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Growing Up in West Virginia

Values of freedom and independence permeate West Virginia culture.    Mountaineers may not like your peculiar lifestyle,  but they will staunchly defend your right to live as you want without interference because they cherish their own freedom and independence so much.

The origins of the state reflect these special values.

Western Virginians seceded from Virginia in 1863 to stay with the Union during the U.S. civil war over political disagreement with eastern Virginians around slavery.

Mountaineers learned to appreciate freedom and independence all the more during the early 20th Century when they lost it to wealthy and powerful business interests which exploited West Virginia's rich coal deposits and sought to make its workers dependent. The history of the United Mine Workers of America, which is an important part of the state's story, is a struggle for socio-economic freedom and independence.

Along with the history, the state's mountainous terrain and sparse population where land is plentiful and cheap encourages people to live independently.   Rural Appalachians, a traditional example of poverty in America,  don't need a lot to live on. They can live off the land in small cabins built from the timber from surrounding woodlands, eating food they grow in small gardens and hunt, earning money from crafts.

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