Chapter X - The Reorganized Government

History of Hampshire County West Virginia From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present
By Hu Maxwell and H. L. Swisher
Morgantown, West Virginia; A. Brown Boughner Printer; 1897

PART 1 State History
Pages 136-148

The officers and visible government of Virginia abdicated when they joined the Southern Confederacy. The people reclaimed and resumed their sovereignty after it had bee en abdicated by their regularly constituted authorities. This right belongs to the people and can not be taken from them. A public servant is elected to keep and exercise this sovereignty in trust; but he can do no more. When he ceases doing this, the sovereignty returns, whence it came, — to the people. When Virginia's public officials seceded from the United States and joined the Southern Confederacy, they carried with them their individual persons, and nothing more. The loyal people of the state were deprived of none of the rights of self-government; but their government was left, for the time being, without officers to execute it and give it form. In brief, the people of Virginia had no government, but had a right to a government, and they proceeded to create one by choosing officers to take the place of those who had abdicated. This is all there was in the reorganization of the government of Virginia; and it was done by citizens of the United States, proceeding under that clause in the constitution of the United States which declares: "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a Republican form of government."

The government of Virginia was reorganized; the state of West Virginia was created; and nothing was done in violation of the strictest letter and spirit of the United States constitution. The steps were as follows, stated briefly here, but more in detail elsewhere in this book. The loyal people of Virginia reclaimed and resumed their sovereignty and reorganized their government. This government, through its legislature, gave its consent for the creation of West Virginia from a part of Virginia's territory. Delegates elected by the people of the proposed new state prepared a constitution. The people of the proposed new state adopted this constitution. Congress admitted the state. The President issued a proclamation declaring West Virginia to be one of the United States. This state came into the union in the same manner and by the same process and on the same terms as all other states. The details of the reorganization of the Virginia state government will now be set forth more in detail.

When Virginia passed the ordinance of secession, the territory now forming West Virginia refused to acquiesce in that measure. The vote on the ordinance in West Virginia was about ten to one against it, or forty thousand against to four thousand for. In some of the counties there were more than twenty to one against secession. The sentiment was very strong, and it soon took shape in the form of mass meetings which were largely attended. When the delegates from West Virginia arrived home from the Richmond convention, and laid before their constituents the true state of affairs, there was an immediate movement having for its object the nullification of the ordinance. Although the people of Western Virginia had long wanted a new state, and although a very general sentiment favored an immediate movement toward that end, yet a conservative course was pursued. Haste and rashness gave way to mature judgment; and the new state movement took a course strictly constitutional. The Virginia government was first reorganized. That done, the constitution of the United States provided a way for creating the new state; for when the reorganized government was recognized by the United States, and when a legislature had been elected, that legislature could give its consent to the formation of a new state from a portion of Virginia's territory, and the way was thereby provided for the accomplishment of the object.

On the day the ordinance of secession was passed, April 17, 1861, and before the people knew what had been done, a mass meeting was held at Morgantown which adopted resolutions declaring that Western Virginia would remain in the union. A division of the state was suggested in case the eastern part should vote to join the confederacy. A meeting in Wetzel county, April 22, voiced the same sentiment; and similar meetings were held in Taylor, Wood, Jackson, Mason and elsewhere. But the movement took definite form at a mass meeting of the citizens of Harrison county held at Clarksburg, April 22, which was attended by twelve hundred men. Not only did this meeting protest against the course which was hurrying Virginia out of the union, but a line of action was suggested for checking the secession movement, at least in the western part of the state. A call was sent out for a general meeting to be held in Wheeling, May 13. The counties of Western Virginia were asked to elect their wisest men to this convention. Its objects were stated in general terms to be the discussion of ways and means for providing for the state's best interests in the crisis which had arrived.

Twenty-five counties responded, and the delegates who assembled in Wheeling on May 13 were representatives of the people, men who were determined that the portion of Virginia west of the Alleghany mountains should not be dragged into a war against the union without the consent and against the will of the people. Hampshire and Berkeley counties, east of the Alleghanies, sent delegates Many of the men who attended the convention were the best known west of the Alleghanies, and in the subsequent history of West Virginia their names have become household words. The roll of the convention was as follows:

Barbour county — Spencer Dayton, E. H. Manafee, J. H. Shuttle worth.

Berkeley county — J. W. Dailey, A. R. McQuilkin, J. S. Bowers.

Brooke county — M. Walker, Bazael Wells, J. D. Nichols, Eli Green, John G. Jacob, Joseph Gist, Robert Nichols, Adam Kuhn, David Hervy, Campbell Tarr, Nathaniel Wells, J. R. Burgoine, James Archer, Jesse Edgington, R. L. Jones, James A. Campbell.

Doddridge county — S. S. Kinney, J. Cheverout, J. Smith, J. P. F. Randolph, J. A. Foley.

Hampshire county — George W. Broski, O. D. Downey, Dr. B. B. Shaw, George W. Sheetz, George W. Rizer.

Hancock county — Thomas Anderson, W. C. Murray, William B. Freeman, George M. Porter, W. L. Crawford, L. R. Smith, J. C. Crawford, B. J. Smith, J. L. Freeman, John Gardner, George Johnston, J. S. Porter, James Stevenson, J. S. Pomeroy, R. Breneman, David Donahoo, D. S. Nicholson, Thayer Melvin, James H. Pugh, Ewing Turner, H. Farnsworth, James G. Marshall, Samuel Freeman, John Mahan, Joseph D. Allison, John H. Atkinson, Jonathan Allison, D. C. Pugh, A. Moore, William Brown, William Hewitt, David Jenkins.

Harrison county — W. P. Goff, B. F. Shuttleworth, William Duncan, L. Bowen, William E. Lyon, James Lynch, John S. Carlisle, Thomas L. Moore, John J. Davis, S. S. Fleming, Felix S. Sturm.

Jackson county — G. L. Kennedy, J. V. Rowley, A. Flesher, C. M. Rice, D. Woodruff, George Leonard, J. F. Scott.

Lewis county — A. S. Withers, F. M. Chalfant, J. W. Hudson, P. M. Hale, J. Woofter, J. A. J. Lightburn, W. L. Grant.

Marshall county — Thomas Wilson, Lot Enix, John Wilson, G. Hubbs, John Ritchie, J. W. Boner, J. Alley, S. B. Stidger, Asa Browning, Samuel Wilson, J. McCondell, A. Bonar, D. Price, D. Roberts, G. W. Evans, Thomas Dowler, R. Alexander, E. Conner, John Withers, Charles Snediker, Joseph McCombs, Alexander Kemple, J. S. Riggs, Alfred Gaines, V. P. Gorby, Nathan Fish, A. Francis, William Phillips, S. Ingram, J. Garvin, Dr. Marshman, William Luke, William Baird, J. Winders, F. Clement, James Campbell, J. B. Hornbrook, John Parkinson, John H. Dickey, Thomas Morrissa, W. Alexander, John Laughlin, W. T. Head, J. S. Parriott, W. J. Purdy, H. C. Kemple, R. Swan, John Reynolds, J. Hornbrook, William McFarland, G. W. Evans, W. R. Kimmons, William Collins, R. C. Holliday, J. B. Morris, J. W. McCarriher, Joseph Turner, Hiram McMechen, E. H. Caldwell, James Garvin, L. Gardner, H. A. Francis, Thomas Dowler, John R. Morrow, William Wasson, N. Wilson, Thomas Morgan, S. Dorsey, R. B. Hunter.

Monongalia county — Waitman T. Willey, William Lazier, James Evans, Leroy Kramer, W. E. Hanaway, Elisha Coombs, H. Dering, George McNeeley, H. N. Mackey, E. D. Fogle, J. T. M. Laskey, J. T. Hess, C. H. Burgess, John Bly, William Price, A, Brown, J. R. Boughner, W. B. Shaw, P. L. Rice, Joseph Jolliff, William Anderson, E. P. St. Clair, P. T. Lashley, Marshall M. Dent, Isaac Scott, Jacob Miller, D. B. Dorsey, Daniel White, N. C. Vandervort, A. Derranet, Amos S. Bowlsby, Joseph Snyder, J. A. Wiley, John McCarl, A. Garrison, E. B. Taggart, E. P. Finch.

Marion county — F. H. Pierpont, Jesse Shaw, Jacob Streams, Aaron Hawkins, James C. Beatty, William Beatty, J. C. Beeson, R. R. Brown, J. Holman, Thomas H. Bains, Hiram Haymond, H. Merryfield, Joshua Carter, G. W. Joliff, John Chisler, Thomas Hough.

Mason county — Lemuel Harpold, W. E. Wetzel, Wyatt Willis, John Goodley, Joseph McMachir, William Harper, William Harpold, Samuel Davies, Daniel Polsley, J. N. Jones, Samuel Yeager, R. C. M. Lovell, Major Brown, John Greer, A. Stevens, W. C. Starr, Stephen Comstock, J. M. Phelps, Charles B. Waggener, Asa Brigham, David Rossin, B. J, Rollins, D. C. Sayre, Charles Bumgardner, E. B. Davis, William Hopkins, A. A. Rogers, John O. Butler, Timothy Russell, John Hall.

Ohio county — J. C. Orr, L. S. Delaplain, J. R. Stifel, G. L. Cranmer, A. Bedillion, Alfred Caldwell, John McClure, Andrew Wilson, George Forbes, Jacob Berger, John C. Hoffman, A. J. Woods, T. H. Logan, James S. Wheat, George W. Norton, N. H. Garrison, James Paull, J. M. Bickel, Robert, Crangle, George Bowers, John K. Botsford, L. D. Waitt, J. Hornbrook, S. Water house, A. Handlan, J. W. Paxton, S. H. Woodward, C. D. Hubbard, Daniel Lamb, John Stiner, W. B. Curtis, A. F. Ross, A. B. Caldwell, J. R. Hubbard, E. Buchanon, John Pierson, T. Witham, E. McCaslin.

Pleasants county — Friend Cochran, James Williamson, Robert Parker, R. A. Cramer.

Preston county — R. C. Crooks, H. C. Hagans, W. H. King, James W. Brown, Summers McCrum, Charles Hooten, William P. Fortney, James A. Brown, G. H. Kidd, John Howard. D. A. Letzinger, W. B. Linn, W. J. Brown, Reuben Morris.

Ritchie county — D. Rexroad, J. P. Harris, N. Rexroad, A. S. Cole.

Roane county — Irwin C. Stump.

Taylor county — J. Means, J. M. Wilson, J. Kennedy, J. J. Warren, T. T. Monroe, G. R. Latham, B. Bailey, J. J. Allen, T. Gather, John S. Burdette.

Tyler county — Daniel Sweeney, V. Smith, W. B. Kerr, D. D. Johnson, J. C. Parker, William Pritchard, D. King, S. A. Hawkins, James M. Smith, J. H. Johnson, Isaac Davis.

Upshur county — C. P. Rohrbaugh, W. H. Williams.

Wayne county — C. Spurlock, F, Moore, W. W. Brumfield, W. H. Copley, Walter Queen.

Wirt county — E. T. Graham, Henry Newman, B. Ball.

Wetzel county — Elijah Morgan, T. E. Williams, Joseph, Murphy, William Burrows, B. T. Bowers, J. R. Brown, J. M. Bell, Jacob Young, Reuben Martin, R. Reed, R. S. Sayres, W. D, Welker, George W. Bier, Thomas McQuown, John Alley, S. Stephens, R. W. Lauck, John McClaskey, Richard Cook, A McEldowney, B. Vancamp.

Wood county — William Johnston, W. H. Baker, A. R. Dye, V. A. Dunbar, G. H. Ralston, S. M. Peterson, S. D. Compton, J. E. Padgett, George Loomis, George W. Henderson, E. Deem, N. H. Colston, A. Hinckley, Bennett Cook, S. S. Spencer, Thomas Leach, T. E. McPherson, Joseph Dagg, N. W. Warlow, Peter Riddle, John Paugh, S. L. A. Burche, J. J. Jackson, J. D. Ingram, A. Laughin, J. C. Rathbone, W. Vroman, G. E. Smith, D. K. Baylor, M. Woods, Andrew Als, Jesse Burche, S. Ogden, Sardis Cole, P. Reed, John McKibben. W. Athey, C. Hunter, R. H. Burke, W. P. Davis, George Compton, C. M. Cole, Roger Tiffins, H. Rider, B. H. Bukey, John W. Moss, R. B. Smith, Arthur Drake, C. B. Smith, A. Mather, A. H. Hatcher, W. E. Stevenson, Jesse Murdock, J. Burche, J. Morrison, Henry Cole, J. G. Blackford, C. J. Neal, T. S. Conley, J. Barnett, M. P. Amiss, T. Hunter, J. J. Neal, Edward Hoit, N. B. Caswell, Peter Dils, W. F. Henry, A. C. McKinsey, Rufus Kinnard, J. J. Jackson Jr.

The convention assembled to take whatever action might seem proper, but no definite plan had been decided upon, further than that Western Virginia should not go into secession with Virginia. The majority of the members looked forward to the formation of a new state as the ultimate and chief purpose of the convention. Time and care were necessary for the accomplishment of this object. But there were several, chief among whom was John S. Carlisle, who boldly proclaimed that the time for forming the new state was at hand. There was a sharp division in the convention as to the best method for attaining that end.

While Carlisle led those who were for immediate action, Waitman T. Willey was among the foremost of those who insisted that the business must be conducted in a business like way, first by reorganizing the government of Virginia, and then obtaining the consent of the legislature to divide the state. Mr. Carlisle actually introduced a measure providing for a new state at once, and it met with much favor. But Mr. Willey and others pointed out that precipitate action would defeat the object in view, because congress would never recognize the state so created. After much controversy, there was a compromise reached, which was not difficult where all parties aimed at the greatest good, and differed only as to the best means of attaining it.

At that time the ordinance of secession had not been voted upon. Virginia had already turned over to the Southern Confederacy all its military supplies, public property, troops and materials, stipulating that, in case the ordinance of secession should be defeated at the polls, the property should revert to the state. The Wheeling convention took steps, pending, the election, recommending that, in case secession carried at the polls, a convention be held for the purpose of deciding what to do — whether to divide the state or simply reorganize the government. This was the compromise measure which was satisfactory to both parties of the convention. Until the ordinance of secession had been ratified by the people, Virginia was still, in law, if not in fact, a member of the Federal union, and any step was premature looking to a division of the state or a reorganization of its government before the election. F. H. Pierpont, afterwards governor, introduced the resolution which provided for another convention in case the ordinance of secession was ratified at the polls. The resolution provided that the counties represented in the convention, and all other counties of Virginia disposed to act with them, appoint on June 4, 1861, delegates to a convention to meet June 11. This convention would then be prepared to proceed to business, whether that business was the reorganization of the government of Virginia or the dividing of the state, or both. Having finished its work, the convention adjourned. It had saved the state from anarchy. It had organized a nucleus around which a stable and adequate government was built. It made a good beginning. Had it rashly attempted to divide the state at that time the effort must have failed, and the bad effects of the failure, and the consequent confusion, would have been far reaching. No man can tell whether such a failure would not have defeated for all time the creation of West Virginia from Virginia's territory.

The vote on the ordinance of secession took place May 23, 1861, and the people of eastern Virginia voted to go out of the Union, but the part now comprising West Virginia gave a large majority against seceding. Delegates to the assembly of Virginia were elected at the same time. Great interest was now manifested west of the Alleghanies in the subject of anew state. Delegates to the second Wheeling convention were elected June 4, and met June 11, 1861. The members of the first convention had been appointed by mass meetings and otherwise; but those of the second convention had been chosen by the suffrage of the people. Thirty counties were represented as follows:

Barbour county — N. H. Taft, Spencer Dayton, John H. Shuttleworth.

Brooke county — W. H. Crothers, Joseph Gist, John D. Nichols, Campbell Tarr.

Cabell county — Albert Laidly was entered on the roll but did not serve.

Doddridge county — James A. Foley.

Gilmer county — Henry H. Withers.

Hancock county — George M. Porter, John H. Atkinson, William L. Crawford.

Harrison county — John J. Davis, Chapman J. Stewart, John C. Vance, John S. Carlisle, Solomon S. Fleming, Lot Bowers, B. F. Shuttleworth.

Hardy county — John Michael.

Hampshire county — James Carskadon, Owen J. Downey, James J. Barracks, G. W. Broski, James H. Trout.

Jackson county — Daniel Frost, Andrew Flesher, James F. Scott.

Kanawha county — Lewis Runmer, Greenbury Slack.

Lewis county — J. A. J. Lightburn, P. M. Hale.

Monongalia county — Joseph Snyder, Leroy Kramer, R. L. Berkshire, William Price, James Evans, D. B. Dorsey.

Marion county — James O. Watson, Richard Fast, Fontain Smith, Francis H. Pierpont, John S. Barnes, A. F. Ritchie.

Marshall county — C. H. Caldwell, Robert Morris, Remembrance Swan.

Mason county — Lewis Wetzel, Daniel Polsley, C. B. Waggener.

Ohio county — Andrew Wilson, Thomas H. Logan, Daniel Lamb, James W. Paxton, George Harrison, Chester D. Hubbard.

Pleasant counter — James W. Williamson, C. W. Smith. Preston county — William Zinn, Charles Hooten, William B. Crane, John Howard, Harrison Hagans, John J. Brown. Ritchie county — William H. Douglass. Randolph county — Samuel Crane. Roane county — T. A. Roberts. Tucker county — Solomon Parsons.

Taylor county — L. E. Davidson, John S. Burdette, Samuel B. Todd.

Tyler county — William I. Boreman, Daniel D. Johnson. Upshur county — John Love, John L. Smith, D. D. T. Farnsworth.

Wayne county — William Radcliff, William Copley, W. W. Brumfield.

Wetzel county — James G. West, Reuben Martin, James P. Ferrell.

Wirt county — James A Williamson, Henry Newman, E. T. Graham.

Wood county — John W. Moss, Peter G. Van Winkle, Arthur I. Boreman.

James T. Close and H. S. Martin of Alexandria, and John Hawxhurst and E. E. Mason of Fairfax, were admitted as delegates, while William F. Mercer of Loudoun, and Jonathan Roberts of Fairfax, were rejected because of the insufficiency of their credentials. Arthur I. Boreman was elected president of the convention, G. L. Cranmer, secretary, and Thomas Hornbrook, sergeant-at-arms.

On June 13, two days after the meeting of the convention, a committee on order of business reported a declaration by the people of Virginia. This document set forth the acts of the secessionists of Virginia, declared them hostile to the welfare of the people, done in violation of the constitution, and therefore null and void. It was further declared that all offices in Virginia, whether legislative, judicial or executive, under the government set up by the convention which passed the ordinance of secession, were vacant. The next day the convention began the work of reorganizing the state government on the following lines: A governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general for the state of Virginia were to be appointed by the convention to hold office until their successors should be elected and qualified, and the legislature was required to provide by law for the election of a governor and lieutenant governor by the people. A council of state, consisting of five members, was to be appointed to assist the governor; their term of office to expire at the same time as that of the governor. Delegates elected to the legislature on May 23, 1861, and senators entitled to seats under the laws then existing, and who would take the oath as required, were to constitute the reorganized legislature, and were required to meet in Wheeling on the first day of the following July. A test oath was required of all officers, whether state, county or municipal.

On June 20 the convention proceeded to choose officers. Francis H. Pierpont was elected governor of Virginia; Daniel Polsley was elected lieutenant governor; James Wheat was chosen attorney. general. The governor's council consisted of Daniel Lamb, Peter G. Van Winkle, William Lazier, William A. Harrison and J. T. Paxton. The legislature was required to elect an auditor, treasurer and secretary of state as soon as possible. This closed the work of the convention, and it adjourned the same day to meet again August 6.

A new government existed for Virginia. The legislature which was to assemble in Wheeling in ten days could complete the work.

This legislature of Virginia, consisting of thirty-one members, began its labors immediately upon organizing, July 1. A message from Governor Pierpont laid before that body the condition of affairs and indicated certain measures which ought to be carried out. On July 9 the legislature elected L. A. Hagans of Preston county, secretary of Virginia; Samuel Crane of Randolph county, auditor; and Campbell Tarr of Brooke county, treasurer. Waitman T. Willey and John S. Carlisle were elected to the United States senate.

The convention which had adjourned June 20 met again August 6 and took up the work of dividing Virginia, whose government had been reorganized and was in working order. The people wanted a new state and the machinery for creating it was set in motion. On July 20 an ordinance was passed calling for an election to take the sense of the people on the question, and to elect members to a constitutional convention at the same time. In case the vote favored a new state, the men elected to the constitutional convention were to meet and frame a constitution. The convention adjourned August 2, 1861. Late in October the election was held, with the result that the vote stood about twenty-five to one in favor of a new state.

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