State Information

Nickname(s):                            Old Dominion, Mother of Presidents

Motto(s):                                      Thus Always Tyrants

State song(s):                              Our Great Virginia

 Capital                                           Richmond

Largest City                                Virginia Beach

Admitted to US                         6/26/1788                  10th State

Brief History of Virginia

Jamestown was established in 1607 by the English. It was the first settlement in the United States. 

Here are a few interesting facts about Virginia:

  • More than half of all battles during the Civil War were fought in Virginia. 

  • The states of Kentucky and West Virginia were formed from portions of Virginia. 

  • Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is the world’s largest bridge-tunnel complex, at 18 miles. 

  • Virginia has had more presidents (8) than any other state: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson. 

  • It is home to the US Navy’s Atlantic Fleet.

  • One-quarter of all workers in Virginia are employees of the US Government. 

  • Arlington Cemetery is located in Virginia. 

  • St Andrew’s Church in Roanoke was built in 1902 for $60,000.  

  • Virginia has many famous people, including Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clark), George C Scott (actor), Patrick Henry (politician and orator of the “Give me liberty or give me death” speech), Robert E. Lee (Confederate general), and many others.

Interesting Stories

Indentured Servants.   One-half to two-thirds of all immigrants who came to America arrived as indentured servants.  Most reached the Chesapeake region, accounting for 80 to 90 percent of European immigrants.  A significant difference between indentured servants and enslaved people is that slaves were brought to America against their will and could not buy their freedom.  In 1775 there were about 216,000 emigrants that came indentured, with 75% of those under the age of 25.  The middle colonies of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey relied heavily on indentured servants; in the eighteenth century, more lived there than in any other region.   The 13th Amendment abolished all forms of slavery, including indentured servants.  The United Nations did not outlaw indentured servants until 1948.

Cyrus McCormick was born in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.  His father worked for 28 years on a horse-drawn reaper to harvest grain.  At that time, reaper machines were all pushed in front of the horses.  Pulling them behind didn’t work because the horses would trample the grain.  Cyrus had the idea to pull them to the side with the horses walking on a portion of the field that had already been cut.  It took almost ten years before the reaper began to sell.  And when it finally began selling, Cyrus’s factory burned down in the Great Chicago Fire.  Despite the rough start, the McCormick reaper changed grain production worldwide. 

Pocahontas was a Native American born around 1596 in the Tidewater region of Virginia.  She was the daughter of a chief.  When John Smith was captured by her tribe, she placed her head on his chest as her father was about to execute him.  At least, that was the English version.  Another version was that John Smith was involved in a fight with one of the braves.  He was taken back to the tribe and initiated as an honorary member.  As the relations between the tribe and the English became more strained, Pocahontas was captured by the colonists and held for ransom.  But she refused to go back to the tribe.  That should surprise no one since the women in the tribe were responsible for all the farming, cooking, water collection, firewood, meat handling, household materials, hide tanning, and raising the children.   Holding Pocahontas for ransom was a negotiation blunder.

President James Madison was born near Port Conway, Virginia.  He was instrumental in drafting the Federal Constitution. The Virginia legislature created congressional districts designed to deny Madison a seat. During the first congress, Madison took the lead in passing the Bill of Rights as the first ten amendments to the Constitution.  There were two hundred proposed amendments, but only ten were passed.  Madison also had extreme opposition from Congress, who refused to confirm his nominations.  He chose members for political harmony. Most were simply figurehead positions.  Madison believed in imposing tariffs to protect American goods, leading to Congress passing the Tariff Act of 1816.

Roy Clark was born in Meherrin, Virginia.  He won the National Banjo Championship at the age of 16 and won an appearance in the Grande Ole Opry.  He became a professional boxer when he was 18 and won 15 fights in a row.  But his heart was in music. He returned to music, joining Jimmy Dean on his television show.  His music records started to sell.  And his career soared with a show called Hee Haw.  This show became the longest-running variety show in television history.  

Sam Snead, aka “Slammin Sammy,” was born in Ashwood, VA, on May 27, 1912.  He won 82 PGA Tours (1st all-time), 3 Masters, Player of the Year, was the leading money winner, and so many more.  He is also the only man to win the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour.  The LPGA felt that, at 50, Sam was too old to be a threat.  Big mistake.  He was friends with Ted Williams, a professional baseball player. The two debated about which game was harder.  Sam said golf because “golfers have to play their foul balls.”  Sam was the only golfer who clunked a golf ball off the scoreboard at Wrigley Field.