Jan. 15 is a popular date for the creation of new counties in West Virginia. Monroe County – named for James Monroe, then the new governor of Virginia and later president of the United States – was established on Jan. 15, 1799. On Jan. 15, 1836, Braxton County is created from parts of Kanawha, Lewis and Nicholas counties. The county takes its name from Carter Braxton, a Virginia statesman and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Finally, on Jan. 15, 1848, Hancock County came to be. West Virginia’s northernmost county is named for the famous Massachusetts patriot John Hancock, the first signer of the Declaration of Independence.