What’s in a name? The Origin of ‘West Virginia’ … and what the state might have been called instead
“Mr. President, I have no particular objections to the word ‘Kanawha.’ They have a very beautiful river down there, a very beautiful valley, and I suppose they are very clever people; but I think, sir, we may get a more proper name for this new State than Kanawha. I think that we can find a name that will identify us so that everybody will know who we are and where we are and the material out of which we are made.”
In late 1861, lawmakers gathered in Wheeling to create a constitution for the “Restored Government of Virginia” that had been formed after Virginia’s western counties rejected the state’s vote to secede from the Union.
But what to call this new state? Turns out that West Virginia was not the first name proposed — or even the second or third. Check out some of these proposed names for the new state. Which name would you choose?