Sunday, April 28, 2013

West Virginia Statehood


The West Virginia Statehood
June 20th, 1863
Exhibited at West Virginia Independence Hall are: An ORDINANCE to provide for the election of representatives in the Congress of the United States. Passed August 20, 1861. , Acts of The General Assembly, Passed At The Regular Session, Held December Second, 1861. At The City Of Wheeling." Wheeling, 1862, Acts Of The General Assembly, Passed At The Extra Session held May Sixth, 1862 at the City of Wheeling, and the Exceedingly rare Acts of the Legislature of West Virginia, at Its First Session, Commencing June 20th, 1863 - courtesy of America's Four United Republics

On February 13, 1861, a Convention convened in Richmond  to consider whether Virginia should secede from the United States. The 152 convention delegates had been elected as per a Virginia General Assembly resolution which directed that their decision be ratified by a statewide referendum.  South Carolina, Mississippi,  Florida, Alabama,  and Louisiana had already left the Union in response to the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as United States president. Virginia, however, hesitated, and debate raged on for months. 


America's Four United Republics West Virginia Statehood Exhibit at WV Independence Hall

On April 4, after Texas had joined the other secessionist states, a vote was held in Virginia and the unionists won by a 2/3rds majority.   Embolden by these results,  Henry A. Wise, a former Virginia Governor,  worked behind the scenes and circumvented state law to secure the Harpers Ferry federal arsenal by military means, which enraged many of the Unionist delegates. Fort Sumter fell on April 13th and President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers on April 15th to wage war against the secessionists. 


Morrill Act and Governor Francis H. Peirpoint of both the Restored Government of Virginia and later Virginia, signed Commissioner Appointment of William B. Isaacs as Morrill Act Commissioner , which is a founding Virginia Tech University document on exhibit at WV Independence Hall - courtesy of America's Four United Republics
The momentum in the Virginia Convention now turned toward secession. On April 17th a second vote was held and the delegates voted  88 to 55 to secede from the Union. The 49 delegates from the counties that would comprise the future state of West Virginia, however,  cast their votes  30 opposed to and 17 in favor of secession,  with 2 abstentions. The April 17th vote set into motion political maneuvers that would eventually form a new State, loyal to the Union, now known as "West Virginia."



Immediately following the Richmond April 17th vote, Northern and Western Virginia convention delegates and leading loyalist citizens convened a large meeting in Clarksburg, Va.  West Virginia Governor William E. Glasscock, in his April 30th, 1910 at the U.S. Capitol reports:

There, but five days after the adoption of the ordinance of secession, nearly twelve hundred citizens convened in compliance with a call issued forty-eight hours before. The convention was organized by the election of John Hursey chairman and John W. Harris secretary. There were eminent speakers present, and much enthusiasm was manifested. Before adjournment a preamble and series of resolutions were adopted without a dissenting voice. One of the latter was as follows: 


Be it resolved, That it be and is hereby recommended to the people in each and all of the counties composing northwestern Virginia to appoint delegates, not less than five in number, of their wisest, best, and most discreet men, to meet in convention on the 13th day of May next, to consult and determine upon such action as the people of northwestern Virginia should take in the present fearful emergency.A succeeding resolution named ten of the foremost men present to represent Harrison County in the proposed convention.

That evening, Mr. C. E. Ringler, editor and proprietor of the Western Virginia Guard, published at Clarksburg, issued an extra edition of his paper in which was printed an "Address of the convention to the people of northwestern Virginia." In this the foregoing preamble and resolutions were embodied. Messengers mounted on horseback bore copies of the Guard to Weston, Kingwood, and Morgantown, and to adjoining and adjacent counties. Other copies were distributed along the lines of railroad westward to Wheeling and Parkersburg, eastward to Martinsburg, and even to the lower Potomac. The time was short, the emergency great, and from Hancock County to Wayne and from Wood to Berkeley the people hastened to comply with the request of the Clarksburg convention. Public meetings were held in counties, in cities, in towns, at churches, schoolhouses, and crossroads, and delegates appointed to the proposed convention at Wheeling. Days seemed weeks, but time passed and brought the eventful 13th day of May, 1861.Here it was agreed that each county in north-western Virginia would send delegates to assemble in a convention in Wheeling, Virginia on May 13, 1861. 



Image© from the  Historic.us Collection



THE FIRST CONVENTION OF THE PEOPLE OF NORTHWESTERN
VIRGINIA.


The morning of the 13th day of May, 1861, witnessed a gathering in the city of Wheeling of the most determined men that ever assembled on the banks of the Ohio. The convention convened at 11 o'clock in Washington Hall. It was but ten days before the vote on the ordinance of secession. The body was called to order by Honorable Chester D. Hubbard, on whose motion William B. Zinn, of Preston County, was made temporary president; and George R. Latham, of Taylor County, was chosen temporary secretary. The report of the committee on credentials showed that 436 duly accredited delegates were in attendance. The committee on permanent organization reported as follows: For president, John W. Moss, of Wood County; for secretaries, Charles B. Waggener, of Mason County, Marshall M. Dent, of Monongalia County, and J. Chandler, of Ohio County. A committee was appointed on state and federal relations, consisting of one member from each of the twenty-eight counties represented. The real work of the convention now began. A very excited controversy sprang up on the plan to be adopted for immediate action. There were those—many of them—who came to the convention determined to vote for an immediate and unqualified division of the State, however violent or revolutionary it might appear. Some delegations, indeed, came to Wheeling with a banner flying at their head indorsed, "New Virginia, now or never." Their plan was to immediately adopt a constitution and form of government for the counties represented and proceed to fill all offices by temporary appointment. But there was another party, respectable both as to members and intelligence, who felt and saw the irreparable mischief that would follow in the true point of distinction between spasmodic disruption and authorized resistance. Foremost among these was Francis H. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint], one of the delegates from Marion County. He and those who acted with him argued that the delegates had not been appointed with this end in view, nor empowered to act with such extreme vigor; that the convention had not been legally convened, and its action could not, therefore, bind the people to acquiescence either in law or reason or by any known rule or precedent; that no vote had yet been taken on the ordinance of secession, and hence the State of Virginia still had a government, under the Constitution of the United States, at Richmond; and that the Federal Government would not recognize a State created thus, because it was not in compliance with the mode prescribed by the Constitution of the United States. Thus the first and second days were consumed in acrimonious debates. The partisans of both views maintained their ground with unrelenting hostility, and great dissatisfaction prevailed on all sides. Debate was renewed on the morning of the third day, but in a milder spirit; the voice of better counsels was beginning to prevail, and all felt the imperative necessity of some action that should be, as far as possible, harmonious in its character. I^ate at night the discussions were interrupted by the committee on state and federal relations begging leave to report through its chairman, Campbell Tarr. The report consisted of a series of thirteen resolutions, and it was a skillful blending of all opinions. The recent action of the Richmond convention was reviewed and the course to be pursued by the people of northwestern Virginia outlined in the event of the ratification of the ordinance of secession by the people of Virginia on the ensuing 23rd day of May, eight days hence. This report elicited but little discussion and was adopted with but two dissentient voices. Then a single voice was heard amid the silent multitude; it was that of earnest prayer beseeching the blessings of Heaven upon the work prepared. This ended, a thousand voices united in singing the Star-Spangled Banner, and the first convention of the people of northwestern Virginia, that usually referred to as the first Wheeling convention, adjourned sine die.
.


Image© from the  Historic.us Collection


NEW YORK HERALD, New York, May 16, 1861 with a front page story on the Proceedings Of the Wheeling Convention.

Governor Glasscock continues:


THE SECOND CONVENTION OF THE PEOPLE OF NORTHWESTERN 

VIRGINIA.


The report of the committee on state and federal relations adopted by the first convention provided for a second convention should the people ratify the ordnance of secession. This was done in the eighth resolution as follows:


8. Be it resolved, That in the event of the ordinance of secession being ratified by a vote, we recommend to the people of the counties here represented, and all others disposed to cooperate with us, to appoint on the 4th day of June, 1861, delegates to a general convention, to meet on the 4th of that month, at such place as may be designated by the committee hereinafter provided, to devise such measures and take such action as the safety and welfare of the people they represent may demand; each county to appoint a number of representatives to said convention equal to double the number to which it will be entitled in the next house of delegates, and the senators and delegates to be elected on the 23d instant, by the counties referred to, to the next general assembly of Virginia, and who concur in the views of this convention, to be entitled to seats in the said convention as members thereof.

 The report further provided for a central committee, together with its duties set forth in the twelfth and thirteenth resolutions, as follows: 


12. Be it resolved, That John S. Carlile, James S. Wheat, Chester D. Hubbard, Francis H. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint], Campbell Tarr, George R. Latham, Andrew Wilson, S. H. Woodward, and James W. Paxton be a central committee to attend to all the matters connected with the objects of this convention, and that they have power to assemble this convention at any time they may think necessary. 
13. Be it resolved, That the central committee be instructed to prepare an address to the people of Virginia in conformity with the foregoing resolutions and cause the same to be published and circulated as extensively as possible. 
Speedily this central committee, of which Francis H. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint] was a member, prepared and sent out broadcast "An address to the people of northwestern Virginia," which contained more than two thousand words and was one of the most stirring appeals ever made to any people.

The ordinance of secession was ratified by the people of Virginia May 23, 1861, and this, of course, paved the way for a second Wheeling convention of the people of northwestern Virginia, as provided for in the foregoing resolution of the first convention. 


The official totals certified by the governor were 125,950 for secession and 20,373 against.  In the western Virginia counties that would ultimately form the state of West Virginia, the vote was  34,677 against to 19,121 for the Ordinance of Secession.


Image Courtesy of the Virginia State Archives
 ORDINANCE OF SECESSION

May 23, 1861

AN ORDINANCE to repeal the ratification of the Constitution of the United State of America by the State of Virginia, and to resume all the rights and powers granted under said Constitution.

The people of Virginia in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression, and the Federal Government having perverted said powers not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern slave-holding States:

Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain, That the ordinance adopted by the people of this State in convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and all acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying and adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.

And they do further declare, That said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the citizens of this State.

This ordinance shall take effect and be an act of this day, when ratified by a majority of the voter of the people of this State cast at a poll to be taken thereon on the fourth Thursday in May next, in pursuance of a schedule hereafter to be enacted.

Adopted by the convention of Virginia April 17,1861
[ratified by a vote of 132,201 to 37,451 on 23 May 1861]


With Virginia secession enacted, the Second Wheeling Convention convened  on June 11th, 1861.  Governor Glasscock recalls:


Accordingly delegates were appointed on the 4th day of June ensuing, and the convention assembled in Washington Hall, Wheeling, six days later, June 10. One hundred and six members were in attendance, one of whom was Francis H. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint], a delegate from Marion County. On his motion Dennis B. Dorsey was elected as temporary chairman, and Francis H. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint] was then made chairman of the committee on permanent organization, on the recommendation of which Arthur I. Boreman, of Wood County, who afterwards became the first governor of West Virginia, was made permanent president; Gibson Lamb Cranmer, of Ohio County, permanent secretary, and Thomas Hornbrook, of Ohio County, sergeant-at-arms. The convention then proceeded to appoint a committee on order of business, otherwise known as the committee of seventeen. Of this committee Francis H. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint] was a member. 


On the third day of the session, this committee reported "A declaration of the people of Virginia, represented in convention at Wheeling, Thursday, June 13, 1861." It was a most remarkable state paper, possessing much historical interest for the people of both the Virginias. 

A DECLARATION OF THE PEOPLE OF VIRGINIA 

Image© from the  Historic.us Collection

REPRESENTED IN CONVENTION 

AT THE CITY OF WHEELING, THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 1861.

The true purpose of all government is to promote the welfare and provide for the protection and security of the governed, and when any form or organization of government proves inadequate for, or subversive of this purpose, it is the right, it is the duty of the latter to abolish it. The Bill of Rights of Virginia framed in 1776, re-affirmed in 1830, and again in 1851, expressly reserves this right to a majority of her people. The act of the General Assembly, calling the Convention which assembled at Richmond in February last, without the previously expressed consent of such majority, was therefore a usurpation: and the Convention thus called has not only abused the powers nominally entrusted to it, but, with the connivance and active aid of the executive, has usurped and exercised other powers, to the manifest injury of the people, which, if permitted, will inevitably subject them to a military despotism.

The Convention, by its pretended ordinances, has required the people of Virginia to separate from and wage war against the government of the United States, and against citizens of neighboring States, with whom they have heretofore maintained friendly, social and business relations:

It has attempted to subvert the Union founded by Washington and his co-patriots, in the purer days of the republic, which has conferred unexampled prosperity upon every class of citizens, and upon every section of the country:

It has attempted to transfer the allegiance of the people to an illegal confederacy of rebellious States, and required their submission to its pretended edicts and decrees:

It has attempted to place the whole military force and military operations of the Commonwealth under the control and direction of such confederacy, for offensive as well as defensive purposes:

It has, in conjunction with the State executive, instituted wherever their usurped power extends, a reign of terror intended to suppress the free expression of the will of the people, making elections a mockery and a fraud:

The same combination, even before the passage of the pretended ordinance of secession instituted war by the seizure and appropriation of the property of the Federal Government, and by organizing and mobilizing armies, with the avowed purpose of capturing or destroying the Capital of the Union;

They have attempted to bring the allegiance of the people of the United States into direct conflict with their subordinate allegiance to the State, thereby making obedience to their pretended ordinances, treason against the former.

Image© from the  Historic.us Collection

"We, therefore, the delegates here assembled in Convention to devise such measures and take such action as the safety and welfare of the loyal citizens of Virginia may demand, having maturely considered the premises, and viewing with great concern the deplorable condition to which this once happy Commonwealth must be reduced unless some regular adequate remedy is speedily adopted, and appealing to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for the rectitude of our intentions, do hereby, in the name and on the behalf of the good people of Virginia, solemnly declare that the preservation of their dearest rights and liberties and their security in person and property, imperatively demand the reorganization of the government of the Commonwealth, and that all acts of said Convention and Executive, tending to separate this Commonwealth from the United States, or to levy and carry on war against them, and without authority and void ; and that the offices of all who adhere to the said Convention and Executive, whether legislative, executive or judicial, are vacated.

Governor Glasscock continues:

This was adopted, and on the same day the committee of seventeen reported "An ordinance for the reorganization of the state government." It provided for the appointment of a governor, lieutenant-governor, and attorney-general for the State of Virginia by the convention, together with an executive council, to consist of five members, and prescribed an oath or affirmation to be taken or made by all state and county officers under the reorganized government. 


An ORDINANCE for the 
Image© from the  Historic.us Collection

Reorganization of the State Government

Passed June 19, 1861



The People of the State of Virginia, by their Delegates assembled in Convention at Wheeling, do ordain as follows : 

1. A governor lieutenant governor and attorney general for the state of Virginia, shall be appointed by this convention, to discharge the duties and exercise the powers which pertain to their respective offices by the existing laws of the state, and to continue in office for six months, or until their successors be elected and qualified ; and the general assembly is required to provide by law for an election of governor and lieutenant-governor by the people as soon as in their judgment such election can be properly held. 

2. A council, to consist of five members, shall be appointed by this convention, to consult with and advise the governor respecting such matters pertaining to his official duties as he shall submit for consideration, and to aid in the execution of his official orders. Their term of office shall expire at 
the same time as that of the governor. 

3. The delegates elected to the general assembly on the twenty-third day of May last, and the senators entitled under existing laws to seats in the next general assembly, together with such delegates and senators as may be duly elected under the ordinances of this convention, or existing laws, to fill vacancies, who shall qualify themselves by taking the oath or affirmation hereinafter set forth, shall constitute the legislature of the state, to discharge the duties and exercise the powers pertaining to the general assembly. They shall hold their offices from the passage of this ordinance until the and of the terms for which they were respectively elected. They shall assemble in the city of Wheeling on the first day of July next, and proceed to organize themselves as prescribed by existing laws, in their respective branches. A majority in each branch of the members qualified as aforesaid, shall constitute a quorum to do business. A majority of the members of each branch thus qualified, voting affirmatively, shall be competent to pass any act specified in the twenty-seventh section of the fourth article of the constitution of the state. 

4. The governor, lieutenant-governor, attorney general, members of the legislature, and all officers now in the service of the state, or of any county, city or town thereof, or hereafter to be elected or appointed for such service, including the judges and clerks of the several courts, sheriffs, commissioners of the revenue, justices of the peace, officers of the city and municipal corporations, and officers of militia, and officers and privates of volunteer companies of the state, not mustered into the service of the United States, shall each take the following oath or affirmation before proceeding in the discharge of their several duties : 

"I solemnly swear (or affirm,) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the laws made in pursuance thereof, as the supreme law of the land, anything in the constitution and laws of the state of Virginia, or in the ordinances of the convention which assembled at Richmond on the thirteenth of February, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, to the contrary not withstanding ; and that I will uphold and defend the government of Virginia as vindicated and restored by the convention which assembled at Wheeling on the eleventh day of June, eighteen hundred and sixty-one.

5. If any elective officer, who is required by the preceding section to take such oath or affirmation, fail or refuse so to do, it shall be the duty of the governor, upon satisfactory evidence of the fact, to issue his writ declaring the office to be vacant, and providing for a special election to fill such vacancy at some convenient and early day to be designated in said writ; of which due publication shall be made for the information of the persons entitled to vote at such election ; and such writ may be directed, at the discretion of the governor, to the sheriff or sheriffs of the proper county or counties, or to a special commissioner or commissioners to be named by the governor for the purpose. If the officer who fails or refuses to take such oath or affirmation be appointed by the governor, he shall fill the vacancy without writ, but if such officer be appointed otherwise than by the governor or by election, the writ shall be issued by the governor, directed to the appointing power, requiring it to fill the vacancy. 

Arthur I. Boreman, President 
G. L. Cranmer, Secretary.

Governor Glasscock continues:

On the sixth day of the session Francis H. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint] made the greatest speech of his life in advocacy of the adoption of this ordinance. On the eighth day it was adopted. That evening there was a caucus of the members to agree upon nominees for the several offices.



BEGINNING OF THE RESTORED GOVERNMENT—ITS CONTINUANCE AT WHEELING.

On June 20, 1861, the chairman announced that the first business before the convention was the election of a governor, lieutenant-governor, attorney-general, and council. Then Daniel Lamb, of Ohio County, arose and said: 
I desire, Mr. President, to present to the convention for the office of governor the name of Francis H. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint], of Marion County. Mr. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint] needs no eulogium at my hands. He is known to all of us. He is known throughout this country as having been one of the ablest, the most decided, and indefatigable advocates of our cause from the very start. We all know that heart and soul he is with us.
No other nominations were made. A vote was taken, and every member present voted for Mr. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint]. Daniel Polsley, of Mason County, was then elected to the office of lieutenant-governor and James S. Wheat, of Ohio County, was chosen attorney-general; Peter G. Van Winkle, of Wood County, Daniel Lamb and James W. Paxton, of Ohio County, William A. Harrison, of Harrison County, and William Lazier, of Monongalia County, were elected members of the executive council, or council of state. Governor Pierpont [sic Peirpoint] then delivered a brief inaugural address and took the oath of office, it being administered by Andrew Wilson, a justice of the peace for Ohio County. Governor Pierpont [sic Peirpoint] acted with great promptness. Early on the morning of the next day he appointed Lucian A. Hagans, of Preston County, secretary of the Commonwealth. An hour later he wrote President Lincoln, informing him that an insurrection existed in Virginia which he was unable to suppress, and therefore called upon the Government of the United States to furnish a military force to aid in its suppression and to protect the good people of the Commonwealth from domestic violence. Four days later Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, made reply, promising assistance and directing his letter to "Honorable Francis H. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint], governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Wheeling, Virginia." 

Five days later Caleb B. Smith, Secretary of the Interior, certified "To His Excellency Francis H. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint], governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia," the basis of representation in Congress, as determined by the Eighth Census, and that there under the Commonwealth of Virginia was entitled to Ii members in the House of Representatives for the Thirty-eighth Congress. Thus, within five days after Governor Pierpont [sic Peirpoint]'s election by the convention, he had secured the recognition of the restored government by the National Government. This convention having completely restored the government of the Commonwealth adjourned on the 25th of June to reassemble on the 6th of August ensuing.


Image© from the  Historic.us Collection


Before its recess, the  Second Wheeling Convention also passed the following ordinances: 



An ORDINANCE to authorize the apprehending of suspicious persons in time of war. - June 19, 1861

An ORDINANCE relating to the Receipts and Disbursements of the Public Revenue, and providing for the appointment of an Auditor, Treasurer, and Secretary of the Commonwealth. - June 21, 1861

All ORDINANCE fixing the compensation of certain officers therein mentioned.  - June 21, 1861

An ORDINANCE recognizing the constitutional duty of the Commonwealth of Virginia to call forth the militia of the State in obedience to the lawful requisition of the government of the United States, "to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions."  -  - June 25, 1861

An ORDINANCE relating to the Collection of the Revenue. - June 25, 1861

An ORDINANCE requiring the evidence of the taking certain oaths to be filed in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. - - June 25, 1861

An ORDINANCE providing that the copies of the Ordinances printed under the authority of this Convention, shall be received as evidence. - June 25, 1861


Governor Glasscock continues:

Governor Pierpont [sic Peirpoint] issued a proclamation, convening the general assembly in extraordinary session at Wheeling, July 1, 1861. In this body there were present 10 senators and 49 members of the House of Delegates. Daniel Frost, of Jackson County, was elected speaker, and Gibson Lamb Cranmer, of Ohio County, clerk. Governor Pierpont [sic Peirpoint]'s message to that body is one of the most remarkable state papers connected with the restored government. Having dwelt upon the conditions of existing civil war, he said: 
We are passing through a period of gloom and darkness in our country's history, but we need not despair; there is a just God who rides upon the whirlwind and directs the storm. Let us lock to Him with abiding confidence. 
On the ninth day of the session the assembly elected the following state officers, viz, Samuel Crane, of Tucker County, auditor of public accounts; Campbell Tarr, of Brooke County, treasurer of the Commonwealth; and Lucian A. Hagans, of Preston County, secretary of the Commonwealth. On the same day, the assembly elected John S. Carlile, of Harrison County, a United States Senator, to succeed R. M. T. Hunter, who had resigned his seat in that body. Then followed an election of the successor to James N. Mason, who, like Hunter, had resigned his seat after Virginia adopted the ordinance of secession; and Waitman T. Willey, of Monongalia County, was elected to this position. Carlile and Willey proceeded at once to Washington, where they were admitted to seats in the Congress which had assembled in extraordinary session on the 4th day of July. Having finished its business, the assembly adjourned July 26. The second Wheeling convention reassembled on the 6th day of August and continued in session until the 21st day of that month. Its chief work was that of providing for the division of the State, and the formation of the new State of West Virginia within the limits of the old Commonwealth. The assembly held its regular session, beginning December 2, 1861, and ending February 13, 1862. By an act passed January 7, it provided that on the 22d of the ensuing May an election by the people should be held to choose officials for the unexpired term of governor, lieutenant-governor, and attorney-general. This was done on the date fixed, when Francis H. Pierpont [sic Peirpoint] received 14,924 votes for governor, Daniel Polsley 14,328 votes for lieutenant-governor, and James S. Wheat 13,441 votes for attorney general—all elected without opposition—for the unexpired term of Governor Letcher and the lieutenant-governor and attorney general serving with him.



This loyal Virginia legislature, was composed of the members from the western counties who had been elected on May 23rd and some of the holdover senators who had been elected in 1859, met at Wheeling on July 1, 1861.   They filled the remainder of the Virginia state offices, and through the authority of the June Wheeling Convention Declaration and ordinance completed the reorganization of the state government.  The legislature elected two United States Senators who were promptly recognized by the US Congress and President Lincoln. Now there were two governments claiming to represent all of Virginia, one owing allegiance to the United States under the Constitution of 1787  and the other to the Confederate States of America.

Acts of the General Assembly Passed At The Extra Session Held July First, 1861 at The City of Wheeling. - Image© from the  Historic.us Collection


The Measures passed by the 1861 Wheeling Virginia General Assembly are as follows. 

An Act making an Appropriation for Civil Contingent Fund - - Passed July 15, 1861

An Act authorizing the Treasurer to sell uncurrent bank notes, and authorizing the Governor to direct what bank notes shall be receivable in Payments to the State. - Passed July 24, 1861

An Act to provice for the Public Health - Passed July 26, 1861

An Act tmaking appropriation for military purposes - Passed July 26, 1861

An Act providing for the confinement and safe-keeping of persons sentenced to the Penitentiary - Passed July 26, 1861

A Bill to regulate salaries of the Cashier and other officers of the Branch of Exchange Bank of Virginia at Weston. - Passed July 26, 1861

An Act to authorize the Executive to borrow money on the credit of the State - Passed July 26, 1861

An Act to regulate the Volunteer Military force not mustered into the service of the United States  - Passed July 23, 1861

An Act to authorize the County Courts, Corporations, etc... to Appropriate Money for the Public Defense - Passed July 12, 1861

A Dill prescribing the duties and fixing the compensation of the Clerks of the Senate and House of Delegates  - Passed July 25, 1861

An Act Exempting Uniformed Volunteer Companies from Performing Ordinary Military Duty with ununiformed Militia  - Passed July 256, 1861

An Act to Prohibit County Clerks and Overseers of the Poor from Making Levies, Appropriations, Etc... to aid the Rebellion against the Government of the United States - Passed July 25, 1861

An Act Appropriating the Public Revenue for the fiscal yeat 1860-61, and a part of the fiscal year 1861-62.  - Passed July 25, 1861

An Act to amend and re-enact the 2nd and 9th Sections of Chapter 42 of the Code of Virginia  - Passed July 23, 1861

An Act providing for abolishing the present Board of Public Works, and conferring said powers and duties on the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Council   - Passed July 16, 1861

An Act to prevent offences against the Commonwealth, and to provide for the organization of patrols during the War  - Passed July 24, 1861

A Bill to Amend the 33rd Section of Chapter 44 of the Code of Virginia  - Passed July 15, 1861

An Act to provide for declaring certain offices vacant  - Passed July 26, 1861

An Act to amend and re-enact the 1st Section of Chapter 150 of the Code   - Passed July 25, 1861

An Act Staying the Collection of Certain Debts  - Passed July 26, 1861

An Act to authorize the issue of Bank Notes of a less Denomination than Five Dollars  - Passed July 22, 1861

An Act to Amend and Re-enact the 11th Section of Chapter 188 of the Code  - Passed July 26, 1861

An Act fixing the compensation of the Executive Council  - Passed July 24, 1861

An Act altering compensation to be paid to the public Printer, and printer to the Senate  - Passed July 16, 1861

An Act altering compensation of the Adjutant General  - Passed July 24, 1861

Joint Resolution No. 1 Instructing our Senators and requesting our Representatives to vote Men and Money for the Suppression of the Rebellion.

Joint Resolution No. 2 Resolution authorizing the reception of Virginia's share of the proceeds of the Public Lands.

Joint Resolution No. 3 Resolution providing Clothing for three years of Volunteers in the Service of the United States in North-Western Virginia.

Joint Resolution No. 4 Resolution of thanks to General McClellan and the troops under his command in North-Western Virginia

Joint Resolution No. 5 Resolution concerning the money received from the Branch of the Exchange Bank of Virginia at Weston.

Joint Resolution No. 6 Resolution that all offices known to be vacated by the officers thereof, by absenting themselves, by giving aid and comfort to the Secessionists, or joining the rebel army, shall be deemed vacant.

Joint Resolution No. 7 Resolution requiring Clerks of County Courts to transmit to auditor of Public Accounts duplicates of all bonds in their offices given by Sheriffs and Notaries Public Etc..

Joint Resolution No. 8 Resolution requiring Clerks of Circuit and County Courts to transmit to Auditor of Public Accounts list of all Jury allowances in their several Courts.

Joint Resolution No. 9 Resolution requiring Clerks of Circuit and County Courts to transmit to Auditor of Public Accounts list of all Jentries made to witnesses, etc....

Joint Resolution No. 10 Resolution to elect two United States Senators to fill the unexpired terms of RMT Hunter and James Mason, late US Senators

Joint Resolution No. 11 Resolution electing Secretary of the Commonwealth, Auditor of Public Accounts and Treasurer of the Commonwealth.

Joint Resolution No. 12 Resolution electing a Brigadier General

After the legislative session closed, the Wheeling Convention reconvened on August 9, 1861, passing the following legislation.  

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An ORDINANCE providing for the discharge of the duties of the Board of Public Works. - August 9, 1861

An ORDINANCE providing for the discharge of the duties of the office of Second Auditor.   - August 9, 1861

An ORDINANCE in relation to the collection of the Public Revenue. - August 9, 1861


An ORDINANCE to provide for holding a special term of the County Court of Jackson County. - August 19, 1861

An ORDINANCE to increase the compensation of the Adjutant General, during the continuance of hostilities within the Commonwealth. - August 20, 1861

An ORDINANCE to provide for the punishment of certain offenses, and for other purposes.- August 12, 1861

An ORDINANCE ascertaining and declaring in what cases offices are vacated under the Declaration of June 17, 1861. - - August 20, 1861

An ORDINANCE providing for the appointment of Collector of the Public Revenue in certain cases. - August 20, 1861

An ORDINANCE to provide for the formation of a new State out of a portion of the territory of this State. - Passed  August  20, 1861


The Convention further declared the pro-secession government in Richmond VOID with this resolution:


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An ORDINANCE declaring null and void the proceedings of the Richmond Convention of 1861 - 

The People of Virginia, by their Delegates assembled in Convention at Wheeling, do ordain as follows: 1. All ordinances, acts, orders, resolutions and other proceedings of the convention which assembled at Richmond on the thirteenth day of February last, being without the authority of the people of Virginia constitutionally given, and in derogation of their rights, are hereby declared illegal, inoperative, null, void, and without force or effect. 

A. I. Boreman President
G. L. Cranmer, Secretary


An ORDINANCE to provide for the formation of a new State out of a portion of the territory of this State was also passed.


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Whereas, it is represented to be the desire of the people inhabiting the counties hereinafter mentioned, to be separated from this commonwealth, and to be erected into a separate state, and admitted into the union of states, and become a member of the government of the United States: 

1. The people of Virginia, by their delegates assembled in convention at Wheeling, do ordain that a new state, to be called the state of Kanawha, be formed and erected out of the territory included within the following described boundary ; beginning on the Tug Fork of Sandy River, on the Kentucky line where the counties of Buchanan and Logan join the same ; and running thence  with the dividing lines of said counties and the dividing line of the counties of Wyoming and McDowell to the Mercer county line, and with the dividing line of the counties of Mercer and Wyoming to the Raleigh county line; thence with the dividing line of the counties of Raleigh and Mercer, Monroe and Raleigh, Greenbrier and Raleigh, Fayette and Greenbrier, Nicholas and Greenbrier, Webster, Greenbrier and Pocahontas, Randolph and Pocahontas, Randolph and Pendleton, to the south-west corner of Hardy county ; thence with the dividing line of the counties of Hardy and Tucker, to the Fairfax Stone; thence with the line dividing the states of Maryland and Virginia, to the Pennsylvania line ; thence with the line dividing the states of Pennsylvania and Virginia, to the Ohio river; thence down said river, and including the same, to the dividing line between Virginia and Kentucky, and with the said line to the beginning ; including within the boundaries of the proposed new state the counties of Logan, Wyoming, Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas, Webster, Randolph, Tucker, Preston, Monongalia, Marion, Taylor, Barbour, Upshur, Harrison, Lewis, Braxton, Clay, Kanawha, Boone, Wayne, Cabell, Putnam, Mason, Jackson, Roane, Calhoun, Wirt, Gilmer, Ritchie, Wood, Pleasants, Tyler, Doddridge, Wetzel, Marshall, Ohio, Brooke and Hancock. 

2. All persons qualified to vote within the boundaries aforesaid, and who shall present themselves at the several places of voting within their respective counties, on the fourth Thursday in October next, shall be allowed to vote on the question of the formation of a new state, as hereinbefore proposed ; and it shall be the duty of the commissioners conducting the election at the said several places of voting, at the same time, to cause polls to be taken for the election of delegates to a convention to form a constitution for the government of the proposed state. 

3. The convention hereinbefore provided for may change the boundaries described in the first section of this ordinance, so as to include within the proposed state the counties of Greenbrier and Pocahontas, or either of them, and also the counties of Hampshire, Hardy, Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson, or either of them, and also such other counties as lie contiguous to the said boundaries, or to the counties named in this section ; if the said counties to be added, or either of them, by a majority of the votes given, shall declare their wish to form part of the proposed state, and shall elect delegates to the said convention, at elections to be held at the time and in the manner herein provided for. 

4. Poll books shall be prepared under the direction of the governor for each place of voting in the several counties hereinbefore mentioned, with two separate columns, one to be headed ''For the New State," the other "Against the New State." And it shall be the duty of the commissioners who superintended, and the officers who conducted the election in May last, or such other persons as the governor may appoint, to attend at their respective places of holding elections, and superintend and conduct the election herein provided for. And if the said commissioners and officers shall fail to attend at any such place of holding elections, it shall be lawful for any two freeholders present to act as commissioners in superintending the said election, and to appoint officers to conduct the same. It shall be the duty of the persons superintending and conducting said election, to employ clerks to record the votes, and to endorse on the respective poll books the expenses of the same. 

If of the day herein provided for holding said election, there shall be in any of the said counties any military force, or any hostile assemblage of persons, so as to interfere with a fall and free expression of the will of the voters, they may assemble at any other place within their county, and hold an election as herein provided for. It shall be the duty of the commissioners superintending, and officers conducting said election, and the clerks employed to record the votes, each before entering upon the duties of his office, to take, in addition to the oath now required by the general election law, the oath of office prescribed by this convention. It shall be the duty of the officers and commissioners aforesaid, as soon as may be, and not exceeding three days after said election, to aggregate each of the columns of said poll books, and ascertain the number of votes recorded in each, and make a return thereof to the secretary of the commonwealth, in the city of Wheeling, which return shall be in the following form, or to the following effect : 

We, ______________ commissioners, and conducting officer, do certify, that we caused an election to be held at, __________ in the county of________, at which we permitted all persons to vote that were entitled to do so under existing laws, and that offered to vote, and that we have carefully added up each column of our poll books, and find the following result: 

For a new state, ________  votes;  Against a new state, _______votes.  

Given under our hands, this ____ day 1861. 

Under which certificate there shall be added the following affidavit
  
County, to-wit: 

I, a justice of the peace, (or any officer now authorized by law to administer oaths, in and for said county), do certify that the above named commissioners and conducting officer severally made oath before me, that the certificate by them above signed is true. 

Given under my hand, this ____ day of 1861. 

The original poll books shall be carefully kept by the conducting officers for ninety days after the day of the election, and upon the demand of the executive shall be delivered to such person as he may authorize to demand and receive them. 

5. The commissioners conducting the said election in each of said counties shall ascertain, at the same time they ascertain the vote upon the formation of a new state, who has been elected from their county to the convention, hereinbefore provided for, and shall certify to the secretary of the commonwealth the name or names of the person or persons elected to the said convention. 

6. It shall be the duty of the governor, on or before the fifteenth day of November next, to ascertain and by proclamation make known the result of the said vote ; and if a majority of the votes given within the boundaries mentioned in the first section of this ordinance, shall be in favor of the formation of a new state, he shall so state in his said proclamation, and shall call upon said delegates to meet in the city of V/heeling, on the   day of November next, and organize themselves into a convention ; and the said convention shall submit, for ratification or rejection, the constitution that may be agreed upon by it, to the qualified voters within the proposed state, to be voted upon by the said voters on the fourth Thursday in December next. 

7. The county of Ohio shall elect three delegates; the counties of Harrison, Kanawha, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia, Preston and Wood shall each elect two; and the other counties named in the first section of this ordinance shall each elect one delegate to the said convention. And such other counties as are described in the third section of this ordinance, shall, for every seven thousand of their population according to the census of 1860, be entitled to one delegate, and to an additional delegate for any fraction over thirty-five hundred; but each of said counties shall be entitled to at least one delegate. The said delegates shall receive the same per diem as is now allowed to members of the general assembly; but no person shall receive pay as a member of the general assembly and of the convention at the same time. 

8. It shall be the duty of the governor to lay before the general assembly, at its next meeting, for their consent according to the constitution of the United States, the result of the said vote, if it shall be found that a majority of the votes cast be in favor of a new state, and also in favor of the constitution proposed to said voters for their adoption. 

9. The new state shall take upon itself a just proportion of the public debt of the commonwealth of Virginia prior to the first day of January, 1861, to be ascertained by charging to it all state expenditures within the limits thereof, and a just proportion of the ordinary expenses of the state government, since any part of said debt was contracted; and deducting therefrom the monies paid into the treasury of the commonwealth from the counties included within the said new state during the same period. All private rights and interests in lands within the proposed state, derived from the laws of Virginia prior to such separation, shall remain valid and secure under the laws of the proposed state, and shall be determined by the laws now existing in the state of Virginia. 

The lands within the proposed state, of non-resident proprietors, shall not in any case be taxed higher than the lands of residents therein. No grants of lands or land warrants, issued by the proposed state, shall interfere with any warrant issued from the land office of Virginia prior to the l7th day of April last, which shall be located on lands within the proposed state now liable thereto. 

10. When the general assembly shall give its consent to the formation of such new state, it shall forward to the congress of the United States such consent, together with an official copy of such constitution, with the request that the said new state may be admitted into the union of states. 

11. The government of the state of Virginia as reorganized by this convention at its session in June last, shall retain, within the territory of the proposed state, undiminished and unimpaired, all the powers and authority with which it has been vested, until the proposed state shall be admitted into the union by the congress of the United States ; and nothing in this ordinance contained, or which shall be done in pursuance thereof, shall impair or affect the authority of the said reorganized state government in any county which shall not be included within the proposed state. 

Arthur I. Boreman, President 
G. L. Cranmer, Secretary

The Session was concluded with 

An ORDINANCE to provide for the election of representatives in the Congress of the United States.  Passed August  20, 1861. 

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The People of Virginia, by their Delegates assembled in Convention at "Wheeling, do ordain as follows : 

1. In every congressional district of the state where, from any cause, an election of a representative in the congress of the United States was not held on the fourth Thursday of May last, and in the eleventh district where a vacancy now exists, an election for such representative shall be held on the fourth Thursday in October next, which shall be conducted and the result ascertained, declared and certified in the manner directed in the second edition of the code of Virginia. 

2. If in consequence of the occupation of any county by armed forces in hostility with or in rebellion against the government of the United States, such election cannot be or is not held in such county, any person entitled to vote therein may vote in any other county of his district. And if no election shall be held at the time appointed in the first section of this ordinance in any congressional district therein mentioned, the governor on receiving satisfactory evidence thereof may, by proclamation or writ, appoint another day for holding such election therein. 

3. This ordinance shall be in force from its passage. 

A. I. BOREMAN, President. 
G. L. Cranmer, Secretary. 



The proceedings of this May 13th - 15th first Wheeling Convention were recorded by Charles B. Waggener of Mason County, Marshall M. Dent of Monongalia County, and Judge Gibson Lamb Cranmer of Ohio County who was also the Secretary of the Second Wheeling Convention. Unfortunately, the Convention named Judge Cranmer the custodian of the manuscript proceedings, journals, and other documents of the Convention. These convention records were lost during the Wheeling Island flood of 1884. 

The vote on the formation of a new state was held October 24, 1861.  At this time the counties that would comprise West Virginia had nearly 70,000 qualified voters. During the May 23, 1861 secessionist vote nearly 54,000 voters came to the polls.  Only 19,189 votes were cast with 18,408 for formulating a new state versus 781 against.  Returns from some counties were as low as 5% (e.g. Raleigh County 32-0 in favor of statehood, Clay 76-0, Braxton 22-0) and some gave no returns at all.   This abstention from the vote was due to the fact that secessionists did not recognize the authority of the Wheeling Convention and its new loyalist Virginia government.  

This situation led to speculation by many in Washington and in the media that the people in the loyalist counties were at best a small majority.  Therefore, some Union leaders maintained that  it would be best to carve-up Virginia and assign its territory to Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware.



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THE NEW YORK HERALD, New York, December 5, 1861 Front page Map on how Virginia will be carved up “Dismemberment of Rebel Virginia -The Old Dominion to be Cut Up and Partitioned Among Loyal States - Virginia to Suffer the Same Destiny as Poland!”

The Union, as we all know, did not carve-up Virginia and allocate its territory to other states.  Instead the Western and Northern counties held a convention in Wheeling, Virginia for those citizens who wished to remain loyal to the Union.  On November 26, 1861 a convention, consisting of 61 members, met in Wheeling to formulate a new constitution to form a new state out of the loyalist counties in Northern and Western Virginia. 

Some of the issues they addressed included the name of the new state, boundaries, and slavery.  Determining the boundaries of the new state of West Virginia from the Confederacy States of Virginia was a difficult issue in 1861-62. The WV Committee on Boundary proposed that an additional thirty-two counties be added to the thirty-nine already included. Debates ensued, and a number of proposed counties were rejected, some due to large numbers of slaves, secession sentiment, or debt. On December 13, the convention determined that West Virginia would include the thirty-nine original counties and five additional. Also, seven more counties would be added if their voters approved.

Slavery was an issue that hung over the convention. On November 30, 1861, Robert Hagar of Boone County called for a free state and proposed gradual emancipation. Gordon Battelle of Ohio County, a Methodist minister, proposed forbidding additional slaves from entering the state and gradual emancipation for slaves in the new state. Battelle pressed for gradual emancipation, but was unable to convince a majority of delegates to support its inclusion in the constitution. The finished document simply stated, “No slave shall be brought, or free person of color be permitted to come into this State for permanent residence."  

On December 2nd the constitutional convention debated naming the state Kanawha which appeared in the ordinance adopted by the June 1861 Wheeling Convention.  The name was unpopular  as it was  sectional in nature, difficult to spell, and failed to preserve the name "Virginia" for the new state.  After much debate, a vote was taken and the name West Virginia received 30 votes, Kanawha nine votes, and Western Virginia and Allegheny two votes, while Augusta garnished only one delegate vote.

While the Convention was in session, the Restored Virginia Assembly  convened on December 2, 1861, enacting legislation until it adjourned on February 13th, 1862.




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Acts Of The General Assembly, Passed At The Regular Session, Held December Second, 1861. At The City Of Wheeling." Wheeling, 1862. Self-wrappers. 111pp. 8vo. 1st edition.  

In this document, there are many Acts continuing to set up the new state. These include providing for organizing County Court of Alexandria, amending separately many, chapters of Code of 1860 and Acts of 1860, relieving various individuals, establishing a branch bank at Charleston, incorporating the Farmers' and Drovers' Bank of Morgantown, authorizing the Holliday's Cove Turnpike Co. to transfer a portion of its road to Brooke County, incorporating the Parkersburg and Sandy Railroad Co., incorporating the Elk River Railroad Co., authorizing the governor to borrow money for the State, regulating the Inspector of Salt in Kanawha County, providing for the election of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor & Attorney General, authorizing Commandants of Regiments and Battalions to convene Courts of Inquiry for their Regiments, transferring the State Stock in The Marshall and Ohio Turnpike Co., incorporating the Mt. Vernon Insurance. Co., providing for better working & repairing of the Moundsville Branch of the Fairmont and Wheeling Turnpike Road, protection of the Cumberland Road in Ohio County, authorizing jailors to receive certain persons delivered to them by order of the Governor, an Act incorporating the Wheeling Gymnastic Assoc., also an Act reorganizing the Kanawha Board, incorporation. the Accomac and Northampton Air Line Rail Road Co., Acts amending & re-enacting Acts for repair of various roads, collecting debts, an Act declaring the Ohio River a legal fence in the Counties of Mason & Brooke, incorporation of the Charleston and Winchester Rail Road Co., amending the Charter of the City of Wheeling, giving consent to the U.S. to purchase various needed places & land for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards & other needful buildings, many more. At rear is six pages of Joint Resolutions, These incl. holding certain prisoners as hostages until the return of two seized citizens in Kanawha County, Plus 3 page. table of commencement of court terms and nine pages Index to Acts of Assembly.

On February 18, 1862 the convention approved the constitution by unanimous vote.  Instead of adjourning, a committee was set up and empowered to reconvene the delegates if necessary.  The confusing political situation of counties dealing with two different governmental legislatures resulted in a  referendum vote with 18,862 for and only 514 against the new constitution.  





Presented here is the Certified Copy of the West Virginia Constitution as approved by the People of West Virginia in 1862. - Image © from the  Historic.us Collection


The United States Constitution, however, required an act by the Virginia legislature consenting to the creation of the new State.  Governor Peirpoint, avoiding the Richmond government completely, reconvened the  Reorganized Assembly of Virginia on May 6th, 1862.  He addressed the Assembly arguing that such a  division was prudent due to the mountain barriers between eastern and Western Virginia, the dissimilarity of the two sections "in their social relations and institutions" and the eighty year conflict between them over commonwealth legislation.  

On May 13th, 1862 the General Assembly gave its consent to the formation of West Virginia with an act naming forty-eight counties and provided for the inclusion of Jefferson, Berkeley, and Frederick when they ratified the constitution.


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Acts Of The General Assembly, Passed At The Extra Session held May Sixth, 1862 at the City of Wheeling. This is a full printing of the May 6th to the 15th, 1862 acts passed by the General Assembly in the City of Wheeling, Virginia in 1862. The Acts include An Act giving the consent of the Legislature of Virginia to the formation and erection of a new State within the jurisdiction of this State.  This legislation concludes stating that the Act will be transmitted to the Senators and Representatives in Congress who are to "use their endeavors to obtain the consent of Congress to the admission of the State of West Virginia into the Union." Also included are: An Act Making An Appropriation to The Proposed State of West Virginia; An Act for the Relief of the Banks of the Commonwealth; An Act declaring the boundary lines of farms, in certain counties, lawful fences", an Act providing for the election of Mayor and Common Council for town of Martinsburg, and various other Acts, resolutions, amending, and re-enacting Virginia laws then in effect or enacted at the Richmond Secession Convention in February 1861.





After State Assembly approval, it was now necessary to transmit the constitution to the US Congress. On May 19th, 1862 the following letter was sent to Washington with a copy of the ratified constitution: 


I, Francis H. Peirpoint, governor of the State aforesaid, do hereby certify and make known unto all whom it may concern, that the document annexed is a true copy of the constitution and schedule proposed for the State of West Virginia by the convention thereof, assembled at Wheeling on the 26th day of November, 1861: and I do further certify that an election was duly held, pursuant to the said schedule on the ratification or rejection of said constitution which resulted in the adoption thereof, according to the returns certified by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and hereunto annexed; and I further certify that Gibson L. Cranmer, whose name is subscribed to the act of General Assembly, of which a copy is hereto annexed, is, and was at the time of subscribing the same clerk of the house of delegates, and keeper of the rolls of the Commonwealth of Virginia  duly elected and qualified; that his attestation is in due form, and that he is the proper officer to make the same, and to the same full faith, credit, and authority are due and ought to be given.
In testimony whereof, I have subscribed my name, and caused the great seal of Wheeling  this nineteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of this commonwealth the eighty sixth.  
Francis H. Peirpoint, Governor  
L A Hagans, Secretary 


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Governor Peirpoint's letter and the West Virginia Constitution was given to WV US Senator Waitman T. Willey who presented it as a formal petition to the US Senate for admission of WV to the Union.  The Petition was referred to the committee on Territories, chaired by  Ohio Senator Benjamin Wade.  Virginia Senator John Carlile was charged with completing a bill which he submitted to the committee on June 23rd.  Senator Carlile astounded the committee and "West Virginia" leaders by adding 15 counties, requiring a new constitutional convention to expand the state, and the gradual abolition of slavery.  

If the bill passed, it would be placed before President Abraham Lincoln and if approved, it would  be sent  back to the sixty-three counties for an amendment to the new constitution which would then have to be ratified by the voters and if ratified approved by the Reorganized Assembly of Virginia.  

There was much debate over the bill in the territorial committee over slavery.  Discussions by several leading senators and Senators Wade and Willey worked out a compromise on the Statehood bill known as the Willey Amendment.  The amendment provided that all slaves under twenty-one years old on July 4, 1863, should be free on arriving at that age.  On July 14th, 1862 the statehood bill as proposed by Carlile and then amended by Willey et al was enacted by a vote of twenty-three to seventeen with Carlile voting against it.

The bill languished in Congress until December 15th when Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning carried it to a reluctant President Lincoln who had concerns over its constitutionality.   During this period the Reorganized Assembly of Virginia was called into a special session on December 4, 1862.


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ACTS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF VIRGINIA. PASSED AT THE EXTRA SESSION, COMMENCED DECEMBER 4, 1862, IN THE 87TH YEAR OF THE COMMONWEALTH,  John F. M’Dermot, Public Printer,, Wheeling:, 1863 Hardcover An ACT to amend the 5th section of an Act entitled An Act to Amend the 5th Section of a March 11th, 1836 Act to Incorporate the City of Wheeling, in Ohio County; to  An Act to Incorporate the Franklin Insurance Company of Wheeling;  An Act to declare that the Council of the City of Wheeling shall consist of Two Boards or Branches; An Act Allowing Mileage to the Delegates of the ConventionAn Act Authorizing the Governor to postpone the Proposed State of WV vote; An Act in reference to the troops raised within boundaries of the proposed State of West Virginia; An Act giving the consent of the State of Virginia to the County of Berkeley being admitted into and becoming part of the State of West Virginia; An Act to regulate the election of officers by the Council of the City of Wheeling; An ACT for imposing taxes for the support of the Government; An ACT for transferring to the Proposed State of West Virginia, when the same shall become one of the United States, all this State’s interest in property, unpaid and uncollected taxes … within the boundaries of the proposed State aforesaid; An ACT for changing the place of holding the election in the counties of Hardy and Monongalia; An ACT imposing a tax on dogs; An ACT appropriating 40,000 to the Lunatic Asylum west of the Allegheny Mountains, etc. ;  8vo 8" - 9" tall; 108 p.  


On December 23rd, 1862 Abraham Lincoln requested written opinions regarding the constitutionality of splitting-up Virginia and admitting the new state of West Virginia to the Union.  The cabinet divided evenly with Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, and Attorney General Edward Bates advising the President that the Reorganized Virginia Government was provisional and did not have the authority  to authorize a new state.  Secretary of State William Seward disagreed, maintaining the Reorganized Virginia Government had full plenary powers declaring "if it be a state competent to be represented in Congress and bound to pay taxes, it is a state competent to give the required assent." -- (See Rending of Virginia, Quoted in Hall, Page 490)

Secretary Salmon Chase advanced arguments of expediency that this arrangement encouraged men who were loyal to the union and discouraged secession.   Edward M. Stanton, Secretary of War, was swayed to support the measure as the amended constitution constricted slavery in support of the Emancipation Proclamation's principles.  Lincoln signed the law on December 31, 1862. 

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Acts and Resolutions of the Third Session of the Thirty-seventh Congress: Begun on Monday, December 1, 1862, and Ended in Wednesday March 4, 1863, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1863:

An Act for the admission of the state of West Virginia into the union, and the other purposes

 Whereas the people inhabiting that portion of Virginia known as West Virginia did by a convention assembled in the city of Wheeling, on the 26th of November 1861, frame for themselves a constitution with a view of becoming a separate and independent state ; and whereas at a general election held in the counties composing the territory aforesaid, on the third day of May last, the said constitution was approved and adopted by the qualified voters of the proposed state ; and whereas the legislature of Virginia, by an act passed on the 13th day of May 1862, did give its consent to the formation of a new state within the jurisdiction of the said state of Virginia, to be known by the name of West Virginia, and to embrace the following named counties, to wit: Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Marion, Monongalia, Preston,Taylor, Tyler, Pleasants, Ritchie, Doddridge, Harrison, Wood, Jackson, Wirt, Roane, Calhoun, Gilmer, Barbour, Tucker, Lewis, Braxton, Upshur, Randolph, Mason, Putnam, Kanawha, Clay, Nicholas, Cabell, Wayne, Boone, Logan, Wyoming, Mercer, McDowell, Webster, Pocahontas, Fayette, Raleigh, Greenbrier, Monroe, Pendleton, Hardy, Hampshire and Morgan ; and whereas both the convention and the legislature aforesaid have requested that the new state Bhould be admitted into the Union, and the constitution aforesaid being republican in form, congress doth hereby consent that the said forty-eight counties may be formed into a separate and independent state. Therefore, Be it enacted, That the state of West Virginia be and is hereby declared to be one of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union, on an equal footing with the original states in all respects whatever, and until the next general census shall be entitled to three members in the house of representatives of the United States: Provided always, That this act shall not take effect until after the proclamation of the president of the United States hereinafter provided for. 




As a condition for West Virginia's admission, the Congressional amendments had to be added to the new state constitution. The Assembly acted first to enable the convention's passage of the bill, on January 30th, 1863,  by enacting An Act authorizing the Governor to postpone the May Elections for the year 1863:


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This was followed with a February 4th Act Giving Consent to the Admission of Certain Counties into the New State of West Virginia, upon certain conditions. The stage was now set for a second WV Constitutional Convention.  


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On February 12th, 1863 the WV constitutional convention reassembled.  Abraham Soper was elected President, replacing the former President Hall who had resigned after killing the Point Pleasant Register editor Lewis Wetzel.  Senator Willey was permitted to speak in support of the Congressional changes and a committee was appointed to consider the changes.  On February 17th the convention approved the Congressional Amendment of a vote fifty-four to zero and the following day approved the amended constitution fifty-two to zero.


The voters ratified the constitution by an overwhelming majority 28,321 to 572.  Calhoun, Greenbrier, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Webster, and Wyoming counties sent no returns.  The results were certified at once to President Lincoln.  





On April 20th, 1863, President Lincoln issued a proclamation that sixty days after that date West Virginia would become a state  (June 20, 1863). Meanwhile, officers for the new state were chosen, and Governor Peirpoint moved his capital to Alexandria, from which he asserted jurisdiction over the counties of Virginia within the Federal lines.   


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THE NEW YORK TIMES from New York, NY and dated April 22, 1863  



NEWS FROM WASHINGTON: The Admission of West Virginia as a State. 

A PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION


Whereas, by the act of Congress approved the 31st day of December last, the State of West Virginia was declared to be one of the united States of America, and was admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever, upon the condition that certain changes should be duly made in the proposed Constitution for that State;

And whereas, proof of a compliance with that condition, as required by the second section of the act aforesaid, has been submitted to me:

Now, therefore, be it known, that I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, do hereby, in pursuance of the act of Congress aforesaid, declare and proclaim that the said act shall take effect and be in force from and after sixty days from the date hereof.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this twentieth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-seventh. ABRAHAM LINCOLN. [L.S.]

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

Also included in this complete eight page NY Times Newspaper are advertisements and Civil War reports with the following headlines: "SEVERE FIGHT NEAR CORINTH" "The Rebels Defeated" "IMPORTANT FROM NORTH CAROLINA" "The Siege of Little Washington Raised by the Rebels" "IMPORTANT FROM VICKSBURGH" "A Large Number of Gen. Grant's Troops Now Below the City" "IMPORTANT FROM EASTERN VIRGINIA" "Retreat Of The Enemy From Suffolk" and much more.




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West Virginia Governor's Message, Executive Department, Wheeling, June 20, 1863 eight pages,  Exceptional content on the birth date of the State of West Virginia in this exceeding rare Civil War WV imprint that, to this date, has not been transcribed and placed online.  The WV Gubernatorial Message begins: "In the midst of the great rebellion, which we all deplore so much, we rejoice in the fact accomplished of separate State existence.  For thirty years or more the people west of the mountains in Virginia, have just complained of the bitter wrongs done by them by the "governmental majority" in the East. Inequality of representation in the legislature; unjust and inequitable imposition of taxes; and a total disregard of their interests in the appropriation and expenditure of the public moneys, of which they contributed so much, were some of the grounds of these complaints."   

AND concludes

We have now entered upon the discharge of our respective duties.  They are arduous and delicate.  The future of the New State, for weal or woe, may be in our hands.  And while we are providing the organization of the State, and for the protection our common constituents, we may not forget the high obligation resting on us to give our unqualified support to the authorities of the United States, in their efforts to maintain the supremacy of the Government throughout the land.  And let us invoke that wisdom which cometh from above, to so guide, and direct us, that whatever we do, may contribute to bring peace, prosperity and happiness to our own State, and redound to the good of our common country.  Arthur I. Boreman.”   

 
Image © from the  Historic.us Collection

Exceedingly rare Acts of the Legislature of West Virginia, at Its First Session, Commencing June 20th, 1863, Original full polished sheep, and in excellent condition. 294, xxii pp. This is the compilation of the first laws of the new state of West Virginia, including the constitution, the designation of counties and other more unique provisions as the forfeiture of Rebel property. An indispensable piece of West Virginia founding history.

Image © from the  Historic.us Collection

Civil War County Map of Virginia and West Virginia, Mitchell, S. Augustus, Cartographer, Philadelphia, 1863, 11 inches by 14 inches and dated 1863 in the plate.  This Mitchell map is highly sought after for WV Statehood production date and its fine engraving, bright hand coloring, and attention to detail.   It features Mitchell's famous floral border which is only seen in the early editions of his work. The paper is still quite bright, unusual for 150-year-old map. 

The Confederate State of Virginia was incensed over the U.S. Congress and President allowing a new state to be carved out of its western and northern counties.  Immediately following WV Statehood, debate began on what action should be taken against Congress and the new State of West Virginia.

Image © from the  Historic.us Collection


CONFEDERATE ACTS of the General Assembly of the State of Virginia, Passed at Called Session, 1863-64 in the Eighty-Eighth Year of the Commonwealth.  William F. Ritchie, Richmond, VA., 1863, 107 pages with some foxing, that includes the Virginia resolution outlawing the creating of the new West Virginia State:

Preamble and Resolutions asserting the Jurisdiction and Sovereignty of the State of Virginia over her Ancient Boundaries.  Adopted October 8, 1863. Whereas the general assembly of Virginia did, on the seventeenth day of January eighteen hundred and sixty-two, adopt the following preamble and resolution:

"Whereas, the public enemy, invited by domestic foes, being in Preamble power in some of the counties of Virginia, where they are confiscating the property of loyal citizens, and otherwise oppressing them in a cruel manner: and whereas the traitors there, contemplating a division of this time-honored commonwealth, with the aid of the public enemy, have set up a pretended government over the same, which, under the force of circumstances, could not be prevented by the timely sending of an adequate military force: and whereas the legislature desires to reassure all loyal citizens throughout the commonwealth of their desire and intention to protect them: Therefore,
Resolved by the senate and house of delegates, that in no event will the state of Virginia submit to or consent to the loss of a foot of her soil; that it is the firm determination of the state, and known to be that of the confederate government, to assert and maintain the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the state of Virginia to the uttermost limits of her ancient boundaries, at any and at every cost."

And whereas, since the passage of said resolution by the general assembly, the government of the United States, in pursuance of its settled purpose to override and destroy the separate existence of the states, has attempted to form a new state out of the state of Virginia, in contravention alike of the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Virginia; and is upholding, by the power of her armies, certain evil-disposed and traitorous citizens of this state, who are leagued with the said United States in their nefarious and wicked purposes against the peace, welfare, institutions and integrity of Virginia: and whereas it is the fixed and unalterable intention of Virginia to maintain and assert her prerogative as set forth in said resolution of the last general assembly, and approved by the confederate congress, and to protect alike her citizens and her soil from the machinations of traitors within and enemies without: Therefore,

1. Resolved by the senate and house of delegates, that Virginia Purpose and determination, fixed and unalterable, the purpose and determination so clearly set forth in the resolution of the last general assembly, and that this general assembly cordially readouts and sanctions the same, and re-declares alike to her citizens and the world, that it is the firm determination of the state, and known to be that of the confederate government, to assert and maintain the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the state of Virginia to the uttermost limits of her ancient boundaries, at any and every cost.
2. Resolved, that the governor be requested to send a copy of Governor to these resolutions, properly certified, to the congress of the Confederate States, to convene on the twenty-second of February eighteen hundred and sixty-four, for their approval.

Image © from the  Historic.us Collection


This most historic Confederate imprint also includes numerous Virginia Confederate Acts passed from September 14, 1863 to February 8, 1864 to conduct the war and countermand the laws enacted by the new State of West Virginia.  Acts include: 

An Act to Authorize the Governor to Call out Forces for the Public Defense; An Act to Suppress Gaming; An Act to authorize the Arrest of Deserters by Civil Authorities; An act for the relief of Indigent Soldiers; An Act to reorganize the Board of Trustees for Bethany College; An Act appropriating the Public Revenue for the Fiscal Years 1863-4 and 1864-65; An Act to authorize the Funding of certain currency belonging to the State, in Confederate Bonds; An Act providing additional Appropriation to Virginia Military Institute; An Act to authorize the sale of certain Slaves now in the Penitentiary; An Act amending and re-enacting the 1st section of chapter 214 (Code of 1860), so as to provide for the punishment of Free Negro Convicts in certain cases;  An Act Amending the 9th Section of Chapter 104 of the Code of Virginia in relation to Harboring or Employing Slaves; An address of the General Assembly to the Soldiers of Virginia; Act to increase Salaries of Professors at the University of Virginia; and Act to Incorporate Roanoke Female College
.

Also included in this exhibit is the rare printing of West Virginia Governor Arthur I. Boreman's Message, from the Executive Department, Wheeling, dated January 19, 1864 that has exceptional content on the War and finances of the State, along with a remark that indicating WV's designs for Rebel Virginia: 


"I have not yet the pleasure of announcing to you the recovery of all the territory of the State from the domination of the enemy."



Image © from the  Historic.us Collection


Image © from the  Historic.us Collection


The Governor Concludes:  

The progress that is being made in the suppression of the rebellion, is truly gratifying to every lover of his country. during the past season, our armies have been victorious on nearly every hard fought field. Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Port Hudson, Chickamauga, and Lookout mountain and Missionary ridge, have attested the indomitable courage of our soldiers, and have extended our lines so as to include one-half of the rebel -claimed confederacy. Kentucky and Missouri have continued their loyal State organizations, and are free from any formidable rebel force; and it were it not for the marauding bands that infest those States, they would now be enjoying peace. Tennessee and Arkansas, and large portions of Louisiana and Mississippi have been reclaimed from the enemy; and the news from Texas is that a large portion of the people are still faithful to the Union, and are ready to strike for the "old flag," whenever they are relieved from the despotism of rebel rule, which is only maintained over them by military force; and still more, and of vast importance, the free and almost uninterrupted navigation of the Mississippi River, has been established beyond a peradventure. True this has been accomplished at the expense of much of the best blood of the country, and of millions of treasure. But is it not worth the sacrifice? If our fathers endured and sacrificied so much to establish the Government, shall we do less to preserve it? But it may be said that the work is not yet finished. This is true. But it will be finished. If not this year, it will be in some year to come. If it requires the lives of the brave of this generation, and the revenues of the Government for years to come to accomplish this noble purpose, the loyal people have sworn that the sacrifice shall be made. The authority of the Government throughout the entire land, must be restored at whatever cost.
For another session, in the midst of this terrible rebellion, are the interests of the State committed to your hands: the responsibility is of no ordinary character. On your action may depend her future prosperity. May you in all your deliberations, look up to an over-ruling Providence, whose hand guides the destinies of States as well as of men.

Arthur I. Boreman


 The war, however, went very badly for Virginia and by January of 1865 the Confederate States of America had sent a Peace Commission to Washington to negotiate a settlement to the Civil War.  The CSA Commissioners were delayed until the House finished their deliberations and voted to propose the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution.  On January 31, 1865, the House passed the 13th Amendment 119 to 56, seven votes above the necessary two-thirds majority.  The Hampton Roads Peace Conference commenced three days later on February 3, 1865, in which President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward met with Southern representatives or "commissioners." 


Image © from the  Historic.us Collection

HARPER'S WEEKLY, New York, February 18, 1865 - The full front page is a jubilant scene captioned: "Scene in the House on the Passage of the Proposition to Amend the Constitution", being the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.  WV is mentioned as passing the amendment.

Following West Virginia statehood, the Restored Government of Virginia relinquished authority over the counties of the new state, and thus lost most of its area not under Confederate control.  GovernorFrancis Harrison Peirpoint moved the Restored Government to Alexandria, effective August 26, 1863. Located in Virginia proper, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., the city of Alexandria remained under Union control for the entirety of the war. The Restored Government claimed legitimacy over all of Virginia not incorporated into West Virginia. Rather than recognize the Confederate state government in Richmond, Peirpoint had characterized it as a

"large numbers of evil-minded persons [that] have banded together in military organizations with intent to overthrow the Government of the State; and for that purpose have called to their aid like-minded persons from other States, who, in pursuance of such call, have invaded this Commonwealth."

But outside the few jurisdictions Peirpoint's government held under federal arms, control of the state was in Richmond.  Several localities, however, sent representatives to both the Alexandria and Richmond legislatures.

The Restored Government adopted a new Virginia constitution in 1864 that recognized the creation of West Virginia, abolished slavery, and disqualified supporters of the southern Confederacy from voting. The constitution was effective only in the Union-controlled areas of Virginia. 

After the fall of Richmond and the end of the Civil War in May 1865, the executive officers moved the government from Alexandria to Richmond, which the Restored Government had always considered to be its official capital. The government operating under the Constitution of 1864 thereafter assumed civil authority for the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, until adoption of the Constitution of 1869. Some West Virginians expressed concern that once restored to the Union the government of Virginia might seek to challenge the validity of the authority the Restored Government possessed in consenting to West Virginia's admission to the Union. To alleviate these concerns, the Congress set as a condition for Virginia's readmission to Congress that it affirm in its 1869 Constitution that the authority by which the State of West Virginia was created out of Virginia territory had indeed been valid, thus giving its consent to the creation of West Virginia retroactively to 1863.


Image © from the  Historic.us Collection

Governor Francis H. Peirpoint of both the Restored Government of Virginia and later Virginia,  signed Commissioner Appointment of William B. Isaacs as Morrill Act Commissioner with the Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia passed 1865-1866.

On January 27, 1866 - the Virginia Senate passed the House Bill No. 92 into a law. House Bill 92 entitled an act providing for the sale of lands or scrip donated by Morrill Act for education, was passed 26 to 0 and signed into law by Governor Francis H. Peirpoint.  On March 22, 1866 the Governor appointed commissioner William B. Isaacs to accept the Morrill Act’s federal lands, sell them, and place the proceeds in accounts to ensure a Virginia Land Grant College. The Appointment states in full:

The Commonwealth of [Virginia] To William B. Isaacs, Greeting. Know you, that our Governor, in pursuance of authority vested in him by an act of the General Assembly of Virginia passed January 27th, 1866, doth hereby constitute and appoint you a Commissioner to apply to and receive from the Government of the United States, the scrip or warrant of land to which the State of Virginia may be entitled by virtue of the act of the Congress of the United States approved the 20th of July 1862, entitled “an act donating public lands to the several states and territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and mechanic arts.” In testimony whereof, these our letters are Sealed with the Great Seal of the State and made patent. Witness Francis H.Peirpoint, our said Governor, at Richmond, this 22nd day of March, A.D. 1866 and in the 90th year of the Commonwealth.

The document is signed by the Governor, F. H. Peirpoint, and by M. Herndon as Secretary and keeper of the Seal.  It contains the official state seal affixed to the document by a ribbon. The document measures 7 ¾ x 9 ¾ and is complete except for a small tear at the upper right corner. Mr. Isaacs was successful in his role as a Morrill Act Commissioner enabling Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, Blacksburg, Virginia (Virginia Tech University), the all “Negro” Virginia Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, in Hampton, Virginia (Hampton University) and the all “Negro” Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute (Virginia State University) to be founded and/or funded with Morrill Acts proceeds.  

In WV, the following year, under the terms of the 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, the West Virginia Legislature created the Agricultural College of West Virginia on February 7, 1867.  The college officially opened on September 2, 1867.  On December 4, 1868, WV lawmakers renamed the college West Virginia University to represent a broader range of higher education.  The University was built on the grounds of three former academies, the Monongalia Academy of 1814, the Morgantown Female Academy of 1831, and Woodburn Female Seminary of 1858. Upon its founding, the local newspaper claimed that "a place more eligible for the quiet and successful pursuit of science and literature is nowhere to be found"

Peirpoint, who organized the Wheeling convention of Unionists, which declared that their Virginia elected officials had abandoned their posts and elected him provisional governor of Virginia, is now regarded as the Father of West Virginia. Forty-eight years after the Wheeling Convention, Peirpoint would be honored as such by the West Virginia Legislature that commissioned his statue for inclusion at the US Capitol’s Statuary Hall.




Image © from the  Historic.us Collection

Proceedings in Statuary Hall and the Senate and the House of Representatives: State of West Virginia Washington Govt. Offices, Washington DC, 1910. Hardback. Good with no Dust Jacket; Condition. No Dust Jacket. Olive Boards with Gold title. Boards partially mottled, spine darkened. 4to; 183 Pages. pages; Upon the Unveiling, Reception, and Acceptance from the State of West Virginia of the Statue of Governor Francis Harrison Peirpoint, April 30, 1910.

This statue of Francis Harrison Peirpoint was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection by West Virginia in 1910. Born in Virginia on January 25, 1814, Peirpoint was linked with its history for the rest of his life. He grew up in western Virginia, in what is today Marion County, West Virginia, graduated from Allegheny College, and was admitted to the bar in 1841. In 1848 he became the local attorney for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

An active supporter of Lincoln, Peirpoint became more involved in politics with the outbreak of the Civil War. When Virginia seceded, he organized a convention of Unionists, which declared that their elected officials had abandoned their posts and elected Peirpoint provisional governor of Virginia. A legislature was set up, a new constitution was drafted, and representatives were seated in the Federal Congress. The state adopted the name West Virginia and was admitted into the Union in 1863.

Image © from the  Historic.us Collection

When a new governor was elected for West Virginia, Peirpoint became governor of the "restored" state of Virginia, those counties occupied by Union troops. The capital, originally in Alexandria, moved in 1865 to Richmond, where Peirpoint became governor of the whole state of Virginia. After he was replaced by a military commander in 1868, Peirpoint returned to his law practice in West Virginia. He served one term in the state legislature in 1870 and was collector of Internal Revenue under President Garfield. He died 18 years later in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on March 24, 1899.


A Fourth America United Republic Exhibit

Copyright © 2013  Historic.us All Rights Reserved




By: Stanley Yavneh Klos

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.



West Virginia Statehood

Capitals of the United States and Colonies of America

Philadelphia
Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774
Philadelphia
May 10, 1775 to Dec. 12, 1776
Baltimore
Dec. 20, 1776 to Feb. 27, 1777
Philadelphia
March 4, 1777 to Sept. 18, 1777
Lancaster
September 27, 1777
York
Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778
Philadelphia
July 2, 1778 to June 21, 1783
Princeton
June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783
Annapolis
Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784
Trenton
Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784
New York City
Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788
New York City
Nov. 1788 to March 3,1789
New York City
March 3,1789 to August 12, 1790
Philadelphia
December 6,1790 to May 14, 1800
Washington DC
November 17,1800 to Present




  Historic.us Collection





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