West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian region of the Eastern United States. It is bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east. West Virginia is the 41st most extensive and the 37th most populous of the 50 United States.
Although coal was known to occur throughout West Virginia, no extensive mining took place until the mid-1800s. There was little incentive to exploit coal as a resource because of the abundance of wood and a lack of manufacturing industries.
During the Civil War, the Kanawha Valley mines were closed. Confederate troops set up camps in the valley, and many of the locks and dams along the river were destroyed to prevent shipping.
During the first weeks of the Civil War, the Confederate government of Virginia recruited troops in western Virginia, assigning Colonel George A. Porterfield to Grafton. As Union troops under General George B. McClellan advanced, Porterfield drew his forces back to Philippi.
During the Civil War in 1862 two future United States presidents were fighting in what is now southern West Virginia. On May 1, as Union troops neared, Confederates set fire to the town of Princeton. Union troops under Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, including Lieutenant William McKinley, managed to save part of the town.
Brigadier General Jenkins launched a raid into central Western Virginia with the 8th and 14th Virginia Cavalry. He moved down the Tygart Valley to Huttonsville where he captured 6 Union scouts. With the intelligence gained from these prisoners Jenkins determined that the garrison in Beverly was too strong to attack.
When Brigadier General Jenkins entered Ripley, Jackson County. The only Federal was the Union Paymaster. The Rebels took possession of the payroll of $5,525 US.
June 20, 1863 is the day West Virginia became the 35th State in the Union. It was the only state born out of the armed conflict of the Civil War.
The three primary reasons West Virginia wanted to break way from her mother state, Virginia, were inequality in taxation, unequal representation in the legislature and unequal distribution of funds for public works. On April 20, 1863, President Lincoln issued a proclamation through which West Virginia would become a state.
In 1880, forest still covered two-thirds of West Virginia, but by the 1920s lumbermen had denuded the entire region. West Virginia had been dominated by a old country economy.
There was no public land in Appalachia for lumberjacks. They bought private land using superior knowledge of the market value and resources.