Skip Navigation

Transcript of interview with John Stealey, June 25, 1992, for the film "West Virginia"

Source: WV History Film Project


Q: John, tell me what the significance of the in-migration as a result of the Fairfax lands ? in this part of western Virginia.
JJFD 0080
JS: These eastern Virginians that came into the Shenandoah valley had a terrific impact in politics and economic life, social and intellectual life in the area. They were all well connected with the first families of Virginia, and they themselves were descendants. ... These eastern Virginians who came into the Shenandoah valley had a terrific impact socially, politically and economically in the area. They were very well connected themselves with the eastern Virginians; but they also brought the ...


Q: John, tell me what the significance of the eastern Virginias who moved into this area?
JJFD 0065
JS: These eastern Virginians had a very great impact on the area in an economic and social and political sense. They themselves were connected, well connected, with the first families of Virginia. Many of them were descendants of the first families. They also brought also huge numbers of slaves into the area to build their houses, to clear the land. Frequently they sent their overseers even ahead of them, before they moved and they would build a house that would later become the overseer's house. Then after they moved here they'd build a very large mansion, and architecturally these houses would be based on what they knew in eastern Virginia. What they would do is proceed to create a society that they knew in eastern Virginia and emulate their life in eastern Virginia. In doing this also they would control the political system.
JJFD 0255
They would, when the new county, Jefferson County was formed or the new county of Clark County in Virginia was formed, they're going to have most of the appointments. They're going to be the justice of the peace; they're going to run things. Also, this becomes an area which has a lot of Episcopal churches as a result of it because they were Anglicans Of course they'd reestablished these churches in this area. Now this would be in contrast to the German and Scotch-Irish immigrants who were already here and descendants of those immigrants who did not hold a great number of slaves. They had slaves, but not a huge number.
JJFD 0308
As the society would get underway, this other people would try to ape them or emulate or copy them. So, they're going to start building houses with pillars on them. They're going to see their daughters marrying maybe or their sons marrying into these other groups. They might become respectable that way. This has an impact in attitudes toward education, social life, horse racing, place names. Has an impact on street names in towns that are established.

Q: Let's talk about one of those impacts. Let's talk about education and the concept of education that's formed in the eastern panhandle counties.
JJFD 0376
JS: This is a basic difference between eastern and western Virginia, and it's one of the things that leads to separation. .... Education is a basic or the concept of education, whose responsibility it was is a basic difference, fundamental difference between eastern and western Virginia. Eastern Virginians always conceived that state funds should be spent at the collegiate level, that it was a family responsibility to educate children of what we would call the secondary and primary years and elementary years. And so what an eastern Virginia family would do -- they would bring a tutor in their home or a group of families would get together and establish a private academy, and most private schools in western Virginia and West Virginia evolved in that way.
JJFD 0453
And we have them throughout West Virginia; however for ordinary citizens in western Virginia, subsistence farmers, they couldn't afford education; either couldn't afford or they couldn't afford to allow the student to participate in it because they needed his labor. They needed his work. So what western Virginians came to feel strong about is a public education system on the primary and secondary level, but especially the primary level. And so what happened is you have an antagonism built up in the west toward, say the University of Virginia, which they view as a four year country club for rich aristocrats. That is a fundamental difference. Virginia conceded a county option in education in the 1840's. Jefferson and Ohio county and I believe there's one other western Virginia county did create a public education system on a county option basis, but it's a fundamental difference. It continues into the 20th century in what we might call the public school tradition versus the private school tradition.

Q: In the early part of the 19th century, what you would call an important, informative industry ? ? tell me about the salt industry and it's impact on the United States. ...
JJFD 0578
JS: The salt industry began in Kanawha Valley in the year 1808 with the Ruffner discoveries. Salt prices in the United States up until that time ran between $3.00 and $4.00 a bushel when salt could be obtained. So salt was a scarce commodity. The immediate impact of that discovery was to lower salt prices in the western United States to a range between $1 and $2.50 a bushel. It was very profitable. What happened in the Kanawha Valley between 1808 and the year of 1812 was a great boom, a great influx of people from New England and also from Virginia, trying to capitalize on the extraction of salt and the shipping of that salt in the west. Salt was fundamental to the success of western troops, in the provisioning of western troops during the War of 1812 and for the next decades the salt makers never allowed the legislators in Richmond ever to forget it as the ones in Congress never to forget it.
JJFD 0670
They were dealing with saltaires??, but there was a great boom in the Kanawha Valley up till 1814. Then in 1814 what occurred was that the market was saturated in the west, in the western river system and so what they tried to do at that time was to move into the control of their production, arranging business organizations to control production, manipulate prices, gouge the consumer, and of course this is the fundamental basis of the American Trust Movement, the American Output Pool Movement. Usually in history people point out these things start after the Civil War, but the column of ? salt makers knew what to do to control their destiny. They weren't always successful in implementing it, but they knew what to do as early as 1816, 1817.
JJFD 0747
They had the concept, and that's very important in West Virginia economics history. People usually look to New England or the mid Atlantic states to see progress in legal matters or progress in economic matters. And this is a real contributions by western Virginians to history.

Q: Tell me a little bit more about why at that time salt was so important to ? ?
JJFD 0784
JS: Salt is a basic necessity of life. We can start out with just human consumption. Americans consume more salt than other people in the world per capita. We still do even in the 20th century. Probably has something to do with some of the health problems we have, but at any rate salt in an agricultural economy is even more vital. One thing is, you have to feed the livestock that you're growing and most livestock that is being grown would be of course cattle. ... Cattle are a ruminating animals and have full stomachs, and they use salt to dissolve what they chew during the day. The cow chewing the cud. So salt is necessary for livestock production. The second thing is once you process the animal, kill the animal, slaughter the animal, the meat has to be preserved.
JJFD 0863
A major export of the United States was the provision trade, or the livestock product. The packing center of the United States came to be Cincinnati in the 1820's. Kanawha Salt made that possible because the salt was used to pack meat that was used, one for human consumption during the winter and also in the Ohio river trade to New Orleans. Salt is also necessary for dairy processing. Cheese, butter, any preservation of dairy products uses huge quantities of salt; and also something we forget about in the 20th century is the fundamental necessity of leather preservation, or leather tanning. We don't take it for granted but the harness, any motive power, whether it be beast or by machinery, that motive power had to be driven by in most cases by leather.
JJFD 0949
That would include mills, hammer mills, grist mills, that would include hand equipment, lathes, this sort of stuff. It's driven by leather. And so salt is fundamental, is of a necessity to tan leather and to cure leather. So those would be some of the uses.


Q: John, if you would, in a sort of 'take it off' list form, tell me once again all of the things that salt was used for, why it was so important.
JJFD 1009
JS: Salt is a vital necessity. Life cannot exist without it. ...


Q: Begin that thought again, John. Tell me why salt is so important.
JJFD 1033
JS: In the frontier period of American, in the early exploration and settlement of the west, salt was a necessity. One, for life and also for the development of settlement. As settlements developed, salt was very necessary for livestock growing; it was responsible for tanning, to harness the motive power of leather. It was very necessary for dairy processing and also for the preservation of meat products so that the people out west could trade those products for outside exchange. ....

Q: So tell me how Ruffner and others who settled in the Kanawha Valley came to developing the ? ?
JJFD 1107
JS: The Ruffners moved from Luray County, or Luray, Virginia, the Luray Valley -- the call it Lou Rae -- which is now Page County, and they came to Kanawha Valley in the early 1790's. That's when most settlements were taking place in the great Kanawha Valley. And they settled in what is now Charleston, really the old Clendenin land is what they bought in what is now downtown Charleston, tending to the west of Charleston. And they eventually purchased land from John Dickenson of Bathe County, Virginia, which contained the Great Buffalo Lick, which is the site of Indian stopovers, also stopovers for their captives where they made salt for preservation of their provisions for further travel west. That lick was very much in evidence.
JJFD 1188
Everybody knew about it who was in the area. They had promised to develop that lick and the price they would pay Dickenson for the property would depend on the production of what they developed, and so their interest was not to develop it. And they did not. Joseph Ruffner did not in his lifetime. So, John Dickenson and Ruffner died, Joseph Ruffner died, the heirs of Dickenson sued the heirs of Joseph Ruffner. The court judgment or the judgment was adverse to the Ruffners and that forced them to develop the salt works at Kanawha, what became the salt works of Kanawha.

Q: Describe the lick, say the lick was .... then say what was remarkable about this was these people with no experience of the salt industry developed new technology and a new way to ...
JJFD 1290
JS: ... Salt licks were very important in the American west and in West Virginia. They were the paths of settlement, the paths of Indians, they're the paths of animals. So early exploration in West Virginia followed the paths to the licks. And these were usually camping places, and these were places like ...


JJFD 1331
JS: ... The salt licks were very important to the settlement in the American west. They were located in various places throughout western Virginia and also in the Ohio river valley. Many major towns and villages today evolved around salt licks. The paths that explorers followed, that Indians followed, the paths that settlement would follow many times connected to major salt licks. And one of the major licks in the great Kanawha valley was the Gray Buffalo Lick near what is now Malden, near Charleston. So what happened was that people who speculated in land generally speculated in areas -- if they could get the lick itself it was desirable, but also they saw the potential for commercial development later because of salt being a basic necessity.
JJFD 1410
In the case of the Kanawha valley, that was a major path of commerce in a sense of Indian trade and in a sense of pioneer movement throughout the great Kanawha valley, between east and west, which is essentially the pattern of commerce lasting in the Kanawha valley until the 20th century.

Q: Tell me how it came about that the salt industries started to employ slaves, which was not a common occurrence in western Virginia?
JJFD 1453
JS: The problem that Kanawha producers had when their industry expanded so quickly during the War of 1812, a little bit before the war of 1812, it's a problem that plagued the whole colonial 19th century economy of America was the shortage of white labor or the shortage of labor. The southern solution of it had been in agriculture of course was the employment of slaves. Usually in an agricultural context. The Kanawha people adapted that a little bit. What they did, they saw their solution in employing slaves in the industry, the salt industry, and in several phases of the industry.
JJFD 1521
The several phases of the industry was one the boiling of the salt and the lifting of the salt, which was heavy work. Also, the furnishing of the fuel to the salt furnace. After 1821, coal was the primary fuel but before 1821, the primary fuel was wood, and so all the wood of the great Kanawha valley on the hillsides was stripped and shipped to salt furnaces and burned up. I have one account of 150 cords being piled on the ground that used in the clearing of the land in place called Quincy, West Virginia today. Slaves were also used to make barrels, and the most skilled positions were on steam engines and also of course general labor and upkeep around the salt furnace. The nice thing about slaves were that they were adaptable, both in the farms that the saltmakers had supported the furnace and of course in the industrial situation. So, what they did was what all other Virginians and all other southerners did to solve their labor problem.

Q: Tell me what the significance was that these slaves were not owned and not a resident of the ? ?
JJFD 1629
JS: Many cases the slaves which were used by the Kanawha salt makers were lease slaves from eastern Virginia. During this period, eastern Virginia was shipping its slaves or selling its slaves to the deep south. That was part of the interstate slave trade. In the case of the Kanawha valley, they took advantage of the surplus of labor in eastern Virginia and what they would do is offer eastern Virginians the lease prices which were sometimes were double what they would get in the locality they were in to lease their slaves in the Kanawha valley, and so by leasing slaves they solved a labor problem, but they also got a flexible labor supply. If the worker did not work out, they didn't have to lease him after the year was up.
JJFD 1702
They also would delay payment of the rental because the custom for leasing slaves was to have the slaves labor for a year and then release him at Christmas time and pay the lease price to the slave owner. And so they had the use of the labor. It was kind of a loan of labor for a year, so that was desirable if you're going into business. The second aspect to it or the other aspects of it were that the slaves could be injured. It wasn't their property being injured, and so as a result they were not losing their own investment. Also, they could engage in litigation and delay payment or avoid payment altogether for injuries or loss of life....


Q: John, tell me what the real significance of the slavery in the salt industry was?
JJFD 1799
JS: The slavery in the salt industry accomplished several things. It immediately solved an immediate labor for Kanawha salt makers. It shows the adaptability of labor in an industrial situation. It also serves as a precursor to what would happen later in extractive industries, especially the coal mining industry in West Virginia. It also established a black society in the great Kanawha valley that did not exist and one that exists up into the 20th century.

Q: One generation down David Ruffner, all of a sudden he is out front taking this stand. Tell me about Henry Ruffner and what he did and what it cost him?
JJFD 1884
JS: Henry Ruffner was educated ... Ruffner was a Presbyterian minister, very well educated in his day, became president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, the predecessor institution to Washington & Lee University. In the Franklin Society debates in 1847, he participated in that debate and argued for the gradual emancipation, the gradual abolition of slavery west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In that argument he based his, he blamed slavery for the retardation of Virginia economy. He compared land prices, the educational system or the lack of educational system, and he contrasted what was happening in Virginia with what was happening in the north where progress, land was worth more, agriculture was more prosperous, schools were better, and he attributed all the failure of Virginia to slavery. If eastern Virginia did not want to get rid of slavery, the west did. He was urged to publish this address in a pamphlet and the pamphlet is called "The Address to the People of West Virginia." It eventually cost Ruffner his job.


Q: John, tell me about the personal and political significance of the Ruffner pamphlet.
JJFE 0036
JS: The Ruffner pamphlet eventually cost Henry Ruffner his job as president of the Washington College. He would return to the western Virginia to try to establish a plantation in Kanawha County, and he would die really before he would be successful in that. The other thing is the Ruffner pamphlet made a contribution or became an issue in Virginia politics, and especially surrounding the political career John Letcher who was from Lexington. When Letcher ran for governor and also when he ran for previous office, his urging of Ruffner to publish this pamphlet caused his opponents to accuse him of being an abolitionist. And he would recant any belief in what Ruffner said even though he had that belief at one time. Of course it's part of the 1850's general sectional disputes over the slave issue. It's a part of that, a minor part of it, but major in Virginia.


JJFE 0162
JS: ... The slave issue is at the root of difference between eastern and western Virginia. It's the root on an economic basis and it's at the root of the problems between eastern and western Virginia on a political basis. Eastern Virginia was never willing to compromise politically or economically on the slave issue.

Q: When does the slavery issue really climax in this division? When do these intersecting lines really collide?
JJFE 0210
JS: The slave issue is debated at length in the Constitutional Convention of 1829 and ... The slave issue is debated extensively in the Constitutional Convention of 1829 and '30 and the west got very little out of that convention. The other major debate takes place in the Virginia legislative session of 1831 and 1832 in the role of Charles James Faulkner from Martinsburg in that. The other debate. The next debate comes ... The slave issue is debated several times in Virginia history. ...
JJFE 0300
The slave issue is debated in the Constitutional convention of 1829 and '30, and western Virginia got very little out of that. The slave issue was debated again in the Virginia legislature in 1831 and '32. It was later debated in the Constitutional convention of 1850. And of course it was a constant issue with the Ruffner pamphlet in the various Virginia elections. They culminated in a sense with the John Brown raid in 1859 in western Virginia. It's not that the John Brown raid has a direct influence on western Virginia but it does have a national influence.

Q: Leaping ahead to the Civil War now, tell me how it was that these odd colonies extending almost to the Chesapeake become part of the new state of West Virginia in the midst of the Civil War?
JJFE 0394
JS: West Virginia has an eastern panhandle because of the B&O Railroad. For the economic survival of northwestern Virginia where the people who were the unionist and who were making the state of West Virginia, they had to have the outlet of the B&O Railroad. The second reason for this is the Lincoln Administration needed the B&O Railroad, the shortest railroad, the shortest connection between the capital of the United States and the west was the B&O. They had to have that path protected by the Union army and by the new state of West Virginia. The third reason of course would be the influence of the B&O Railroad itself. They did not want to be in Virginia when the war was over. Virginia could have been the passer of hostile legislation against that railroad. Virginia had never been very sympathetic to the Baltimore commercial interests who were in back of that raid.
JJFE 0485
So for all these reasons, the eastern panhandle is a part of West Virginia and if we look at Hardy and what is now Pendleton County, that territory is included because the trade from that area flowed north toward the railroad.

Q: So the state builders in Wheeling wanted these counties; Lincoln wanted these counties with the union.
JS: And the railroad.

Q: But the people here didn't.
JS: I wouldn't say that absolutely.

Q: Can you tell me, make your point?
JJFE 0532
JS: The canard in West Virginia is that Berkeley and Jefferson county were against being in West Virginia. Certainly it is true in Jefferson County. I have no reservations about it. They were confederate. I would assert that the majority of the people in Berkeley county were unionists. The people who you would know in that day, the county leaders in Berkeley county were confederates, but the great number of people in Berkeley County were unionists. I think the man in the street was a unionist. Everybody that worked for the B&O Railroad was a unionist, which was the major employer, or they wouldn't be working for the railroad. See, everybody around here believes that this was a confederate county; but there's nothing that they base that on. ... We don't have a Harris or a Gallup poll.

Q: ... What did the war do to this part of West Virginia? What was the impact?
JS: It had a devastating impact. ... The Civil War destroyed a great deal of the farms in, many of the farms in this area. All the fencing was wrecked. The livestock had been impressed or destroyed. Also, in the sense of injuries to the confederates in this area were tremendous. You have to understand in the Stonewall Brigade we're talking about a quarter to a third of the men coming back, and some of them having been wounded. So there isn't anybody to work the farm in the sense of the white population. The second thing is that you have the freedom of the slave labor supply, especially in Jefferson County. On the eve of the war, one quarter of the population of Jefferson County was slaves.
JJFE 0624
Most of those slaves worked on those county farms. They were free; the males had left, they were gone. I can cite you one incidence that is a pathetic incidence of a man at Moler's Crossroads in Jefferson County who wrote a will in 1865 and his slaves are in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania or in Philadelphia and he's bequeathing the slaves to his various descendants.

Q: Why don't you tell me that again ...
JJFE 0741
JS: There was a farmer at Moler's Crossroads in Jefferson County who was writing a will in 1865. His slaves had fled the farm on the Potomac river or near the Potomac river. They had fled to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and fled to Philadelphia. He knew where they were but he was still bequeathing them in his will to his descendants.

Q: What was life like on the homefront in the eastern panhandle during the war?
JJFE 0814
JS: Life on the homefront in the eastern panhandle was ... The eastern panhandle of ... The eastern panhandle of West Virginia during the Civil War was the crossroads of war. There was military action, but most significant military action took place other places, so West Virginia of the eastern panhandle was a borderland. There was a great depopulation of the male population, both in the confederate and in the union army. There was great devastation of the crops. There was a great devastation of the labor supply. There's a great devastation of the land in many cases, so it was a kind of a refugee situation, an unsettled refugee situation.
JJFE 0876
Also, another thing that people often forget is that there's a breakdown of law and order or of civilian authority because the only authority was military authority so that would be a dictatorial sort of authority in Martinsburg or Charles Town or whenever. And of course you have to understand that at various times, depending on the movement of the army, various people would be in charge of the area, whether it be confederate or union troops, and that swung back and forth.

Q: Now as a group I would think that that breakdown would highly impact women who were left at home running the farms and running the business and the households? What was their lot?
JJFE 0937
JS: I think the role of women in the Civil War and in the eastern panhandle was affected several ways. I think the first thing that one has to keep in mind is the domestic service situation was breaking down, so the work of women especially in upper class households was going to be much different. It was going to breakdown. There's going to be unrest with the domestic help. Another thing you have to understand of women is that the men were frequently gone. Either their brother, their husband, a son, was off in the army. And of course the logical outcome is some of these people were never going to come back, so I think there's a bitterness engendered among women that lasts for generations. We're going to have a lot of widows.

JJFE 1024
JS: David Hunter Strother was significant ... David Hunter Strother was significant because he was from the eastern panhandle, and of course chose the union side. At the time of succession one has to remember that his father was a federalist and Whig, and so the Republican party in a political sense represented that lineage so in a sense Strother wasn't breaking with his political lineage when he made that selection -- very much unlike the majority of people in this area, who had a Virginia prejudice or a Virginia orientation. The other thing you have to remember about Strother is that Strother was in international travel. He had seen the world by the time of the Civil War, so his viewpoint was much broader than many of the leaders of this area. Also, Strother, the first man to understand the natural wonders of West Virginia ... Strother ...
JJFE 1138
Strother was the first man of national renown, he was well known in Harper's Magazine, who would point to West Virginia and its uniqueness in a natural sense and the natural wonders of West Virginia. His writing and his illustrations make a point of this. Here's a man who had traveled to Europe, seen many of the wonders of the world of his day, and he thought West Virginia and the natural wonders of West Virginia equaled that. ...

Q: The Civil War's been fought and it's over, refugees pouring into Harper's Ferry from the plantations in Virginia. The Free Will Baptist and the young missionaries come down. Tell me about this.
JJFE 1229
JS: The Free Will Baptists came to Harper's Ferry because of one man: Nathan Cook Brackett. Nathan Cook Brackett was a graduate of Dartmouth, was from Phillips, Maine. He had come to the Shenandoah Valley before the Civil War was over. During the Civil War he was a representative of the U.S. Christian Commission. This Commission was to introduce the Christian life among soldiers to keep them from gambling, drinking, doing all the bad things that soldiers do. When the American Missionary Association split up the south as mission fields in dealing with the blacks in a sense of refugees and in the sense of relief and in the sense of education, the lower Shenandoah Valley was assigned to the Free Will Baptist Church and Nathan Cook Bracket used his influence to get his church to take this field.
JJFE 1314
And so the lower Shenandoah Valley became a part of the Free Will Baptist charge for dealing with Freedmen and refugees. Later, when the Freedmen's Bureau was created in 1865, the Freedmen's Bureau selected Brackett as one of its agents or subagents in the Shenandoah Valley. As they dealt with relief, as they dealt with the refugee situation, as they dealt with education, the Free Will Baptists soon realized that the problem was too large to deal with. There were too many blacks, not enough white teachers to bring from Maine to teach blacks and so their solution was to create a normal school or teaching college to teach blacks to teach blacks. ...

Q: Describe for me how we came to be ...


JJFE 1411
JS: The Freedmen's Bureau was instrumental in leading blacks and leading local school districts to establish Freedmen schools. It must be understood that many of the localities in West Virginia opposed the establishment of education for blacks and of building buildings for blacks. But blacks are very dedicated to self help and to self education. Many blacks in the eastern panhandle and the Kanawha valley went to school in the evening after a day's work to be educated. When it came time that the state and Freedmen's Bureau would force these localities to establish schools, blacks contributed money to help construct these schools, and many blacks were giving $5 and $10 to establish Freedmen's Bureau schools. That doesn't sound like much money today, but within the context of the time, they were only making a hundred or a hundred fifty dollars a year, and they were willing to give $5 or $10 toward their own building for the education of themselves and perhaps their children.

Q: What was the result of the impact of the establishment of the schools in West Virginia?
JJFE 1521
JS: It attracts to West Virginia in many cases blacks from other states who teach these schools. For instance, many prominent black West Virginia families started in West Virginia as teachers in these schools. Also, it's the beginning of an instruction to blacks who usually achieve success, but blacks usually do it somewhere else, Booker T. Washington being an example of that. He would leave West Virginia, go to Hampton Institute. And of course go on from there.
JJFE 1565
Another thing it did was establish a tradition of education in West Virginia with the establishment of Storer College at Harper's Ferry and later as the population of Kanawha County grew, blacks would urge the establishment of the West Virginia Collegiate Institute at Farm?, which became West Virginia State College later.

Q: Sort of summing up that who reconstruction time, what do you think the lessons are for us know about what happened following the war? In many ways it seems like the war had been fought for naught? to black education there was resistance to many of the economic development programs, Diss Debar's struggle to try to get West Virginia moving. ? It seems like the story of the Ten Years' ? of Wars ? ?
JJFE 1656
JS: The heritage of reconstruction of West Virginia is very difficult to assess, but definitely it sets up a territorial and political situation that West Virginia has been coping with and has been inhibiting West Virginia ever since. West Virginia from the beginning was not a united state. We had great, great political differences in the state. These political differences have lasted up until the present. West Virginia has never been a unified state in a political sense. Even if it was united in one political party, that political party has had great differences in it. So West Virginians tend to see things in a sectional sense. This dates from the Civil War in the reconstruction period.

Q: You've been doing some work recently on being the historiography of politics with the subtheme of corruption as a West Virginian? What is the story of politics in West Virginia in the last hundred years?
JJFE 1755
JS: Politics in West Virginia follow sections. I think that you have to understand that if I wanted to make one conclusion about West Virginia politics I would say that it is not the elected officials in West Virginia who are frequently calling the shots in politics, it is the people who are behind the elected officials in West Virginia who are calling the shots in politics. In other words, your governor of the state is not necessarily the most important political man. It's the man got the governor elected.

Q: Is West Virginia more corrupt than other states? What is the legacy of corruption and why did it come about?
JJFE 1818
JS: I don't know if West Virginia is a more corrupt state but we do have the national reputation of being a front runner. I don't know that I can completely agree with this. I'm not sure our corruptions are as large as have occurred in other states, but certainly when one looks at the list of convictions in the southern district of the federal court of West Virginia, one has to be impressed by size.

Q: You did make a statement before that you felt that one of the root causes of political corruption.
JJFE 1872
JS: I think one of the problems of political corruptions it probably is the extractive industry. Extractive industry introduced as an absentee ownership situation into the state. It introduces a lot of money, potential money into West Virginia politics. Corruption can take place on certain levels. Corruption can place with a fountain pen. It can take place with government regulation; it can take place at the top of the political scale or the economic scale. In a sense, people who are corrupt at the lower end of scale, that is in vote buying and petty corruption. We might call it on the local level, in a sense, are emulating in a greater sense what had happened on a greater scale or on a higher scale.

Q: Is West Virginia different from the rest of the United States? What's your opinion about West Virginia? Is it a special place? Is it a place unlike other places?
JJFE 1974
JS: .... I think West Virginia certainly is similar and unlike other places. That's kind of an unanswerable question. I think there are several generalizations people can make about West Virginians that maybe the same or different. I think that one thing that West Virginians do is they're certainly firmly attached to their homes; they're certainly have a sense of place or they have a sense of territory. They have a sense of belonging to a territorial area.


Q: John, what makes West Virginia so distinctive, so ?
JJFE 2028
JS: I think there's several things, but I'll highlight a few. One thing of course is it's sectionalism. A lot of states are sectional and has sectional antagonism and sectional difference but West Virginia is a state of sections. There is no one part of West Virginia that exactly like another part of West Virginia. You can see it in the people's speech patterns; you can see it in what they eat. You can see it in how they make a living. The second thing that makes West Virginia very unique in the modern age is the witness of out-migration. It's tremendously debilitating; it's tremendously difficult for the morale to witness the fleeing of young people, to witness the fleeing of the in a sense the educated from the state, knowing they'll do very well someplace else and they'll never come to the state again to live permanently. ...

Q: ... you said before you were making ...

WRAP, end of sound roll 89