The state of Virginia was named for the “virgin queen” of England, Queen Elizabeth I.
Virginia’s nickname, The Old Dominion, originated in Colonial days. (Dominion refers to complete ownership of a particular piece of land or territory.) Because he considered the Virginians “the best of his distant children,” sometime around 1663, King Charles II of England elevated Virginia to the position of dominion along with England, Scotland, Ireland, and France. The citizens of Virginia were pleased with this elevated status because they considered themselves the most faithful of the King’s settlements in America. Since their settlement was the oldest of King Charles’ settlements in America, they adopted the name “The Old Dominion.”
I visited my dad in the Old Dominion last weekend. It’s a beautiful state with abundant history.
In Lexington, Virginia, the echoes of the past still ring loud and clear. We visited the Stonewall Jackson House, the only house that Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson ever owned. He and his wife lived in the house while he taught at the Virginia Military Institute prior to the American Civil War.
It was then on to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, where Stonewall Jackson, 144 Confederate veterans, two Virginia Governors and Margaret Junkin Preston are buried.
I still have a fascination with historic cemeteries.
We did a fair amount of hiking while I was there too. Here we are at Abbott Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway:
We ventured into West Virginia for a spell, where we stopped to see the Locust Creek Covered Bridge near Hillsboro. The bridge was originally built in 1888 for US$1,250 and is now for pedestrian traffic only.
Back in Virginia, we visited the historic Homestead Resort. While we sat and enjoyed a drink on the front porch, we imagined back to the days when Thomas Jefferson, the author of our Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, the father of the Constitution visited The Homestead.
More hiking. Here at Sherando Lake:
And here at Humpback Rocks in George Washington National Forest:
The mile up to the Rocks was tough, gaining about 800′. The views from the Rocks are great looking west onto the Shenandoah Valley and north to Shenandoah National Park.
Virginia is a state steeped in history. Before the arrival of the Europeans, Chief Powhatan ruled over the untamed land. Chief Powhatan fathered one of Virginia’s more famous historical figures, Pocahontas. The first permanent English settlement in America, at Jamestown in 1607, set the stage for the taming of the wilderness.
Virginia played a central role during the American Revolution, from Patrick Henry’s fiery oration “Give me liberty or give me death”, to the eventual surrender of Lord Cornwallis to Washington at Yorktown. And during the Civil War, Virginia saw more battles fought on her soil than any other state. Many of these battlegrounds are now national historic sites, and are visited by thousands of tourists annually.
Virginia also holds the distinction of being the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents. No wonder they say that Virginia’s history is America’s history!