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Yes, Virginia, There Is a West Virginia

May 11, 2013 - Joselyn King
It was more than 150 years ago that the western counties of what was then the state of Virginia rose up to break away from the state and chose to remain a member of the Union.

In West Virginia -- especially in the Northern Panhandle -- most are familiar with the Mountain State's move toward independence from the "Old Dominion." But how often do those from outside West Virginia still think the state is the western part of Virginia?

It's even questionable whether those living in Virginia know that chapter in their state's history.

In 2010, when U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., came to Wheeling to campaign for Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., McKinley took Cantor on a tour of West Virginia Independence Hall. After, Cantor remarked he learned much on the tour he had never been taught in Virginia history class.

Now as Wheeling makes its preparations to celebrate West Virginia's 150th birthday in the city, doesn't it seem appropriate to invite Virginia's leaders to partake? After 150 years, it's time to bury the hatchet.

I asked Mayor Andy McKenzie if anyone with the city had moved to invite Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to West Virginia's birthday party, or any other Virginia leaders. He thought it was a good idea, and presumably an olive branch has been sent.

West Virginia is old enough now to have a coming out party, and the history behind its statehood should be impressed upon the nation this year.


Article Comments



Nov-17-13 8:54 AM

I think if you took a poll in Ohio, Brooke and Hancock counties, many folks regard themselves as living in a suburb of Pittsburgh.

Many people I know give little thought to 'downstate'. We simply don't have very much in common with them, particularly with regard to speech, culture and general world view. They are much more parochial, suspicious and xenophobic. What's more, the legislature often regards the panhandle as an afterthought. We are above the Mason-Dixon line - that's two strikes against us already, in the minds of many downstaters.

True, Marshall county has more in common with the southern part of the state, but that is the result of a much more rural environment once you leave Moundsville.

To sum up, this whole faux controversy about WV being the western part of VA is simply a non-issue. Many of us just don't care.


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