Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Virginia
VIRGINIA, a State in the South Atlantic Division of the North American Union; bounded by Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and the Atlantic Ocean; one of the original 13 States; counties, 100; area 42,627 square miles; pop. (1890) 1,655,980; (1900) 1,854,184; (1910) 2,061,612; (1920) 2,309,187. Capital, Richmond.
Topography.—The surface of the State is diversified, rising in a series of terraces from the coast to the mountains in the N. W. Tide-water Virginia is penetrated by the Chesapeake Bay and has a shore line of 1,500 miles. The middle section of the State is an undulating plain with an elevation of from 200 to 500 feet and extends to the foot hills of the Appalachian range. The W. part of the State is mountainous, the Blue Ridge and Piedmont ranges crossing the State in a S. W. direction, and the Alleghenies forming the boundary of West Virginia. The valley section is a broad belt of rolling country diversified by hills, ridges, and river valleys, lying between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. This region contains the valleys of the Shenandoah, Roanoke, James, Kanawha, and Holston rivers. The most important rivers are the Potomac, separating Virginia from Maryland, navigable as far as Alexandria; and the James, with its extensive network of tributaries, navigable to Richmond. Both of these rivers empty into Chesapeake Bay.
Geology and Mineralogy.—The coast is of Tertiary formation, consisting of sands, clays and marls, while further inland Miocene strata occur and abut against granite, gneiss and other metamorphic rocks. This metamorphic belt contains deposits of gold and iron. Two secondary belts cross the State parallel to the Blue Ridge and contain extensive coal measures. The valley is of Lower Silurian formation. The coal production in 1919 was 9,500,000 tons, which was 790,000 less than that of the previous year. Other important mineral products are granite, lime, clay, pig iron, manganese, talc, and soapstone.
Soil and Agriculture.—The soil in the tide-water region is light and sandy and though nearly worn out by superficial cultivation still yields large crops of vegetables. The soils of the Piedmont, Blue Ridge, and Valley regions are especially fertile, and together with the abundant rainfall, short, mild winters, and long summers make Virginia a great agricultural State. The acreage, value and production of the principal crops in 1919 were as follows: Corn, 1,600,000 acres, production 44,800,000 bushels, value $75,712,000; oats, 240,000 acres, production 5,280,000 bushels, value $5,280,000; wheat, 1,060,000 acres, production 12,508,000 bushels, value $28,018,000; rye, 72,000 acres, production 828,000 bushels, value $1,408,000; tobacco, 230,000 acres, production 131,130,000 pounds, value $62,141,000; hay, 1,000,000 acres, production 1,650,000 tons, value $39,105,000; peanuts, 139,000 acres, production 5,282,000 bushels, value $14,420,000; potatoes, 121,000 acres, production 11,495,000 bushels, value $18,047,000; sweet potatoes, 38,000 acres, production 4,750,000 bushels, value $7,362,000; cotton, 42,000 acres, production 22,000 bales, value $3,850,000.
Manufactures.—There were in 1914 5,508 manufacturing establishments, employing 102,820 wage earners. The capital invested amounted to $261,501,000; wages paid, to $44,874,000; value of materials used, $155,319,000; and value of finished product, $264,039,000.
Education.—The school population in 1918 was 658,926, of which 222,413 were negroes. The enrollment of white pupils was 348,918; and of negroes, 132,316, The average daily attendance of white pupils was 234,725; and of negroes, 82,631. There were 10,994 white teachers and 2,910 negro teachers. The total expenditure for education during that year amounted to $9,155,363. Education is free and compulsory for illiterate children between the ages of 8 and 12. There are seven normal schools, and the following colleges: William and Mary, at Williamsburg; Washington and Lee, at Lexington; University of Virginia, at Charlottesville; Virginia Union University, at Richmond; Virginia Polytechnic Institute, at Blacksburg; Virginia Military Institute, at Lexington; and the Hampton-Sidney College, at Hampton-Sidney.
Finances.—The receipts for the fiscal year 1919 mounted to $13,035,622, and the expenditures to $12,651,785. The public debt amounted to $22,912,215. The total valuation of property was $1,270,149,000.
Charities and Corrections.—The institutions controlled by the State include the Penitentiary, at Richmond; State Farm, at Lassiter; hospitals at Williamsburg, Marion, and Staunton; Epileptic colony and Colony for Feeble-minded, at Madison Heights; Sanatorium for Incipient Tuberculosis, at Catawba; Sanatorium for Negroes, at Burkeville; School for the Deaf and Blind, at Staunton; School for Colored Deaf and Blind, at Newport News; Laurel Industrial School, at School P. O.; Industrial Home School for Wayward Colored Girls, at Peaks Turnout; Home and Industrial School for Girls, at Bon Air; and Soldiers' Home, at Richmond.
Railways.—There are about 4,800 miles of steam railway in the State.
Banking .—On Oct. 31, 1919, there were reported 154 National banks in operation, having $23,199,000 in capital; $16,826,000 in outstanding circulation; and $59,530,000 in United States bonds. There were also 295 State banks, with $17,564,000 capital, and $9,844,000 surplus. The exchanges at the United States clearing house at Richmond, during the year ending Sept. 30, 1919, aggregated $2,784,234,000, an increase over those of the preceding year of $633,437,000.
Churches.—The strongest denominations in the State are the Regular Baptist, Colored; Methodist Episcopal, South; Regular Baptist, South; African Methodist; Presbyterian, South; Protestant Episcopal; Methodist Episcopal; Disciples of Christ; Roman Catholic; Lutheran, General Synod; Primitive Baptists; Dunkard, and Christian.
State Government.—The Governor is elected for a term of four years. Legislative sessions are held biennially in odd years, beginning on the first Wednesday in January, and are limited in length to 90 days each, but may be extended for a period not exceeding 30 days, upon a three-fifths vote of both houses. The Legislature has 40 members in the Senate and 100 in the House. There are 10 Representatives in Congress.
History.—The first settlement in Virginia was made at Jamestown, by the English in 1607. The London company was reorganized in 1609 and received an extensive territorial grant. After passing through the starving time, and being saved from destruction through the efforts of John Smith the colony became very prosperous. In 1621 a legislature was formed, and in 1676 there occurred Bacon's rebellion brought on by the tyranny of Sir William Berkeley, the royal governor. George Washington first became known during the French and Indian War, in 1754, as an officer in the Virginia militia. This colony, under the head of Patrick Henry, was the first to resent British oppression in 1764. During the Revolution several important engagements took place on Virginian soil, most notable being the defeat and surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Oct. 19, 1781. Virginia joined the Confederacy and passed an ordinance of secession on April 17, 1861, and became the scene of some of the most important battles of the Civil War, among them being the two battles of Bull Run, Winchester, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Peninsular campaign, and the battles of the Wilderness campaign; ending in the final surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865. Virginia was readmitted to the Union Jan. 27, 1870, and in 1881 celebrated the 100th anniversary of the surrender at Yorktown by laying the corner stone of a national monument, Oct. 18, 1881. During the American-Spanish War in 1898, an extensive military camp was established at Camp Alger, near Falls Church, in this State.