From Ohio History Central
Established in 1804, West Union is the county seat of Adams County, Ohio. The original county seat was Manchester, located on the Ohio River. In 1804, the seat of government moved to West Union, located in the middle of Adams County, to provide all residents with easy access.
West Union grew very slowly. Several miles away from the Ohio River, the main transportation source during the early 1800s, people bypassed the village. West Union remained isolated even after the advent of the railroad in the 1840s. The community was the only county seat in Ohio to never be connected to a railroad. In 1820, West Union had only 406 residents. Two decades later, the population had grown to just 462 residents, and by 1880, just 626 people resided in the community. In 1880, West Union had one bank and three newspapers, as well as a children’s home with forty-one orphaned children. During the twentieth century, West Union remained relatively small. In 2000, the town’s population was just 2,903 people. Most local residents work at the local hospital or in other service industries.