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West Virginia State Flag West Virginia

The West Virginia State Song

The West Virginia Hills

words by Ellen King and music by H.E. Engle

    Oh, the West Virginia hills! How majestic and how grand,
    With their summits bathed in glory, Like our Prince Immanuel's Land!
    Is it any wonder then, That my heart with rapture thrills,
    As I stand once more with loved ones On those West Virginia hills?

   CHORUS:
    Oh, the hills, beautiful hills, How I love those West Virginia hills!
    If o'er sea o'er land I roam, Still I'll think of happy home,
    And my friends among the West Virginia hills.

    Oh, the West Virginia hills! Where my childhood hours were passed,
    Where I often wandered lonely, And the future tried to cast;
    Many are our visions bright, Which the future ne'er fulfills;
    But how sunny were my daydreams On those West Virginia hills!

   CHORUS:

    Oh, the West Virginia hills! How unchang'd they seem to stand,
    With their summits pointed skyward To the Great Almighty's Land!
    Many changes I can see, Which my heart with sadness fills;
    But no changes can be noticed In those West Virginia hills.

   CHORUS:

    Oh, the West Virginia hills! I must bid you now adieu.
    In my home beyond the mountains I shall ever dream of you;
    In the evening time of life, If my Father only wills,
    I shall still behold the vision Of those West Virginia hills.

   CHORUS:

Adoption of the State Song

Ellen Rudell King, Mrs. Ellen King, was born in Glenville, West Virginia on April 22, 1846.

On September 25, 1885 a poem appeared in the Glenville Cresent. The poem was attributed to Ellen Rudell King. It seems a little silly today, but there is some question about who really wrote the poem. Some say that it was actually written by Mrs. King. Others suggest that her husband, the Reverend David H. King, wrote the poem for his wife Ellen. Still others suggest that Mrs. King wrote the song and Mr. King polished it up.

The story goes that a Mr. Howard Everett Engle (H. E. Engle 1849-1933) noticed the poem in the paper and was impressed. He composed music for the poem and added a chorus. He also copyrighted the music in 1896 and included it in a published collection called The West Virginia Singer published in 1913.

Written in 1879 by Reverend David King as a poem for his wife Ellen. Mr. King wanted wife's name on music. H.E. Engle (Henry Everett Engle) (1849-1933) put the poem to music in 1885 and it was designated as a state song in 1961. Arranged by W.L. Reed.


Source: West Virginia State Web Site, (http://www.wv.gov), December 8, 2004
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols by Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Copyright 2002
Source: State Songs America, Edited by M.J. Bristow, Copyright 2000
Source: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols by George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., Copyright 1938




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