West Virginia Day – June 20
Posted on June 20, 2011 by reginajeffers
June 20 celebrates the birth of my home state. West Virginia was founded in 1863. I just returned from WV on Sunday. I love driving the mountain roads, but I’m sure many others do not. They are intimidated by the curves. When I come out of the tunnel at Bluefield, the one which separates WV from Virginia, my heart always says “home.”
On June 20, 1863, West Virginia became the thirty-fifth state in the Union. The land that formed the new state formerly constituted part of Virginia. The two areas had diverged culturally from their first years of European settlement, as small farmers generally settled the western portion of the state, including the counties that later formed West Virginia, while the eastern portion was dominated by a powerful minority class of wealthy slaveholders. There were proposals for the trans-Allegheny west to separate from Virginia as early as 1769. When Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, the residents of a number of contiguous western counties, where there were few slaves, decided to remain in the Union. Congress accepted these counties as the state of West Virginia on condition that its slaves be freed. “Montani semper liberi,” “mountaineers always freemen,” became the new state’s motto.