The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Guyandotte River

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The Guyandotte River drains a rugged area of about 1,060 square miles parallel to the Tug Fork and Big Sandy rivers. A tributary of the Ohio River, it rises in the mountains of southern West Virginia

Guyandotte River

The sources of the Guyandotte River are on Guyandotte Mountain in Raleigh County. Its mouth is on the Ohio River at Huntington, WV, in Cabell County. Much of the river follows a tight and tortuous course through a narrow valley in the rugged Cumberland Mountains.


Topo Map (Mouth)


The lumber trade in West Virginia was among the earliest vocations of the pioneer who settled on navigable or "raftable" streams. The floating of single logs and small rafts of logs was practical from five to six miles below the sources of many streams that fed into the Guyandote.

Logging apparently began in the second quarter of the 1800s. Prior to the 1870s, logging operations were sending down rafts worth $40,000 to $50,000 at a single rise.

Early Improvements

Improvements to the Guyandotte were in progress before the Civil War. Dams were built some distance up the stream but were neglected during the war and destroyed by flooding. The Guyandotte Navigation Company was rechartered after the war to make improvements to the stream, but little work was actually performed.

Name Origin

Some sources claim the Guyandotte River was called the "Se-co-nee," by an unidentified Native American tribe, meaning "the narrow-bottom river."

But the origin of the river's name is likely related to the Native American culture group Huron or Wyandot, who referred to themselves as the "Wendat," meaning "island people" or "dwellers on a peninsula." Early white explorers and settlers often spelled the name "Guyandot", which was the French form of "Wyandotte", i.e., the name of the Indian tribe.

Variant Names for Guyandotte River

Arbuckles River, Big Laurel Fork, Guiandotte River, Guyan Dot River, Guyan Dott River, Guyan River, Guyandates Creek, Guyandot Creek, Guyandot River, Guyandott River, La-ke-we-ke-ton, Little Guiandot, Se-co-ne, Se-co-nee, Secone, Seconec