6 wild (but not necessarily wonderful) facts about West Virginia
1. West Virginia is ranked 49th for median household income (Mississippi is ranked 50th). Overall personl inome growth over the past 30 years has been only 1/3 of the national average. It's also the only state where the death rate is higher than the birth rate. For five years, West Virginians ranked themselves as more miserable than people in any other state
2. The state reptile is the timber rattler. The motto is Montani semper liberi ("Mountaineers are always free").
3. West Virginia was created after delegates from unionist counties of northwest Virginia decided to break away from the confederacy. A number of secessionist counties were included. West Virginia was admitted to the Union in 1863. However, many voters in the pro-secessionist counties were fighting in the Confederate army when the vote was taken, and they refused to acknowledge the area as a separate state. After the war, West Virginia and Virginia disagreed about who should pay Virginia's prewar debt.
4. Harpers Ferry changed hands twelve times during the Civil War.
5. Due to the building of many new railroads following the war, coal mining became practical on a large scale. Currently, almost all of the state's energy is created by burning coal.
6. Many of the state's churches are small, independent and un-affiliated churches which don't fit into the categories listed on surveys, leading to statistics which seem to show many areas as unchurched.