Sunday, May 25, 2014

50 States: West Virginia

At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, Virginia was a state that included present-day Virginia and West Virginia. From the earliest days of statehood, there was a rift between those who lived in eastern Virginia and those who lived in western Virginia. Those in the east had the money and held the power. They were wealthy landowners who controlled the vote. Those who lived in the west did not own land and, therefore, were not allowed to vote, until the law was changed in 1850. When Virginia decided to secede from the Union in 1861, many who lived in western Virginia talked about forming their own state government which would, then, be loyal to the Union. On June 20, 1863, this new state—West Virginia—was granted statehood. It is our 35th state.

West Virginia (WV) covers more than 24,000 square miles, making it the 41st biggest state. The capital and largest city is Charleston. People who live in WV are referred to as West Virginians. It is estimated that there were more than 1.8 million West Virginians in 2013. Some famous people born here include:

Pearl S.
Stonewall Jackson...Civil War general
William Hatfield...Family leader (Hatfield and McCoys)
Chuck Yeager...World War II pilot
Mary Lou Retton...Olympic gold medalist
Joseph E. Johnston...Civil War general
Brad Paisley...singer

Some of the state symbols include:

Animal...Black bear
Fish...Brook trout
Butterfly...Monarch butterfly
Tree...Sugar maple
Fruit...Golden delicious apple

The state motto is "Montani simper liberi," which means "Mountaineers are always free." The word "mountaineer" actually has its origin in Cymbeline, one of Shakespeare's plays. Its original connotation was derogatory, but it has come to be defined generally as a person who lives in a mountainous region. West Virginia is certainly a mountainous region, and its nickname—The Mountain State—is well deserved.

The official flag of WV was adopted in 1929. The rhododendron surrounds the state seal which depicts a farmer and a miner on opposite sides of a rock with the date of statehood carved into it. There are also two rifles and a liberty cap. The motto is written on the lower ribbon.

What is there to do in West Virginia? Plenty, especially if you are an outdoor enthusiast. One extremely popular area for rock climbing is Seneca Rocks. This is a sheer rock face located on the edge of the Monongahela National Forest in the eastern portion of the state. While in the area, visit Seneca Caverns.

Blackwater Falls State Park is located in Davis, WV. This is where my husband and I spent our honeymoon. Despite the fact that there had not been much rain and the falls did not have a lot of water pouring over them, the area was simply beautiful.

Some other quaint spots on our trip included the smallest post office in the lower 48 and the smallest church, which wasn't much bigger than the mailing office you see below.

Consider visiting the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park or Harpers Ferry National Historical Park where John Brown made a stand against slavery. The New River Gorge Bridge is the longest arch bridge in the western hemisphere and was chosen to be displayed on the West Virginia commemorative quarter. A visitors' center allows you to stand at the top of the gorge and take photographs of the bridge.

You can tour the old West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville. Across the street is the largest Indian burial ground in the world and a museum which houses many artifacts from WV history.

Many beautiful state parks and lakes are located in West Virginia, each with a plethora of activities to enjoy. There are also ski resorts for outdoor fun in the winter. One activity my family enjoyed every year while we lived in Pennsylvania was visiting Oglebay in Wheeling for the Festival of Lights.

Now, test your knowledge and see what you have learned with these West Virginia learning games.

The following items are available on

499033: West Virginia My First Book, Grades K-8 West Virginia My First Book, Grades K-8
By Carole Marsh / Gallopade International

An "early bird" intro to basic state facts. Covers state basics such as state nickname, seal, song, bird, motto, flag, regions, industries, neighbors, and weather, plus an intro to state history, people, and more. Includes drawing, mazes, matching, coloring, and more! Reproducible. Available for all 50 states. Grades K-5; ages 5-10.
770540: It Happened in West Virginia It Happened in West Virginia
By Rick Steelhammer / Globe Pequot

497871: West Virginia Poster/Map West Virginia Poster/Map
By Carole Marsh / Gallopade International

Brighten up your schoolroom with this large poster of West Virginia! With rivers, lakes, and large cities labeled, there are also notes on where the state's natural resources are, where tourism spots are located, and pictures around the bottom. A box with famous people from West Virginia is included, as well as a small map of counties, a timeline, geo-trivia, and state information. Measures approximately 2'10" x 1'10". Glossy.

570137: The Landmark History of the American People, Volume 1: From Plymouth to the West The Landmark History of the American People, Volume 1: From Plymouth to the West
By Daniel J. Boorstin & Ruth F. Boorstin / Avyx Inc

Originally published as The Landmark History of the American People from Plymouth to Appomattox, which came out in 22 chapters from 1968-1987, this edition features new text alongside updated and revised text and new, colorful illustrations, timelines, and maps.
The first in a 2-volume series, this book covers the plantations and earliest settlements from Massachusetts to Virginia, the path towards the Revolutionary War, immigration and new states post-Revolution, and Westward Expansion. Engaging, lively chapters are filled with the dramatic true stories of history, giving students a unique perspective into the lives of people who lived long ago, yet continue to impact the character of our nation. Image-rich chapters feature numerous art reproductions, annotated maps, and helpful graphics. Readers will gain an understanding of the trajectories of historical events and the people who influenced the course of history through this unique history text. 169 pages, indexed, softcover. Grades 6 & up.

862066: John Brown"s Raid on Harper"s Ferry John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry
By Coughlan Publishing

Grab your Manga-and-comic obsessed children's attention with this graphic-novel approach to American history! Focusing on the story of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, this novel breaks down his life in classic "comic book" style. Glossary, index, bibliography, and internet resources included. Ages 8-12, 32 pages, softcover.

46098EB: The Good Earth Trilogy: The Good Earth, Sons, and A House Divided - eBook The Good Earth Trilogy: The Good Earth, Sons, and A House Divided - eBook
By Pearl S. Buck / Open Road Media

306521: Good Earth, Novel Units Teacher"s Guide, Grades 9-12 Good Earth, Novel Units Teacher's Guide, Grades 9-12
By Buck / ECS Learning Systems, Inc.

This Novel Units teacher's guide is designed to accompany the (not-included) novel "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck, as well as the sold-separately The Good Earth Novel Units Student Packet.

Including a number of teacher's helps, exercises, discussion questions, assessment tools, graphic organizers, writing and art ideas, critical thinking challenges, extension activities, glossary, and more, this book is a convenient guide to facilitating discussion. Background information includes a summary, information about the author, and ideas for initiating activity; the discussion questions follow the chapters in the book. Page numbers are included, which reference the edition quoted in the front cover. [Washington Square Press, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc. Copyright 1994.] Please note that the student packet includes the answers to the student book, not this teacher's edition. Paperback. Grades 9-12.

540434: Pearl Buck in China: Journey to the Good Earth Pearl Buck in China: Journey to the Good Earth
By Hilary Spurling / Simon & Schuster

The daughter of missionaries and raised in China, Pearl Buck went on to write The Good Earth, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. She was also awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1938. This biography by Hilary Spurling offers a richly detailed portrait of a woman ahead of her time in women's rights and humanitarian efforts in China.

102207: Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story DVD Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story DVD
By Ken Carpenter / Franklin Springs Family Media

He's known for his military might and his Christian character. Through High Definition videography and expert narrative, Still Standing traces the life of Stonewall Jackson, from his orphaned childhood, to the Sunday School class he taught for African Americans, to the pivotal role he played as a General in the Civil War.

Still Standing is punctuated by narrative from noted historians James I. "Bud" Robertson Jr., Dr. George Grant, William Potter, Virginia Military Institute Col. Keith Gibson; and Francis Lightburn Cressman—great-granddaughter of Civil War Union General Joseph Lightburn—among others. The film features striking new footage from Jackson's boyhood home near Weston, West Virginia; various locations in Lexington, Virginia, and other Civil War locales. 48 minutes on DVD with bonus features.

271292: Such Troops at These: The Genius and Leadership of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson Such Troops at These: The Genius and Leadership of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson
By Bevin Alexander / Berkley Caliber Hardcover

518520: Thomas Stonewall Jackson: Confederate General Thomas Stonewall Jackson: Confederate General
By Coughlan Publishing

Learn about Stonewall Jackson's life and legacy with this Signature Lives biography. Clear, informative text coupled with historic illustrations and photographs bring added depth, while historical context allows students to look at the era. 112 pages, paperback. Timeline, index, glossary, and "life at a glance" page included.

91409: Stonewall Jackson, Sower Series Stonewall Jackson, Sower Series
By Mott Media, LLC

Stonewall Jackson was loved in the South and admired in the North. He was called a great general, a noble Christian, and a pure man by a Northern newspaper at the time of his death. He was fearless in battle and well-respected. Read of his childhood, his hard work at West Point, and his faith that shaped him into the man he became. For ages 9 to 13.

16633: Stonewall Stonewall
By John J. Dwyer / B&H Books

Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson. The name is most often followed by the phrase "American Civil War hero." This historical novel takes you beyond that limited scope to reveal the full character of this extraordinary man. Meet Stonewall the lonely orphan, the mocked military cadet, and the devout Christian. His rise from personal tragedy to legendary glory will inspire you to stand strong in your pursuits. 512 pages, softcover from B&H.

215652: Collection Five: Mary Anna Jackson & Susannah Spurgeon Collection Five: Mary Anna Jackson & Susannah Spurgeon
By Emily Rose & Breezy Brookshire / Noble Rose Press

Encourage a love of history in your daughters with Daughters of His Story Paper Dolls! Emphasizing historical women who serve as examples of femininity and strong biblical character, the featured women sacrificed much for the sake of the Lord, their husbands, and families. Printed on high-quality glossy paper, cutting out the dolls and clothes is required. Printed in the United States.
Daughters of His Story Paper Dolls: Collection Five features two women of the Victorian Era, one from America and one from England: Mary Anna Jackson, wife of "Stonewall" Jackson, and Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles Spurgeon.
This book includes:

  • Two 8" (9" including stands) paper dolls: Mary Anna Jackson and Susannah Spurgeon
  • Two short biographical sketches
  • Three dresses each
  • Two timeline figures
  • A pocket (to attach to the inside of the keepsake folder)

167062: The Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys The Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys
By Dean King / Little, Brown & Company

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Hatfields and the McCoys lived in relative harmony in the Appalachian Mountains as they married, worked, and traded among each other. What happened that caused a rift so powerful that centuries later Americans still know of them?

This meticulously researched work looks at the killing, kidnapping, and torture that grew out of animosity sparked by the division of the Civil War. The Feud moves readers beyond the legend and into the lives and times of these two families. 430 pages, hardcover, indexed.

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