouses, a saddler and other merchants.

In 1861 when the Civil War began, Guyandotte would soon be torn by divided sympathies. When a Union recruiting camp was setup in the town, local Confederate leaders got word of this and began marching toward Guyandotte. On the evening of November 10, 1861, Confederate raiders stormed the town taking Federal recruits prisoner. By the next day the Union Army in retaliation of the attack, would burn nearly two thirds of the town to the ground.

Sometime around 1869 Railroad Tycoon, Collis P. Huntington was searching for a location for his new railroad terminus and came to Guyandotte while he was surveying land. Huntington chose the area just west of Guyandotte to build the terminus and there he established a new city in 1872, naming the city after himself.  

In 1910 Guyandotte would celebrate its Centennial however, just one year following, Guyandotte was incorporated to become a part Huntington.

The name Guyandotte is believed to originate from several sources, or perhaps a combination of the two. The first idea is the name Guyandotte came from the Native American tribe, Wyandot, who were present in the area. The second theory is the name came from a French trader by the name of Guion, who would name the Guyandotte River after himself and the Wyandot. Regardless the name stuck and surveyors would call the area “Guyandot”.

On October 1, 1895 the official spelling of “Guyandot” would be given by the WV Board of Geographical Names. At that time the name was restored to the last form in which more than 100 years prior was used by Jefferson in his “notes on Virginia”

Guyandotte’s Early History