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Statehood / Civil War




West Virginia  Civil War / Statehood


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“Civil War Discovery Trail” – Civil War Trust


civil disc trail

“The Civil War Discovery Trail links more than 636 sites in 34 states to inspire and to teach the story of the Civil War and its haunting impact on America. An initiative of The Civil War Trust, the Trail allows visitors to explore battlefields, historic homes, railroad stations, cemeteries, parks and other destinations that bring history to life.”


Gives short description for each of the following topics.

  • Belle Boyd House and Civil War Museum and Archives
  • Bulltown Historic Area
  • Camp Allegheny
  • Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park
  • Cheat Summit Fort
  • Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park
  • Grafton National Cemetery
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
  • Jackson’s Mill Historic Area
  • Jenkins Plantation Museum
  • Lewisburg National Register Historic District / Greenbrier County Visitor Center
  • Philippi Covered Bridge
  • Philippi Historic District
  • Rich Mountain Battlefield Civil War Site
  • Shepherdstown Historic District
  • West Virginia Independence Hall Museum

Explore Information from Civil War Trust’s “Civil War Discovery Trail” (deactivated) Website (pdf)


“Civil War Related Articles from e-WV, The West Virginia Encyclopedia”  —  WV Sesquicentennial Commission


WV Sesquicentennial Commission


“Civil War Related Articles from e-WV, the West Virginia Encyclopedia”

Explore Information from WV Sesquicentennial Commission’s “Civil War Related Articles from e-WV, the West Virginia Encyclopedia” (deactivated) Website (pdf) — Clicking the links will take you directly to the article in the “e-WV”.

“Civil War” – WV Archives & History


Very extensive lists include:

  • Archives Sources
  • General
  • 1861
  • 1862
  • 1863
  • 1864-65
  • Individuals
  • Post-war Activities

Explore WV Archives and History’s “Civil War” Website


“West Virginia Civil War Timeline” – WV Archives and History

wv west virginia civil war timeline

“In April 1960, with the approach of the Civil War centennial, West Virginia History published an article by Allen W. Jones, a professor of history at the University of Alabama-Montgomery, that listed military events in West Virginia during that conflict. The journal reprinted that article in its 1988 commemorative issue during West Virginia’s 125th anniversary. Below are Jones’s introductory remarks. Following is the list Jones compiled, which is provided in chronological rather than the alphabetical order used by Jones. Corrections for spelling and date also have been made.. .”


Explore WV Archives and History’s “West Virginia Civil War Timeline” Website

WV Division of Tourism’s Civil War Websites/Brochures:

    “WV Commemorates 150th Anniversary of the Civil War” – WV Tourism



By: Andrea Bond

“This year [2011] marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War. The harrowing battle raged for four years, pitting brother against brother at the cost of more than 600,000 lives. Out of the war, however, there rose a new state, and the only one created as a direct result of the war – West Virginia! . . .”

Explore Information from WV Tourism’s “WV Commemorates 150th Anniversary of the Civil War” Website (deactivated) to continue reading (pdf)— Includes short summaries of The First Campaign, The Battle of Philippi, Places to See, Things to Do, Some West Virginia ‘Civil War Firsts,’ McNeill’s Rangers, Civil War Trails, and ‘Honey in the Rock’


    “Civil War History” – WV Tourism



“The slavery question, which between 1830 and 1860 tore at the fabric of the nation, left the Commonwealth of Virginia equally as divided.   Perhaps the most incendiary of all events connected with the slavery issue took place on what is now West Virginia soil, with the seizure of the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry in 1859 by the fiery abolitionist, John Brown. His plan. . .”

Explore Information from WV Tourism’s “Civil War History” Website (deactivated) to continue reading. (pdf)


    “Civil War Historic Sites” – WV Tourism




Explore Information from WV Tourism’s “Civil War Historic Sites” Website (deactivated) (pdf)  —  Includes 32 sites plus 13 Civil War Cemeteries.


    “Civil War Trails” Brochure



This brochure features 150 unique Civil War sites throughout West Virginia.”  Comprehensive guide includes many maps of the War, and an excellent timeline.

Explore WV “Civil War Trails” Brochure (pdf) – – scroll down for map — stars are locations of Civil War Trail signs.

Explore WV Civil War Trails “Mapguide”  —  maps from the above brochure in a different format

    “Sites of Civil War Trails Signs in West Virginia”



Locations of the signs (such as this one about “The Burning of Suttonsville”) on the Civil War Trails in West Virginia, with short explanations of each site and events that took place there.


Three parts:

“John Brown and Harper’s Ferry plus Charles Town and Shepherdstown” – includes: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park | Jackson at Harpers Ferry | St. John’s Lutheran Church | Allstadt House | Charles Town | Jefferson County Courthouse |  John Brown Hanging Site | The Greenback Raid | Rutherford House  | Edge Hill Cemetery | Cameron’s Depot Engagement | Zion Episcopal Churchyard | Kabletown Engagement | Shepherdstown in the Civil War | Molar’s Crossroads | Elmwood Cemetery | Fountain Rock | Keyes’ Switch Engagement | Duffields Depot Raid

Explore Information from Civil War Traveler’s “John Brown and Harper’s Ferry plus Charles Town and Shepherdstown” (deactivated) Website


“The First Campaign, 1861, in the Mountains” – includes: The Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Corridor (US 250)  || Philippi  | Talbott’s Hill | Elkins | McClellan’s Camp | Rich Mountain Battlefield | The Battle of Laurel Hill Driving Tour | Corrick’s Ford  | Cheat Summit Fort  | “Huntersville” | Camp Allegheny

Explore Information from Civil War Traveler’s The First Campaign, 1861, in the Mountains (deactivated) Website


“More Civil War Sites” – includes: Martinsburg | Wheeling | Charleston | Parkersburg | Huntington | Harrisville | Beverly | Barboursville | Elizabeth | Ravenswood | Williamstown | Summersville | Marlinton | Lewisburg | Buckhannon | Union | Romney | Berkeley Springs | Moorefield | Petersburg | Rowlesburg | Fairmont | Oceana | Sutton | Burnsville/Napier | Glenville | Clarksburg | Arnoldsburg | Gauley Bridge | Fayetteville | Ansted | Alderson | Princeton | Spencer | Weston  | Franklin | Morgantown

Explore Information from Civil War Traveler’s “More Sites” (deactivated) Website

    “Civil War Heritage” Brochure – WV Tourism




Includes descriptions of:  WV’s Role in the Civil War; John Brown’s Raid, The First Campaign, Jones-Imboden Raids of 1863, Civil War Cemeteries, and 29 other Historic Sites.


Explore WV Tourism’s “Civil War Heritage” Brochure (pdf) 


    “Civil War First Campaign Trail” Brochure – WV Tourism


Explore WV Tourism’s “Civil War First Campaign Trail” Brochure (pdf)



“Hills of Blue and Gray” Brochure – Hardy Co. CVB


Includes map and description of sites in Grant, Hardy, Hampshire, Mineral and Pendleton Counties [the “Near Eastern Panhandle”]

Explore “Hills of Blue and Gray” Brochure (pdf) – (portion of brochure is shown upside down–use your pdf viewer’s “rotate tool”)

“WV Civil War Trails of Hampshire, Hardy, and Grant Counties” – South Branch Inns


Information on sites in the three counties, plus a timeline, historic photos, and additional discussion of Fort Mill Ridge, Fort Mulligan and the Battle of Moorefield.

Explore South Branch Inns’ “WV Civil War Trails of Hampshire, Hardy, and Grant Counties” Brochure (pdf)


[Thanks to the South Branch Inns for this brochure–Explore “South Branch Inn” commercial website- limited advertisements]


“His Soul Goes Marching On – The Life and Legacy of John Brown” – Online Exhibit – WV Archives and History



john brown title copy

“One person there was, . . . to whom earthly fame or human discredit seemed of very small account; who yet suffered the extremes of both. This was John Brown, – a man who made the most common of names uncommonly famous, and, as many said infamous; an old man when the world began to take note of him; but who yet achieved much that might seem to be the task of young men; who, in the words of an old book, ‘Being perfected in a short time fulfilled a long time.'”   – Frank Sanborn

“In 1860, John Brown was at one and the same time the most despised and deified man in the United States. Born in . . .”


1: Childhood and Early Adult Years
2: Springfield and North Elba
3: The Abolitionist Calling
4: To “defeat Satan and his legions” in Kansas
5: Bleeding Kansas
6: The Eastern Connection
7: Preparing to “take the war into Africa”

8: Harpers Ferry
9: Final Preparations
10: The Raid
11: The Commonwealth of Virginia v. John Brown and His Men
12: Death and Burial
13: Toward Civil War
14: His Soul Goes Marching On

Other Resource Links include:
Primary Documents”
“John Brown Lesson Plans”
“Sources Consulted”
John Brown/Boyd B. Stutler Collection Database (West Virginia Archives and History Memory Project)”
Further Reading”


Explore WV Archives and History’s “His Soul Goes Marching On – The Life and Legacy of John Brown”  Online Exhibit Introduction – (Link for the Table of Contents at bottom of the page)


“West Virginia in the Civil War” – Steven A. Cunningham

civil war peopleLots of information – Check out all the tabs at the top of the page.

Explore Steven A. Cunningham’s “WV in the Civil War” Website – (Limited sponsor advertisements.)

“The Campaign of 1861 in Western Virginia”

“The Western Virginia Campaign, also known as Operations in Western Virginia or the Rich Mountain Campaign, occurred from May to December 1861 during the American Civil War. Union forces under Major General George B. McClellan invaded the western portion of Virginia; this area occupied by the Union later became the state of West Virginia. Although Confederate forces would make several raids into the area throughout the remainder of the war, they would be unable to reoccupy the state.”  (from Wikipedia)

Explore Rich Mountain Battlefield’s “Northwestern Virginia In 1861: The First Campaign” Website

“WV Civil War Battlefields” – Civil War Sites Advisory Commission


civil war wv battlefields

Explore Civil War Sites Advisory Commission’s “WV Civil War Battle Summaries” Website

    “Rich Mountain Battlefield”

rich mtn cannon   rich mtn logo

“A Concise Version:

“On 11 July 1861, in one of the first engagements of the American Civil War, Union regiments under the overall command of General George B. McClellan attacked and defeated Confederate troops defending a strategic mountain pass on the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike.

“This Union victory, west of the town of Beverly (then county seat of Randolph County, Virginia), brought General McClellan to national prominence. More importantly, it gave the Federal forces control over much of Appalachian northwestern Virginia and allowed these counties to form a government that eventually led to the creation of a new state: West Virginia!”

Explore “Rich Mountain Battlefield” Website

    “Battle of Laurel Hill”

laurel hilllaurel hill 3


“The first land battles of America’s Civil War took place in the Tygart Valley of present-day West Virginia.  Newspaper headlines across the country screamed word of events from western Virginia in June and July 1861. Here Union troops under General George B. McClellan advanced on Confederates in the first land battles of the Civil War at Philippi, Laurel Hill, Rich Mountain and Corricks Ford. . .”

Explore Friends of Laurel Hill Battlefield’s “Battle of Laurel Hill” Website

    “Corrick’s Ford Battlefield”

“Confederate General Robert S. Garnett took command of the Army of the Northwest after the “Philippi Races” in early June 1861. By June 16, 1861, Garnett’s 5,300 troops had dug in west of Beverly at Rich Mountain and on Laurel Hill some sixteen miles south. These strategic locations were chosen to stop an invasion by Union Troops commanded by General George McClellan. . .”

Explore Information from Tucker County CVB’s “Corrick’s Ford Battlefield” (deactivated) Website  (pdf)


“Following the Union victory at the Battle of Rich Mountain in Randolph County, CSA General Robert Garnett realized that retreat was the only prudent action for his 3,000 to 5,000 troops. He turned east toward the Cheat River . . . “

Explore Information from WV Department of Highway’s Corridor H’s “Corrick’s Ford Battlefield” Website (pdf)

    “Battle of Carnifex Ferry 150th Anniversary”

“On September 10, 1861, Union and Confederate troops fought atop Carnifex Ferry in a battle pivotal to the withdrawal of rebel forces from what is now West Virginia.  Clark Davis has this report, centered on the annual reenactment in 2009.”    (3:31/2009/WV Public Broadcasting)

<<More information about the Battles of Carnifex Ferry and Droop Mountain are on the “State Parks/Forests” page>>

    “Bulltown Historic Area” – USACE

army-corps“Bulltown Historic Area, Fort, and Battlefield
 Burnsville Lake Project
 Napier, West Virginia”

“The Bulltown Historical Area contains an original battlefield site (which includes a Federal fort area with original trenches) under Federal law protection.  This was the site of the Battle of Bulltown which occurred on October 13, 1863 and the Federal occupation which occurred from 1861-1865.”

Explore US Army Corps of Engineers’ “Bulltown Historic Area” Website

Explore US Army Corps of Engineers’ “Bulltown Historic Area Map” (pdf)

       “Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail” – USACE

History of the Turnpike, Battle of Bulltown, Bulltown Historical Area, Map of the Area

Explore US Army Corps of Engineers’ “Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail” Brochure (pdf)

    “Battle of Shepherdstown” – Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association

shepherdstown battle


“The battle fought here on September 19 and 20, 1862, brought to an end the Army of Northern Virginia’s Maryland Campaign and was a significant factor in General Robert E. Lee’s decision to retreat farther into the Shenandoah Valley. The battle is of significant historical value to our nation and a valuable West Virginia Landmark.”

<This area may be added to Antietam National Battlefield or to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park>

Explore Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association’s “Battle of Shepherdstown” Website  — Maps of the Battle are available in the pull-down at top of the page.


“A State Born… from a Nation Torn” (10 parts) – Civil War Video Series – WV Tourism

First Campaign Trail Brochure1

First Campaign Trail Brochure2

“The American Civil War raged for four years (1861-1865), pitting brother against brother at the cost of more than 600,000 lives. Out of the war, however, rose a new state, the only one created as a direct result of the war – West Virginia!”

“Explore West Virginia’s riveting history and tumultuous birth, told through nine distinct regions of the state.”

First Campaign Trail Brochure1

     1 “Introduction”

“The harrowing battle raged for four years, pitting brother against brother at the cost of more than 600,000 lives. Out of the Civil War, however, there rose a new state, and the only created as a direct result of the war – West Virginia.”  (3:58/2011/WV Tourism)


First Campaign Trail Brochure1

     2 “Eastern Panhandle Region”

Eastern Panhandle Battlefield Map (:29)  –  WV Civil War Battles and Engagements in the Eastern Panhandle


“The Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia played an important role in the Civil War with significant sites such as Harpers Ferry, where abolitionist John Brown was taken captive, and the home of Belle Boyd, southern spy.”   (7:19/2011/WV Tourism)  [YouTube connection required to watch this video]



First Campaign Trail Brochure1

     3 “Hatfield and McCoy Region”

Hatfield and McCoy Region Battlefield Map (:29)  –  WV Civil War Battles and Engagements in the Hatfield and McCoy Region


“The Hatfield-McCoy region derives its name from the famous family feud whose leaders fought for opposing sides during the war. The region is the site of several engagements, including the Battle of Boone County Courthouse. Battles also were fought in Peytona and Chapmanville.”   (5:24/2011/WV Tourism)


First Campaign Trail Brochure1

     4 “Metro Valley Region”

Metro Valley Region Battlefield Map (:29)  –  WV Civil War Battles and Engagements in the Metro Valley region

“The Metro Valley was the site of intense fighting in 1861 and 1862. The region is dotted with Civil War sites, from Guyandotte to Gauley Bridge. The historic Craik-Patton House in Charleston belonged to Confederate officer George S. Patton, grandfather to the WWII general of the same name.”   (4:45/2011/WV Tourism)


First Campaign Trail Brochure1

     5 “Mid-Ohio Valley Region”

(The Mid-Ohio Valley Region does not have a Battlefield Map.)

“This West Virginia travel region is home to Fort Boreman Park, which marks the site of a fort that protected the Union’s navigation of the Ohio River and the port of Parkersburg, and Blennerhassett Museum, which boasts a growing Civil War exhibit.”   (6:36/2011/WV Tourism)


First Campaign Trail Brochure1

     6 “Mountain Lakes Region”

Mountain Lakes Region Battlefield Map (:29)  –  WV Civil War Battles and Engagements in the

“The Mountain Lakes travel region of West Virginia is the location of the boyhood home of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, and Union Camp Tyler, later called the Trans-Allegheny Asylum.”    (6:35/2011/WV Tourism)


First Campaign Trail Brochure1

     7 “Mountaineer Country Region”

faviconMountaineer Country Region Battlefield Map (:29)  –  WV Civil War Battles and Engagements in the Mountaineer Country Region

“Mountaineer Country, a travel region in West Virginia, boasts the scene of the first land battle of the Civil War at Philippi. It holds many other firsts such as Union soldier killed and amputation.”     (4:59/2011/WV Tourism)


First Campaign Trail Brochure1

     8 “New River/Greenbrier Valley Region”

New River/Greenbrier Valley Region Battlefield Map (:29)  –  WV Civil War Battles and Engagements in the New River / Greenbrier Valley Region

“The New River/Greenbrier Valley area of West Virginia is home to White Sulphur Springs and the Old White hotel, now The Greenbrier resort, then used by Confederates as a Civil War hospital. Other well-known battle sites include Lewisburg and Princeton. Robert E. Lee’s famous horse Traveler was purchased in the Greenbrier area.”   (5:31/2011/WV Tourism)


First Campaign Trail Brochure1

     9 “Northern Panhandle Region”

(The Northern Panhandle Region does not have a Battlefield Map.)

“Wheeling’s Independence Hall is the site where West Virginia was born, and the city served as the state’s first capital. Camp Carlisle on Wheeling Island was a muster point and training camp for Union troops during the Civil War.”    (4:27/2011/WV Tourism)


First Campaign Trail Brochure1

    10 “Potomac Highlands Region”

Potomac Highlands Region Battlefield Map (:29)  –  WV Civil War Battles and Engagements in the Potomac Highlands Region

“The Potomac Highlands travel region of West Virginia is rich in Civil War heritage. The Battle of Rich Mountain solidified control of the B & O Railroad and set up West Virginia for statehood. The area gave Robert E. Lee his first defeat.”   (8:14/2011/WV Tourism)  [YouTube connection required to watch this video]

“You Are There: West Virginia Statehood” – WV Public Broadcasting



“This video from WV Public Broadcasting allows students to explore the West Virginia Statehood movement through the eyes of individuals who lived during that time period.  Students will hear news reports from locations around the new state, see interviews with a soldier, people on the street, and learn more about the naming of the state and creation of the state seal and motto.”   (39:45/2013/WV Public Broadcasting)

Explore PBS Learning Media’s “You Are There: West Virginia Statehood” website to view video

(You may need to create a free account)


“West Virginia: The Road to Statehood” – WV Public Broadcasting



“This documentary brings to life the issues, differences and disagreements that divided the Commonwealth of Virginia, turning families and neighbors against one another throughout what is now West Virginia.”   (47:52/2013/WV Public Broadcasting)  

Explore PBS Learning Media’s “West Virginia: The Road to Statehood” website to view video


“West Virginia Statehood” – WV Archives and History


Extensive Story of WV Statehood

Explore WV Archives and History’s “West Virginia Statehood” Website

    “Statehood” – WV Archives and History


Very extensive list of resources in three categories:

  • Primary resources
  • Secondary Resources
  • Individuals

Explore WV Archives and History’s “Statehood” Website

“A State of Convenience” – Online Exhibit – WV Archives and History


“We come here to carry out and execute, and it may be, to institute a government for ourselves. We are determined to live under a State Government in the United States of America and under the Constitution of the United States. It requires stout hearts to execute this purpose; it requires men of courage – of unfaltering determination; and I believe, in the gentlemen who compose this Convention, we have the stout hearts and the men who are determined in this purpose.  –  Arthur Boreman, First Session of the Second Wheeling Convention, June 12, 1861″



1: East vs. West
2: Election of 1860
3: Richmond Convention
4: Clarksburg Convention
5: First Wheeling Convention
6: Ratification of the Ordinance of Secession
7: First Session of the Second Wheeling Convention
8: Legislature of the Reorganized Government of Virginia
9: Second Session of the Second Wheeling Convention

10: Statehood Referendum
11: Constitutional Convention
12: Reorganized Government of Virginia Approves Separation
13: Congressional Debate on the Admission of West Virginia
14: Lincoln’s Dilemma
15: West Virginians Approve the Willey Amendment
16: The New State of West Virginia


Other Resource Links include:

“Learning Exercises”
Primary Documents”
Other Sources”

Explore WV Archives and History’s “A State of Convenience” Website- “Introduction” – (Link for the Table of Contents at bottom of the page)

“Child of the Rebellion” – WV Archives and History



Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
Biographies of Statehood Leaders
Biographies of Members of the First West Virginia Legislature
Biographies of Western Virginia Delegates to the Richmond Convention
West Virginia and the Civil War: Annotated Bibliography
West Virginia State Archives Civil War Manuscripts, Special Collections, and Archival Holdings

Timeline Trivia Question
Sesquicentennial Moments
West Virginia Union Militia Letters
Civil War and Statehood Photographs
“Military Events in West Virginia During the Civil War, 1861-1865,” by Allen W. Jones
List, African American Soldiers from West Virginia
List, Recruiting Officers in West Virginia
Reminiscences, by T.B.A. David, 1908
Election Precincts in West Virginia Counties

Other Resource Links include:

John Brown:
“His Soul Goes Marching On: The Life and Legacy of John Brown” (online exhibit)
John Brown/Boyd B. Stutler Collection Database”

West Virginia Statehood:
“A State of Convenience: The Creation of West Virginia” (online exhibit)
Civil War in West Virginia”

Explore WV Archives and History’s “Child of the Rebellion”  Website

“Statehood” – WV Tourism


“June 20, 1863 is the day West Virginia became the 35th State in the Union, the only state born out of the armed conflict of the Civil War. The three primary reasons West Virginia wanted to break way from her mother state, Virginia, were inequality in taxation, unequal representation in the legislature and unequal distribution of funds for public works in which the eastern part of the state was favored. On April 20, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation through which, 60 days later, West Virginia would become a state. On that day Arthur I. Boreman, the state’s first governor, and other officers were inaugurated. Wheeling became the first capital. June 20 is now annually observed as “West Virginia Day,” a legal holiday in the State.

“From the beginning of the Civil War, the people in western Virginia fought against seceding from the Union. In the wake of Fort Sumter and President Lincoln’s call for volunteers, sentiment in the Virginia Convention shifted. Many delegates who had opposed the secession now just as vigorously opposed the President’s intention to use coercive federal powers against a state. When the questions of Virginia’s position came to a vote, the majority cast their ballots to join the newly-formed Confederate States of America. However, of the 47 delegates from western Virginia, 32, more than two-thirds voted against leaving the Union. The future of the newly-proposed state depended upon control of western Virginia by the Union.

“On June 20, 1861, a new government of Virginia, known as the “Restored Government,” with Francis Pierpont as its head, was formed by the Wheeling Convention. This government pledged its support to the federal government in Washington. At a meeting in Wheeling, May 13, 1862, the “Restored Government” passed an act giving formal consent to the formation of a new state. On May 29, 1862, a bill was presented to the U. S. Congress requesting that a new state be formed and admitted to the Union. The bill forming the state of West Virginia was passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Lincoln on December 31, 1862. In 1915, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that West Virginia owed Virginia over $12 million in pre-separation debt. The final debt payment was made in 1939.”


“Road to West Virginia Statehood” – WV Sesquicentennial Commission

WV Sesquicentennial Commission

“Being a child of the Civil War, West Virginia’s road to statehood is unique. Tension between western and eastern Virginia can be traced to at least 1776 when the Virginia Constitution granted voting rights only to white males owning at least 25 acres of improved land. This qualification favored the eastern portion of the state. Also, the Virginia Constitution allowed 2 delegates per county, regardless of population. The western part of the state only had a few counties that were very large geographically, so representation in the House of Delegates favored eastern Virginia as well. . . .”

Explore Information from WV Sesquicentennial Commission’s “Road to West Virginia Statehood” (deactivated) Website to continue reading (pdf)



    “Chronology of the Formation of the 35th State” – WV Sesquicentennial Commission

WV Sesquicentennial Commission

November 6 Abraham Lincoln elected as the 16 President, gaining only 39.8% of the popular vote.
December 20 A South Carolina Convention voted 169-0 to dissolve the state’s ties with the United States
January 7 Virginia’s Governor John Letcher called a special session of the Virginia General Assembly to consider secession.
January 14 The General Assembly called a state convention to be held in February for Virginians to vote on the issue of secession
February 13 Virginia Secession Convention convenes
April 12 Confederate troops fired on Union-held Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, beginning the Civil War
April 17 The Virginia State Convention voted to secede and approved a secession referendum for May 23. Western delegates fled home, as they believed their lives were in danger.
The First Wheeling Convention
May 13-15 Four-hundred thirty-six elected delegates from 17 Virginia counties met in Wheeling at Washington Hall. Several delegates had attended the General Assembly at Richmond.John S. Carlile of Harrison County insisted that the convention had the authority to take action on separation. Delegates formed a Committee on Credentials and a Committee on State and Federal Relations.Calling for the state of “New Virginia,” Carlile argued that Virginia must consent to the separation before it seceded from the Union. He felt that this was the only way to comply with Section Three of Article Four of the U.S. Constitution, which outlines the procedure by which one state is created from another.The Committee on State and Federal Relations recommended that a new state not be formed at this time and advised waiting for the results of the May 23 referendum
The State Referendum on Secession
May 23 An overwhelming majority of Virginians voted for secession, but the majority of those in the northwestern counties voted against it.
The Second Wheeling Convention
June 11 One hundred and five delegates from thirty-eight counties attended
June 12 Delegates selected Arthur I. Boreman as convention president.
June 13 The convention moved to the U.S. Custom House. For the committee on Business, Carlile presented “A Declaration of the Rights of the People of Virginia,” declaring the Richmond government illegal.
June 19 Delegates created the Restored Government of Virginia and adopted the
“Declaration of Rights of the People of Virginia.”
June 20 Convention delegates signed the “Declaration of Rights of the People of Virginia” and elected Francis H. Pierpont Governor of the Restored Government of Virginia.
July 1 The General Assembly of the Restored Government of Virginia convened at the U.S. Custom House.
August 20-21 The Committee of the Division of the State proposed a 39-county state known as “Kanawha.” The convention adjourned August 21.
October 24 Thirty-eight percent of voters in affected counties ratified an ordinance for the formation of the new state and selected delegates for the constitutional convention.
The First Constitutional Convention, Wheeling
November 26 At the U.S. Custom House, the first constitutional convention assembled with 61 delegates present.
December 3 The name “Kanawha” was withdrawn from consideration and “West Virginia” was chosen as the name for the new state
February 18 Delegates unanimously approved the new constitution for West Virginia.
April 4 Voters ratified the constitution.
May 6 Governor Pierpont convened the General Assembly of the Restored Government of Virginia.
May 13 The assembly approved the creation of West Virginia with 48 counties.
May 29 Senator Waitman T. Willey submitted the application by West Virginia for admission to the Union to the U.S. Senate. Senator John S. Carlile drafted the Senate bill but waited until the end of the congressional session to submit it. His bill called for the addition of 15 counties, which supported the confederacy, a new constitutional convention to approve this revision, and the emancipation of slave children born after 1863.
June 26 Abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts tried but failed to amend Carlile’s bill with a motion for emancipation of all slaves on July 4, 1863.
July 1 Waaitman T. Willey proposed an amendment to the statehood bill providing for the gradual emancipation of slaves.
July 14 The amended statehood bill passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 23 to 17.
December 21 President Lincoln received the bill and asked his cabinet for advice. Half the cabinet favored the admission of West Virginia, and half opposed it.
December 31 President Lincoln signed the bill with these remarks: “The division of the State is dreaded as a precedent. But a measure made expedient by war is no precedent for times of peace. It is said that the admission of West Virginia is secession and tolerated only because it is our secession. Well, if we call it by that name there is still difference enough between secession against the Constitution and secession in favor of theConstitution. I believe the admission of West Virginia into the Union is expedient.
February 12 The West Virginia Constitutional Convention reconvened.
February 18 The convention unanimously adopted the Willey Amendment.
March 26 Voters approved the constitution with the emancipation amendment.
April 20 President Lincoln announced that the act of Congress admitting West Virginia into the Union would take effect in sixty days.
May 28 Voters of the new state elect Arthur I. Boreman from Parkersburg as West Virginia’s first governor.
June 20 West Virginia became America’s 35th state.





“Virginia-West Virginia Boundary” – Virginia Places

map west virginia virginia in 1860

“In 1860, the Trans-Allegheny District of western Virginia was divided into Northwest and Southwest districts.  Map Source: US Geological Survey (USGS) (showing modern county boundaries)”


Very extensive discussion of the evolution of the boundary between the two states, including numerous maps.

Explore Virginia Places’ “Virginia-West Virginia Boundary” Website


    “Virginia Places”

virginia map

“This website is an exploration of Virginia history and geography. History helps us understand things that have happened, and geography examines the places where things have happened… or will be happening. We can learn from the past and prepare for tomorrow, but we need to go beyond memorizing dates and names. We need to use our capacity for critical thinking, to inquire into why things happen where they happen – and then to use whatever insights we gained from that experience to shape the future. . .”

Explore “Virginia Places” Website




“WV Independence Hall” – WV Culture and History


West Virginia Independence Hall

“Birthplace of West Virginia”

Explore “West Virginia Independence Hall” Website



“WV-150 Online Sesquicentennial Exhibit” – WV Culture and History

west-virginia-division-of-culture  WV sesquilogosmall

“The WV-150 Sesquicentennial Exhibit celebrates our statehood from 1860 to the present with an eclectic collection of West Virginia artifacts and art.  Many of the suggestions for what to showcase in the exhibit came from West Virginians.”

Explore WV Culture and History’s “WV-150 Online Sesquicentennial Exhibit” Website – Time periods index at bottom of each page.  Click on photos for larger images.




WV Statehood / WV Civil War

West Virginia Statehood    West Virginia in the Civil War