West Virginia State Song

"This Is My West Virginia"

Musician and performer Iris Bell

Adopted 1962; February 28, 1963.

West Virginia has adopted three state songs reflecting three different eras of the state's history. Col. Julian Hearne, a military officer who distinguished himself in World War II, composed "West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home." The song "The West Virginia Hills" was written by Reverend David King as a poem for his wife, Ellen, in 1879. In 1885, Henry Everett Engle added a chorus and composed music to accompany the poem. An edited version of the song was made official in 1961. "This Is My West Virginia," composed by Charleston jazz musician Iris Bell, was designated the "official centennial song" in 1962. On February 28, 1963, the state legislature passed a resolution declaring all three songs official and equal. Of all the songs, however, "The West Virginia Hills" is the most popular, partly for its "call and response" structure that sounds like echoing across the hills

West Virginia State Song: "This Is My West Virginia

"This Is My West Virginia"

This is my West Virginia, the home of all my family,
And the faces of her people ever glow with loyalty;
The honest sweat born of honest toil is the only way they know
Here in my West Virginia, the home that I love so.

This is my West Virginia, her beauty makes my spirit whole,
In the times of dread and anguish it calms my fevered soul;
I lift mine eyes unto these hills and they give me power to go on
Here in my West Virginia, where I was born.

This is my West Virginia, and free her sons will always be
We will stand behind our principles as in 1863
Her pride will live and her strength will grow
'Til her mountains turn to dust;
This is my West Virginia, the land I trust.

This is my West Virginia, these hills that guard my liberty
And her flag proclaims the legend "Mountaineers are always free."
Where-e're I go she will call to me through the world in which I roam
This is my West Virginia, my land, my home.

Origin of Song: "This Is My West Virginia"

Each of these three songs had received an official designation from the State Legislature over the years. "West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home"was declared the first official state song in 1947. In 1961, an edited and approved version of "The West Virginia Hills"was also made an official state song. In 1962, "This Is My West Virginia"was named the official Centennial Song of West Virginia. Understandably, this resulted in considerable confusion.

To resolve the matter, all three songs were declared official and equal by House Concurrent Resolution No. 19, adopted by the State Legislature on February 28, 1963. The Secretary of State's office is guardian of the official versions.

The third song, "This Is My West Virginia,"was written by Charleston musician and performer Iris Bell in 1962.

State Songs
US State Songs
Forty-nine states of the United States (all except New Jersey) have one or more state songs, selected by the state legislature as a symbol of the state.