Appalachian Thursday–The Golden Horseshoe

Golden HorseshoeI make it a policy to avoid regret as much as possible. It just doesn’t do any good. But there is ONE thing I regret.

I wish I’d studied harder for the Golden Horseshoe Test when I was in eighth grade.

I am NOT a Lady of the Golden Horseshoe although my father IS a Knight of the Golden Horseshoe. He studied harder than I did. And now I am the keeper of his horseshoe pin, which is almost as good as having won it myself.

Of course, you’re wondering what the heck I’m going on about. Here’s the summary from the WV Department of Education’s website:

One of the highlights of the eighth-grade year is the opportunity for a student to become a Knight or Lady of the Golden Horseshoe. This prestigious program takes its name from the golden horseshoes given to the early explorers of West Virginia. In 1716 the Governor of the Virginia colony, Alexander Spotswood, saw the need for exploration of the land west of the Allegheny Mountains, most of which is now West Virginia. The governor organized a party of about 50 men, all of whom adopted the pledge, “Sic jurat transcendere monte,” which means “Thus he swears to cross the mountains.” Governor Spotswood presented each member of his party with a small golden horseshoe to commemorate the bravery of those who crossed the mountains into Western Virginia, beginning the Golden Horseshoe tradition.”

Pretty romantic stuff, right? If you’re one of the recipients you even get knighted with a real sword.

Now, lest you think I just wasn’t bright in eighth grade, here’s a sample question: “On June 24, 1776, Virginia’s Committee of Safety sent 13 prisoners captured from the British sloop Oxford to this present-day West Virginia county.”

Yeah, yeah, you knew right away it was Berkley County, but trust me this will trip most people up.

Or how about this one? “This Barbour County community was named for the son of Henry Gassaway Davis.”

I actually guessed that one correctly as “Junior” since my mom lives near there. I wonder if she knew that’s where the name came from?

It’s too late for me to go back to middle school and study harder, but I have learned that the state typically hands out a few honorary horseshoes each year. So now that’s my dream. If this writing gig pans out, maybe I’ll get famous enough to earn an honorary Golden Horseshoe.

4 thoughts on “Appalachian Thursday–The Golden Horseshoe

  1. mom

    Nope… I did not know that! Earning a Golden Horseshoe in Kanawha (South Charleston) County was not as near a “big deal” in the 1950s as it was in Barbour County. I’ve seen obituaries here in the central part of the state that have one’s winning that award mentioned in them. 🙂

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