"Our Country!
In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right;
but right or wrong, our country!"

    --Commodore Stephen Decatur

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Virginian in Ohio

The Prolix Patriot recently relocated from his beloved native Virginia over the mountains to the Buckeye State of Ohio. The map above illustrates a selection of some of homotoponyms as well as a few synotoponyms from the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area. The list is by no means exhaustive, but at first blush, it seems that Virginia especially has the most names in common with Ohio and this is for good reason. After the Revolutionary War, much of Southern Ohio was settled by soldiers from Virginia, so it is no surprise that they, like the Prolix Patriot, would have chosen familiar place names to remind them of home.

The two states have much in common besides just place names. Both states are also nicknamed "Mother of Presidents." Virginia is the birthplace of no fewer than eight presidents. Meanwhile, Ohio is the birthplace of only seven, but claims an eighth as a native son. William Henry Harrison, who famously served as president for only 30 1/2 days was born in Virginia but also considered Ohio his home state. Ironically, his successor was John Tyler, a Virginian. Despite their reputations, the last president born in Virginia was Woodrow Wilson, born in Staunton in 1856, although he called New Jersey home when elected. The last president born in Ohio was Wilson's successor, Warren G. Harding, born in Blooming Grove in 1865. In more recent times, Virginia has joined Ohio as a pivotal battleground state in national politics. Both Virginia and Ohio are now must-win states for any candidate seeking the presidency.

From an economic standpoint, both Virginia and Ohio have a major industrial and shipping hub (Norfolk on the Chesapeake Bay and Cleveland on Lake Erie), a largely rural agricultural region (Tidewater Virginia and Northwest Ohio), a centrally located state capital with historic industry related to some vice (Tobacco in Richmond and Breweries in Columbus), an historic canal terminus and port located on a major river (Alexandria on the Potomac and Cincinnati on the Ohio), and finally a mountainous area rich in natural resources and wildlife, but generally regarded as the poorer part of the state socio-economically (Appalachian Virginia and Southeastern Ohio).

In some ways, the Prolix Patriot is still right at home.

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