Vanceburg, the seat of Lewis county, is on the banks of the Ohio River. It was founded in 1797 and named for Joseph Vance, one of the founders. It became an important port and its location relatively high above the river made it less susceptible to floods. Vanceburg became the county seat in 1863 when it was moved from Clarksburg. The town is sometimes referred to Alum City because of nearby deposits of alum. The Vanceburg post office opened in 1815. The population of Vanceburg in 1990 was 1,713.