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. OREN F. MORTON, A HISTORY OF PRESTON COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA (VOL 2), JOURNAL PUB. CO, 1914
  5. DR. A. S. BOSWORTH, A HISTORY OF RANDOLPH COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA FROM ITS EARLIEST EXPLORATION AND SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME.
  6. F. VERNON ALER, ALER’S HISTORY OF MARTINSBURG AND BERKELEY COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA. , MAIL PUBLISHING COMPANY
  7. WILLIAM P. WILLEY, AN INSIDE VIEW OF THE FORMATION OF THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA, WITH CHARACTER SKETCHES OF THE PIONEERS IN THAT MOVEMENT, NEWS PUBLISHING CO, 1901
  8. HENRY HOWE, EXCERPTS FROM HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS OF VIRGINIA. , BABCOCK & CO, 1845
  9. JAMES MORTON CALLAHAN PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY TOGETHER WITH VARIOUS HISTORICAL ARTICLES BY STAFF WRITERS, GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL HISTORY OF THE UPPER MONONGAHELA VALLEY WEST VIRGINIA – VOLUME I. , LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1912
  10. JAMES MORTON CALLAHAN PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY TOGETHER WITH VARIOUS HISTORICAL ARTICLES BY STAFF WRITERS, GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL HISTORY OF THE UPPER MONONGAHELA VALLEY WEST VIRGINIA – VOLUME II. , LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1912
  11. JAMES MORTON CALLAHAN PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY TOGETHER WITH VARIOUS HISTORICAL ARTICLES BY STAFF WRITERS, GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL HISTORY OF THE UPPER MONONGAHELA VALLEY WEST VIRGINIA – VOLUME III. , LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1912
  12. WILLIAM T. PRICE, HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF POCAHONTAS COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA.
  13. GEO. A. DUNNINGTON, HISTORY AND PROGRESS OF THE COUNTY OF MARION, WEST VIRGINIA,. , GEORGE A. DUNNINGTON, PUBLISHER, 1880
  14. JOHN DAVISON SUTTON, HISTORY OF BRAXTON COUNTY AND CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA. , SUTTON, 1919
  15. W. S. LAIDLEY, HISTORY OF CHARLESTON AND KANAWHA COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA AND REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS. , RICHMOND-ARNOLD PUBLISHING CO,
  16. J. R. COLE, HISTORY OF GREENBRIER COUNTY. , LEWISBURG, 1917
  17. HU MAXWELL AND H. L. SWISHER, HISTORY OF HAMPSHIRE COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA FROM ITS EARLIEST SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT. , MORGANTOWN, 1897
  18. HENRY HAYMOND, HISTORY OF HARRISON COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA. , ACME PUBLISHING COMPANY MORGANTOWN, 1910
  19. GEORGE W. ATKINSON, HISTORY OF KANAWHA COUNTY FROM ITS ORGANIZATION IN 1789 UNTIL THE PRESENT TIME : EMBRACING ACCOUNTS OF EARLY SETTLEMENTS, AND THRILLING ADVENTURES WITH THE INDIANS, DERIVED FROM HISTORY AND AGED CITIZENS ALSO, BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF A LARGE NUMBER OF THE EARLY SETTLERS OF THE GREAT KANAWHA VALLEY. , PRINTED AT THE OFFICE OF THE WEST VIRGINIA JOURNAL, 1876
  20. HISTORY OF MONONGALIA COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA; FROM ITS FIRST SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME, WITH NUMEROUS BIOGRAPHICAL & FAMILY SKETCHES. , PRESTON PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1883
  21. S. T. WILEY, HISTORY OF PRESTON COUNTY. (WEST VIRGINIA.). , THE JOURNAL PRINTING HOUSE, 1882
  22. 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,
  23. 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,
  24. HISTORY OF SUMMERS COUNTY FROM THE EARLIEST SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME
  25. JAMES H. MILLER, HISTORY OF SUMMERS COUNTY FROM THE EARLIEST SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME. , HINTON, 1908
  26. J.H. NEWTON, HISTORY OF THE PAN-HANDLE, CALDWELL, 1879
  27. HUGH MAXWELL, HISTORY OF TUCKER COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA, FROM THE EARLIEST EXPLORATION AND SETTLEMENTS TO THE PRESENT TIME, WITH BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF MORE THAN 250 OF THE LEADING MEN, AND A FULL APPENDIX OF OFFICIAL AND ELECTIONAL HISTORY; ALSO, AN ACCOUNT OF THE RIVERS, FORESTS AND CAVES OF THE COUNTY, PRESTON PUBLISHING, 1884
  28. VIRGIL A. LEWIS, HISTORY OF WEST VIRGINIA (2 PARTS), HUBBARD BROS, 1889
  29. VIRGIL A. LEWIS, HISTORY OF WEST VIRGINIA (2 PARTS), HUBBARD BROS, 1889
  30. JOHN C. MCELDOWNEY, JR, HISTORY OF WETZEL COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA. , 1901
  31. HON. GIBSON LAMB CRANMER, HISTORY OF WHEELING CITY AND OHIO COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA AND REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS. , BIOGRAPHICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1902
  32. ROY BIRD COOK AUTHOR OF THE FAMILY AND EARLY LIFE OF STONEWALL JACKSON, COLLINS SETTLEMENT OF OLD, ETC, LEWIS COUNTY IN THE CIVIL WAR 1861-1865. , JARRETT PRINTING CO. 706-708 DONNALLY STREET, 1924
  33. WILLIAM CHRISTIAN DODRILL, MOCCASIN TRACKS AND OTHER IMPRINTS. , CHARLESTON, 1915
  34. 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 WEALTH. , CLARKSBURG
  35. ROSE W. FRY, RECOLLECTIONS OF THE REV. JOHN MCELHENNEY, WHITTET & SHEPPERSON, 1893
  36. JAMES M. CALLAHAN, SEMI-CENTENNIAL HISTORY OF WEST VIRGINIA WITH SPECIAL ARTICLES ON DEVELOPMENT AND RESOURCES, SEMI-CENTENNIAL COMMISSION OF WEST VIRGINIA, 1913
  37. HU MAXWELL, THE HISTORY OF BARBOUR COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA, FROM ITS EARLIEST EXPLORATION AND SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME. , ACME PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1899
  38. HUGH MAXWELL, THE HISTORY OF RANDOLPH COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA. FROM ITS EARLIEST SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT, EMBRACING RECORDS OF ALL THE LEADING FAMILIES, REMINISCENCES AND TRADITIONS ., ACME PUBLISHING, 1898
  39. W. B. CUTRIGHT, THE HISTORY OF UPSHUR COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA FROM ITS EARLIEST EXPLORATION AND SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME.
  40. JAMES VEECH, THE MONONGAHELA OF OLD; OR, HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF SOUTH-WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA TO THE YEAR 1800. , 1858–1892
  41. THOMAS C. MILLER, WEST VIRGINIA AND ITS PEOPLE (2 VOLS.), LEWIS HISTORICAL, 1913
  42. J.G. JACOB, WEST VIRGINIA) BROOKE COUNTY (WEST VIRGINIA), BEING A RECORD OF PROMINENT EVENTS., HERALD OFFICE, 1882
  43. ALVARO F. GIBBENS. A. M., CHAPTER MEMBER OF STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, WOOD COUNTY FORMATION. A CENTURY OF PROGRESS. , THE ACME PRESS, 1900