WEST VIRGINIA, a State in the South Atlantic Division of the North American Union; bounded by Pennsyl vania, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio; admitted to the Union, June 19, 1863; capital, Charleston; number of counties, 55; area, 24,170 square miles. Pop. (1890) 762,794; (1900) 958,800; (1910) 1,221,119; (1920) 1,463,701.
Topography.—The State is hilly and mountainous. The Allegheny Mountains form the Virginia boundary line. A con tinuation of the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee crosses the State about 20 miles W. of the Alleghenies. This range embraces the Flat Top, Cotton Hill, Greenbrier, Gauley, and Rich mountains. The surface W. of these mountains gradually descends to the Ohio river, this river forming the principal water system of West Virginia. The chief rivers are the Big Sandy, Kanawha, Guyandotte, and Monongahela, all of which are navigable and enter the Ohio. The Kanawha is fed by the Greenbrier, Gauley, Elk, and Coal rivers. The Potomac river forms part of the N. boundary line. There are numerous waterfalls in these streams all of which afford excellent water power, the falls at Harper's Ferry being especially noted.
Geology and Mineralogy.—The E. por tion of the State is of Eozoic formation. This is bordered by Lower Silurian shales, limestone and medina sandstone, and by coal measures covering over 16, 000 square miles.
Agriculture.—The soil consists of disintegrated limestones, sand, clay, and loam, giving it exceeding fertility. Nearly all garden vegetables and cereals grow abundantly.
The acreage, production and value of the principal crops in 1919, was as fol lows: corn, 735,000 acres, production 24,990,000 bushels, value $40,984,000; oats, 190,000 acres, production 4,750,000 bushels, value $4,320,000; wheat, 400, 000 acres, production 5,400,000 bushels, value $11,880,000; tobacco, 15,000 acres, production 10,500,000 pounds, value $5, 250,000; hay, 810,100 acres, production 1,215,000 tons, value $31,104,000; pota toes, 57,000 acres, production 5,130,000 bushels, value $8,978,000.
Mineral Production. — The State is among the most important in the pro duction of minerals. In the order of
their importance, they are coal, natural gas, petroleum, and clay products. The coal production in 1919 was 75,500,000 short tons, a decrease of 14,436,000 short tons over that of 1918. The State ranks second in the quantity of coal produced, and is surpassed only by Pennsylvania. The production of natural gas in 1918 was 265,160,917 thousand cubic feet. West Virginia ranks first in the produc tion of natural gas. The production of petroleum in 1918 was 7,886,628 barrels, valued at $31,652,108. There are im portant quarries of sandstone and lime stone, and the mining of salt is also an important industry.
Manufactures.—There were in the State, in 1914, 2,749 manufacturing establishments, employing 71,078 wage earners. The capital invested was $175, 995,000; wages paid $43,784,000; value of materials used $110,033,000; and the value of the products $193,512,000.
The principal articles of manufacture were iron and steel, lumber, and timber products, flour and grist, coke, railroad cars, packed meat, tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes, pottery, glass, foundry and machine shop products, and clothing.
Banking.—On Oct. 31, 1919, there were reported 119 National banks in operation, having $11,244,000 in capital; $9,313,000 in outstanding circulation; and $25, 371,000 in United States bonds. There were also 214 State banks, with $14, 741,000 capital, and $8,962,000 surplus. The exchanges at the United States clearing house at Wheeling, during the year ending Sept. 30, 1919, aggregated $226,320,000.
Education.—Elementary education is free from the ages of 6 to 21 years, and school attendance is compulsory for children between the ages of 8 and 14. There are about 7,000 public elementary schools, with about 315,000 pupils, and about 11,000 teachers. There are 164 public high schools and 6 public normal schools. The annual expenditure for education is about $8,000,000. The in stitutions for higher education include the West Virginia University at Mor gantown, Bethany College, and West Virginia Wesleyan College.