||Abraham Lincoln elected as the 16 President, gaining only 39.8% of the
||A South Carolina Convention voted 169-0 to dissolve the state’s ties with
the United States
||Virginia’s Governor John Letcher called a special session of the Virginia
General Assembly to consider secession.
||The General Assembly called a state convention to be held in February for
Virginians to vote on the issue of secession
||Virginia Secession Convention convenes
||Confederate troops fired on Union-held Fort Sumter in the harbor of
Charleston, South Carolina, beginning the Civil War
||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
||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
||An overwhelming majority of Virginians voted for secession, but the
majority of those in the northwestern counties voted against it.
The Second Wheeling Convention
||One hundred and five delegates from thirty-eight counties attended
||Delegates selected Arthur I. Boreman as convention president.
||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.
||Delegates created the Restored Government of Virginia and adopted the
“Declaration of Rights of the People of Virginia.”
||Convention delegates signed the “Declaration of Rights of the People of
Virginia” and elected Francis H. Pierpont Governor of the Restored
Government of Virginia.
||The General Assembly of the Restored Government of Virginia convened
at the U.S. Custom House.
||The Committee of the Division of the State proposed a 39-county state
known as “Kanawha.” The convention adjourned August 21.
||Thirty-eight percent of voters in affected counties ratified an ordinance for
the formation of the new state and selected delegates for the constitutional
The First Constitutional Convention, Wheeling
||At the U.S. Custom House, the first constitutional convention assembled
with 61 delegates present.
||The name “Kanawha” was withdrawn from consideration and “West
Virginia” was chosen as the name for the new state
||Delegates unanimously approved the new constitution for West Virginia.
||Voters ratified the constitution.
||Governor Pierpont convened the General Assembly of the Restored
Government of Virginia.
||The assembly approved the creation of West Virginia with 48 counties.
||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.
||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,
||Wa||itman T. Willey proposed an amendment to the statehood bill
providing for the gradual emancipation of slaves.
||The amended statehood bill passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 23 to 17.
||President Lincoln received the bill and asked his cabinet for advice. Half
the cabinet favored the admission of West Virginia, and half opposed it.
||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.
||The West Virginia Constitutional Convention reconvened.
||The convention unanimously adopted the Willey Amendment.
||Voters approved the constitution with the emancipation amendment.
||President Lincoln announced that the act of Congress admitting West Virginia into the Union would take effect in sixty days.
||Voters of the new state elect Arthur I. Boreman from Parkersburg as West
Virginia's first governor.
||West Virginia became America's 35th state.