4 W’s, from coast to almost coast

The 2006 Olin International Reunion was in Kennewick, WA

stamps texas to wyoming
WA Washington, a US state in the Northwest, historically abbreviated Wash. It’s often referred to a Washington state, to delineate it from the national capital on the other side of the country. Capital: Olympia. Largest city: Seattle.

The 2006 Olin International Reunion was in August in Kennewick, the eastern part of the state. My wife and I briefly considered going, but with a two-year-old, who wailed on an hour-long car ride, we decided a transcontinental flight at that time was not in our plans.

WI Wisconsin, a state in the Midwest US, historically abbreviated Wisc. Capital: Madison. Largest city: Milwaukee, a city I associate with beer. The TV sitcom show Laverne & Shirley was based there.

The major sports franchise in the smallest city metropolis is the Green Bay Packers, which won the first two Super Bowl NFL championship games.

The one time I was in Wisconsin was 1988. I was working for FantaCo, the comic book store/publisher. I was accompanying Mario Bruni to the Capital City Distributors trade show in Madison. We were there to promote some Mars Attacks cards which Mario had designed and FantaCo was publishing. This was in a period before Diamond had become the only player in the comic book direct market.

Madison was a beautiful city, located on a couple of lakes. It seemed like a place I could live if ever I were to move.

Mountain State

WV West Virginia, a state in the Appalachian region of the southern US, sometimes abbreviated W. Va. Capital and largest city: Charleston.

I always had an odd affection for the state, which broke off from Virginia during the Civil War, and joined the Union in 1863. As a kid in Binghamton, I could pick up the country music powerhouse WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia late at night. The station apparently abandoned the format in favor of talk radio in 1997.

When my family used to drive from Albany, NY to Charlotte, NC, where my parents lived, we’d almost always stay in Martinsburg, West Virginia, which was about halfway. We had been there enough times to identify the restaurants and hotels, practically from memory.

WY Wyoming, a state in the US Rocky Mountains, sometimes abbreviated Wyo. Capital and largest city: Cheyenne.

Although the state is the 10th largest by area, it is the least populous state in the country, with fewer than 600,000 people. It’s also the second most sparsely populated state, behind Alaska.

Thus ends our run of the 50 US states, and related geographies.

The who, what, when, where, why of ABC Wednesday

S for Severed States

The part of Missouri Compromise allowing Congress control of slavery in the newly emerging territories was declared unconstitutional.

I saw this article recently in the Wall Street Journal about some people on Long Island wanting to secede from the rest of New York State for a bunch of reasons; it won’t happen, BTW, because the state legislature wouldn’t allow it. But it reminded me that the 50 states in the US were not always the size that they are currently.

Even before there was a United States, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York all insisted that Vermont was a part of their state. That’s why Vermont declared itself a kingdom in 1777, and Vermonters to this day refer to the state as the “Northeast Kingdom”, though it became the first state after the original 13.

In the early days of the Union:
Connecticut laid claim on a piece of what is now northern Ohio
Kentucky would be carved out of what was part of Virginia
*Georgia included the northern portions of what is now both Alabama and Mississippi

Of course, the Louisiana Purchase changed the equation, with the federal government attempting to control all the unincorporated territories of the country, sometimes with resistance at the state level.

Read about the Wisconsin-Michigan kerfluffle.

What is now Maine was once part of Massachusetts, plus some territory claimed by Britain as part of Canada. Maine (free) and Missouri (slave) became states in 1820 and 1821, respectively, I remember from my American history, as a result of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which “stipulated that all the Louisiana Purchase territory north of the southern boundary of Missouri, except Missouri, would be free, and the territory below that line would be slave.”

The Missouri Compromise was repealed by the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act, which brought those states into the Union but eliminated the provision limiting slavery. Indeed, the part of the Missouri Compromise that allowing Congress to control slavery in the newly emerging territories was declared unconstitutional in the horrific 1857 Dred Scott decision by the Supreme Court.

This led to the American Civil War, during which the northwest counties of Virginia seceded from Virginia to become West Virginia. (WV is the answer to the trivia question: “Which state east of the Mississippi River was the last to join the union?”

Read about some of the United States’ international boundary disputes here, and about the curious case of the Republic of Texas here.

ABC Wednesday

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