West Virginia County Histories

West Virginia was the only state in the Union to secede from a Confederate state (Virginia) during the American Civil War. In Richmond on April 17, 1861, the 49 delegates from the future state of West Virginia voted 17 in favor of the Ordinance of Secession of Virginia from the United States, 30 against and 2 abstentions.

Flag of West VirginiaAlmost immediately after the vote to proceed with secession from the Union prevailed in the Virginia General Assembly, a mass meeting at Clarksburg recommended that each county in northwestern Virginia send delegates to a convention to meet in Wheeling on May 13, 1861. When this First Wheeling Convention met, 425 delegates from 25 counties were present, though more than one-third of the delegates were from the northern panhandle area, but soon there was a division of sentiment.

Some delegates favored the immediate formation of a new state, while others argued that, as Virginia’s secession had not yet been passed by the required referendum, such action would constitute revolution against the United States. It was decided that if the ordinance were adopted (of which there was little doubt), another convention including the members-elect of the legislature should meet at Wheeling in June. At the election on May 23, 1861, secession was ratified by a large majority in the state as a whole, but in the western counties 34,677 voted against and 19,121 voted for secession.

The Wheeling Convention reassembled on August 20, 1861, and called for a popular vote on the formation of a new state and for a convention to frame a constitution if the vote should be favorable. At the October 24, 1861 election, 18,408 votes were cast for the new state and only 781 against.

On May 13 the state legislature of the reorganized government approved the formation of the new state. An application for admission to the Union was made to Congress, and on December 31, 1862, an enabling act was approved by Presisdent Abraham Lincoln admitting West Virginia, on the condition that a provision for the gradual abolition of slavery be inserted in its constitution.

Collection Details

  1. EDWARD CONRAD SMITH, A. M, A HISTORY OF LEWIS COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA., THE AUTHOR, 1920

  2. OREN F. MORTON, B. LIT, A HISTORY OF MONROE COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA., THE MCCLURE COMPANY, INC, 1916

  3. OREN F. MORTON, A HISTORY OF PENDLETON COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA.

  4. DR. A. S. BOSWORTH, A HISTORY OF RANDOLPH COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA FROM ITS EARLIEST EXPLORATION AND SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME.

  5. F. VERNON ALER, ALER’S HISTORY OF MARTINSBURG AND BERKELEY COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA., MAIL PUBLISHING COMPANY

  6. JAMES MORTON CALLAHAN, GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL HISTORY OF THE UPPER MONONGAHELA VALLEY WEST VIRGINIA – VOLUME III., LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1912

  7. JAMES MORTON CALLAHAN, GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL HISTORY OF THE UPPER MONONGAHELA VALLEY WEST VIRGINIA – VOLUME II., LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1912

  8. JAMES MORTON CALLAHAN, GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL HISTORY OF THE UPPER MONONGAHELA VALLEY WEST VIRGINIA – VOLUME I., LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1912

  9. WILLIAM T. PRICE, HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF POCAHONTAS COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA.

  10. GEO. A. DUNNINGTON, HISTORY AND PROGRESS OF THE COUNTY OF MARION, WEST VIRGINIA,., GEORGE A. DUNNINGTON, PUBLISHER, 1880

  11. JOHN DAVISON SUTTON, HISTORY OF BRAXTON COUNTY AND CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA., SUTTON, 1919

  12. W. S. LAIDLEY, HISTORY OF CHARLESTON AND KANAWHA COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA AND REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS., RICHMOND-ARNOLD PUBLISHING CO

  13. J. R. COLE, HISTORY OF GREENBRIER COUNTY., LEWISBURG, 1917

  14. HU MAXWELL AND H. L. SWISHER, HISTORY OF HAMPSHIRE COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA FROM ITS EARLIEST SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT., MORGANTOWN, 1897

  15. HENRY HAYMOND, HISTORY OF HARRISON COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA., ACME PUBLISHING COMPANY MORGANTOWN, 1910

  16. HISTORY OF MONONGALIA COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA; FROM ITS FIRST SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME, WITH NUMEROUS BIOGRAPHICAL && FAMILY SKETCHES., PRESTON PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1883

  17. S. T. WILEY, HISTORY OF PRESTON COUNTY. (WEST VIRGINIA.)., THE JOURNAL PRINTING HOUSE, 1882

  18. MINNIE KENDALL LOWTHER, HISTORY OF RITCHIE COUNTY WITH BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF ITS PIONEERS AND THEIR ANCESTORS, AND WITH INTERESTING REMINISCENCES OF REVOLUTIONARY AND INDIAN TIMES., WHEELING NEWS LITHO. CO

  19. JAMES H. MILLER, HISTORY OF SUMMERS COUNTY FROM THE EARLIEST SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME., HINTON, 1908

  20. JOHN C. MCELDOWNEY, JR, HISTORY OF WETZEL COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA. 1901

  21. HON. GIBSON LAMB CRANMER, HISTORY OF WHEELING CITY AND OHIO COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA AND REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS., BIOGRAPHICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1902

  22. ROY B. COOK, LEWIS COUNTY IN THE CIVIL WAR, 1861-1865

  23. WILLIAM CHRISTIAN DODRILL, MOCCASIN TRACKS AND OTHER IMPRINTS., CHARLESTON, 1915

  24. JAMES VEECH, MONONGAHELA OF OLD

  25. S. C. SHAW, PART FIRST SKETCHES OF WOOD COUNTY: ITS EARLY HISTORY: AS EMBRACED IN AND CONNECTED WITH OTHER COUNTIES OF WEST VIRGINIA ALSO BRIEF ACCOUNTS OF FIRST SETTLERS: AND THEIR DESCENDANTS. INCLUDING ACCOUNTS OF ITS SOILS, TIMBER, MINERALS, WATER, AND MATERIAL W, CLARKSBURG

  26. HU MAXWELL, THE HISTORY OF BARBOUR COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA, FROM ITS EARLIEST EXPLORATION AND SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME., ACME PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1899

  27. W. B. CUTRIGHT, THE HISTORY OF UPSHUR COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA FROM ITS EARLIEST EXPLORATION AND SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME.

  28. ALVARO FRANKLIN, WOOD COUNTY FORMATION: A CENTURY OF PROGRESS, HISTORY OF DIVISIONS, COURTS, BUILDINGS, PAST AND PRESENT, AND ENGRAVINGS OF THE SAME