A brief review of selected in situ stress studies is presented. Pertinent geomechanical factors and rationale for stress trajectory characterizations are discussed in the context of natural fracturing in geological formations. Examples with structural cross sections incorporating the influence of the Rome Trough are identified and potential mechanisms for in situ stress reorientation and tectonic relief across selected regions in the Appalachian Plateau Province in West Virginia are given. Detailed finite element stress simulations and stress ratios associated with cross sections through Southeastern Kanawha County extending from the Warfield anticline to the Cabin Creek syncline are also reported. A discussion of these results and their correlation with available data and salient structural features is also given. In addition, the role of stress ratios, using a compressive-shear failure criterion, is emphasized in relation to the natural fracture systems in the Devonian shales.