WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA
CENTENNIAL CEREMONIAL ASSEMBLY
WEST VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE
APRIL 20, 1963
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA
This being the 100th anniversary of the date on which President Abraham Lincoln signed the proclamation admitting West Virginia as the 35th State of the Union, pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency, the Governor, dated the 8th day of April, 1963, requesting the Legislature of West Virginia to assemble on April 20, 1963, in a Special Centennial Ceremonial Assembly at 10:30 A.M., on this day, the Legislature assembled in the Old Customs House and Post Office Building, in the City of Wheeling, and was called to order by the Honorable Julius W. Singleton, Jr., Speaker of the House of Delegates.
THE SPEAKER. The Assembly will be in order, please. The Chair would like to call upon the Reverend John F. Streng, Pastor, St. James Lutheran Church, of Wheeling, West Virginia, to offer the invocation.
THE REVEREND STRENG. Almighty God, Ruler of all Nations, Benevolent Sovereign of mankind, we wait upon Thee in this memorial moment, praying that Thou will keep these United States of America in Thy holy safekeeping. Incline the hearts of all citizens to cultivate a true spirit of obedience to government and respect for authority and reverence for Thy commandments. Make us a people that will revere Thy holy name and practice the principles of brotherhood toward all citizens. Dispose us to love justice, be merciful and demean ourselves with all charity, humility and pacific temper. We confess our dependence upon Thee for in Thy grace are the very roots of our freedom. Make the faith of our fathers real to us in these days of tempest. Save us from freedom of speech not worth saying. Save us from freedom of worship so tolerant that We have no God left to adore. Save us from freedom of want and fear that dissipates our plenty and security with abandon. Bless our Country that it may continue to be a beacon of refuge and strength to those who are oppressed and homeless. May our ideals and aspirations be in accordance with Thy holy will, but may peace and prosperity, like Thy law and gospel, inspire us. May Thy bountiful blessing rest upon the President and the Congress of the United States, the Governor and the Legislature of this State, and upon all duly elected public officials. As they propose tomorrow's pattern of national life may we become the audience chamber of Thy presence. Let Thy people praise Thee, O God, in this hour of world destiny. May we help keep eternal vigilance that every generation shall possess this land as a living garden of freedom. These and whatsoever needs are good for us, we pray in the name of our Redeemer and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Members of the 56th West Virginia Legislature in attendance at this session, with their home counties indicated, were as follows:
R. E. BARNETT, of Mercer
THEODORE M. BOWERS, of Wetzel
JOHN E. CARRIGAN, of Marshall
HOWARD W. CARSON, of Fayette
DANIEL D. DAHILL, of Logan
JAMES HORNOR DAVIS, III, of Kanawha
NOAH E. FLOYD, of Mingo
CARL E. GAINER, of Nicholas
GLENN D. HATCHER, of McDowell
O. G. HEDRICK, of Marion
WALTER A. HOLDEN, of Harrison
CHESTER R. HUBBARD, of Ohio
LLOYD G. JACKSON, of Lincoln
JACK JOHNSON, of Mason
PAUL J. KAUFMAN, of Kanawha
V. K. KNAPP, of Putnam
J. KENTON LAMBERT, of Tucker
CLARENCE E. MARTIN, JR., of Berkeley
E. HANS McCOURT, of Webster
C. H. McKOWN, of Wayne
CHARLES A. MILLAR, of Mineral
JACK L. MILLER, of Wood
WILLIAM A. MORELAND, of Monongalia
O. ROY PARKER, of Monroe
GEORGE C. PORTER, of Raleigh
J. C. POWELL, of Pleasants
WILLIAM R. SHARPE, JR., of Lewis
LYLE A. SMITH, of Cabell
WILLIAM TOMPOS, of Hancock
DALLAS WOLFE, of Preston
WARD WYLIE, of Wyoming
A. DAVID ABRAMS, of Raleigh
W. N. ANDERSON, of Logan
J. MONROE ARBOGAST, of Clay
GENE M. ASHLEY, of Roane
KENNETH AUVIL, of Barbour
TOM T. BAKER, of Cabell
JESSE S. BARKER, of Kanawha
J. F. BEDELL, JR., of Kanawha
A. J. BELCHER, of Lincoln
MRS. MAE S. BELCHER, of Wyoming
TENNYSON J. BIAS, of Cabell
THOMAS L. BLACK, of Kanawha
BILL BLANKENSHIP, of Mingo
PAT BOARD, JR., of Kanawha
IVOR F. BOIARSKY, of Kanawha
R. H. BOWMAN, of Greenbrier
W. T. BROTHERTON, JR., of Kanawha
HARRY L. BUCH, of Ohio
FORREST M. BUCK, of Tyler
CALVIN A. CALENDINE, of Wood
WALTER W. CAREY, of Kanawha
MIKE CASEY, of Cabell
KELLY L. CASTLEBERRY, of Kanawha
CARROLL W. CASTO, of Mason
CLARENCE C. CHRISTIAN, JR., of Mercer
JACK CHRISTIAN, of McDowell
W. W. CORDER, of Upshur
H. DALE COVEY, of Raleigh
LOUIS G. CRAIG, of Lewis
ETHEL CRANDALL, of Fayette
SPENCER K. CREEL, of Wood
MINO D'AURORA, of Brooke
CLAYTON C. DAVIDSON, of Wayne
J. F. DEEM, of Ritchie
MRS. ELIZABETH DREWRY, of McDowell
THOMAS C. EDGAR, of Pocahontas
RICHARD E. FORD, of Greenbrier
D. R. FRAZER, of Nicholas
ANTHONY R. GENTILE, of Mingo
LUTHER GHIZ, of Logan
PAUL F. GIFFIN, of Mineral
D. P. GIVEN, of Webster
CHARLES H. HADEN, II, of Monongalia
EARL. HAGER, of Logan
THOMAS J. HAWSE, of Hardy
DENNIE LEE HILL, of Boone
T. E. HOLDERBY, of Cabell
RALPH BEN HOVERMALE, of Morgan
JAMES ROYDICE JONES, of Calhoun
EARL KEITH KELLEY, of Putnam
PAUL H. KIDD, of Gilmer
A. M. KIESTER, of Pleasants
EDWARD D. KNIGHT, JR., of Kanawha
CHESTER LILLER, of Preston
CHARLES E. LOHR, cf Mercer
DANIEL ROY MACE, of Wirt
JOHN T. MADDEN, of Marshall
C. P. MARSTILLER, of Harrison
THOMAS W. MATHIS, of Logan
T. G, MATNEY, of Monroe
WILLIAM McCOY, JR., of Pendleton
W. D. MENTZ, of McDowell JAMES W. MICHAEL, of Tucker
DONALD G. MICHELS, of Doddridge
LEWIS GLENN MILLS, of Wayne
PAUL S. MOYERS, of Braxtcn
T. E. MYLES, of Fayette
JACK R. NUZUM, of Randolph
HARRY R. PAULEY, of McDowell
J. BERNARD POINDEXTER, of Cabell
B. NOEL POLING, of Jackson
JOHN W. PYLES, of Monongalia
GORDON W. SAMMONS, of Marshall
RAY E. SAWYERS, of Summers
HERBERT SCHUPBACH, of Wetzel
GEORGE H. SEIBERT, JR., of Ohio
LLOYD L. SHRIVER, of Taylor
JAMES W. SIMONTON, of Wood
JULIUS W. SINGLETON, JR., of Monongalia
WILLIAM B. SLONAKER, of Hampshire
ROBERT M. STEPTOE, of Berkeley
CALLIE TSAPIS, of Hancock
EARL M. VICKERS, of Fayette
J. E. WATSON, of Marion
GEORGE S. WEAVER, JR., of Ohio
H. LABAN WHITE, of Harrison
W. R. WILSON, of Marion
THORNTON W. WILT, of Jefferson
MRS. W. W. WITHROW, of Raleigh
FRED G. WOOTEN, of McDowell
PAUL WORKMAN, of Kanawha
Members of the Legislature not in attendance were: Senator W. N. Jasper, Jr., of Greenbrier; and Delegates Gene W. Bailey of Kanawha, Carmine J. Cann of Harrison, J. Paul England of Wyoming, Robert K. Holliday of Fayette, Ralph J. Keister of Harrison, C. Berkley Lilly of Raleigh, Larkin B. Ours of Grant, Walter Vergil Ross of Mercer and Robert H. Tennant of Marion.
Officers of the two Houses in attendance, in addition to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates were as follows:
J. Howard Myers, of Martinsburg, Clerk of the Senate; C. A. Blankenship, of Pineville, Clerk of the House of Delegates; John E. Howell, of Charleston, Sergeant at Arms of the Senate; Don Yoak, of Spencer, Sergeant at Arms of the House; and D. Earl Brawley, of Charleston, Doorkeeper of the House.
The Honorable C. A. Blankenship, Clerk of the House of Delegates, read the proclamation of His Excellency, the Governor, requesting the members of the Legislature to participate in a Special Ceremonial Assembly, which was as follows:
By the Governor
I, WILLIAM WALLACE BARRON, Governor of the State of West Virginia, do hereby request the Members of the Legislature of West Virginia to participate in a Special Centennial Ceremonial Assembly at 10:30 a. m. (Eastern Standard Time), on the Twentieth day of April, One Thousand Nine Hundred Sixty-three, in the Old Customs House and Post Office Building, in the City of Wheeling, Ohio County, West Virginia, for the purpose of paying tribute to the liberty-loving and far-sighted men and women who risked their all in the uncertainties of the Civil War to establish the State of West Virginia, and to review the progress the State has made in the First Century and to fix its goals for the Second Century.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State to be affixed.
DONE at the Capitol, City of Charleston, State of West Virginia, this the eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Nine Hundred Sixty-three, and in the One Hundredth year of the State.
W. W. BARRON
By the Governor:
JOE F. BURDETT
Secretary of State
The Speaker appointed Mollie O'Brien, 10-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. O'Brien, Jr., of Wheeling, official page for the Assembly.
THE SPEAKER. The Chair will now invite the distinguished Senator from Ohio, the Honorable Chester R. Hubbard, to address the Assembly.
MR. HUBBARD. Mr. Speaker, I am indeed privileged to have this opportunity to actively participate in our Centennial celebration.
No doubt this privilege is due to the fact that in 1963 I have been given the same honor that my great-grandfather, Chester D. Hubbard, was given one hundred years ago, namely, to represent the First District in the Senate of West Virginia.
Though naturally more interested in the present and the future, I think it is more than justifiable to state that those who take no pride in the outstanding achievements of ancestors will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by descendants.
Without in any manner intending to detract from all of those who contributed of their time and talents and worked for the creation of an independent state, I do deem it of particular historical significance that this Assembly is meeting in Wheeling today.
Although many stirring and memorable events occurred in Wheeling, similar events were taking place throughout all northwestern Virginia. Therefore, I will confine my remarks to some of the most important reasons why this meeting being held at the Old Customs House in the City of Wheeling, on this, the 20th day of April, 1963, is of special historical significance in our overall Centennial celebration.
Without question, the formation of the State of West Virginia was one of the most remarkable events in the history of the Federal Union, and since Wheeling was, in fact, the birthplace of the State of West Virginia, it is indeed most fitting and proper that as a part of the State's Centennial program, this Legislature should meet here today, this being the date of the final act in a most important drama that began with the Ordinance of Secession passed by the Virginia Assembly in 1861.
It was on this date, one hundred years ago, that President Lincoln signed the proclamation assuring us of our independence and establishing West Virginia as the 35th State of the Union.
When the delegates from what is now West Virginia, returned from the Virginia Secession Convention, mass meetings were held throughout the entire area, with the overwhelming sentiment opposing the secession of Virginia from the Federal Union and avowing that the people of this area must remain a part of that Union. One such meeting held at Clarksburg on April 22 of 1861, resulted in the adoption of a resolution calling for a convention in Wheeling to determine what action the people of northwestern Virginia should take in view of the existing emergency.
It was therefore, in Wheeling that the first official convention was held in May, 1861. The delegates to this convention were from all walks of life, in the main, ordinary citizens, but dedicated and determined to secure liberty and freedom to the people of their area. After much heated debate this first convention was adjourned on the basis that final action should be deferred pending the outcome of the vote of the people on the Ordinance of Secession. It was agreed that if the Ordinance of Secession were ratified then a second convention would be held in Wheeling to determine the proper course of action to be taken to protect and promote the interests and preserve the liberties of the people of northwestern Virginia, and a committee of nine was selected to prepare the necessary resolutions to put into effect the objects and opinions of the first convention. Five of the members of this committee were from Wheeling, but this may have been due as much to transportation difficulties as to the ability of those men, though capable they were.
When the people of Virginia ratified the Secession Ordinance, the second convention reconvened at Wheeling in June. The excellent work which had been done by the duly appointed committee resulted in the almost immediate passage of a declaration asserting the unconstitutionality of the Virginia Secession Convention and demanding a reorganization of the government of the State of Virginia. This Wheeling Declaration of Rights was signed at Wheeling on June 20, 1861, and Wheeling was designated as the first capitol of the reorganized Government of Virginia, with Francis H. Pierpont as Governor.
The second Wheeling convention reconvened in August and adopted an ordinance for submission to a vote of the people, which provided for the formation of a new state and for the election of delegates to a Constitutional Convention.
The first Constitutional Convention of the Union Government of Virginia (the Restored Government) met in Wheeling and adopted a new constitution with provisions which, in the main, complied with the expressed opinions of the people, and stated that the name of the new state would be West Virginia. When submitted to a vote of the people in April, 1862, the proposed constitution was adopted by an overwhelming majority.
On May 13 an extra session of the Legislature of the Reorganized Government of Virginia was held in Wheeling, and it was at this session that the act was passed which gave consent to the formation of the new State of West Virginia, to consist of 48 counties, plus Berkeley, Jefferson and Frederick, if the people therein so determined.
Proper legislation having been submitted in both Houses of Congress, a bill was passed admitting the State of West Virginia into the Federal Union and this statehood bill was signed by President Lincoln on December 31, 1862.
In February of 1863 the Constitutional Convention reconvened in Wheeling to consider ratification of an amendment proposed by Congress pertaining to slavery, and the matter was submitted to a vote of the people, and by an overwhelming vote the amended constitution was approved and proper certification of the results submitted to President Lincoln.
The first capitol of the new State of West Virginia was here in Wheeling.
The success of the entire movement for statehood is to be attributed to the overwhelming fidelity of the people of West Virginia to their own inalienable rights, as much as to the efforts of the leaders whom they had selected, though fortunately, the leaders were men of high resolve, dedicated and determined to have liberty. The people were bold and brave and those assembled here today and all other West Virginians should take justifiable pride in the courage and efforts of those who helped bring to fruition this great undertaking. Certainly the momentous and far-reaching matters that were discussed and acted upon in Wheeling give added historical significance for reassembling here exactly 100 years after West Virginia's statehood became an accomplished fact. Certainly it is most proper that not only should all of the people of the State congratulate themselves in some befitting way, but that the people of the City of Wheeling have this most appropriate celebration, not only because of what occurred in the past, but to remind us again of the importance of concerted effort by the people, with the full realization that democracy is based upon the conviction that there are always extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.
Today, as well as 100 years ago, there is always the worry as to whether or not there are those with the necessary courage and genius to properly lead. Fortunately now, as then, there are many with the necessary vision, foresight, seriousness of purpose and the determination to do the right thing in the right way at the right time. We must be ever alert to protect the liberty and freedom secured for us by our forefathers, and through aggressive leadership, maintain those principles of liberty and freedom.
I am, I believe, justifiably proud that my great-grandfather worked diligently to promote and secure liberty and freedom, and I am also proud to close with part of a poem written by my daughter, Nancy, at the age of 14, which convinces me that the love of liberty goes on from generation to generation.
Not to be free frightens my heart;
To be told what to do isn't a part
Of my life.
I want to be free,
To work and be what I want to be.
I rejoice that people of free
May live, work, vote, and worship
as they please.
Not to be free frightens my heart;
To be told what to do isn't a part
of my life.
I want to be free,
To work and be what I want to be.
THE SPEAKER. The Chair now recognizes the Delegate from the County of McDowell, the Honorable Harry R. Pauley, to address this Assembly.
MR. PAULEY. Mr. Speaker, our Assembly here is the climax of a movement that dates back to the time of the American Revolution. In this period of nearly one hundred years, there was all the drama of the people west of the Alleghenies who increasingly felt that they were not getting their just dues from the eastern seaboard. At the same time, there was the tragedy that time and events tend further to separate the east from the west in the Old Dominion with the result that divorce of the two areas was inevitable. The only question was when and under what circumstances.
The size of Virginia and its geography in good part explain the difficulties between the eastern and western parts of the state. Long before 1863 the western people contended that the seat of the state government, Richmond, was too far away for state officials to understand the interests of the Trans-Allegheny residents. The mountains, it was claimed, created a real barrier between the eastern and western sections of the state and isolated one part from the other. The mountains determined the flow of the state's rivers, and trade and commerce moved either in the direction of the seaboard to the east or the Ohio River to the west. Transportation facilities between the two sections were either nonexistent or inadequate to provide for any freedom of movement from one part of the state to the other. Yet there was no organized effort in the early period to bring about the separation of the western counties from the dominant eastern seaboard.
Some sentiment for separation cropped up at the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829. Increasingly the western Delegates indulged in threats and warnings of possible secession unless their grievances were recognized by the east and something done about them. There was some sentiment, in fact, for the union of the western counties with either Pennsylvania or Maryland. A particular grievance was the feeling of the western people that they were not getting their fair share of the State's tax money for internal improvements such as roads, bridges and canals, without which the western counties would remain economically backward and isolated from major trading centers, except along the Ohio River.
Slavery was another factor in the secession movement among the people of the western counties. Economically, slavery was not profitable in these counties. In the first place, there were few slaves west of the mountains and the Negro population actually decreased after 1830. In 1860, slaves comprised only four per cent of the population while the white population numbered 335,000. The whole economy of the western counties was foreign to slavery. In addition, the people living in this area were independent and freedom-loving men and women and the idea of slavery was contrary to their thinking.
Politically, there was increasing hostility between the eastern and western parts of Virginia. The western counties had a minority of representation in both Houses of the Virginia Legislature which they declared was less than their proportionate share on the basis of total population. In fact, it was said that slavery would have been abolished in Virginia before 1860 if there had been equal political representation among all sections of the state. A perpetual minority in the Legislature, they declared, meant a policy of continued neglect of western interests on the part of the dominant majority from east of the Alleghenies.
A writer in the Monongalia Chronicle, May 30, 1828, declared: "Are we not of the middle and western Virginia in the same political situation as our fathers were when they rose up in arms against Great Britain? Are we not forced by men who are not representatives of the people? This is almost revolutionary language."
Our secession from Virginia is largely the result of a long struggle between forces, political, economic and social, among the people of the western and eastern counties of Virginia. The story of the struggle of the free men of western Virginia for independence and a place in the sisterhood of states is without parallel in the annals of American history.
The popular belief is that the separation was caused by questions growing out of the great American Civil War, but the truth is that the war was not the cause. It only furnished the excuse and the opportunity.
On the occasion of the laying of a cornerstone of an addition to the national capitol sometime back, Daniel Webster had this to say:
"Ye men of western Virginia who occupy the slopes from the Alleghenies to the Ohio and Kentucky, what benefits do you propose to yourself by disunion? What man in his senses would suppose that you would remain a part and parcel of Virginia a month after Virginia ceased to be a part and parcel of the United States."
Now, members of this Assembly, there was a wide difference of opinion as to what name should be given the new state at the time of its formation, and in recent years there has been considerable discussion regarding changing the name of West Virginia. I care not, Mr. Speaker, what name we give to the territory that now constitutes West Virginia, just as long as we call it quits with the State of Virginia.
THE SPEAKER. The Chair now recognizes the Senator from Wood County, the Honorable Jack L. Miller, to address this Assembly.
MR. MILLER. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentlemen of this Assembly, distinguished guests and fellow West Virginians. Now that the Provisional Government had authorized the election of Delegates to a convention for the purpose of framing a constitution for the new State, the next logical step after the election of Delegates was the convening of such convention. A Constitutional Convention was held in Wheeling from November 26, 1861 to February 18, 1862. Fifty-five Delegates attended, which, as you can see, is considerably less than we have here today. Most of the Delegates were either farmers or ministers with a scattering of lawyers and merchants and the tenor of the instrument which they drew reflected the better side of their occupations. After the Convention was organized the first serious question to arise was the name to be given to the new State. The name "Kanawha" was considered but rejected, so you can see that the feeling 100 years ago concerning "Kanawha" County was not any different then than it is now! Seriously, this change in name was justified upon the grounds that there was already a Kanawha County and a Kanawha River and that further use of that name might make for confusion. The boundaries of the new State were to include 44 counties, but provisions were made to include as many as 27 more counties.
The proposed Constitution comprised many radical changes in the organic law as previously adopted in Virginia. The liberties secured to persons and the rights of property as set forth in the Virginia Bill of Rights were incorporated into the new Constitution. This is especially interesting to us as West Virginians since Thomas Jefferson took great pride in the fact that he was the author of the Virginia Bill of Rights.
Most state offices were elective. The Governor was to be elected for a term of two years and the office of Lieutenant Governor was abolished. The Legislature was to meet annually for a period of 45 days. The old County Court system was dissipated and augmented by a healthier system of judicial circuits. A still greater change in the structure of the municipal body was effected in the erection of townships for the regulating of local affairs. It was a step toward practical freedom never before permitted in Virginia. Taxation was made equal and uniform for the first time in the history of this people. A check was placed upon the system of granting the credit of the State to private corporations, which had enthralled Virginia in a debt of millions. No debts were to be contracted by the State, except to meet the casual deficits, to redeem a previous liability or to defend the State in time of war. The vast schemes of land piracy which had so confused the titles to real estate, and had so retarded the settling of the country, were wholly uprooted by a provision that no further entries upon waste and unappropriated lands should be made.
But the feature of the instrument that demonstrates most clearly the spirit of enlightened patriotism and enlarged sense of genuine interest in the cause of humanity, was the liberal provision for the establishment of a system of free schools. All the proceeds of the public domain were appropriated to this object; giving to it everything upon which the primary basis of a State is formed. The Legislature was also required to provide for the establishment of schools as soon as practicable. All the proceeds of forfeitures, confiscations and fines accruing to the State were devoted to the school fund; thus providing that the consequences of crime, should supply the source of virtue.
The Constitution was submitted to the people of the counties embraced within the proposed new State on the 3rd day of April, 1862, and resulted in its adoption by a vote of 18,862 in its favor and 514 against. Events moved quickly. On May 13, 1862, the Provisional Government of Virginia gave its formal assent and the act was ordered to be transmitted to the senators and representatives of Virginia in the Congress, together with a copy of the new Constitution, with the request that the consent of Congress be obtained for the admission of West Virginia into the Union as the 35th state. On the 31st day of December, 1862, final action was taken on the bill to admit West Virginia into the Union as the 35th state. The action was a conditional one to have force and effect when two provisions were complied with. Firstly, the people of West Virginia were required to ratify a change in their Constitution, called the "Willey Amendment" providing that the gradual freedom of slaves be assured, and secondly, the issuance of a proclamation by the President of the United States. On March 26, 1863, the new Constitution together with the Willey Amendment was submitted to the people of West Virginia and resulted in its adoption by a majority of over 27,000 votes. Now there remained only the proclamation by the President of the United States, but this, like all other matters concerning the internal affairs of the Nation, was a knotty problem. Grave misgivings and rumblings were heard in the Executive Branch of the Government concerning whether or not the Provisional Government of Virginia could constitutionally give its consent for the formation of the new State which was to be carved out of the State of Virginia. The Constitution of the United States required the consent of the Legislature of the State from which the territory is to be taken for the formation of a new State. Abraham Lincoln attempted to solve this problem in a similar manner as other presidents in the past had attempted to solve their problems. He wrote a note to his cabinet and requested that each member answer him in writing as to whether or not it was their opinion that under the circumstances West Virginia could constitutionally be admitted into the Union and, if the act was constitutional, was it expedient. Oddly enough, Lincoln's cabinet was as divided on this question as it was on the other major decisions which the President had from time to time asked them to resolve. There were six men in Lincoln's cabinet. When their answers came back, three of them had said "yes" and three of them had answered "no." So the question of West Virginia's statehood was then left solely to the President of the United States. The question of West Virginia's statehood was the least of President Lincoln's problems. At this time in history, with a great civil war going on, the Union forces were losing that war, he was having difficulty in his foreign relations with the French and British, members of his cabinet were being criticized by the public and were openly criticizing one another. He was trying to find a general or a commander who could lead his forces to victory and he had difficulties on the domestic front.
History apparently repeats itself - the problems of the President of the United States 100 years ago were much the same as they are today! But Abraham Lincoln, great man that he was, met the issue forthrightly and with dispatch. On or about the 15th day of April, 1863 (the exact date is not known) Abraham Lincoln sat down and wrote a letter to his cabinet telling them that he believed West Virginia should be admitted to the Union. He pointed out that the Union could not afford to have West Virginia against her in Congress or in the field. He remarked that her brave and good men regarded her admission into the Union as a matter of life and death and that they had been true to the Union under very severe trials. He noted also that the admission of the new State turned that much slave soil to free and thus was a certain and irrevocable encroachment upon the cause of the rebellion. He recognized that some would say that the admission of West Virginia was secession and tolerated only because it was secession in favor of the Union but he also said, "Even if we call it by that name there is still a difference between secession against the Constitution and secession in favor of the Constitution." On the 20th day of April, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation stating that sixty days hence West Virginia should be admitted into the Union as a separate State.
On the fourth Thursday of May following, a Governor and other state officials, judges of various circuit courts and county officers were elected for the new State. Governor Pierpont removed the seat of the Government of Virginia from Wheeling to Alexandria and on the 20th day of June, 1863, in Wheeling, Arthur I. Boreman of Wood County was inaugurated as the first Governor of the new State. Both Houses of the Legislature assembled on the same day and began the labor of altering the laws and enacting such others as were necessary.
As John Marshall Hagans, the first reporter for the West Virginia Supreme Court, said, "To retain the freedom thus acquired, it only remains for the people of West Virginia to keep constantly in view those great cardinal points of patriotism, obedience to law, honor, courage, and devotion to liberty." Thus, was launched the Mountain State which, in this year, 1963, commemorates 100 years of statehood and more than 200 years of proud, glorious and honorable history.
THE SPEAKER. The Chair now recognizes the distinguished Senator from Monongalia, Senator William A. Moreland.
MR. MORELAND. Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, with reference to the remarks of the Senator from Wood, regarding the constitutional questions raised at the time West Virginia was admitted as a state, I am sure President Lincoln would not have had so much trouble resolving constitutional questions had he been able to call upon the members of our 56th Legislature. I have observed that we have our share of knotty constitutional questions, and so far we have been able to resolve them without any dire consequences resulting.
The stubborn independence of the people of West Virginia dates back further than indicated by the Delegate from McDowell [MR. PAULEY] . We all remember the statement credited to General Washington during the Revolution, "Leave me but a banner to plant upon the mountains of Augusta, and I will rally around me the men who will lift our bleeding country from the dust, and set her free." It is understood that this statement was prompted by the spirit and fighting qualities of the men from western Virginia who had joined General Washington's army. From our earliest history we have been known to be stubborn, independent, hard-headed mountain folk.
I think in view of all that has been said about our search for freedom and our independence, it is only fitting that we reaffirm the faith that brought this State into being, and again give recognition to the character and attitude of the people from the mountains.
Mr. Speaker, at this time, I propose to this Assembly a Second Wheeling Declaration. If approved, this Declaration is to be subscribed to by the members of the Legislature later in this session on this historic date. The proposed Declaration is as follows:
WEST VIRGINIA'S GOALS IN ITS
WEST VIRGINIA'S GOALS IN ITS
WHEREAS, In this very room one hundred and two years ago, our Forefathers took the first formal step to create a new State and, being men of courage and foresight, displayed their fierce independence, love of liberty and dedicated loyalty to the Union in the form of a signed document known to all as the DECLARATION OF RIGHTS; and
WHEREAS, The Delegates of the Wheeling Convention of 1861 courageously published to the World their firm convictions that Virginia's secession violated the Constitution of the United States and threatened the civil liberties and property rights of the people, and it was for these reasons, set forth so meaningfully in the WHEELING DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, that the people of the Western area refused to join in the South's attempts to divide the Union; and
WHEREAS, West Virginia has supported those principles so forcefully proclaimed by the WHEELING DECLARATION OF 1861, and has now grown from a mountain wilderness into a diversified agricultural and industrial complex, with much of its magnificent natural beauty still intact; and
WHEREAS, West Virginia's statesmen of their day left a heritage of bold and resolute action in meeting the problems that confronted them, then let us, as today's elected representatives of the people of West Virginia, do likewise by dedicating ourselves to God, our Nation, our State, and to the Second Century with the same conviction and fortitude; and
WHEREAS, To accomplish this, we must develop young, aggressive leadership with confidence and imagination; we must intensify our support of the democratic principles of free enterprise; we must develop our resources to provide the most good for the greatest number of people over the longest period of time; and we must constantly strive to broaden our economy, improve our educational opportunities, promote our cultural development, and raise our standard of living so that West Virginia becomes an even better place for people to put down their roots and raise their families:
Now, THEREFORE, WE, WILLIAM WALLACE BARRON, Governor of the State of West Virginia; HOWARD W. CARSON, President of the West Virginia State Senate, and its Membership; and JULIUS W. SINGLETON, JR., Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates, and its Membership, hereby subscribe our names to the SECOND WHEELING DECLARATION, on the same historic day that President Abraham Lincoln signed the Proclamation admitting West Virginia to the Union a Century ago, and rededicate ourselves to those fundamental precepts so that our State may better meet the challenges of its Second Century, and ask the help of our Almighty God to guide and lead us in our best efforts to the solution of today's complex questions, and to seek an ever-improving preparedness for the challenges that lie ahead.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereunto set our hands and caused the Great Seal of the State to be affixed.
DONE in the City of Wheeling,
County of Ohio, State of West Virginia, in Centennial Ceremonial Assembly, this the twentieth day of April, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Nine Hundred Sixty-three, and in the One Hundredth year of the State.
Mr. Speaker, I move that the Assembly approve and adopt the Declaration as read.
THE SPEAKER. Is there a second to the motion of the Senator from Monongalia that the Assembly endorse and adopt the declaration?
MR. D'AURORA. Mr. Speaker, I second the motion.
THE SPEAKER. The motion is properly seconded. The Chair now recognizes the distinguished Senator from the County of Fayette, the Honorable Howard W. Carson, President of the West Virginia State Senate, for the purpose of making an introduction.
MR. CARSON. Mr. Speaker, Members of the West Virginia Legislature, distinguished public officials, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
Today we stand at a unique point in the history of our State; a point where no one ever stood before, nor shall ever stand again. We find ourselves at the very end of West Virginia's first century, and at the very beginning of her second century.
If we turn and look backward, we may see the unfolding panorama of a hundred years of our State's history, beginning with her birth amid the turmoil and tribulation of a great war, and continuing across the span of the years, to the present time.
If we turn in the other direction, and look to the future of our State with eyes of faith, and with the same courage and vision and determination which inspired those great men and women who brought West Virginia into existence a century ago, we may see - and surely it is no mirage - we may see, with the poet who saw in the future of this whole great land of ours, "thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears."
Of all the people in our great State, I know of none who is so well qualified to lead us from our first century into our second as is the man whom I shall shortly present to you. No citizen of West Virginia, I believe, has combined in him, in such degree, both a sense of appreciation of the history and the heritage of the West Virginia of the past and, at the same time, such an unshakeable faith in the greatness of the West Virginia of the future. His every official action since it became known in November, 1960, that he was to become the Chief Executive of West Virginia, has demonstrated his complete conviction that our State will not only survive whatever crises may come her way, but that she will grow stronger by reason of having overcome them, and that her ascendancy to a position of eminence among the States of this Union is as assured as is the prospect that the years of our second century will follow each other in orderly succession.
I know not whether it was ordained by some power beyond that of man, but surely his faith and his vision and his courage were destined to be devoted to this people when the pages of our history were turned to these years. The difficulties of these days have served only to bring into sharper relief and clearer focus the greatness that is in him.
My fellow West Virginians I am deeply conscious of the privilege that is mine in presenting to you at this time his Excellency, the twenty-sixth Governor of West Virginia, William Wallace Barren.
THE GOVERNOR. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Legislature.
The Second Wheeling Declaration, which you have just heard, sets West Virginia's goals for the second century. Let us here resolve that our acts in the years to come will give this document as much historical significance a hundred years from now as the First Wheeling Declaration of Rights holds for us today.
The delegates from the northwestern counties were looking ahead, just as we are today, when they adopted the Declaration of Rights in this very room in June, 1861. By that act they took a momentous stand from which there was no turning back. Their adoption of the Declaration of Rights led directly to the founding of the State of West Virginia two years later and its admission to the Union as the 35th state.
A long list of differences had developed over the years between the Virginia state government and the people on the western side of the mountains. But it took Virginia's secession to bring the differences to a head. It was here that delegates representing the northwestern counties decided to break away from the mother state and to take their place with the Union and President Lincoln.
West Virginia today is a proud and prominent part of the Union which it helped to save.
THE SPEAKER. The question now is on the adoption of the Declaration as offered by the Senator from Monongalia. All those in favor of the Declaration say "Aye." Opposed, "No." The ayes have it, I declare the Declaration adopted.
The Chair now recognizes the Lady from Wyoming County, Mrs. Mae S. Belcher, for the purpose of offering a resolution.
MRS. BELCHER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to call to the stage the female colleagues of this Assembly, Miss Callie Tsapis, Miss Ethel Crandall, Mrs. W. W. Withrow and Mrs. Elizabeth Drewry.
Mr. Speaker, Honorable Governor Barron, members and guests of the Second Wheeling Convention, I propose to this Assembly a resolution as follows:
WHEREAS, In the settlement of the territory which now embraces the State of West Virginia, women stood shoulder to shoulder with their men in encounters with hostile Indians, in carving homes from the wilderness and in resisting the adverse conditions of nature and disease in the struggle to establish their homes in this virgin area; and
WHEREAS, The women of Western Virginia possessed the same loyalty to the Union and love of liberty which inspired our forefathers in their actions preceding and during the historic actions taken in the City of Wheeling more than a century ago, and gave their loyal support to the gallant and dedicated men who led the movement to establish the State of West Virginia; and
WHEREAS, Throughout the years following the meeting in this room a century and two years ago, the women of West Virginia have contributed their full measure of intelligence, industry, leadership and devotion to the principles proclaimed here by our forefathers; and have contributed their full share to the development of our beloved State in making it the great industrial and agricultural complex we witness in this Centennial Year 1963; and
WHEREAS, When it is recognized that the first two Constitutions of the State of West Virginia denied the right of suffrage to women, the women of West Virginia can point with glowing pride to the notable strides made by them in obtaining equal rights with men; which today enable them to vote, hold office, serve as jurors, and, in fact, enjoy equal rights with men in all fields of endeavor; and
WHEREAS, Since women were granted the right of suffrage in 1920, they have assumed their full responsibilities in government and today fill high positions of honor and trust in the executive, legislative and judicial departments of Federal, State and Local Governments, in both elective and appointive capacities, and are faithfully and capably discharging their governmental duties; and
WHEREAS, Today the women of West Virginia are alert to the needs of our State, are eager and willing to assume their full responsibilities in meeting the challenges and problems facing us as we enter upon the Second Century of our Statehood; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, By this Assembly in the City of Wheeling, State of West Virginia, that, on this the 20th day of April, 1963, we as the elected representatives of the people of West Virginia, with genuine faith in Almighty God, face the Second Century of our Statehood with the determination to devote our utmost to the further development and improvement of our natural resources, educational opportunities, cultural development, governmental service, economy and living conditions, and, in general, resolve to give our best to making West Virginia a better state during its Second Century; and, be it
Further Resolved, That this Assembly, recognizing the contribution of women to the progress of the past century, does hereby urge that the talents, initiative and peculiar capacities of our women be utilized to the fullest in the solution of our varied problems and in meeting the challenges of the future.
Mr. Speaker, I move the adoption of the resolution.
THE SPEAKER. The lady from Wyoming [MRS. BELCHER] moves the adoption of the resolution. Is there a second?
MRS. WITHROW. Mr. Speaker, I second the motion.
THE SPEAKER. It has been moved and seconded that the resolution be adopted. All in favor of the resolution - the gentleman from McDowell, Mr. Pauley.
MR. PAULEY. Mr. Speaker, I don't see how a bill like that ever got out of Committee. Mr. Speaker, I arise to oppose the bill but I do urge careful consideration because you can't tell what proportions this might lead to.
MRS. BELCHER. The women will have their way.
THE SPEAKER. The question now is on the adoption of the resolution. All those in favor of the resolution will say "Aye." Opposed, "No." The ayes seem to have it. The ayes do have it. I declare the resolution adopted.
The gentleman from Kanawha [MR. BROTHERTON] is recognized.
MR. BROTHERTON. Mr. Speaker, I move that this Assembly do now adjourn until 2:30 P.M., this afternoon.
THE SPEAKER. All those in favor of that motion say "Aye." Opposed, "No." The ayes have it. I declare the Assembly adjourned.
Pursuant to the adjournment, the Assembly reassembled at 2:30 P.M., at the Capitol Theatre, Wheeling, and was called to order by the Honorable Howard W. Carson, President of the Senate.
Mr. Harold O'Leary of Wheeling, portraying President Abraham Lincoln, recited the statement made by President Lincoln in signing the West Virginia Statehood Bill on December 31, 1862, as follows:
The consent of the Legislature of Virginia is constitutionally necessary to the bill for the admission of West Virginia becoming a law. A body claiming to be such Legislature has given its consent. We cannot well deny that it is such, unless we do so upon the outside knowledge that the body was chosen at elections in which a majority of the qualified voters of Virginia did not participate. But it is a universal practice in the popular elections in all these States to give no legal consideration whatever to those who do not choose to vote as against the effect of the votes of those who do choose to vote. Hence, it is not the qualified voters, but the qualified voters who choose to vote, that constitute the political power of the State. Much less than to non-voters, should any consideration be given to those who did not vote, in this case; because it is also matter of outside knowledge that they were not merely neglectful of their rights under, and duty to, this Government, but were also engaged in open rebellion against it. Doubtless among these non-voters were some Union men whose voices were smothered by the more numerous secessionists; but we know too little of their number to assign them any appreciable value. Can this Government stand, if it indulges constitutional constructions by which men in open rebellion against it, are to be accounted even better citizens, and more worthy of consideration, than those who merely neglect to vote? If so, their treason against the Constitution enhances their constitutional value! Without braving these absurd conclusions, we cannot deny that the body which consents to the admission of West Virginia is the Legislature of Virginia. I do not think the plural form of the words "Legislatures" and "States" in the phrase of the Constitution "without the consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned," etc., has any reference to the New State concerned. The plural form sprang from the contemplation of two or more old states, contributing to form a new one. The idea that the New State was in danger of being admitted without its own consent was not provided against, because it was not thought of, as I conceive. It is said, the devil takes care of his own. Much more should a good spirit - the spirit of the Constitution and the Union - take care of its own. I think it cannot do less and live.
But is the admission into the Union of West Virginia expedient? This, in my general view, is more a question for Congress, than for the Executive. Still I do not evade it. More than on anything else, it depends on whether the admission or rejection of the New State would, under all the circumstances, tend the more strongly to the restoration of the national authority throughout the Union. That which helps most in this direction is the most expedient at this time. Doubtless those in remaining Virginia would return to the Union, so to speak, less reluctantly without the division of the Old State than with it, but I think we could not save as much in this quarter by rejecting the New State, as we should lose by it in West Virginia. We can scarcely dispense with the aid of West Virginia in this struggle; much less can we afford to have her against us, in Congress and in the field. Her brave and good men regard her admission into the Union as a matter of life and death. They have been true to the Union under very severe trials. We have so acted as to justify their hopes, and we cannot fully retain their confidence, and cooperation, if we seem to break faith with them. In fact, they could not do much for us, if they would. Again, the admission of the New State turns that much slave soil to free; and thus is a certain and irrevocable encroachment upon the cause of the rebellion. The division of a State is dreaded as a precedent. But a measure made expedient by a 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 a difference enough between secession against the Constitution, and secession in favor of the Constitution. I believe the Admission of West Virginia into the Union is expedient.
MR. CARSON. Those present will please rise while the Reverend Arthur C. Freet, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Wheeling, offers the invocation.
THE REVEREND FREET. Let us pray. Our heavenly Father, we pray for this land. We need Thy help in this time of testing and uncertainty when men who could fight together on the field of battle seem strangely unable to work together around conference tables for peace. To Thy glory was this Republic established, and for the advancement of the faith did the founding Fathers give their lives. Such is the heritage passed down to us. We pray that all over this land there may be a return to the faith of those men and women who trusted in God as they faced the perils which endangered the frontier, not alone in crossing the continent, in building their cabins, in rearing their families, in eking out a livelihood, but in raising the standard of faith to which men have been willing to repair down through the years.
We pray also upon this afternoon's hour for our Governor. We are deeply concerned that he may know the will of God and that he may have the spiritual courage and faith to follow it. Deliver him, we pray, from all selfish consideration; lift him above the claims of mere politics; fill him with the spirit of God that shall make him fearless to seek to know and to do right; save him from the friends, who in the name of politics, or in the name of friendship, would persuade him from Thy holy path; strengthen and empower his advisors, and bring them too to their knees in prayer. May their example and their influence spread that we, in these United States, as well as the grand State of West Virginia, have a government by men who know Thee, Almighty God, as their friend and place their will behind Thine.
We also pray this afternoon for the leaders of our State, meeting here in Wheeling, West Virginia. Strengthen the courage of the representatives in the Congress and the Senate assembled, sincere men who want to do right if only they may be sure of what is right. Make it plain to them, O Lord, that then they will start out on the right way for Thou knowest that we have our hard-heads who refuse to turn. Forgive them for the blunders they have committed, compromises they have made, and give to them the courage to admit mistakes. Take away from us as a state and as individuals that stubborn pride which follows conceit and imagines itself to be above and beyond criticism.
Save our leaders, O God, from themselves and from their friends even as Thou hast saved them and us from our enemies. Let no personal ambition blind them to their opportunities. Help them to give battle to hypocrisy wherever they find it. Give them Divine common sense that in selflessness they may dedicate their lives to service, not to gain. May they have the courage to lead the people of this State, considering unworthy the expediency of following their own self-judgment. Our gracious God, our prayer is in Thy holy name upon this afternoon in Wheeling, West Virginia. Amen.
MR. CARSON. I am happy to first present to you the Senator from Marshall, the Honorable John E. Carrigan.
MR. CARRIGAN. Mr. President, members of the Legislature, guests. On this, our one hundredth anniversary, while remembering those of our predecessors who have made this anniversary possible, I also think it is an occasion upon which we assembled here today and for this year should look to the future of West Virginia as well as remembering the fine past that we had. To this end, I believe that it is incumbent upon the Legislature and all citizens of this State to cease and desist from pointing out our faults. Others will find our faults for us. I think it's more important to the citizens of this State, at least during this year and in the future, to remember the God-given things that we have to be proud of as West Virginians, not only our independence, our rugged individualism, but also our natural beauty, our wealth, our natural resources and to that end I believe it is incumbent upon all of us, as citizens of this State, to learn in our individual communities and localities, the things which will be important and interesting to visitors that may come to visit us during our one hundredth anniversary.
I think we are all familiar with the local factories or local points of interest, but too often when we see a car or a group of people that we are not familiar with, we know that they are visitors to our State, we tend to pass them by without stopping, speaking to them, asking if we can give directions or pointing out points of interest. From my own experience, I know in visiting other states, I certainly appreciate the courtesy of a person who is familiar with the locality, giving one directions. Perhaps it means a minute or two of our time in a busy day, but I would suggest that during this year we adopt the policy of extending hospitality to all persons who visit our State, take time to ask if they wish directions, point out the places of interest, the factories, the historic sites or any other points of interest in our locality and make all of our visitors welcome. I am certain that if we adopt this attitude, we will have the same visitors come back to visit West Virginia year after year and I know we have many things to be proud of. Let us all, during this year, make the rest of the United States proud of us as we are proud of ourselves. Thank you.
MR. CARSON. Thank you, Senator Carrigan. Next we have the pleasure of hearing from Kanawha County's junior Senator, the Honorable J. Hornor Davis, III.
MR. DAVIS. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, fellow members of the Legislature, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I don't know what your reaction is to this ceremonial Assembly, but I am frank to admit that I have been impressed. I was impressed last night by something the Governor said at an address which he made at dinner. He said that he felt the significance of this centennial celebration was that it instilled in us a sense of pride and a sense of confidence. I think this is true, a sense of pride in our heritage, in the knowledge that our forefathers more than a hundred years ago, with a sense of courage, wisdom, determination and conviction, dedicated themselves to the principle of preserving the Union and in so doing, gave birth to the State of West Virginia. A sense of confidence in that we, with the same courage, wisdom and dedication, can look forward to the future with the certain knowledge that the next hundred years will be an improvement over the last hundred years.
As most of you undoubtedly know, in the Assembly this morning, the Legislature adopted what is known as the Second Wheeling Declaration. There is one paragraph in this declaration which I think is of particular importance. If I may, I would like to read that one paragraph. It read as follows: "Whereas, West Virginia's statesmen of their day left a heritage of bold and resolute action in meeting the problems that confronted them, then let us, as today's elected representatives of the people of West Virginia, do likewise by dedicating ourselves to God, our Nation, our State, and to the Second Century with the same conviction and fortitude."
Ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you, that if we, as members of the Legislature, and you, as citizens of the State of West Virginia, do this, we can look forward to the future of West Virginia with confidence.
MR. CARSON. At this time, I would like to recognize a member of the House of Delegates from Kanawha County, the Honorable William T. Brotherton, Jr.
MR. BROTHERTON. Mr. President, fellow West Virginians. We have heard much during this Assembly of the heritage that our forefathers left for us. It is my belief that we have accepted this heritage with steadfast purpose except for one major point. I refer to that heritage that our forefathers had in their interest to their government. Too often today we leave our interest in our government to a few political party leaders. If there is one thing that we here in this Assembly can do for the forthcoming generations, it is to resolve that we, through our political parties, the Democratic party and the Republican party, actively recruit all the citizens of the State of West Virginia to become active participants in the party of their choice and thereby actively engage in their government. This, I think, will do much to rekindle that great belief that our forefathers had in their government in 1863. Thank you.
MR. CARSON. At this time, I should like to recognize a member of the House of Delegates, the Honorable George H. Seibert, Jr., Wheeling.
MR. SEIBERT. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, distinguished Senators and Delegates, citizens of West Virginia and guests.
This morning in our session we had very ably recounted for us the early history and formation of our State of West Virginia. It was told to us of the courage and conviction with which the citizens of that time applied their capabilities to the problems which confronted them. As a result of their meeting the challenge of that day, our State was born and we now stand here as citizens of West Virginia.
The formation of a state, of course, does not solve all of the problems that confront people who govern themselves. As we examine factually the last hundred years, we find that in spite of some of our shortcomings that much has been accomplished, much of it in our time.
We also find, from that examination, that one of the problems that confronted the founders of our State, was the problem of sectionalism. It has been said by others before me that we have had that problem with us in the State of West Virginia during these past hundred years, and to some extent, we still have it today. I believe that if there is anything that we might do to help us solve the problems which confront us as a freely-governed people, it would be to hope and pray that we can do every thing within our power to overcome and combat any type of sectionalism within the State of West Virginia. Let us hope and pray that this opening centennial celebration beginning here today will be a beginning of a break-through of sectionalism in the State of West Virginia. Thank you.
MR. CARSON. The Chair recognizes the Delegate from Greenbrier County, the Honorable Richard E. Ford.
MR. FORD. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, my fellow West Virginians. We, in southern West Virginia, take great pride in our hospitality but I am here to testify to you today that the members of this special Assembly have witnessed hospitality at its best here in Ohio County and in Wheeling. On behalf of the members of the special Assembly of 1963, I want to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Ohio County and of Wheeling for the splendid way in which they have and are entertaining us during this centennial weekend.
Our forefathers gathered here at the birthplace of West Virginia one hundred two years ago to enact the Wheeling Declaration. They returned in April of 1863 to learn of the signing of the Proclamation. It is fitting and proper that we, as members of government, in 1963, should return to this birthplace of our State. Our forefathers, when they gathered here one hundred two years ago, I believe naturally turned their eyes and hearts backwards to the pioneers who carved the civilization out of this frontier land and then they turned their efforts forward to till the soil, timber the forests, build the industry and extract the minerals.
We have the challenge of the frontier before us today as we enter the second hundred years, the challenge is there, the frontier has changed somewhat. We must meet the challenge of the future. The challenge of automation in order to give our laborers an opportunity to earn a fair day's pay for an honest day's work. We must encourage the investment of capital and the continued growth of industry. We must provide honesty, efficiency and integrity in government. If we meet this challenge, then we, as we go through the years, and our grandchildren one hundred years from today can continue to say, "Mountaineers are always free."
MR. CARSON. The Honorable Charles E. Lohr, the Delegate from Mercer, is now recognized.
MR. LOHR. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, gentlemen of the Senate, ladies and gentlemen of the House, distinguished guests, fellow West Virginians and friends.
I deem it a pleasure and a privilege to arise on this occasion to speak a few words concerning our beloved State. We West Virginians have indeed an envious heritage. Our State has been richly blessed by our Creator in natural wealth, a wealth that would put to shame the mines of Ophir and the Isles of Indes. It has been blessed in human resources, resources that have been recognized in the State, in the Nation, yes, in the world. I am sure that each of us appreciate our many blessings and the deep-rooted values which guided the lives and the actions of the pioneer leaders, our seers.
I am equally sure that this appreciation places upon each of us a sense of responsibility, a responsibility portrayed in action that we may preserve and enlarge for future generations some of the fundamentally important values. We must help to instill in our youth by education and example a spirit of individual initiative and responsibility. We must help to develop a positive, a constructive and a conscientious attitude towards the State's challenging problems and opportunities. We must hold high the precept that all men are created free and equal by our heavenly Father. We must, as did our forefathers, ask for Divine guidance and then we must be humble enough to say thanks to our Creator for this guidance. Then, my friends, it is my belief that West Virginia can face the future with confidence, with pride and assurance that our posterity, when another hundred years have rolled, may well meet here and say with reverence and in truth, "indeed, we West Virginians of 2063 have a deep, rich and full heritage."
MR. CARSON. For the purpose of making an introduction, the Chair now recognizes the Honorable Forrest M. Buck, the Delegate from Tyler County.
MR. BUCK. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker and distinguished members, ladies and gentlemen. I feel most highly honored to represent, in this one hundredth year of our State, the people of Tyler County. This county has been one of the greatest contributors in furnishing the necessary factors for the economic development and progress toward the hundred years of success for our State of West Virginia. Judge Abraham D. Soper of Sistersville, Tyler County, served as the President of the Constitutional Convention at the time the application for statehood was accepted. Judge Soper was later asked by President Lincoln to serve as Governor of our State. However, due to his advanced age, and extreme reluctance of his wife, he declined this position and recommended that Arthur Ingraham Boreman be named Governor.
In 1890 to '91, due to the persistence and the intense confidence of several individuals, the first commercial oil well in West Virginia was drilled successfully about two miles northeast of Sistersville on the Russell farm. Thereby, introducing into this State, the gigantic oil and gas industry. This well became known as the Polecat No. I well with a maximum production of five hundred barrels daily. No doubt, many of you have passed this location on our Route 2, but unfortunately there is at this time no marker to point out the spot.
Approximately ninety-five years after the Constitutional Convention, Tyler County presented to the people of West Virginia a man with far-reaching vision and foresight to serve them as their Governor. This man, in a portion of his early youth, lived on the Russell farm, just a stone's throw from West Virginia's first oil well. With the same kind of far-reaching vision that was displayed by Judge Soper, this man personally appeared approximately three and one-half years ago in Sistersville and sold the first gold centennial courtesy cards, thereby getting the financial aspects of the Centennial Year off the ground and into motion and assuring our 1963 Centennial celebration a decided success. I might add, he gave us approximately twenty miles of completed interstate highway which a great many of you will find will save you approximately thirty minutes on your return trip to Charleston. Recognizing the far-reaching vision, foresight, imagination and the highest degree of integrity he brought to the state government of West Virginia, it is with the utmost pride that I present to you, the Honorable Cecil H. Underwood.
MR. CARSON. For the purpose of making an introduction, I am pleased at this time to introduce a Delegate from Fayette County, the Honorable T. E. Myles.
MR. MYLES. Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, it is indeed an honor for me to have the privilege of introducing to this Assembly a notable and distinguished citizen of the County of Fayette. This man, of many monumental accomplishments. is known and respected by virtually all West Virginians. Furthermore, he is known to them by his first name. He is a statesman, financier, a highly successful businessman and a practical politician without peer. His many accomplishments are far too numerous for me to enumerate at this time, but he is probably best known to West Virginians for having been the twenty-third governor of our State, having served from 1949 to 1953. I personally believe that history will record this man as being, if not our most distinguished, certainly one of our most distinguished governors.
By virtue of his efforts, his vision and burning desire to create a better West Virginia, he accomplished at least two feats that attest to his stature. During his term of office as Governor, he brought into being our magnificant medical center at West Virginia University and the West Virginia Turnpike. These two accomplishments alone are of such magnitude that one can hardly imagine how they could be conceived, nurtured and virtually brought into being in one short four-year term in office. Certainly, when our second centennial is celebrated, he will then, as he is now, be known as one of our most outstanding governors.
Ladies and gentlemen, I take great pride in presenting to you the Honorable Okey L. Patteson.
MR. CARSON. The Delegate from Randolph, the Honorable Jack R. Nuzum, is recognized by the Chair for the purpose of making an introduction.
MR. NUZUM. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Senators, members of the House, distinguished guests, I am proud, on the hundredth anniversary of our State, to represent the great County of Randolph in the House of Delegates.
After 100 years, Randolph County remains the largest county in the State. Randolph County is the proud possessor of our largest tree. This County has produced many outstanding political figures, among them, United States Senator Stephen B. Elkins, United States Senator Davis Elkins, United States Senator Howard Sutherland and a distinguished former Governor of our State, the late Herman Guy Kump. In the hundredth year of our State, Senator Jennings Randolph of the County of Randolph, represents West Virginia in the United States Senate and one of our native sons is our Governor.
I would like to present to you the former Mayor of Elkins, former member of the House of Delegates from Randolph County, former Attorney General of the State of West Virginia and the present Governor, William Wallace Barren, who steers the ship of state as we enter our second century of statehood.
GOVERNOR BARRON. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Legislature, fellow West Virginians:
During last night's program at the McLure Hotel, as Judge Boreman repeated the words from the inaugural address of his illustrious grand-uncle, my thoughts turned naturally, as I am sure yours did, to the events which brought West Virginia into being a hundred years ago in the midst of the Civil War.
To Governor Boreman and other statesmen of their time, that was a day of fulfillment, a day of accomplishment, a day of grasping a long-sought goal. As I read the history of the period, I do not think they considered it a day of triumph. Rather, they regarded West Virginia's statehood as a new beginning for the people on the western side of the mountains; an important new beginning, to be sure, but only a milestone along the road which held their hopes and their aspirations for the new state and its residents.
They knew from the lessons of history and from their own experience that gaining statehood would not solve all of their problems, nor that the road ahead would be smooth and easy, now that the separation from Virginia was an accomplished fact. Instead, being practical men of their day, they realized that organizing a new state and getting it started brought more and even larger problems.
Those sturdy forefathers of ours were undismayed, however. They may even have relished taking on those new problems, for they appreciated that statehood carried responsibilities with it. While they had attained their goal of statehood, they knew that was not the end. It was only the beginning. From there they went on to other goals, first joining with other loyal states in winning the war, and then, as Governor Boreman said in his inaugural address, to bring prosperity and happiness to the new State of West Virginia.
A century has passed since Governor Boreman and his associates set up the first government of the 35th state. How well they did their job, how solid a foundation they laid down, is now up for appraisal as West Virginia ends its first one hundred years and enters the second. Does anyone doubt that it was a job well done, that it was a firm foundation they built? The answer lies all around us, in this great Wheeling steel center, in the humming chemical plants along the Ohio and Kanawha valleys, in the many industrial plants - large and small - scattered over the state, in the fine apple orchards in the Eastern Panhandle, our farms, our vast forests, in the coal mines in the northern and southern sections, and in our beautiful Capitol at Charleston.
The heritage they left is ours. They and succeeding generations guided its growth through the first century. Now the opportunity to advance West Virginia to higher levels of prosperity and happiness is ours too. What are we going to do with it?
Our Centennial gives us the chance to take a long, hard look at ourselves while we are deciding what the answer is to be.
It is entirely fitting that the Legislature and many of the officials of the State of West Virginia should come to Wheeling for one of the most important programs of the Centennial. Wheeling is certainly the logical place to review the events of the State's first one hundred years.
Here in Wheeling is where it all started. Here is where the people of the northwestern area of Virginia decided they could not go along with Virginia in seceding from the Union. Here is where the West Virginia Declaration of Independence was written and adopted in 1861. Here is where West Virginia became the 35th state in the Union on June 20, 1863. Here is where Governor Boreman made his inaugural address and established the first state government of West Virginia.
Governor Boreman and his associates started West Virginia well on its path of progress. They met the challenges of their day with determination and with action.
We can do no less in applying ourselves to the problems of today, calling on the Supreme Being, as they did, in advancing West Virginia, with genuine pride and with confidence, as we enter our State's second century.
This has been an outstanding Centennial Ceremonial Assembly of the West Virginia Legislature and as Governor of West Virginia, I want to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Wheeling and Ohio County in making this one of the most magnificant affairs that any of us in state government have ever attended. Thank you so very much.
MR. CARSON. The Second Wheeling Declaration, approved at the forenoon meeting of the Assembly, will now be read by the Honorable J. Howard Myers, Clerk of the West Virginia Senate, after which it will be signed by the Governor and members of the Legislature.
The Declaration was read by Mr. Myers and Governor Barron, followed by the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Delegates and members of the Senate and House of Delegates came forward and affixed their signatures thereto.
Interspersed throughout the afternoon session was a musical program which included the following:
At 4:00 P.M., on motion of Mr. Black, seconded by Mr. Lohr, the Assembly adjourned sine die.
June 17, 1861
The true purpose of all government is to promote the welfare and provide for the protection and security of the governed, and when any form or organization of government proves inadequate for, or subversive of this purpose, it is the right, it is the duty of the latter to abolish it. The Bill of Rights of Virginia, framed in 1776, re-affirmed in 1830, and again in 1851, expressly reserves this right to a majority of her people. The act of the General Assembly, calling the Convention which assembled at Richmond in February last, without the previously expressed consent of such majority, was therefore a usurpation; and the Convention thus called has not only abused the powers nominally entrusted to it, but, with the connivance and active aid of the executive, has usurped and exercised other powers, to the manifest injury of the people, which, if permitted, will inevitably subject them to military despotism.
The Convention, by its pretended ordinances, has required the people of Virginia to separate from and wage war against the Government of the United States, and against citizens of neighboring States, with whom they have heretofore maintained friendly, social and business relations:
It has attempted to subvert the Union founded by Washington and his co-patriots, in the purer days of the republic, which has conferred unexampled prosperity upon every class of citizens, and upon every section of the country:
It has attempted to transfer the allegiance of the people to an illegal confederacy of rebellious States, and required their submission to its pretended edicts and decrees:
It has attempted to place the whole military force and military operations of the Commonwealth under the control and direction of such confederacy, for offensive as well as defensive purposes:
It has, in conjunction with the State executive, instituted wherever their usurped power extends, a reign of terror intended to suppress the free expression of the will of the people, making elections a mockery and a fraud:
The same combination, even before the passage of the pretended ordinance of secession, instituted war by the seizure and appropriation of the property of the Federal Government, and by organizing and mobilizing armies, with the avowed purpose of capturing or destroying the Capitol of the Union:
They have attempted to bring the allegiance of the people of the United States into direct conflict with their subordinate allegiance to the State, thereby making obedience to their pretended ordinances, treason against the former.
We, therefore, the delegates here assembled in Convention to devise such measures and take such action as the safety and welfare of the loyal citizens of Virginia may demand, having maturely considered the premises, and viewing with great concern the deplorable condition to which this once happy Commonwealth must be reduced unless some regular adequate remedy is speedily adopted, and appealing to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for the restitude of our intentions, do hereby, in the name and on behalf of the good people of Virginia, solemnly declare that the preservation of their dearest rights and liberties and their security in person and property, imperatively demand the reorganization of the government of the Commonwealth, and that all acts of said Convention and Executive, tending to separate this Commonwealth from the United States, or to levy and carry on war against them, are without authority and void; and that the offices of all who adhere to the said Convention and Executive, whether legislative, executive or judicial, are vacated.
*This "Declaration of Rights" is known as the West Virginia Declaration of Independence and is one of the most important state papers of West Virginia. It was adopted on June 17, 1861, by delegates from the northwestern counties attending the Second Wheeling Convention. The adoption of this historic document, setting forth the reasons the northwestern counties refused to join the secession movement, was one of the first steps leading to the founding of the State of West Virginia two years later on June 20, 1863.
April 20, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
INTO THE UNION
April 20, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
Whereas, by the Act of Congress approved the 31st day of December, last, the State of West Virginia was declared to be one of the United States of America, and was admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever, upon the condition that certain changes should be duly made in the proposed Constitution for that State;
And, whereas, proof of a compliance with that condition as required by the Second Section of the Act aforesaid, has been submitted to me;
Now, therefore, be it known, that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do, hereby, in pursuance of the Act of Congress aforesaid, declare and proclaim that the said act shall take effect and be in force, from and after sixty days from the date hereof.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this twentieth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.
By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD
Secretary of State.
Government and Politics