Once upon a time, some years after the United States was established there was no West Virginia. There was only Virginia-a huge state, rich in fertile farmland to the east, and with rugged mountains to the west, stretching across a vast swath of land all the way to the Ohio River.
And then, there was a war. And the war divided the nation, and there, in the midst of chaos, West Virginia was born.
No other place in the United State has such a history. In 1861, Virginia, calling for state and opposed to a strong federal government, seceded from the Union to join the Confederacy. That same year, people in the western part of the state, disagreeing with succession, formed a constitutional convention, calling for the formation of a new state,. After much debate, in 1863 president Abraham Lincoln declared West Virginia to be a State of the Union, equal to an d bearing the same rights and responsibilities as any other state. To this day, It is the only state formed by presidential proclamation.
I was born in West Virginia, My parents were born there, and their parents, and their grandparents, going as far back into history as we can find records. We live there still. Thought I’ve lived all over the world, if you ask me where I’m from, I always say West Virginia. I’ll tell you are state motto, Montani Semper Liberi-Mountaineers are Always Free. And if you get me Started, I’ll talk to you for hours about Wes Virginia.
And why wouldn’t I? My home is beautiful, and difficult, and impossible, and wonderful. In the winter, the mountains are white and icy; you smell the snow before it comes blowing in on a worth wind. Spring sees those mountains dusted in the palest shades of green; the wind smells likes wet earth and rain. Summer brings heat, and the mountains turn dark with leaves and shades, the only place to escape the temperature; the air smells like grass and warm things growing. And in fall-my favorite season-the mountains catch fire with color and light, with orange and yellow and red and brown; the wind is cool and smell like apples and pine trees and your ….