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Wild, Wondering West Virginia: Where Does the Phrase ‘West By God Virginia’ Come From?

The train bridge across the New River as seen from Hawk's Nest in Fayette County, W.Va.
Eric Douglas
/
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
The train bridge across the New River as seen from Hawk's Nest in Fayette County, W.Va.

Our next Wild, Wondering West Virginia question comes to us from Trish Hatfield of St. Albans, West Virginia. Her question won the latest voting round of popular questions.

Trish asks, “Where does the phrase, ‘West By God Virginia’ come from?” West Virginia Public Broadcasting got in touch with her to learn more about her curiosity. 

Trish moved first from Colorado and Minnesota before settling down with her family in Kanawha County about 40 years ago. When Trish traveled outside the state for work, she noticed herself using the phrase “West By God Virginia” to explain where she lived.

We asked Trish where she thinks the phrase comes from, and she tells us she thinks it may have started as a religious phrase, but for her, personally, she makes the phrase her own, using it to put emphasis on the fact that West Virginia is unique and different from any other state. 

Trish Hatfield’s question won the latest online voting round in our ongoing “Wild, Wondering West Virginia” campaign. We’re digging in to find the history of the phrase, “West By God Virginia.” Stay tuned!

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