In 2017, National Day Calendar® began celebrating each state in the order they entered the union starting the week of Independence Day and ending with Hawaii. We highlight a small part of each states’ history, foods and the people who make up the state. Many states have their own state celebrations, and National Day Calendar’s observances in no way replace them. There’s so much more to explore, we can’t help but celebrate our beautiful country even more!
NATIONAL WEST VIRGINIA DAY
National West Virginia Day on March 22 recognizes the last state to be created from one of the original thirteen colonies.
When Virginia voted to secede from the Union, Western Virginians held firmly to their Union loyalties, created their own constitution and approached Congress for statehood. West Virginia, the 35th state, was admitted to the Union in 1863. It was the only state formed from another state and one of two created during the Civil War.
The original thirteen colonies created a total of eighteen states. Vermont once was a part of New York. Kentucky was also once included in the colony of Virginia. Tennessee was formerly part of North Carolina. Maine and Massachusetts were joined at one time.
Also known as The Mountain State, West Virginia is dominated by three magnificent mountain ridges. The Allegheny, Appalachian and the Blue Ridge Mountains also provide the state with seventy-eight percent forest over its total terrain. Within the rugged mountains, massive amounts of bituminous coal stores have made West Virginia the largest producer of coal east of the Mississippi River.
Not only do the West Virginia hills create spectacular views and jobs, but their natural landscape lends to small, isolated populations with deep roots. Their culture and heritage can be heard infused in the thrum of a banjo or the lyrics of a gospel chorus. It also influences the warm earthy flavors of their cooking and inspires artisans to masterpieces.
Life moves at a slower pace in West Virginia. Time doesn’t exactly stand still, but if you’ll sit a while and listen to some of the folk stories, you might hear about John Henry and Big Ben Mountain. Someone could take you mushroom hunting, or they might fry up a few and share with you what they found that morning. Not very many are willing to give up their favorite hunting spots.
You could get invited to the largest festival in West Virginia, Bridge Day. It takes place at New River Gorge Bridge on the third Saturday of October. The bridge was completed on October 22, 1977, and it’s the longest steel arch bridge in the western hemisphere.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Join National Day Calendar® as we explore the history, culture, and heritage of West Virginia. Discover her enchanting beauty and the music, poetry, and art of the 35th state. Use #NationalWestVirginiaDay to share on social media.
Waitman Thomas Willey - Senator - (October 11, 1811 - May 2, 1900)
Waitman T. Willey served both the states of Virginia and West Virginia as a Senator. He was instrumental in West Virginia becoming a separate state and was a delegate to both states’ constitutional conventions.
Devil Anse Hatfield - Family Patriarch - (September 9, 1839 - January 6, 1921)
The patriarch of one half of the Hatfield and McCoy feud, Devil Anse Hatfield led his family into an infamous feud that would last decades. The legendary story has been developed into cartoons, books, and movies.
Anna Jarvis - Mother - (May 1, 1864 - November 24, 1948)
Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day in the United States, created the day to honor and fulfill her own mother’s dream. As a result, the day celebrates mothers all over the country and the world.
Dwight Morrow - Businessman - (January 11, 1873 - October 5, 1931)
Florence Blanchfield - Military Officer - (April 1, 1884 - May 12, 1971)
Florence Blanchfield was the first Army nurse to be granted a regular Army commission. She joined in 1917 and served during World Wars I and II. Her efforts brought about equality in pay and rank to women in the Army and Navy.
Pearl S. Buck - Author - (June 26, 1892 - March 6, 1973)
Pearl S. Buck became the first American woman to earn a Nobel Prize in literature for her novel The Good Earth. The prolific author wrote stories with a voice toward human and women’s rights.
Katherine Johnson - Mathematician - (August 26, 1918 -)
Katherine Johnson’s mathematical skills launched her into the early stages of the human space flight in the United States. She completed data analysis for Alan Shepards Freedom 7 flight in May of 1961 and trajectory calculations for John Glenn’s mission in 1962.
Chuck Yeager - Military Officer - (February 13, 1923 -)
Known as the first man to break the sound barrier, Chuck Yeager broke Mach 1 on October 14, 1947. Yeager continued to push the limits of flight, breaking Mach 2 in December of 1953.
Gray Barker - Author - (May 2, 1925 - December 6, 1984)
Known for his UFO investigations, Gray Barker published the Mothman mystery The Silver Bridge. Barker is best known for his book The Men in Black: The Secret Terror Among Us.
John F. Nash - Mathematician - (June 13, 1928 - May 23, 2015)
John F. Nash shared a Nobel Prize for economics with Reinhard Selten in 1994. His contribution is a concept that later became known as the Nash equilibrium. He was also the subject of the film A Beautiful Mind.
John C. Norman - Surgeon - (May 11, 1929 - August 23, 2014)
Cardiothoracic surgeon, John C. Norman advanced methods for artificial hearts through research and innovation. He established the Cullen Cardiovascular Surgical Research Laboratories at Texas Heart Institute in 1972 where much of his focus centered furthering the development of the artificial heart.
Jerry West - Basketball Player - (May 28, 1938 -)
Fourteen-time NBA All-Star Jerry West played brilliantly for the LA Lakers. Considered one of the greatest guards in NBA history, West was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.
Henry Louis Gates - Historian - (September 16, 1950 -)
Historian, educator and filmmaker, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has become known for his PBS series Finding Your Roots and The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.