West Virginia

Will Rogers visited West Virginia and wrote about the state’s political figures. He wrote his Daily Telegrams from the towns of Lester, Bluefield, Fairmount, Parkersburg and Morgantown.

“West Virginia had seceded from Virginia when they got tired of listening to nothing but ancestry and smoked hams. With West Virginians, you know, they could have bragged about their ancestors, too, only they weren't such big liars as the Virginians were. Really, West Virginia is what you might call the truthful end of the Virginias. Two feuds was about as far as a West Virginian can ever trace any of his ancestors. Another reason why West Virginia seceded from the old sister state was the right of political freedom. People were voting Republican in Virginia, but they wasn't getting their votes counted. The Slaves got their freedom by war and the Republicans got theirs by secession from old Virginia.” – E. R. Squibb & Sons Broadcast, 1930

“This is the home State of John W. Davis, the last Democratic sacrifice on the altar of “no policy to run on.” Notice to Democrats—Get a policy and stick to it, even if it’s wrong. See by the papers that Mr. Davis is toastmaster tomorrow night at the Ambassador Hotel, New York, at a dinner to Shakespeare. He is not only the only West Virginian that would have known anything about Shakespeare, but the only Presidential candidate we ever had that could call his name without referring to his notes.” – Daily Telegrams, April 21, 1927 (John W. Davis ran for President in 1924)

“Say, this Senator Goff of West Virginia is pulling Jim Watson down here. He kinder acts like he is serious about this Republican Presidential nomination. This State is worried more about how to make a coal mine pay than it is about Presidential candidates.” – Daily Telegrams, April 19, 1928

“I am here in Clem Shaver’s, the head of the Democrats, home town. He tells me that the Democrats are going to be so peaceful and hungry for harmony at their convention that you won’t hardly know they are Democrats. Well, if I go there and they are as he says, I certainly will ask for my money back. They have worked for years to bring their conventions up to a show and now they want to crab it. I have been investigating the condition of the coal mines all day. They are not nearly as bad as the condition of the second-hand automobile dealers.” – Daily Telegrams, April 20, 1928 (writing from Fairmount, W. Virginia)