Appalachian Thursday – Where Are You From?

When people ask me where in West Virginia I’m from, it’s a bit of a dance. I generally say, “French Creek.” Then, when they give me a blank look, I say, “the nearest town is Buckhannon.”

Mom and me failing at taking a selfie
on Main Street in Buckhannon, WV.

Rarely, does a light bulb switch on. Then I add, “the nearest towns anyone has heard of are Clarksburg . . .” no glimmer. “Fairmont . . .” nothing. “Well, Morgantown is an hour to the north.” Ah-ha. People have heard of West Virginia University.

So, my hometown is hard to find on a map. (It’s hard to find while driving on Rte. 20 in a car, but that’s not the point.) The thing is, there are much harder places to find with MUCH stranger names.

Places like:

  • Onego – Near Seneca Rocks in the eastern panhandle of the state, this town’s name is often mistaken for something Native American. Nope. It’s One – go. Apparently there was a narrow road where only one wagon could go through at a time.
  • Mountain – This town is near Spruce Knob (the highest point in the state). Originally, it was called Mole Hill. But the residents decided to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Literally.
  • Paw Paw – So far east it’s almost in Maryland, this town is named for the Paw Paw fruit native to WV. And yes, there’s a Paw Paw High School.
  • Hundred – I love this one. It’s named for settlers Henry Church and his wife. So why isn’t it called Church or Henryville? Because he lived to be 109 and she lived to be 106. Now that’s worth naming a town after!
  • Pie – This town is near the Kentucky border and was allegedly named by the post master who liked . . . pie.
  • Odd – To wrap up this list we have a town in the southern part of the state near I-77. Rumor is the townspeople chose that name because they wanted something . . . unusual.

Gotta love the mountain state!

Published by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Author, wife, child of God.

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