west virginia

The official seal of the state of West Virginia has remained unchanged since it was first adopted in 1863. Soon after West Virginia gained statehood, the state’s first Legislature authorized artist Joseph H. Diss Debar’s design for its official seal. The design captures the essence of West Virginia’s natural resources and the resolve of its people. A large boulder sits in the center of the seal, symbolizing strength, steadfastness, and stability. Etched in the stone is the date of West Virginia’s entrance into the Union, June 20, 1863. Two rifles lie crossed in front of the boulder, and are draped with the Liberty Cap, signifying the state’s willingness to defend itself in the name of Liberty. On one side of the boulder is a representation of Agriculture, as a farmer stands with his ax and plow before a cornstalk. On the other side, Industry is symbolized by a miner shouldering his pickax, and behind him an anvil and sledge hammer. These images are surrounded by the words “State of West Virginia”, and the state’s motto “Montani Semper Liberi”, or “Mountaineers Always Free”.