Omitted from a list of Virginia counties was Alleghany County, spelled correctly with an "a" in the penultimate syllable, despite the more common spelling of the Allegheny Mountains, from which the county derives its name, with the letter "e."

This western border county was formed by an act of the Virginia legislature on January 5, 1822 from land that previously had been part of Botetourt County, Bath County and Monroe County (later Monroe County, West Virginia, after the American Civil War). The County has an area of about 445 square miles; a 2000 Census population of 12,926, of which 96.3% are white and 6% are college graduates; and boasts both a Wal-Mart Super Center and a K-Mart.

Alleghany County is bisected by Interstate 64, which continues west through Charleston, WV to St. Louis, and east through Charlottesville and Richmond, VA, to Portsmouth. A sign on the Interstate at its eastern intersection with the county lines welcomes one to "Virginia's technology corridor," an odd statement given that half this rural county is covered in national forest, and that my cellular phone loses the signal from its "nationwide" network almost in sight of that sign.

The County Seat for Alleghany County is located in Covington, VA, one of the 41 independent cities in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and home to a division of the Mead-Westvaco Corporation. This paper mill makes an excellent barometer for certain residents, as its unpleasant sulphuric emissions can more readily be smelled at my parents' house several miles away from the factory during times of falling barometric pressure accompanying the onset of inclement weather.

One of the earliest principal cash crops in the county during the late 18th and early 19th centuries was hemp, with production encouraged by the state. Not surprisingly, such production is now strongly discouraged by the state.

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