Below is a picture of the Raleigh County flag which was created by Ms. Judith Harrah in 2006. Ms. Harrah is a fourth-grade teacher at Crescent Elementary School located in Beckley. Her keen interest in history and generosity with her time made this web page an enjoyable experience.
I was very suprised to learn that as Raleigh County was founded in 1850, we did not have a flag until 2006, a full 150+ years had passed. In 2009, I was taking photos of the Raleigh County Courthouse and saw this flag flying in the wind. I had to know what exactly the flag represented, as its simplistic design, was also so beautiful to look at. SO, thanks to Ms Harrah, I am now able to tell all of you what the flag means. I very much want to state my appreciation to Ms. Harrah for sharing this wonderful bit of Raleigh County history. It is a great thing when the history, and those who make it are still alive and can still tell us exactly what was meant.
What the Raleigh County Flag Means
The first symbol that is obvious on the flag is the seal of Raleigh County. The Shovel and Pick represent the coal miner, the coal miner made the county and represents the work and toil that created not only Raleigh County, but the state of West Virginia.
Below the county seal is a blue banner containing 7 stars. The blue banner is a symbol much like our own American flag, the sea of blue and in it 7 white stars. The 7 stars are a fantastic set of symbols. The center 3 stars, represent the roads that link Raleigh to the rest of the state and our country. They are specifically, I-64, I-77 and US-19. Thus North,South,East and West connect not only to Raleigh, they also lead to the future and the rest of our Nation. They are opportunity and they are a hub, with Raleigh at the center.
The remaining 4 stars represent the industries that founded Raleigh, the state of WV and of course their heritage in contributing to the birth of an industrial giant, America. These 4 stars represent Coal Mining, Fur Trade, Farming and the Trains. These stars especially demonstrate West Virginia and Raleigh. Fur trade, one of the most imoportant lured people to West Virginia, its wilderness, again, a vast resource that at that time, was imagined to be unlimited. Pioneers such as Daniel Boone come to mind.
Farming lead to further exploration and in that farming and its required prospecting came coal. With Coal came a need to transport this resource and that meant trains. In, my opinion, all the coal towns, all the miners history and struggle, are now represented within these stars. A marvelous statement not only of origins and ancestry, but also of profound respect.
Lastly on the flag, all of these things are incorporated inside of a solid red border. The solid red border is a symbol of the solidarity of the state and of the blood that was shed during the Civil War which ultimately resulted in the creation of West Virginian on June 20th, 1863. We know that West Virginia as a state was a divided place of Union and Confederate forces. Beckleys founder, Alfred Beckley, was among his other professions, a Confederate General. Though he founded Beckley in 1838, and ulimately Raleigh County in 1850, he is also a symbol of the struggle, that divided the state and now, no longer divided, it is all stated within this solid red border.