News & Politics

Can a Carpetbagger Pass This Virginia Pop Quiz?

Terry McAuliffe—number-one pal of Bill Clinton, former Democratic Party chairman, and super-rich guy—now faces the test of his political career: Can he convince Virginia Democrats in June that a fast-talking New Yorker is Virginian enough to be governor?

Understanding the economy is one thing, but can he pronounce “Portsmouth” as they do in Portsmouth, Virginia? If he can pass this quiz, he might be a Virginian.

1. What is an FFV, and which of these qualify: Carter, Harrison, Byrd, Randolph, Burwell, Bolling, Custis?

2. “Pocahontas” was a nickname. What were the two real names of the Native American princess?

3. Not every state has a real Tom, Dick, and Harry. But Virginia does. Who are they?

4. What three momentous events took place in 1619 in Virginia?

5. How many Virginians does it take to change a light bulb?

6. Regarding the pewter “Jefferson cup,” that decorative accessory in many a Virginia household, of what material was it originally made? Bonus point: Where did Thomas Jefferson get the material with which to craft the original cup?

7. When Virginian Nancy Langhorne—a.k.a. Lady Astor, the first woman to serve in the English Parliament—turned to Winston Churchill and said, “Winston, if I were married to you, I’d poison your coffee,” what was Churchill’s rejoinder? Bonus point: Where was Nancy Langhorne born?

8. Which of these contemporary Virginia statesmen were born in Virginia—Jim Webb, John Warner, Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Bob McDonnell?

9. Which of these American entertainers is not a Virginian—Bruce Hornsby, Tim Reid, Wayne Newton, Joseph Cotten, Warren Beatty, Randolph Scott, Sandra Bullock, Shirley MacLaine, Roy Clark, or Don Knotts?

10. Match the Virginia schools Old Dominion, VMI, Washington and Lee, Emory & Henry, and Randolph-Macon with their teams: Yellow Jackets, Monarchs, Wasps, Keydets, Generals.

11. Even Abraham Lincoln had Virginia roots. Where were his father’s people from?

12. Match the sobriquets Light Horse Harry, the Gray Ghost, Pathfinder of the Seas, Old Fuss and Feathers, Tyler Too, and the Rock of Chicamauga to these Virginians: Matthew F. Maury, John Tyler, General George Henry Thomas, Colonel John S. Mosby, General Winfield Scott, and Henry Lee III.

13. What have the generous non-Virginians Paul Mellon, John D. Rockefeller Jr., and John Kluge given to the Commonwealth?

14. According to legend, what famous newspaper published a typo about President Woodrow Wilson’s courtship of the attractive widow and fellow Virginian Edith Bolling Galt, causing a scandal?

15. Pronounce these Virginia place names: Portsmouth, Buena Vista, Staunton, Crozet, Botetourt, McGaheysville.

Answers to quiz

1. FFV means First Family of Virginia, as in the leading families that can trace their bloodlines to the first English settlers in the early 1600s. (Native American families could argue they arrived centuries earlier than the Brits.) All of the families listed are FFVs.

2. Matoaka and Rebecca Rolfe.

3. The Byrd brothers from Berryville: Tom, a successful orchardist; Dick, also known as Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd; Harry, governor and senator.

4. The arrival of the first African slaves, the arrival of a number of mail-order brides for the Englishmen, and the first meeting of the House of Burgesses, the first elected legislature in the New World.

5. Three: one to change the bulb and two to talk about how great the old bulb was.

6. Silver. Bonus answer: It was a gift from his friend and mentor, law professor and signer of the Declaration of Independence George Wythe.

7. “If I were married to you, I’d drink it!” Langhorne was born in Danville.

8. None. Former senator John Warner was born in DC; Senator Mark Warner in Indianapolis; Senator Jim Webb in St. Joseph, Missouri; Governor Tim Kaine in St. Paul, Minnesota; former attorney general and presumptive GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell in Philadelphia.

9. Don Knotts was, alas, a West Virginian, born in Morgantown.

10. ODU Monarchs, VMI Keydets, W&L Generals, E&H Wasps, Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets.

11. Thomas Lincoln was born in Rockingham County; he moved to Kentucky in his childhood.

12. Light Horse Harry Lee; Mosby was the Gray Ghost; Maury was Pathfinder of the Seas; Scott was Old Fuss and Feathers; John was Tyler Too; General Thomas was the Rock.

13. Heir to the fortune of his father, Andrew Mellon, Paul Mellon endowed the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, created the Old Dominion Foundation, and helped build Trinity Church in Upperville; media mogul John Kluge bequeathed his estate, Morvern Farm, to the University of Virginia; John D. Rockefeller Jr. was the original force behind the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg.

14. The Washington Post is said to have reported that, rather than paying attention to the play, President Wilson spent the evening “entering Mrs. Galt.”

15. Porch-muth, Beyoo-na-vista, Stan-ton, Crow-zay, Bott-e-tott, Muh-gack-ees-ville.

This article first appeared in the May 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.

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