Wise County is a county located in the U.S. state of Virginia. In 1856, the county was formed from land taken from Lee, Scott, and Russell Counties. It was named after Henry A. Wise, who was the Governor of Virginia at the time. As of 2010, the population was 41,452, making it the largest jurisdiction in terms of population outside of any metropolitan area in Virginia. Its county seat is Wise.
The Cherokee conquered the area including Wise from the Xualae between 1671 and 1685. It was later contested by the Six Nations and the Shawnee. A Cherokee hunting party fought a protracted battle with a Shawnee one at the headwaters of the Clinch river for two days in the summer of 1786, a victory for the Cherokee although losses were heavy on both sides.
The first white explorers to have reached present-day Wise county are said to have been Thomas Walker and Christopher Gist, both in 1750. Several forts were built all along the Clinch from 1774 onward, but only after Chickamauga Cherokee leader Bob Benge was slain in 1794 was present-day Wise considered safe for white settlers even to hunt in. Among the earliest settlers within the county was William Wells in around 1792 .
Coal Heritage Trail
Trail of the Lonesome Pine Drama
Wise County Courthouse
Meador Coal Museum
Wise County Historical Society