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State of West Virgina,

In the Virginia Secession Convention the members from the western or mountainous districts were nearly all Unionists. Before the adjournment of that convention the inhabitants of the mountain region had met at various places to consult upon public affairs. At the first of these, at Clarksburg, April 22, 1861, John S. Carlile, a member of the convention, offered a series of resolutions calling an assembly of delegates of the people at Wheeling, on May 13. They were adopted. At a meeting at Kingwood, in Preston county (May 4), it was declared that the separation of western from eastern Virginia was essential to the maintenance of their liberties. They also resolved to so far defy the Confederate authorities of the State as to elect a representative in the national Congress. Similar sentiments were expressed at other meetings. The convention of delegates met at Wheeling on the appointed day. A large number of counties were represented by almost 400 delegates.

The chief topic discussed in the convention was the division of the State and the formation of a new one, composed of the forty or fifty counties of the mountain region, the inhabitants of which owned very few slaves, and were enterprising and thrifty. These counties were controlled by, and for the interests of, the great slave-holding region in eastern Virginia. There was remarkable unanimity of sentiment in the convention against longer submitting to this control, and in love for the Union. The convention was too informal to take action on the momentous question of the dismemberment of the State. By resolution, it condemned the ordinance of secession, and called a provisional convention to assemble at the same place on June 11 following, if the ordinance should be ratified by the people.

A central committee was appointed, who issued (May 22) an address to the people of northwestern Virginia. The Confederates were thoroughly alarmed by these proceedings. Expecting an armed revolt in that section, the governor (Letcher) sent orders to the commander of State troops at Grafton to seize arms at Wheeling, arm such men as might rally to his camp, and cut off telegraphic communication between Wheeling and Washington. He was ordered to destroy the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad if troops from Ohio or Pennsylvania should attempt to pass over it.

The convention met June 11, with Arthur J. Boreman president. A committee was appointed to draw up a bill of rights. All allegiance to the Southern Confederacy was totally denied, and it was declared that all officers in Virginia who adhered to it were suspended and their offices vacated. They condemned the ordinance of secession, and called upon all citizens who had taken up arms for the Confederacy to lay them down. Measures were adopted for a provisional government and for the election of officers for a period of six months. This was not secession from Virginia, but purely revolutionary.

On June 17 a declaration of independence of the old government of Virginia was adopted, and was signed by the fifty-six members present. On the 20th there was a unanimous vote in favor of the separation of western from eastern Virginia, and on that day the provisional government was organized by the appointment of [313] Francis H. Pierpont, of Marion county, governor; Daniel Polsley, of Mason county, lieutenant-governor; and an executive council of five members. The governor immediately notified the President of the United States of insurrection in western Virginia, and asked aid to suppress it. He raised $12,000 for the public use, pledging his own private fortune for the amount. A legislature was elected and met at Wheeling, on July 1, and John S. Carlile and Waitman T. Willey were chosen to represent the “restored commonwealth” in the Senate of the United States. The convention reassembled on Aug. 20, and passed an ordinance for a new State, which was submitted to the people, and by them ratified.

At a session of the convention on Nov. 27, the name of West Virginia was given to the new State. A new constitution was

State seal of West Virginia.

framed, which the people ratified on May 3, 1862. On the same day the legislature approved all of the proceedings in the matter, and established a new commonwealth. On July 20, 1863, West Virginia was admitted into the Union as a State, by act of Congress, which had been approved by the President, Dec. 31, 1862. A State seal, with an appropriate device, was adopted, inscribed, “State of West Virginia. Montani Semper Liber” (mountaineers are always free), and the new commonwealth took its place as the thirty-fifth State of the Union, covering an area of 23,000 square miles. Populalation in 1890, 762,794; in 1900, 958,800. See United States, West Virginia, in vol. IX.; Virginia.

State governors.

Arthur I. Boremaninaugurated1863
William E. Stevensoninaugurated1869
John J. Jacobinaugurated1871
Henry M. Matthewsinaugurated1877
Jacob B. Jacksoninaugurated1881
E. Willis Wilsoninaugurated1885
A. B. Fleminginaugurated1890
William A. MacCorkleinaugurated1893
George W. Atkinsoninaugurated1897
Albert B. Whiteinaugurated1901

United States Senators.

Name.No. of Congress.Term.
Waitman T. Willey38th to 42d1863 to 1871
Peter G. Van Winkle38th to 41st1863 to 1869
Arthur I. Boreman41st to 44th1869 to 1875
Henry G. Davis42d to 48th1871 to 1883
Allen T. Caperton44th1875 to 1876
Samuel Price44th1876
Frank Hereford44th to 47th1877 to 1881
Johnson N. Camden47th to 50th1881 to 1887
John E. Kenna48th to 52d1883 to 1893
Charles E. Faulkner50th to 56th1887 to 1899
Johnson N. Canden53d to 54th1893 to 1895
Stephen B. Elkins54th to —1895 to —
Nathan B. Scott56th to —1899 to —

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