|West Virginia voters went to the polls on May 28, 1863, to elect their government officials. The Constitution Union Party candidate, Arthur I. Boreman of Wood County, won election as the state's first governor. On June 20, 1863, West Virginia became the thirty-fifth state in the Union. Inaugural ceremonies were held in Wheeling, the capital of the new state. In his inaugural address, Governor Boreman referred to West Virginia as "the child of the rebellion," and stated that "to-day after many long and weary years of insult and injustice, culminating on the part of the East, in an attempt to destroy the Government, we have the proud satisfaction of proclaiming to those around us that we are a separate State in the Union." Citizens in Jefferson and Berkeley counties voted to become part of West Virginia, and the federal government affirmed this action.|
The road to West Virginia statehood was a rocky one, with determined statehood leaders
overcoming opposition both from within the state and outside its borders. The war was still being
waged, but as historian George E. Moore noted, "the loyal men of West Virginia took comfort
from the fact that their devotion to a cause had placed in the American flag a new star - there to
bear witness for the Constitution and the Union."*
*George E. Moore, A Banner In The Hills: West Virginia's Statehood (New York: Appleton- Century-Crofts, 1963), 207.