/- vərˈdʒɪniə/ ( listen) is a state
located in the Appalachian region of the Southern United
States. It is bordered by
to the southeast,
to the southwest,
to the northwest, and
to the northeast. West
is the 10th smallest by area,
and is ranked 38th in population. The capital and largest city is
became a state following the Wheeling Conventions of
1861, after the
American Civil War
American Civil War
had begun. Delegates from some
Unionist counties of northwestern
decided to break away from
Virginia, although they included many secessionist counties in the new
was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863,
and was a key border state during the war. West
was the only
state to form by separating from a Confederate state, the first to
separate from any state since
separated from Massachusetts, and
was one of two states admitted to the Union during the American Civil
War (the other being Nevada). While a portion of its residents held
slaves, most of the residents were yeomen farmers, and the delegates
provided for gradual abolition of slavery in the new state
The Census Bureau and the Association of American Geographers
as part of the Southern United States. The
northern panhandle extends adjacent to
and Ohio, with the
cities of Wheeling and Weirton just across the border
metropolitan area, while Bluefield is less than 70
miles (110 km) from North Carolina. Huntington in the southwest
is close to the states of
and Kentucky, while Martinsburg and
region are considered part of
the Washington metropolitan area, in between the states of Maryland
and Virginia. The unique position of West
means that it is
often included in several geographical regions, including the
Mid-Atlantic, the Upland South, and the Southeastern United States. It
is the only state that is entirely within the area served by the
Appalachian Regional Commission; the area is commonly defined as
The state is noted for its mountains and rolling hills, its
historically significant logging and coal mining industries, and its
political and labor history. It is one of the most densely karstic
areas in the world, making it a choice area for recreational caving
and scientific research.[not verified in body] The karst lands
contribute to much of the state's cool trout waters.[not verified in
body] It is also known for a wide range of outdoor recreational
opportunities, including skiing, whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking,
backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and hunting.
1.2 European exploration and settlement
1.3 Trans-Allegheny Virginia
1.4 Separation from Virginia
1.5 Development of natural resources
2.1 Geology and terrain
2.3 Adjacent states
3.1 Birth data
4.3.1 Green energy
4.5 Largest private employers
5 Quality of life
6.1 Legislative branch
6.2 Executive branch
6.3 Judicial branch
8 Important cities and towns
8.1 State capitals
8.2 Large cities
8.3 Towns and small cities
8.4 Metropolitan statistical areas
8.5 Micropolitan statistical areas
9.1 Colleges and universities
10.2.1 Appalachian music
10.2.2 Classical music
10.2.3 Musical innovation
10.4 In popular culture
11 See also
13 Further reading
14 External links
Main article: History of West Virginia
Many ancient man-made earthen mounds from various prehistoric mound
builder cultures survive, especially in the areas of present-day
Moundsville, South Charleston, and Romney. The artifacts uncovered in
these give evidence of village societies. They had a tribal trade
system culture that crafted cold-worked copper pieces.
In the 1670s during the Beaver Wars, the powerful Iroquois, five
allied nations based in present-day New York and Pennsylvania, drove
out other American Indian tribes from the region in order to reserve
Ohio Valley as a hunting ground.
Siouan language tribes,
such as the Moneton, had previously been recorded in the area.
A century later, the area now identified as West
contested territory among Anglo-Americans as well, with the colonies
Virginia claiming territorial rights under their
colonial charters to this area before the American Revolutionary War.
Some speculative land companies, such as the Vandalia Company, and
Ohio Company and
Indiana Company, tried to legitimize their
claims to land in parts of West
Virginia and Kentucky, but failed.
With the federal settlement of the
dispute, which resulted in the creation of Kentucky, Kentuckians "were
satisfied [...], and the inhabitants of a large part of West Virginia
The Crown considered the area of West
Virginia to be part of the
Virginia Colony from 1607 to 1776. The United States
considered this area to be the western part of the state of Virginia
(which was commonly referred as Trans-Allegheny Virginia) from 1776 to
1863, before the formation of West Virginia. Its residents were
discontented for years with their position in Virginia, as the
government was dominated by the planter elite of the Tidewater and
Piedmont areas. The legislature had electoral malapportionment, based
on the counting of slaves toward regional populations, and the western
white residents were underrepresented in the state legislature. More
subsistence and yeoman farmers lived in the west and they were
generally less supportive of slavery, although many counties were
divided on their support. The residents of this area became more
sharply divided after the planter elite of eastern
Virginia voted to
secede from the Union during the Civil War.
Residents of the western and northern counties set up a separate
government under Francis Pierpont in 1861, which they called the
Restored Government. Most voted to separate from Virginia, and the new
state was admitted to the Union in 1863. In 1864 a state
constitutional convention drafted a constitution, which was ratified
by the legislature without putting it to popular vote. West Virginia
abolished slavery by a gradual process and temporarily disenfranchised
men who had held Confederate office or fought for the Confederacy.
West Virginia's history has been profoundly affected by its
mountainous terrain, numerous and vast river valleys, and rich natural
resources. These were all factors driving its economy and the
lifestyles of its residents, who tended to live in many small,
relatively isolated communities in the mountain valleys. Geography
continues to be important to the state.
Further information: Prehistory of West Virginia
Further information: Protohistory of West Virginia
A 2010 analysis of a local stalagmite revealed that Native Americans
were burning forests to clear land as early as 100 BC. Some
Eastern Woodland tribes were more involved
in hunting and fishing, practicing the slash-and-burn Eastern
Agricultural Complex gardening method, which used fire to clear out
underbrush from certain area.[clarification needed] Another group
progressed to the more time-consuming, advanced companion crop fields
method of gardening. Also continuing from ancient indigenous people of
the state, they cultivated tobacco through to early historic times. It
was used in numerous social and religious rituals.
Maize (corn) did not make a substantial contribution to the diet
until after 1150 BP", to quote Mills (OSU 2003)[full citation needed].
Eventually, tribal villages began depending on corn to feed their
turkey flocks, as Kanawha Fort Ancients practiced bird prostitution.
The local Indians made corn bread and a flat rye bread called
"bannock" as they emerged from the protohistoric era. A horizon
extending from a little before the early 18th century is sometimes
called the acculturating Fireside Cabin culture. Trading posts were
established by European traders along the Potomac and James rivers.
Tribes which inhabited West
Virginia as of the year 1600 were the
Monongahela Culture to the north, the
Fort Ancient culture
Ohio River from the Monongahela to
Kentucky and extending an
unknown distance inland  & the Eastern Siouan
Moneton tribes in the southeast. There was also the Iroquoian
Susquehannock in the region approximately east of the Monongahela
River and north of the Monongahela National Forest, a possible tribe
called the Senandoa, or Shenandoah, in the
Shenandoah Valley & the
eastern-most tip of the state may have been home to the Manahoac
people. The Monongahela may have been the same as a people known as
the Calicua, or Cali.  The following may have also all been the
same tribe-- Moneton, Moheton, Senandoa, Tomahitan.
During the Beaver Wars, other tribes moved into the region. There was
the Iroquoian Tiontatecaga (also Little Mingo, Guyandotte),  who
seem to have split off from the Petun after they were defeated by the
Iroquois. They eventually settled somewhere between the Kanawha &
Little Kanawha Rivers. During the 1750s, when the Mingo Seneca seceded
Iroquois and returned to the
Ohio River Valley, they contend
that this tribe merged with them. The
Shawnee arrived as well, but
were primarily stationed within former Monongahela territory
approximately until 1750, however they did extend their influence
Ohio River region. They were the last Native tribe of
Virginia and were driven out by the
United States during the
Shawnee Wars (1811-1813). The Erie, who were chased out of
1655, are now believed to be the same as the Westo, who invaded as far
South Carolina before being destroyed in the 1680s. If so, their
path would have brought them through West
Virginia & the
historical movement of the Tutelo,  as well as Carbon dating for
the Fort Ancients seem to correspond with the given period of
1655-1670 as the time of their removal.  The Susquehannocks were
original participants of the Beaver Wars, but were cut off from the
Ohio River by the
Iroquois around 1630 and found themselves in dire
straights. From disease, constant warfare and an inability to provide
for themselves financially, they began to collapse and moved further
and further east, to the Susquehanna River of Eastern Pennsylvania.
Manahoac were probably forced out in the 1680s, when the
Iroquois began to invade Virginia.  The Siouan tribes there moved
North Carolina & later returned as one tribe, known as the
Eastern Blackfoot, or Christannas. 
Westo did not secure the territory they conquered. Before they
were even gone, displaced natives from the south flooded into freshly
conquered regions and took them over.  These became known as the
Shattaras, or West
Virginia Cherokees. They took in and merged with
the Monetons, who began to refer to themselves as the Mohetons. The
Calicua also began to refer to themselves as Cherokees soon after,
showing an apparent further merger. These Shattaras were closely
related to the tribes which formed to the south in the aftermath of
the Westo-- the Yuchi & Cherokee. From 1715-1717, the Yamasee War
sprang up. The Senandoa allegedly sided with the Yuchi and were
destroyed by Yamasee allies.  Therefore, if the Senandoa were the
same tribe as the Moneton, this would mean the collapse of
Moneton culture. Another tribe who appeared in the region
were the Canaragay, or Kanawha.  They later migrated to Maryland
and merged into colonial culture.
European exploration and settlement
Vandalia (colony) and Westsylvania
Thomas Lee, the first manager of the
Ohio Company of Virginia.
In 1671, General Abraham Wood, at the direction of Royal Governor
William Berkeley of the
Virginia Colony, sent a party from Fort Henry
led by Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam to survey this territory. They
were the first Europeans recorded as discovering Kanawha Falls. Some
sources state that Governor Alexander Spotswood's 1716 Knights of the
Golden Horseshoe Expedition (for which the state's Golden Horseshoe
Competition for 8th graders was named) had penetrated as far as
Pendleton County; however, modern historians interpret the original
accounts of the excursion as suggesting that none of the expedition's
horsemen ventured much farther west of the
Blue Ridge Mountains than
Harrisonburg, Virginia. John Van Metre, an Indian trader, penetrated
into the northern portion in 1725. The same year, German settlers from
Pennsylvania founded New Mecklenburg, the present Shepherdstown, on
the Potomac River, and others followed.
King Charles II of England, in 1661, granted to a company of gentlemen
the land between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers, known as the
Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron
Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron ultimately
took possession of this grant, and in 1746, a stone was erected at the
source of the North Branch
Potomac River to mark the western limit of
his grant. A considerable part of this land was surveyed by the young
George Washington between 1748 and 1751. The diary kept by Washington
recorded that there were already many squatters, largely of German
origin, along the South Branch Potomac River.
Christopher Gist, a surveyor in the employ of the first
which was composed chiefly of Virginians, explored the country along
Ohio River north of the mouth of the
Kanawha River between 1751
and 1752. The company sought to have a fourteenth colony established
with the name "Vandalia". Many settlers crossed the mountains after
1750, though they were hindered by Native American resistance. Few
Native Americans lived permanently within the present limits of the
state, but the region was a common hunting ground, crossed by many
trails. During the
French and Indian War
French and Indian War (the North American front of
the Seven Years' War in Europe), Indian allies of the French nearly
destroyed the scattered British settlements.
Shortly before the American Revolutionary War, in 1774 the Crown
Virginia John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, led a force
over the mountains. A body of militia under then-Colonel Andrew Lewis
Shawnee Indians, under Hokoleskwa (or "Cornstalk"), a
crushing blow during the
Battle of Point Pleasant
Battle of Point Pleasant at the junction of
the Kanawha and the
Ohio rivers. At the Treaty of Camp Charlotte
concluding Dunmore's War,
Cornstalk agreed to recognize the
as the new boundary with the "Long Knives". By 1776, however, the
Shawnee had returned to war, joining the Chickamauga, a band of
Cherokee known for the area where they lived. Native American attacks
on settlers continued until after the American Revolutionary War.
During the war, the settlers in western
Virginia were generally active
Whigs and many served in the Continental Army. However, Claypool's
Rebellion of 1780–1781, in which a group of men refused to pay taxes
imposed by the Continental Army, showed war-weariness in what became
See also: History of slavery in West Virginia
Further information: Virginia
A celebration at a slave wedding in Virginia, 1838
Social conditions in western
Virginia were entirely unlike those in
the eastern portion of the state. The population was not homogeneous,
as a considerable part of the immigration came by way of Pennsylvania
and included Germans,
Protestant Scotch-Irish, and settlers from the
states farther north. Counties in the east and south were settled
mostly by east Virginians. During the American Revolution, the
movement to create a state beyond the Alleghenies was revived and a
petition for the establishment of "Westsylvania" was presented to
Congress, on the grounds that the mountains presented an almost
impassable barrier to the east. The rugged nature of the country made
slavery unprofitable, and time only increased the social, political,
economic, and cultural differences (see Tuckahoe-Cohee) between the
two sections of Virginia.
A convention that met in 1829 to form a new constitution for Virginia,
against the protest of the counties beyond the mountains, required a
property qualification for suffrage. This effectively disenfranchised
some of the poorer yeoman farmers. In addition, it gave the
slave-holding counties the benefit of three-fifths of their slave
population in apportioning the state's representation in the U.S.
House of Representatives. As a result, every county beyond the
Alleghenies except one voted to reject the constitution, which
nevertheless passed because of eastern support. The eastern planter
elite dominated the legislature and saw to their own
Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850–51, the Reform
Convention, addressed a number of issues important to western
Virginians. It extended the vote to all White males 21 years or older.
The governor, lieutenant-governor, the judiciary, sheriffs, and other
county officers were to be elected by public vote. The composition of
the General Assembly was changed. Representation in the house of
delegates was apportioned on the basis of the census of 1850, counting
Whites only. The Senate representation was arbitrarily fixed at 50
seats, with the west receiving twenty, and the east thirty senators.
This was made acceptable to the west by a provision that required the
General Assembly to reapportion representation on the basis of White
population in 1865, or else put the matter to a public referendum. But
the east also gave itself a tax advantage in requiring a property tax
at true and actual value, except for slaves. Slaves under the age of
12 years were not taxed and slaves over that age were taxed at only
$300, a fraction of their true value. Small farmers, however, had all
their assets, animals, and land taxed at full value. Despite this tax
and the lack of internal improvements in the west, the vote was 75,748
for and 11,063 against the new Constitution. Most of the opposition
came from delegates from eastern counties, who did not like the
compromises made for the west.
Given these differences, many in the west had long contemplated a
separate state. In particular, men such as lawyer Francis H. Pierpont
from Fairmont, had long chafed under the political domination of the
Tidewater and Piedmont slave-holders. In addition to differences over
the abolition of slavery, he and allies felt the
ignored and refused to spend funds on needed internal improvements in
the west, such as turnpikes and railroads.
Separation from Virginia
State of Kanawha
State of Kanawha and West
Virginia in the American Civil War
Francis H. Pierpont, a leader during the Second Wheeling Convention
On October 24, 1861, when voters from 41 counties voted to form a new
state, voter turnout was 34%. The name was subsequently changed from
Kanawha to West Virginia.
Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight, a statue on the grounds of the West
Virginia State Capitol
Harpers Ferry (pictured here as it appeared in 2005) changed hands a
dozen times during the
American Civil War
American Civil War and was annexed by West
Statehood vote of October 24, 1861
Virginia was the only state in the Union to separate from a
Confederate state (Virginia) during the American Civil War. In
Richmond on April 17, 1861, the
Virginia Secession Convention of 1861
voted to secede from the Union, but of the 49 delegates from the
northwestern corner (which ultimately became West Virginia) only 17
voted in favor of the Ordinance of Secession, while 30 voted
against (with 2 abstentions). Almost immediately after that
vote, a mass meeting at Clarksburg recommended that each county in
Virginia send delegates to a convention to meet in
Wheeling on May 13, 1861. When this First
Wheeling Convention met, 425
delegates from 25 counties were present, though more than one-third of
the delegates were from the northern panhandle area, but soon
there was a division of sentiment.
Some delegates led by
John S. Carlile
John S. Carlile favored the immediate formation
of a new state, while others led by
Waitman Willey argued that, as
Virginia's secession had not yet been passed by the required
referendum (as happened on May 23), such action would constitute
revolution against the United States. The convention decided that
if Virginians adopted the secession ordinance (of which there was
little doubt), another convention including the members-elect of the
legislature would meet in Wheeling in June 1861. On May 23, 1861,
secession was ratified by a large majority in
Virginia as a whole, but
in the western counties 34,677 voted against and 19,121 voted for the
Wheeling Convention met as agreed on June 11 and declared
that, since the Secession Convention had been called without popular
consent, all its acts were void and that all who adhered to it had
vacated their offices. The Wheeling Conventions, and the delegates
themselves, were never actually elected by public ballot to act on
behalf of western Virginia. Of its 103 members, 33 had been
elected to the
Virginia General Assembly on May 23. This included
some hold-over state senators whose four-year terms had begun in 1859,
and some who vacated their offices to convene in Wheeling. Other
members "were chosen even more irregularly—some in mass meetings,
others by county committee, and still others were seemingly
self-appointed" An act for the reorganization of the government
was passed on June 19. The next day convention delegates chose Francis
H. Pierpont as governor of Virginia, and elected other officers to a
rival state government and two U.S. senators (Willey and Carlile) to
replace secessionists before adjourning. The federal government in
Washington, D.C. promptly recognized the new government and seated the
two new senators. Thus, there were two state governments in Virginia:
one pledging allegiance to the
United States and one to the
Wheeling Convention had recessed until August 6, then
reassembled on August 20 and called for a popular vote on the
formation of a new state and for a convention to frame a constitution
if the vote should be favorable. At the October 24, 1861 election,
18,408 votes were cast for the new state and only 781 against. The
election results were questioned, since the Union army then occupied
the area and Union troops were stationed at many of the polls to
prevent Confederate sympathizers from voting. This was also
election day for local offices, and elections were also held in camps
of Confederate soldiers, who elected rival state officials, such as
Robert E. Cowan. Most pro-statehood votes came from 16 counties around
the Northern panhandle. Over 50,000 votes had been cast on the
Ordinance of Secession, yet the vote on statehood garnered little more
than 19,000. In
Ohio County, home to Wheeling, only about
one-quarter of the registered voters cast votes. In most of what
would become West Virginia, there was no vote at all, since as
two-thirds of the territory of West
Virginia had voted for secession
and county officers remained loyal to Richmond. Votes recorded from
pro-secession counties were mostly cast elsewhere by Unionist refugees
from these counties.
Despite that controversy, delegates (including many Methodist
ministers) met to write a new Constitution for the new state,
beginning on November 26, 1861. During that constitutional convention,
a Mr. Lamb of
Ohio County and a Mr. Carskadon claimed that in
Hampshire County, out of 195 votes only 39 were cast by citizens of
the state; the rest were cast illegally by Union soldiers. One of
the key figures was Rev. Gordon Battelle, who also represented Ohio
County, and who proposed resolutions to establish public schools, as
well as to limit movement of slaves into the new state, and to
gradually abolish slavery. The education proposal succeeded, but the
convention tabled the slavery proposals before finishing its work on
February 18, 1862. The new constitution was more closely modeled on
Ohio than of Virginia, adopting a township model of government
rather than the "courthouse cliques" of
Virginia which Carlile
criticized, and a compromise demanded by the Kanawha region
(Charleston lawyers Benjamin Smith and Brown) allowed counties and
municipalities to vote subsidies for railroads or other improvement
organizations. The resulting instrument was ratified (18,162 for
and 514 against) on April 11, 1862.
On May 13, 1862 the state legislature of the reorganized government
approved the formation of the new state. An application for admission
to the Union was made to Congress, introduced by Senator Waitman
Willey of the Restored Government of Virginia. However, Sen. Carlile
sought to sabotage the bill, first trying to expand the new state's
boundaries to include the Shenandoah Valley, and then to defeat the
Willey amendment at home. On December 31, 1862, an enabling act
was approved by President
Abraham Lincoln admitting West Virginia, on
the condition that a provision for the gradual abolition of slavery be
inserted in its constitution (as Rev. Battelle had urged in the
Wheeling Intelligencer and also written to Lincoln). While many felt
that West Virginia's admission as a state was both illegal and
unconstitutional, Lincoln issued his Opinion on the Admission of West
Virginia finding that "the body which consents to the admission of
Virginia is the
Legislature of Virginia", and that its admission
was therefore both constitutional and expedient.
The convention was reconvened on February 12, 1863, and the abolition
demand of the federal enabling act was met. The revised constitution
was adopted on March 26, 1863 and on April 20, 1863, President Lincoln
issued a proclamation admitting the state 60 days later on June 20,
1863. Meanwhile, officers for the new state were chosen, while Gov.
Pierpont moved his pro-Union
Virginia capital to Union-occupied
Alexandria, where he asserted and exercised jurisdiction over all of
Virginia counties within the federal lines.
The question of the constitutionality of the formation of the new
state was later brought before the Supreme Court of the United States
in the following manner: Berkeley and Jefferson counties lying on the
Potomac east of the mountains, in 1863, with the consent of the
reorganized government of
Virginia voted in favor of annexation to
Many voters of the strongly pro-secessionist counties were absent in
the Confederate Army when the vote was taken and refused to
acknowledge the transfer when they returned. The
Assembly repealed the act of secession and, in 1866, brought suit
Virginia asking the court to declare the counties a part
of Virginia, which would have declared West Virginia's admission as a
state unconstitutional. Meanwhile, on March 10, 1866, Congress passed
a joint resolution recognizing the transfer. The Supreme Court decided
in favor of West
Virginia in 1870.
During the Civil War, Union General George B. McClellan's forces
gained possession of the greater part of the territory in the summer
of 1861, culminating at the Battle of Rich Mountain, and Union control
was never again seriously threatened, despite an attempt by Robert E.
Lee in the same year. In 1863, General John D. Imboden, with 5,000
Confederates, raided a considerable portion of the state and burned
Pierpont's library, although Senator Willey escaped their grasp. Bands
of guerrillas burned and plundered in some sections, and were not
entirely suppressed until after the war ended. The Eastern Panhandle
counties were more affected by the war, with military control of the
area repeatedly changing hands.
The area that became West
Virginia actually furnished about an equal
number of soldiers to the federal and Confederate armies,
approximately 22,000–25,000 each. In 1865, the Wheeling government
found it necessary to strip voting rights from returning Confederates
in order to retain control. James Ferguson, who proposed the law, said
that if it was not enacted he would lose election by 500 votes.
The property of Confederates might also be confiscated, and in 1866 a
constitutional amendment disfranchising all who had given aid and
comfort to the Confederacy was adopted. The addition of the Fourteenth
and Fifteenth Amendments to the
United States Constitution caused a
reaction. The Democratic party secured control in 1870, and in 1871,
the constitutional amendment of 1866 was abrogated. The first steps
toward this change had been taken, however, by the Republicans in
1870. On August 22, 1872, an entirely new constitution was adopted.
Beginning in Reconstruction, and for several decades thereafter, the
two states disputed the new state's share of the pre-war Virginia
government's debts, which had mostly been incurred to finance public
infrastructure improvements, such as canals, roads, and railroads
Virginia Board of Public Works. Virginians—led by former
Confederate General William Mahone—formed a political coalition
based upon this: the Readjuster Party. Although West Virginia's first
constitution provided for the assumption of a part of the Virginia
debt, negotiations opened by
Virginia in 1870 were fruitless, and in
Virginia funded two-thirds of the debt and arbitrarily assigned
the remainder to West Virginia. The issue was finally settled in 1915,
when the Supreme Court of the
United States ruled that West Virginia
Virginia $12,393,929.50. The final installment of this sum
was paid in 1939.
Development of natural resources
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Child labor in the coal mines of West Virginia, 1908, by Lewis Hine
Family of coal miner in West
Virginia c. 1935
Saturday afternoon street scene, Welch, McDowell County, 1946
After Reconstruction, the new 35th state benefited from the
development of its mineral resources more than any other single
Saltpeter caves had been employed throughout
Appalachia for munitions;
the border between West
Virginia includes the "Saltpeter
Trail", a string of limestone caverns containing rich deposits of
calcium nitrate that were rendered and sold to the government. The
trail stretched from Pendleton County to the western terminus of the
route in the town of Union, Monroe County. Nearly half of these caves
are on the West
Virginia side, including Organ
Cave and Haynes Cave.
In the late 18th-century, saltpeter miners in Haynes
Cave found large
animal bones in the deposits. These were sent by a local historian and
frontier soldier Colonel John Stuart to Thomas Jefferson. The bones
were named Megalonyx jeffersonii, or great-claw, and became known as
Jefferson's three-toed sloth. It was declared the official state
fossil of West
Virginia in 2008. The West
Virginia official state rock
is bituminous coal, and the official state gemstone is silicified
Mississippian fossil Lithostrotionella coral.
The limestone also produced a useful quarry industry, usually small,
and softer, high-calcium seams were burned to produce industrial lime.
This lime was used for agricultural and construction purposes; for
many years a specific portion of the C & O
limestone rock to Clifton Forge,
Virginia as an industrial flux.
Salt mining had been underway since the 18th century, though it had
largely played out by the time of the American Civil War, when the red
salt of Kanawha County was a valued commodity of first Confederate,
and later Union, forces. In years following, more sophisticated mining
methods would restore West Virginia's role as a major producer of
However, in the second half of the 19th century, there was an even
greater treasure not yet developed: bituminous coal. It would fuel
much of the
Industrial Revolution in the U.S. and the steamships of
many of the world's navies.
The residents (both Native Americans and early European settlers) had
long known of the underlying coal, and that it could be used for
heating and fuel. However, for a long time, very small "personal"
mines were the only practical development. After the War, with the new
railroads came a practical method to transport large quantities of
coal to expanding U.S. and export markets. As the anthracite mines of
New Jersey and
Pennsylvania began to play out during this
same time period, investors and industrialists focused new interest in
West Virginia. Geologists such as Dr.
David T. Ansted
David T. Ansted surveyed
potential coal fields and invested in land and early mining projects.
The completion of the Chesapeake and
Ohio Railway (C&O) across the
state to the new city of Huntington on the
Ohio River in 1872 opened
access to the New River
Coal Field. Soon, the C&O was building its
huge coal pier at Newport News,
Virginia on the large harbor of
Hampton Roads. In 1881, the new Philadelphia-based owners of the
Railroad (AM&O), which
stretched across Virginia's southern tier from Norfolk, had sights
clearly set on the Mountain State, where the owners had large land
holdings. Their railroad was renamed
Norfolk and Western
Norfolk and Western (N&W),
and a new railroad city was developed at Roanoke to handle planned
expansion. After its new president
Frederick J. Kimball and a small
party journeyed by horseback and saw firsthand the rich bituminous
coal seam, which Kimball's wife named Pocahontas, the N&W
redirected its planned westward expansion to reach it. Soon, the
N&W was also shipping from new coal piers at Hampton Roads.
In 1889, in the southern part of the state, along the Norfolk and
Western rail lines, the important coal center of Bluefield, West
Virginia was founded. The "capital" of the Pocahontas coalfield, this
city would remain the largest city in the southern portion of the
state for several decades. It shares a sister city with the same name,
Bluefield, in Virginia.
In the northern portion of the state and elsewhere, the older
Railroad (B&O) and other lines also expanded to
take advantage of coal opportunities. The B&O developed coal piers
in Baltimore and at several points on the Great Lakes. Other
significant rail carriers of coal were the Western
(WM), Southern Railway (SOU), and the Louisville and Nashville
Particularly notable was a latecomer, the
Virginian Railway (VGN). By
1900, only a large area of the most rugged terrain of southern West
Virginia was any distance from the existing railroads and mining
activity. Within this area west of the New River Coalfield in Raleigh
Wyoming counties lay the Winding Gulf Coalfield, later promoted as
the "Billion Dollar Coalfield."
A protégé of Dr. Ansted was William Nelson Page (1854–1932), a
civil engineer and mining manager in Fayette County. Former West
William A. MacCorkle
William A. MacCorkle described him as a man who knew
the land "as a farmer knows a field." Beginning in 1898, Page teamed
with northern and European-based investors to take advantage of the
undeveloped area. They acquired large tracts of land in the area, and
Page began the Deepwater Railway, a short-line railroad chartered to
stretch between the C&O at its line along the
Kanawha River and
the N&W at Matoaka—a distance of about 80 miles (130 km).
Although the Deepwater plan should have provided a competitive
shipping market via either railroad, leaders of the two large
railroads did not appreciate the scheme. In secret collusion, each
declined to negotiate favorable rates with Page, nor did they offer to
purchase his railroad, as they had many other short-lines. However, if
the C&O and N&W presidents thought they could thus kill the
Page project, they were to be proved mistaken. One of the silent
partner investors Page had enlisted was millionaire industrialist
Henry Huttleston Rogers, a principal in John D. Rockefeller's Standard
Oil Trust and an old hand at developing natural resources and
transportation. A master at competitive "warfare", Henry Rogers did
not like to lose in his endeavors and also had "deep pockets".
Instead of giving up, Page (and Rogers) quietly planned and then built
their tracks all the way east across Virginia, using Rogers' private
fortune to finance the $40-million cost. When the renamed Virginian
Railway (VGN) was completed in 1909, no fewer than three railroads
were shipping ever-increasing volumes of coal to export from Hampton
Virginia coal was also under high demand at Great Lakes
ports. The VGN and the N&W ultimately became parts of the modern
Norfolk Southern system, and the VGN's well-engineered 21st-century
tracks continue to offer a favorable gradient to Hampton Roads.
As coal mining and related work became major employment activities in
the state, there was considerable labor strife as working conditions,
safety issues and economic concerns arose. Even in the 21st century,
mining safety and ecological concerns is still challenging to the
state whose coal continues to power electrical generating plants in
many other states.
Coal is not the only valuable mineral found in West Virginia, as the
state was the site of the 1928 discovery of the 34.48 carat (6.896 g)
Main article: Geography of West Virginia
State sign (Highway 52)
Shaded relief map of the
Cumberland Plateau and Ridge-and-valley
Map of West
Located in the Appalachian Mountain range, West
Virginia covers an
area of 24,229.76 square miles (62,754.8 km2), with 24,077.73
square miles (62,361.0 km2) of land and 152.03 square miles
(393.8 km2) of water, making it the 41st-largest state in the
United States. West
Virginia in the southeast,
Ohio in the northwest, and
Kentucky in the southwest. Its longest border is with
Virginia at 381
miles, followed by
Ohio at 243 miles,
Maryland at 174 miles,
Pennsylvania at 118 miles, and
Kentucky at 79 miles.
Geology and terrain
Main article: Geology of West Virginia
The summit of
Spruce Knob is often covered in clouds
Virginia is located entirely within the Appalachian Region, and
the state is almost entirely mountainous, giving reason to the
nickname The Mountain State and the motto Montani Semper Liberi
("Mountaineers are always free"). The elevations and ruggedness drop
near large rivers like the
Ohio River or Shenandoah River. About 75%
of the state is within the
Cumberland Plateau and Allegheny Plateau
regions. Though the relief is not high, the plateau region is
extremely rugged in most areas. The average elevation of West Virginia
is approximately 1,500 feet (460 m) above sea level, which is the
highest of any
U.S. state east of the
On the eastern state line with Virginia, high peaks in the Monongahela
National Forest region give rise to an island of colder climate and
ecosystems similar to those of northern
New England and eastern
Canada. The highest point in the state is atop
Spruce Knob, at 4,863
feet (1,482 m), and is covered in a boreal forest of dense
spruce trees at altitudes above 4,000 feet (1,200 m).
lies within the
Monongahela National Forest
Monongahela National Forest and is a part of the
Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. A total of six
wilderness areas can also be found within the forest. Outside the
forest to the south, the
New River Gorge
New River Gorge is a canyon 1,000 feet
(300 m) deep, carved by the New River. The National Park Service
manages a portion of the gorge and river that has been designated as
New River Gorge
New River Gorge National River, one of only 15 rivers in the U.S.
with this level of protection.
Other areas under protection and management include:
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Bluestone National Scenic River
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Gauley River National Recreation Area
George Washington National Forest
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge
Most of West
Virginia lies within the Appalachian mixed mesophytic
forests ecoregion, while the higher elevations along the eastern
border and in the panhandle lie within the Appalachian-
forests. The native vegetation for most of the state was originally
mixed hardwood forest of oak, chestnut, maple, beech, and white pine,
with willow and
American sycamore along the state's waterways. Many of
the areas are rich in biodiversity and scenic beauty, a fact that is
appreciated by native West Virginians, who refer to their home as
Almost Heaven (from the song, "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John
Denver). Before the song, it was known as "The Cog State" (Coal, Oil,
and Gas) or "The Mountain State".
The underlying rock strata are sandstone, shale, bituminous coal beds,
and limestone laid down in a near-shore environment from sediments
derived from mountains to the east, in a shallow inland sea on the
west. Some beds illustrate a coastal swamp environment, some river
delta, some shallow water. Sea level rose and fell many times during
the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian eras, giving a variety of rock
Appalachian Mountains are some of the oldest on earth,
having formed over 300 million years ago.
Köppen climate types of West Virginia
Climate change in West Virginia
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Virginia state-wide averages
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Virginia University data
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Blackwater Canyon during the fall
The climate of West
Virginia is generally a humid subtropical climate
Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification Cfa, except Dfb at the higher
elevations) with warm to hot, humid summers and chilly winters,
increasing in severity with elevation. Some southern highland areas
also have a mountain temperate climate (Köppen Cfb) where winter
temperatures are more moderate and summer temperatures are somewhat
cooler. However, the weather is subject in all parts of the state to
change. The hardiness zones range from zone 5b in the central
Appalachian mountains to zone 7a in the warmest parts of the lowest
Lightning over Cacapon Mountain in West
Eastern Panhandle and the
Ohio River Valley, temperatures are
warm enough to see and grow subtropical plants such as southern
magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), crepe myrtle, Albizia julibrissin,
American sweetgum and even the occasional needle palm and sabal minor.
These plants do not thrive as well in other parts of the state. The
eastern prickly pear grows well in many portions of the state.
Average January temperatures range from around 26 °F
(−4 °C) near the
Cheat River to 41 °F (5 °C) along
sections of the border with Kentucky. July averages range from
67 °F (19 °C) along the North Branch
Potomac River to
76 °F (24 °C) in the western part of the state. It is
cooler in the mountains than in the lower sections of the state.
The highest recorded temperature in the state is 112 °F
(44 °C) at Martinsburg on July 10, 1936 and the lowest recorded
temperature in the state is −37 °F (−38 °C) at
Lewisburg on December 30, 1917.
December 18 and 19, 2003. Significant snowstorm in West Virginia
Annual precipitation ranges from less than 32 inches (81 cm) in
the lower eastern section to more than 56 inches (140 cm) in
higher parts of the Allegheny Front. Valleys in the east have lower
rainfall because the Allegheny mountain ridges to the west create a
partial rain shadow. Slightly more than half the rainfall occurs from
April to September. Dense fogs are common in many valleys of the
Kanawha section, especially the Tygart Valley. West
Virginia is also
one of the cloudiest states in the nation, with the cities of Elkins
and Beckley ranking 9th and 10th in the U.S. respectively for the
number of cloudy days per year (over 210). In addition to persistent
cloudy skies caused by the damming of moisture by the Alleghenies,
Virginia also experiences some of the most frequent precipitation
in the nation, with Snowshoe averaging nearly 200 days a year with
either rain or snow. Snow usually lasts only a few days in the lower
sections but may persist for weeks in the higher mountain areas. An
average of 34 inches (86 cm) of snow falls annually in
Charleston, although during the winter of 1995–1996 more than three
times that amount fell as several cities in the state established new
records for snowfall. Average snowfall in the Allegheny Highlands can
range up to 180 inches (460 cm) per year. Severe weather is
somewhat less prevalent in West
Virginia than in most other eastern
states, and it ranks among the least tornado-prone states east of the
Virginia population density map.
United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of West
Virginia was 1,831,102 on July 1, 2016, a 1.2% decrease since the 2010
United States Census. The center of population of West
located in Braxton County, in the town of Gassaway.
At the 2010 Census, the racial composition of the state's population
93.2% of the population was non-Hispanic White
3.4% non-Hispanic Black or African American
0.2% non-Hispanic American Indian and
0.7% non-Hispanic Asian American
0.1% from some other race (non-Hispanic)
Multiracial American (non-Hispanic).
In the same year, 1.2% of West Virginia's population was of Hispanic,
Latino, or Spanish origin (they may be of any race).
Virginia Racial Breakdown of Population
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
Two or more races
As of 2012, West
Virginia has an estimated population of 1,855,413,
which is an increase of 49, or 0.0%, from the prior year and an
increase of 2,414, or 0.13%, since the year 2000. This includes a
natural decrease since the last census of 3,296 people (that is
108,292 births minus 111,588 deaths) and an increase from net
migration of 14,209 people into the state. West
Virginia is the least
populous southeastern state.
Immigration from outside the United
States resulted in a net increase of 3,691 people, and migration
within the country produced a net increase of 10,518 people.
Only 1.1% of the state's residents were foreign-born, placing West
Virginia last among the 50 states in that statistic. It also has the
lowest percentage of residents that speak a language other than
English in the home (2.7%).
The five largest ancestry groups in West
Virginia are: German (18.9%),
Irish (15.1%) American (12.9%), English (11.8%) and Italian
(4.7%) In the 2000 Census People who identified their
ethnicity as simply American made up 18.7% of the population. The
majority of these people are of Scots-Irish ancestry, or of English
Large numbers of people of German ancestry are present in the
northeastern counties of the state. People of English ancestry are
present throughout the entire state. Many West Virginians who
self-identify as Irish are actually Scots-Irish Protestants.
5.6% of West Virginia's population were reported as under 5, 22.3%
under 18, and 15.3% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately
51.4% of the population.
There were 20,928 births in 2006. Of these, 19,757 (94.40% of the
births, 95.19% of the population) were to Non-Hispanic Whites. There
were 22 births to American Indians (0.11% of the births and 0.54% of
the population), 177 births to Asians (0.85% of the births and 0.68%
of the population), 219 births to Hispanics (1.05% of the births and
0.88% of the population) and 753 births to Blacks and others (3.60% of
the births and 3.56% of the population).
The state's Northern Panhandle, and North-Central region feel an
affinity for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Also, those in the Eastern
Panhandle feel a connection with the
Washington, D.C. suburbs in
Maryland and Virginia, and southern West Virginians often consider
themselves Southerners. Finally, the towns and farms along the
Ohio River, which forms most of the state's western border, have
an appearance and culture somewhat resembling the Midwest.
Largest cities or towns in West Virginia
Note: Births in table don't add up, because Hispanics are counted both
by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.
Live Births by Race/Ethnicity of Mother
> Non-Hispanic White
Hispanic (of any race)
Total West Virginia
Religion in West Virginia
Several surveys have been made in recent years, in 2008 by the
American Religion Identity Survey, in 2010 by the Pew Forum on
Religion and Public Life. The Pew survey results admit to a 6.5%
margin of error plus or minus, while the ARIS survey states that
"estimates are subject to larger sampling errors in states with small
populations." A characteristic of religion in Appalachian communities
is the abundance of independent, non-affiliated churches, which
"remain unnoted and uncounted in any census of church life in the
United States." This sometimes leads to the belief that these
communities are "unchurched".
The largest denomination as of 2010 was the United Methodist Church
with 136,000 members in 1,200 congregations. The second largest
Protestant church was the
American Baptist Churches USA
American Baptist Churches USA with 88,000
members and 381 congregations. The Southern Baptist church had 44,000
members and 232 congregations. The
Churches of Christ
Churches of Christ had 22,000
members and 287 congregations. The
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Presbyterian Church (USA) had 200
congregations and 20,000 members.
A survey conducted in 2015 by the
Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center found that West
Virginia was the 7th most "highly religious" state in the United
Main article: Economy of West Virginia
See also: West
Virginia locations by per capita income
The economy of West
Virginia nominally would be the 62nd largest
economy globally behind
Iraq and ahead of
Croatia according to 2009
World Bank projections, and the 64th largest behind
Iraq and ahead
Libya according to 2009 International Monetary Fund
projections. The state has a projected nominal GSP of $63.34
billion in 2009 according to the
Bureau of Economic Analysis
Bureau of Economic Analysis report of
November 2010, and a real GSP of $55.04 billion. The real GDP growth
of the state in 2009 of .7% was the 7th best in the country. West
Virginia was only one of ten states in 2009 that grew
While per capita income fell 2.6% nationally in 2009, West Virginia's
grew at 1.8%. Through the first half of 2010, exports from West
Virginia topped $3 billion, growing 39.5% over the same period from
the previous year and ahead of the national average by 15.7%.
Morgantown was ranked by
Forbes as the #10 best small city in the
nation to conduct business in 2010. The city is also home to West
Virginia University, the 95th best public university according to U.S.
News & World Report in 2011. The proportion of West Virginia's
adult population with a bachelor's degree is the lowest in the U.S. at
The net corporate income tax rate is 6.5% while business costs are 13%
below the national average.
Bureau of Economic Analysis
Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that in 2014 West
Virginia's economy grew twice as fast as the next fastest growing
state East of the
Mississippi River, ranking third alongside Wyoming
and just behind
North Dakota and
Texas among the fastest growing
states in the United States.
Tourism contributed $4.27 billion to the state's economy and employed
44,400 people in 2010, making it one of the state's largest
industries. Many tourists, especially in the eastern mountains,
are drawn to the region's notable opportunities for outdoor
Canaan Valley is popular for winter sports, Seneca Rocks
is one of the premier rock climbing destinations in the eastern U.S.,
the New River Gorge/Fayetteville area draws rock climbers as well as
whitewater rafting enthusiasts, and the
Monongahela National Forest
Monongahela National Forest is
popular with hikers, backpackers, hunters, and anglers.
Seneca Rocks, Pendleton County
In addition to such outdoor recreation opportunities, the state offers
a number of historic and cultural attractions.
Harpers Ferry National
Historical Park is a historic town situated at the confluence of the
Shenandoah and Potomac rivers.
Harpers Ferry was the site of John
Brown's 1859 slave revolt and raid on the US Armory and Arsenal.
Located at the approximate midpoint of the Appalachian Trail, Harpers
Ferry is the base of the
Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
The Greenbrier hotel and resort, originally built in 1778, has long
been considered a premier hotel, frequented by numerous world leaders
and U.S. presidents over the years.
Virginia is the site of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory,
which features the Green Bank Telescope. The main building of Weston
State Hospital is the largest hand-cut sandstone building in the
western hemisphere, second worldwide only to the Kremlin in Moscow.
Tours of the building, which is a
National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark and part
of the National Civil War Trail, are offered seasonally and by
appointment year round. West
Virginia has numerous popular festivals
throughout the year.
WV State Sesquicentennial
Bituminous coal seam in southwestern West Virginia
One of the major resources in West Virginia's economy is coal.
According to the Energy Information Administration, West
Virginia is a
top coal-producer in the United States, second only to Wyoming. West
Virginia is located in the heart of the Marcellus
Shale Natural Gas
Bed, which stretches from
Tennessee north to New York in the middle of
Nearly all of the electricity generated in West
Virginia is from
coal-fired power plants. West
Virginia produces a surplus of
electricity and leads the Nation in net interstate electricity
exports. Farming is also practiced in West Virginia, but on a
limited basis because of the mountainous terrain over much of the
Virginia has the potential to generate 4,952 GWh/year from 1,883
MW of wind power, using 80 meter high wind turbines, or 8,627 GWh/year
from 2,772 MW of 100 meter wind turbines, and 60,000 GWh from 40,000
MW of photovoltaics, including 3,810 MW of rooftop photovoltaics.
Virginia Wind Generation (GWh, Million kWh)
Virginia personal income tax is based on federal adjusted gross
income (not taxable income), as modified by specific items in West
Virginia law. Citizens are taxed within five income brackets, which
range from 3.0 percent to 6.5 percent. The state's consumer sales tax
is levied at 6 percent. Effective January 1, 2004, calculation of WV
consumer sales tax has been converted to a calculated figure from the
bracket system, and remains at 6 percent for most goods (non-prepared
foods are not taxed).
Virginia counties administer and collect property taxes, although
property tax rates reflect levies for state government, county
governments, county boards of education and municipalities. Counties
may also impose a hotel occupancy tax on lodging places not located
within the city limits of any municipality that levies such a tax.
Municipalities may levy license and gross receipts taxes on businesses
located within the city limits and a hotel occupancy tax on lodging
places in the city. Although the Department of Tax and Revenue plays a
major role in the administration of this tax, less than one-half of 1
percent of the property tax collected goes to state government.
The primary beneficiaries of the property tax are county boards of
education. Property taxes are paid to the sheriff of each of the
state's 55 counties. Each county and municipality can impose its own
rates of property taxation within the limits set by the West Virginia
Constitution. The West
Virginia legislature sets the rate of tax of
county boards of education. This rate is used by all county boards of
education statewide. However, the total tax rate for county boards of
education may differ from county to county because of excess levies.
The Department of Tax and Revenue supervises and otherwise assists
counties and municipalities in their work of assessment and tax rate
determination. The total tax rate is a combination of the tax levies
from four state taxing authorities: state, county, schools and
municipal. This total tax rate varies for each of the four classes of
property, which consists of personal, real and intangible properties.
Property is assessed according to its use, location and value as of
July 1. All property is reappraised every three years; annual
adjustments are made to assessments for property with a change of
Virginia does not impose an inheritance tax. Because of
the phase-out of the federal estate tax credit, West Virginia's estate
tax is not imposed on estates of persons who died on or after January
Largest private employers
The largest private employers in West Virginia, as of March 2011,
Virginia United Health System
Charleston Area Medical Center
St. Mary's Medical Center
American Electric Power
The Mentor Network
Cabell Huntington Hospital
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
West Virginia's Choice, Inc
University Health Associates
Frontier West Virginia
Bob Evans Farms
Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital
Monongalia General Hospital
MTR Gaming Group
Thomas Health System
Raleigh General Hospital
Spartan Mining Company
Employee Resource Group
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
J. C. Penney
Heartland Employment Services
United Parcel Service
Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia
Gino's/Tudor's Biscuit World
Weirton Medical Center
Alcan Rolled Products
Quality of life
Bluefield in 2014
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Virginia Governor Tomblin's proposed 2014–15 budget submitted
in January 2014 had an estimated budget gap of $146–$265 million,
and halfway through the 2013–14 fiscal year, tax revenues were $82
million short. The West
Legislature in March 2014 passed
its budget bill, taking $147 million from the Rainy Day Fund to
balance the 2015 budget. Governor Tomblin's Deputy Chief of Staff
Jason Pizatella, after the state legislature passed the budget, said
Virginia is expecting another dismal budget in 2016 and
could need $150–170 million to balance the next year's budget.
Virginia coal exports declined 40% in 2013 – a loss of $2.9
billion and overall total exports declined 26%. West Virginia
ranked last in the Gallup Economic Index for the fourth year running.
West Virginia's score was −44, or a full 17 points lower than the
average of −27 for the other states in the bottom ten. West
Virginia ranked 48th in the CNBC "Top States for Business 2013" based
on measures of competitiveness such as economy, workforce and cost of
living – ranking among the bottom 5 states for the last six years
Virginia ranked 49th in the 2014 State New Economy
Index, and has ranked in the bottom three states since 1999. West
Virginia ranked last or next-to-last in critical indicators such as
Workforce Education, Entrepreneurial Activity, High-Tech Jobs, and
Scientists and Engineers.
On January 9, 2014 near Charleston, the state capital, a chemical
spill occurred that contaminated the water supply of 300,000 people in
Virginia counties. According to Bloomberg News, lost wages,
revenue, and other economic harm from the chemical spill could top
$500 million. and West Virginia's
Marshall University Center for
Business and Economic Research estimated that about $61 million was
lost by businesses in the first four days alone after the spill.
In 2012, West Virginia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by
3.3%. The state issued a report highlighting the state's GDP as
indicating a fast-growing economy, but did not address employment
indicators. In 2009–2013, the U.S. real GDP increased 9.6% and
total employment increased 3.9%. In West
Virginia during the same time
period, its real GDP increased about 11%, while total employment
decreased by 1,000 jobs from 746,000 to 745,000.
In 2013, West
Virginia ranked last in the nation with an
employment-to-population ratio of only 50%, compared to the national
average of 59%. The state lost 5,600 jobs in its labor force in
four critical economic sectors: construction (1,900), manufacturing
(1,100), retail (1,800), and education (800), while gaining just 400
in mining and logging. The state's Civilian Labor Force dropped
Personal income growth in West
Virginia during 2013 was only 1.5% –
the lowest in the nation – and about half the national average of
2.6%. Overall income growth in West
Virginia in the last 30 years
has been only 13% (about one-third of the national average of 37%).
Wages of the impoverished bottom 1% income earners decreased by 3%,
compared to the national average, which increased 19%.
United Van Lines 37th Annual Migration Study showed in 2013 that 60%
more people moved out of the Mountain State than moved in. West
Virginia's population is expected to decline by more than 19,000
residents by 2030, and West
Virginia could lose one of its three seats
United States House of Representatives. West
the only state where death rates exceeds birth rates. During
2010–2013, about 21,000 babies per year were born in West Virginia,
but over 3 years West
Virginia had 3,000 more deaths than births.
Gallup-Healthways annual "State of American Well-Being" rankings
reports that 1,261 concerned West Virginians rated themselves as
"suffering" in categories such as Quality of Life, Physical Health,
and Access to Basic Needs. Overall, West
Virginia citizens rated
themselves as being more miserable than people in all other states –
for 5 years running. In addition, the Gallup Well-Being Index for
2013 ranked Charleston, the state capital, and Huntington last and
next-to-last out of 189 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation's National Index of Children's Progress
Virginia 43rd in the nation for all kids, and last for
white kids. The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2013 KIDS COUNT Data
Book also ranked West Virginia's education system 47th in the nation
for the second straight year.
Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia has the
worst divorce rate among 100 cities in the nation. Stephen Smith, the
executive director of the West
Virginia Healthy Kids and Families
Coalition, said that poor employment prospects are to blame: "The
pressure to make a good living puts strain on a marriage, and right
now it is infinitely harder to make a living here than it was 40 years
United Health Foundation's "America's Health Rankings" for 2013 found
that Americans are making considerable progress in key health
measures. West Virginia, however, ranked either last or second-to-last
in 20 categories, including cancer, child immunization, diabetes,
disabilities, drug deaths, teeth loss, low birth weight, missed work
days due to health, prescription drug overdose, preventable
hospitalizations, and senior clinical care.
Health Institute annual "Health Rankings" for 2012 showed West
Virginia spends $9,671 per capita on health care annually. El Salvador
spends just $467, yet both have the same life expectancy. In
2012, according to the Census Bureau, West
Virginia was the only state
where death rates exceeds birth rates. During 2010–2013, about
21,000 babies per year were born in West Virginia, but there were
24,000 deaths. In demographics, this is called a "net mortality
The National Center for Health Statistics says that national birth
rates for teenagers are at historic lows – during 2007–2010, teen
birth rates fell 17% nationally;. West Virginia, however, ranked last
with a 3% increase in birth rates for teenagers. A study by West
Marshall University showed that 19% of babies born in the
state have evidence of drug or alcohol exposure. This is several
times the national rate, where studies show that about 5.9% of
pregnant women in the U.S. use illicit drugs, and about 8.5% consume
any alcohol. An Institute for Health Policy Research study
determined that mortality rates in
Appalachia are correlated with coal
production. In twenty West
Virginia coal counties mining more than 1
million tons of coal per year and having a total population of
850,000, there are about 10,100 deaths per year, with 1,400 of those
statistically attributed to deaths from heart, respiratory and kidney
disease from living in an Appalachian coal county.
In 2015, McDowell County had the highest rate of drug-induced deaths
of any county in the United States, with a rate of 141 deaths per
100,000 people. Four of the five US counties with the highest rates of
drug-induced deaths are located in West
Virginia (McDowell, Wyoming,
Cabell and Raleigh Counties).
Main articles: Law and government of West
Virginia and West Virginia
Virginia State Capitol
West Virginia's capital and seat of government is the city of
Charleston, located in the southwest area of the state.
Further information: West
Legislature is bicameral. It consists of the House
of Delegates and the Senate, both housed in the West
Capitol. It is a citizen's legislature, meaning that legislative
office is not a full-time occupation, but rather a part-time position.
Consequently, the legislators often hold a full-time job in their
community of residence.
Typically, the legislature is in session for 60 days between January
and early April. The final day of the regular session ends in a
bewildering fury of last-minute legislation to meet a constitutionally
imposed midnight deadline. During the remainder of the year, monthly
interim sessions are held in preparation for the regular session.
Legislators also gather periodically for 'special' sessions when
called by the governor.
The title of Lieutenant Governor is assigned by statute to the Senate
Further information: List of Governors of West Virginia
The governor, elected every four years on the same day as the U.S.
Presidential election, is sworn in during the following January.
Governors of West
Virginia can serve two consecutive terms but must
sit out a term before serving a third term in office.
The title of Lieutenant Governor is assigned by statute to the Senate
Further information: Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
Virginia is one of nineteen states that do not have a death
penalty, and it is the only state in the southeastern
United States to
have abolished it.
For the purpose of courts of general jurisdiction, the state is
divided into 31 judicial circuits. Each circuit is made up of one or
more counties. Circuit judges are elected in partisan elections to
serve eight-year terms.
West Virginia's highest court is the Supreme Court of Appeals. The
Supreme Court of Appeals of West
Virginia is the busiest appellate
court of its type in the United States. West
Virginia is one of 11
states with a single appellate court. The state constitution allows
for the creation of an intermediate court of appeals, but the
Legislature has never created one. The Supreme Court is made up of
five justices, elected in non-partisan elections to 12-year terms.
Virginia is an alcoholic beverage control state. However, unlike
most such states, it does not operate retail outlets, having exited
that business in 1990. It retains a monopoly on wholesaling of
distilled spirits only.
Treemap of the popular vote by county, 2016 presidential election.
Main articles: Elections in West
Virginia and Political party strength
in West Virginia
Presidential election results
At the state level, West Virginia's politics were largely dominated by
the Democratic Party from the
Great Depression through the 2000s. This
was a legacy of West Virginia's very strong tradition of union
membership. Since 2000, state elections have become more
competitive at both the state and federal levels. After the 2014
midterm elections, Democrats controlled the governorship, the majority
of statewide offices, and one U.S. Senate seat, while Republicans held
one U.S. Senate seat, all three of the state's
U.S. House seats, and a
majority in both houses of the West
Virginia Legislature. In the 2016
elections, the Republicans held on to their seats and made gains in
the State Senate and gained three statewide offices.
Since 2000, West Virginians have supported the Republican candidate in
every presidential election. The state is regarded as a "deep red"
state at the federal level. In the 2012 presidential
Mitt Romney won the state defeating Democrat
Barack Obama with 62% of the vote to 35% for Obama. In the 2016
presidential election, Republican
Donald Trump won the state with
67.86% of the popular vote, with West
Virginia being the
second-highest percentage voting for Trump of any state.
Evangelical Christians comprised 52 percent of the state's voters in
2008. A poll in 2005 showed that 53 percent of West Virginia
voters are pro-life, the seventh highest in the country. A
Public Policy Polling
Public Policy Polling survey found that 19% of West
Virginia voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while
71% thought it should be illegal and 10% were not sure. A separate
question on the same survey found that 43% of West
supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 17%
supporting same-sex marriage, 26% supporting civil unions but not
marriage, 54% favoring no legal recognition and 3% not sure. In
2008, 58 percent favored troop withdrawal from
Iraq while just 32
percent wanted troops to remain. On fiscal policy in 2008, 52
percent said raising taxes on the wealthier individuals would benefit
the economy, while 45 percent disagreed.
A toll plaza on the West
View of the iconic
New River Gorge
New River Gorge Bridge from the overlook at the
north end of the
New River Gorge
New River Gorge (facing southwards), near
The Veterans Memorial Bridge carries US 22 between Weirton and
Steubenville, Ohio. It is similar in design to the new bridge
Ohio Rt 7) with Huntington, West
Virginia via US 60.
Main article: Transportation in West Virginia
Highways form the backbone of transportation systems in West Virginia,
with over 37,300 miles (60,000 km) of public roads in the
state. Airports, railroads, and rivers complete the commercial
transportation modes for West Virginia. Commercial air travel is
facilitated by airports in Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown,
Beckley, Lewisburg, Clarksburg, and Parkersburg. All but Charleston
and Huntington are subsidized by the US Department of Transportation's
Essential Air Service
Essential Air Service program. The cities of Charleston, Huntington,
Beckley, Wheeling, Morgantown, Clarksburg, Parkersburg and Fairmont
have bus-based public transit systems, and the Huntington and
Charleston systems jointly operate a twice per weekday interconnecting
Virginia University in Morgantown boasts the PRT (personal rapid
transit) system, the state's only single rail public transit system.
Developed by Boeing, the WVU School of Engineering and the Department
of Transportation, it was a model for low-capacity light transport
designed for smaller cities. Recreational transportation opportunities
abound in West Virginia, including hiking trails, rail
trails, ATV off-road trails, white water rafting
rivers, and two tourist railroads, the Cass Scenic Railroad
and the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad.
Virginia is crossed by six interstate highways. I-64 enters the
state near White Sulphur Springs in the mountainous east, and exits
Kentucky in the west, near Huntington. I-77 enters from Virginia
in the south, near Bluefield. It runs north past Parkersburg before it
crosses into Ohio. I-64 and I-77 between Charleston and Beckley are
merged as toll road known as the West
Virginia Turnpike, which
continues as I-77 alone from Beckley to Princeton. It was constructed
beginning in 1952 as a two lane road, but rebuilt beginning in 1974 to
interstate standards. Today almost nothing of the original
construction remains. I-68's western terminus is in Morgantown. From
there it runs east into Maryland. At the I-68 terminus in Morgantown,
it meets I-79, which enters from
Pennsylvania and runs through the
state to its southern terminus in Charleston. I-70 briefly runs
through West Virginia, crossing the northern panhandle through
Wheeling, while I-470 is a bypass of Wheeling (making Wheeling among
the smallest cities with an interstate bypass). I-81 also briefly runs
Virginia through the
Eastern Panhandle where it goes through
The interstates are supplemented by roads constructed under the
Appalachian Corridor system. Four Corridors are complete. Corridor D,
carrying US 50, runs from the
Ohio River, and I-77, at Parkersburg to
I-79 at Clarksburg. Corridor G, carrying US 119, runs from Charleston
Kentucky border at Williamson. Corridor L, carrying US 19, runs
from the Turnpike at Beckley to I-79 near Sutton (and provides a short
cut of about 40 miles and bypasses Charleston's urban traffic for
traveler heading to and from Florida). Corridor Q, carrying US 460,
runs through Mercer County, entering the state from Giles County,
Virginia and then reentering
Virginia at Tazewell County.
Work continues on the long delayed Corridor H, which will carry US 48
from Weston to the
Virginia line near Wardensville. As of 2013, a
section from Weston to Elkins, and another section from Wardensville
to near Scher are complete. Other projects under development are a
four-lane upgrade of US 35 from Scott Depot to the
Ohio River at Point
Pleasant, which is about two-thirds complete; a four lane upgrade of
WV 10 from Logan to Man and then of WV 80 from Man to Gilbert, which
is about one-third complete; and four lane upgrades to US 52 from
Bluefield to Williamson, known as the "King
Coal Highway" and from
Williamson to Huntington, known as the "Tolsia Highway" which are many
years from completion. A project known as the "Coalfields Expressway"
is also ongoing, and will carry US 121 from Beckley west across
Raleigh, Wyoming, and McDowell counties, entering
Rail lines in the state used to be more prevalent, but many lines have
been discontinued because of increased automobile traffic. Many old
tracks have been converted to rail trails for recreational use,
although the coal producing areas still have railroads running at near
capacity. Amtrak's Cardinal roughly parallels I-64's path through the
state. MARC trains serve commuters in the eastern panhandle. In 2006
Norfolk Southern along with the West
Virginia and U.S. Government
approved a plan to modify many of the rail tunnels in West Virginia,
especially in the southern half of the state, to allow for double
stacked cars (see inter-modal freight). This is expected to also help
bring economic growth to the southern half of the state. An Intermodal
Freight Facility is under construction near Prichard, south of
Because of the mountainous nature of the entire state, West Virginia
has several notable tunnels and bridges. The most famous of these is
New River Gorge
New River Gorge Bridge, which was at a time the longest steel
single-arch bridge in the world with a 3,031-foot (924 m) span.
The bridge is also pictured on the West
Virginia state quarter. The
Fort Steuben Bridge (Weirton-Steubenville Bridge) was at its time of
construction one of only three cable-stayed steel girder trusses in
the United States. "The Veterans Memorial Bridge was designed to
handle traffic from the Fort Steuben Bridge as well as its own traffic
load", to quote the Weirton Daily Times newspaper. The
80-year-old Fort Steuben Bridge (Weirton-Steubenville Bridge) was
permanently closed on January 8, 2009. The Wheeling Suspension Bridge
was the first bridge built across the
Ohio River in 1849 and for a
time was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It is still the
oldest vehicular suspension bridge in the
United States still in use.
Important cities and towns
See also: List of cities in West Virginia, List of towns in West
Virginia, List of villages in West Virginia, and List of
census-designated places in West Virginia
Charleston is West Virginia's most populous city
Originally, the state capital was in Wheeling (1863 to 1870). It was
then moved to Charleston, a more central city (1870 to 1875). However
it was returned to Wheeling in 1875, until the capitol burned down in
1885. It was moved back to Charleston in 1885, and it has been there
South Charleston, 13,450
Teays Valley, 13,175
St. Albans, 11,044
Towns and small cities
Metropolitan statistical areas
Virginia MSA 
Charleston, WV MSA
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH MSA
Morgantown, WV MSA
Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna, WV-OH MSA
Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH MSA
Wheeling, WV-OH MSA
Cumberland, MD-WV MSA
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV MSA
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA
Winchester, VA-WV MSA
Micropolitan statistical areas
Bluefield, WV-VA MSA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Virginia MSA 
Virginia MSA 
Point Pleasant, WV-OH MSA
Main article: Education in West Virginia
Colleges and universities
Further information: List of colleges and universities in West
Alderson Broaddus University
American Public University System
Appalachian Bible College
Bluefield State College
Blue Ridge Community and Technical College
BridgeValley Community and Technical College
Davis and Elkins College
Virginia Community and Technical College
Fairmont State University
Future Generations Graduate School
Glenville State College
Mountwest Community and Technical College
New River Community and Technical College
Ohio Valley University
Pierpont Community and Technical College
Salem International University
Virginia Community and Technical College
University of Charleston
West Liberty University
Virginia Northern Community College
Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
Virginia State University
Potomac State College of West
Virginia University at Parkersburg
Virginia University Institute of Technology
Virginia Wesleyan College
Wheeling Jesuit University
Virginia is home to college sports teams from two schools –
Virginia and Marshall – that play in NCAA Division I. West
Virginia is also home to several professional minor league baseball,
football, soccer, and other sports teams.
Football / Basketball
Big 12 Conference
Marshall Thundering Herd
Football / Basketball
South Atlantic League
Virginia Black Bears
New York–Penn League
American Basketball Association (2000–present)
Elite Mid-Continental Football League
Premier Development League
Women's Football Alliance
Main article: Music of West Virginia
West Virginia's folk heritage is a part of the Appalachian folk music
tradition, and includes styles of fiddling, ballad singing, and other
styles that draw on Scots-Irish music. Camp Washington-Carver, a
Mountain Cultural Arts Center located at Clifftop in Fayette County,
hosts an annual Appalachian String Band Festival. The Capitol
Complex in Charleston hosts The Vandalia Gathering, where traditional
Appalachian musicians compete in contests and play in impromptu jam
sessions and evening concerts over the course of the weekend. The
Augusta Heritage Center sponsored by Davis & Elkins College in
Elkins in Randolph County produces the annual Augusta Heritage
Festival, which includes intensive week-long workshops in the summer
that help preserve Appalachian heritage and traditions.
Virginia Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1939, as the
Charleston Civic Orchestra, before becoming the Charleston Symphony
Orchestra in 1943. The first conductor was William R. Wiant, followed
by the conductor Antonio Modarelli, who was written about in the
November 7, 1949 Time Magazine for his composition of the River Saga,
a six-section program piece about the
Kanawha River according to the
Charleston Gazette's November 6, 1999 photo essay, "Snapshots of the
20th Century". Before coming to Charleston, Modarelli had
Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia
Orchestra, according to the orchestra's website.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning 20th-century composer
George Crumb was born
in Charleston and earned his bachelor's degree there before moving
outside the state. There had also been a series of operatic style
concerts performed in Wheeling during mid-century as well.
Virginia Cultural Center in Charleston is home to the
Virginia Division of Culture and History, which helps
underwrite and coordinate a large number of musical activities. The
center is also home to Mountain Stage, an internationally broadcast
live-performance music radio program established in 1983 that is
carried by many affiliates of National Public Radio. The program
also travels to other venues in the state such as the West Virginia
University Creative Arts Center in Morgantown.
The center hosts concerts sponsored by the Friends of Old Time Music
and Dance, which brings an assortment of acoustic roots music to West
Virginians. The center also hosts the West
Festival, which features classical and modern dance.
Huntington's historic Keith-Albee Theatre, built by brothers A.B. and
S.J. Hyman, was originally opened to the public on May 7, 1928, and
hosts a variety of performing arts and music attractions. The theatre
was eventually gifted to
Marshall University and is currently going
through renovation to restore it to its original splendor.
Every summer Elkins hosts the Augusta Heritage Festival, which brings
folk musicians from around the world. The town of Glenville has
long been home to the annual West
Virginia State Folk Festival.
The Mountaineer Opera House in Milton hosts a variety of musical acts.
John Denver's hit song "Take Me Home, Country Roads" describes the
experience of driving through West Virginia. The song mentions the
Shenandoah River and the
Blue Ridge Mountains, both features
traversing the easternmost extremity of the state's "eastern
panhandle", in Jefferson County. On March 8, 2014, West Virginia
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed House Concurrent Resolution 40 naming
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" the fourth official state song of West
Symphony Sunday is an annual event hosted by the West Virginia
Symphony Orchestra held in June. It is a day full day of music by
community groups, food, and family fun, culminating in a free
performance by the West
Virginia Symphony Orchestra with a fireworks
display following. The event began in 1982 and is held on the front
lawn of the University of Charleston.
Daily Mail Kanawha County Majorette and Band Festival is West
Virginia's longest running music festival. It is for the eight public
high schools in Kanawha County. The festival began in 1947. It is held
University of Charleston
University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field in downtown
Main article: West
In popular culture
See also: List of television shows and movies in West Virginia
Outline of West
Virginia – organized list of topics about West
Index of West Virginia-related articles
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Retrieved March 8, 2016.
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22, 2017. Archived from the original on June 22, 2017. Retrieved June
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Archived January 1, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
^ Charles Reagan Wilson and William Ferris, Encyclopedia of Southern
Culture, Univ. of
North Carolina Press, 1990.
U.S. Census Bureau
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Region, A Survey, Univ. of
Kentucky Press, 1962
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 1, 2016.
Retrieved June 29, 2016. Geological Society of America
^ Foner, Eric, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution,
1863–1877, Harper, 2002, pg. 39
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Commission. Archived from the original on September 17, 2008.
Retrieved November 13, 2007.
^ Charles H. Ambler, "A History of West Virginia" pg. 104
^ Charles H. Ambler. A History of West Virginia, pp. 132–138
^ Thier, David (April 18, 2010). "W.Va.
Stalagmite Points to
Surprising Carbon Footprint". Science. aolnews.com. Archived from the
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^ Ellis, Laura Elizabeth "Investigating the Orchard Site: A
Protohistoric Fort AncientSite in West Virginia" 2015
^ (Extrapolation from the 16th-century Spanish, 'Cali' ˈkali a rich
agricultural area – geographical sunny climate. also 1536, Cauca
River, linking Cali, important for higher population agriculture and
cattle raising & Colombia's coffee is produced in the adjacent
uplands. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. 'Cali', city, metropolis,
urban center. Pearson Education 2006. "Calica", Yucatán place name
called rock pit, a port an hour south of Cancún. Sp. root: "Cal",
limestone. Also today, 'Calicuas', supporting cylinder or enclosing
ring, or moveable prop as in holding a strut)
^ louis, franquelin, jean baptiste. "Franquelin's map of Louisiana.".
LOC.gov. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
^ "Discoveries of John Lederer," reprinted by O.H. Harpel, Cincinnnati
^ Ellis, Laura Elizabeth "Investigating the Orchard Site: A
Protohistoric Fort AncientSite in West Virginia" 2015
^ Jennings, Francis "Glory, Death & Transfiguration: The
Susquehannock Indians in the 17th Century" 1968
^ "Lambreville to Bruyas Nov. 4,1696" N.Y. Hist. Col. Vol. III, p. 484
^ Lawson's "History of Carolina" reprinted by Stroller & Marcom.
Raleigh, 1860, p. 384
Cherokee Lessons 978-0-557-68640-7.pdf
^ Mooney 1894:7–8.
^ Charles H. Amber, A History of West Virginia, pp. 276–79
^ Grady, John (July 16, 2012). "The Birth of a State". New York Times.
Archived from the original on July 19, 2012. Retrieved July 27,
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13, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
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^ A detailed list of delegate names and votes are located in Virgil
Lewis' How West
Virginia Was Made, pg. 30, and also Charles Ambler's A
History of West Virginia, 1933, pg. 309. Missing from both lists,
however, are the delegates for McDowell County, William P. Cecil and
Samuel L. Graham, who also represented Tazewell and Buchanan counties,
which are still part of Virginia. Both Cecil and Graham voted in favor
of the Ordinance. See Pendleton, William C. History of Tazewell County
and Southwest Virginia, 1748–1920, Richmond, 1920, pgs. 600 and 603.
^ Those not voting were Thomas Maslin of Hardy County and Benjamin
Wilson of Harrison County. Ambler, Charles H. A History of West
Virginia, pg. 309, footnote 32.
^ J. McGregor "The Disruption of Virginia", pg. 193
United States Constitution provides that no state may be divided
without its consent.
^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pg. 147
^ C. Ambler "The History of West Virginia", pg. 318
^ Virgil Lewis "How West
Virginia Was Made" pgs. 79–80
^ Charles Ambler "The History of West Virginia", pg. 318
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on March 7, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pgs. 141–152
^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pgs. 149–150
^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pg. 149
^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pg. 86
^ J. McGregor "The Disruption of Virginia", pg. 270
^ Williams p. 80
^ John Alexander Williams, West Virginia: A Bicentennial History (W.W.
Norton 1976), p. 78
^ "Opinion of
Abraham Lincoln on the Admission of West Virginia".
Wvculture.org. Archived from the original on April 13, 2010. Retrieved
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^ Charles Ambler "
Disfranchisement in West Virginia", Yale Review,
1905, pg. 41
Virginia v. West Virginia, 238 U.S. 202 (1915).
Virginia House Concurrent Resolution No. 37, signed into law
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^ Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, 1790 to
1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For The United States,
Regions, Divisions, and States Archived July 25, 2008, at the Wayback
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^ "An Introduction to West Virginia's Ethnic Communities".
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access-date= requires url= (help)
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State of West
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Virginia State Guide, from the Library of Congress
Supreme Court of Appeals of West
Constitution of West Virginia
Energy Profile for West Virginia- Economic, environmental, and energy
USGS real-time, geographic, and other scientific resources of West
Virginia State Fact Sheet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's website
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Visiting West Virginia
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Topics related to West Virginia
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North-Central West Virginia
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Protected areas of West Virginia
National Historical Parks
George Washington and Jefferson
National Recreation Areas
Gauley River (NPS)
Seneca Rocks (USFS)
National Wildlife Refuges
Ohio River Islands
National Trails System
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Big Draft Wilderness
Dolly Sods Wilderness
Laurel Fork North Wilderness
Laurel Fork South Wilderness
Mountain Lake Wilderness
Otter Creek Wilderness
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New River Gorge
Canaan Valley Resort
Carnifex Ferry Battlefield
Cass Scenic Railroad
Droop Mountain Battlefield
Greenbrier River Trail
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Stonewall Jackson Lake
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Watters Smith Memorial
Former state parks: Booker T. Washington · Grandview · Grave Creek
Mingo Oak · Mont Chateau · Morgan Morgan Monument
Bear Rock Lakes
Beech Fork Lake
Castleman Run Lake
Cecil H. Underwood
Conaway Run Lake
East Lynn Lake
Fort Mill Ridge
Huttonsville State Farm
Lantz Farm and Nature Preserve
Little Indian Creek
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Pruntytown State Farm
R.D. Bailey Lake
Stonewall Jackson Lake
Teter Creek Lake
Upper Deckers Creek
Upper Mud River
Valley Bend Wetlands
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Mount Porte Crayon
Upper Shavers Fork
Virginia Division of Forestry
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Southern United States
Government and Politics
Political divisions of the Confederate States (1861–65)
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1 Admitted to the Union June 20, 1863.
2 Organized January 18, 1862.
Political divisions of the United States
Northern Mariana Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands
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Coordinates: 39°00′N 80°30′W / 39°N 80.5°W / 39;
ISNI: 0000 0004 0424 3173