My Pappy, Noil Clarence Hall, was the subject of my son’s ancestry project for school. Turns out, I was born 7th generation in West Virginia. I didn’t realize how deeply rooted in the same area we are.
That means, when West Virginia succeeded from the confederate’s democrat plan to forcefully claim 11 states of their own to make a new country and keep slaves at their disposal – my family was part of the group that stood for something. Not today, dems. That just ain’t right.
That bad thinking of ‘take what I want’ to ‘do what I want’ is probably what got us in trouble with Native Americans in the first place. West Virginian’s don’t mind where you come from so long as you’re good to each other.
That belief I feel must be rooted deep because if you think about it, my grandfather’s grandparents were there in the Wheeling area when they broke off from Virginia and made their own state – West Virginia. Where ‘Mountaineers are always free’.
Sure, it’s not the most clever name, but tell that to Carolina and Dakota. Must’ve been a theme. I’ll take it West Virginia.
Little backstory digging on what life was like
As early as the 1850s, immigrants from Wales, England, and Scotland were brought over to work in the coal mines. That’s my grandma Viv’s family heritage, Wales, so they go pretty far back in WV generations, too. Same for my mother’s family.
With such an immigration boom and big industrial visions or grandeur, America needed strong workers. Lots of them. Labor was labor for the rich coal mine owners, so any workers that showed up, worked. Coal mines were very diverse with many cultures and races. From Italy to Russia to Europe and by 1870, 25% of the newly added workers were freed slaves from the south. They all worked together for the chance at an American Dream.
That doesn’t mean coal miners were free. Many in southern mines near the borders were. Depended on the coal miner owner group I suppose. They fled up north, too and got in the business. Either way – free or employed – you worked like a horse for more hours of the day than not and started as young as they let you, many times under12 years old.
The wages were meager at best and in many mines, they paid with a credit system. The credits could be redeemed for things in the market and your rent for the family unit. That’s kind oppressed too when you think about it. It’s not like you can pack up the family and leave the grind community to travel through the hills and look for another mine that has better benefits. They called them company towns. The company built communities at the mine to keep workers and families on site. It worked because it was more than what they had, which is why they came in the first place.
And so the cycle continues. Hard, tough workers helping outsiders leverage the land. Sound familiar?
Company towns were put together with the help of the Sears catalog. The village I grew up in, Beech Bottom, was actually built by the company and every house is from the catalog. They vary in styles, but one thing is still clear – the village is divided in half by single family homes and the other half is 2-4 duplex home, condo style units. I was always told growing up that when it was the strip mines/port back in the day, the managers lived on the one side and the laborers lived on the other.
Today each side is for everyone who can afford it and works.
The history of generations embedded strong values in our resilience, hard work, family and doing what’s right. Once news of the resource rich lands of West Virginia spread, many came to help fuel it. That means trains, barges and trucks come along. And steel. And salt. And fracking.
So why are West Virginians viewed amongst fellow states as inferior, and not rich at all when the land that is theirs is so vastly rich, full of wonderful supply to willfully help our entire country thrive?
Did you know that West Virginia is one of the five largest producers of natural gas and coal in the US and even some of their vast resources are sent to China?
I think it’s all the lens to view it. I think West Virginia could and should be viewed as a good people who know how to share. They just don’t get the credit for it.
The companies that roll in and strip away what they want don’t ethically dispose of the waste they leave behind. It could be done right though.
My Pap worked in the train yards, my other Pap worked at the Coke plant and got the lung. My Dad put a solid 20 years in at the steel mill before it caved under the plastics boom of the 90’s. Then he worked hard chopping wood for cash and open shifts at the paper mill.
At the steel mill, he nearly died in a horrible accident. When we got electrocuted while working in the hot steel ladles area. Luckily someone was able to detach him from the electric, but it was grave. Once he recovered and got several skin grafts, he was back at it.
I was born a couple years later. I had the best childhood I think anyone who didn’t know any different could enjoy. It was home. If you had a dad, which I did, and he was working in the mills or mines it meant you were living the good life in Beech Bottom. Cute cottage
The reason West Virginia is so important to me is because this is one area of significance that deserves to be healed from within. There’s so many wonderful, authentic people who are used to the air, water and big rigs driven by out-of-state companies.
I love this state. It’s naturally breathtaking and well, it’s home.
There are places like this, that in my opinion have been heavier dominated in corrupt politics that were geared for profiting themselves at the expense of their people. Find natural resource honey holes in this country, and you’ll find generational oppression right next door. It’s the elite people taking them for themselves and not being ethical to all.
Then they media-lize the people of those areas to be less valued or important than the rest and we all turn up our noses, lift up our heads and stop paying attention.
When you look at it through that lens, this situation is spot-on similar to reservations, inner cities and any other ‘wrong side of the tracks’ places. In this case, it’s an entire state that historically worked together in unity.
We have to help all Americans. People over profit sets us free.
If the deals were handled right, West Virginians could be truly thriving with all the value and resources they provide to fellow Americans for our energy. So what’s going on?
West Virginia by the Numbers
When you are the 5th largest US producer of rich fossil fuels, your citizens should not be 48th in economic development. Only three states are worse off than them economically.
Plus WV is smaller in size than 40 other states. So there’s less people and land to protect.
I suppose it’s because the companies who pump it out and pay the people to mine it out don’t live or do business there. So other states like New York and Texas get the income even though it’s West Virginia’s supply.
That’s were good negotiators should’ve come in, and they’re called politicians and lobbyists. They’re supposed to protect the people who voted for them to protect them. Nope.
There’s lots of politicians and lobbyists that love West Virginia. Just not the same way I love it.
For West Virginia to be at the bottom of the barrel for things like infrastructure, economy, healthcare and overall quality of life – there’s a few things they’re number 1 at.
It houses the only Atomic bomb bunker, a facility built to house all 535 members of Congress in the event of a nuclear attack. Well, it’s the only one – we know of <wink,winky>
They rank first and only state to have the largest NASA observatory in the US. It spans 13,000 square miles of “No Service” zone, meaning you best have your phone turned off when you’re in that zone or they will find you and take it. They’ve staffed it with government security to ensure no radio waves happen in the zone. Don’t mess with the communication juju people.
West Virginia receives first place for where food stamps began. They were the state test piloting in 1961. Sadly, West Virginia has been bumped to 2nd place currently, due to our friends in New Mexico taking the prize for most citizens on welfare. Thanks, reservations.
Current states with highest food stamps recipients
- New Mexico (21,368 per 100k)
- West Virginia (17,388 per 100k)
- Louisiana (17,388 per 100k)
- Mississippi (14,849 per 100k)
- Alabama (14,568 per 100k)
- Oklahoma (14,525 per 100k)
- Illinois (14,153 per 100k)
- Rhode Island (13,904 per 100k)
- Pennsylvania (13,623 per 100k)
- Oregon (13,617 per 100k)
Here’s another #1 – Opioid Availability.
Top US States with Drug Overdose Deaths
- West Virginia: 41.5 per 100,000 people.
2. New Hampshire: 34.3 per 100,000 people.
3. Kentucky: 29.9 per 100,000 people.
4. Ohio: 29.9 per 100,000 people.
5. Rhode Island: 28.2 per 100,000 people.
6. Pennsylvania: 26.3 per 100,000 people.
7. Massachusetts: 25.7 per 100,000 people.
Guess it helps with the pain of reality? How does it get prescribed here so heavily? This list is either Martha’s vineyard or mining states.
Remember – hillbilly heroin? The fun term they teased about West Virginians getting hooked on the Oxy?
Ironically, heroin is stereotypically used by the poor and the fancy pill addictions are deemed more white collar. So how did this prescription drug become and remain so widely popular and available to these dang nabit Hillbillies? The ranks above have them as #47 for healthcare, so the pills are peculiar.
Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio are right there with them like our map of resource honey holes.
Look. I don’t think this is funny, it’s quite serious. Gravely serious. Humor tends to help others hear it.
The purpose of explaining the overall dreary cloud that hangs over these beautiful souls like coal dust is that it’s in plain sight. There’s gotta be some truth serum here that between natural resources, no protection of chemical dumping, opioids abound and the same people in power over them for decades who got the power from the people who chose them to take it.
I don’t know if this is possible or not, but could West Virginia also be the #1 state where a Senator had to renounce his high ranking KKK position so his constituents wouldn’t frown upon him?
I think it’s also ironic that the ‘trusted’ media, politicians and celebrities minimalize his involvement in the KKK, because he publicly said he regretted his decision to run his local chapter for that many years. Ahh, see – he’s sorry.
What he isn’t sorry about is that he ran a filibuster against – yes, against – the civil rights movement in 1964 that the one and only Martin Luther King, Jr and John F. Kennedy were for but he also wanted and voted for the Vietnam War to happen, sending his people to fight and die there. He’s a democrat folks. When he finally died, he was honored and eulogized by his young mentees, Biden and Obama. They claim he’s one of the most important, influential people in their lives. Seriously. They wrote quite the send off speech for him.
At least West Virginia gets another first ranking – their the state to have the longest serving US senator in the history of senators. Good ole Bobby Byrd. He helped launch the SNAP program. They also managed to convince all the sweet trusting souls of WV roots that being democrats is the right thing to do because they feed them.
Biden and Byrd, sitting in a tree. And there’s Manchin. Still in the game. Oh! Hey! Did you know his daughter is the CEO of a global pharmaceutical company? I mean, she shells it out of Ireland for cheap capital tax but she’s living large outside of Pittsburgh. Her name is Heather, too. She’s the unapologetic decision maker that made EpiPens increase from pennies to hundreds of dollars, shutting out thousands of adults and children who needed it.
Here’s her company:
Mylan N.V. was a global generic and specialty pharmaceuticals company. In November 2020, Mylan merged with Upjohn, Pfizer‘s off-patent medicine division, to form Viatris. Previously, the company was domiciled in the Netherlands, with principal executive offices in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK and a “Global Center” in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, US.
In 2007, the company acquired a controlling interest in India-based Matrix Laboratories Limited, a top producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for generic drugs, and the generics business of Germany-based Merck KGaA. Through these acquisitions, the company grew from the third-largest generic and pharmaceuticals company in the United States to the second-largest generic and specialty pharmaceuticals company in the world. (From Wikipedia)
Maybe I could also say West Virginia is the first state to have the Senator’s daughter rescue them with overdose injection drugs for the EMT rescue teams to save the very citizens getting the opioids from the same place. How amazingly coincidental and lucrative. She made $19 million last year alone. Manchin thinks $15 an hour is too much for his people.
Yet, here were are. 50 states. And if you ask any 49 what they think about the people of West Virginia – who are the sweetest, simplest hardest working people, ok, maybe I am bias but I sure do think so – what will they say?
Redneck, hillbilly lower class-y type rhetoric I would assume. It’s ok. We’re all conditioned that way. Cause if we think other souls aren’t as valuable as our own, we don’t tend to pay attention to what’s going on in our own country against our own people. I think many are proud of the term which shows where they came from.
My daughter is half West Virginian, half Native American and a total badass cool person. As she begins her journey into the voice of the indigenous, she’s doubly infused with the power for her peoples. To be continued.
Shoutout to ‘started from the bottom now I’m here’ success story. That’s the American dream. Let’s help others relearn it.
American Dream is to better the generation that brought you here while improving the future for the generation you create. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The same people who decide where the profits go, who gets new roads and whether or not you get equal opportunity to live longer has partnered with Hollywood and the media to condition us to believe that the true American Dream is buy more, get more, build more and keep consuming. Consume. Work. Rinse. Repeat.
I wonder why.
Let’s unite. Let’s all know we all just want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Don’t dump more work on me, threaten violence or lie and we’re all good. Aren’t we?
The beauty of this land, the tourism possibilities – what if we help make West Virginia more about it’s beauty and it’s people and visit often.
Set the Mountaineers free. All of them.
Thanks for reading,
Video Resources to deeper dive into the atrocities: