Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
February 1861

February 1

February 2
A pro-Union meeting was held at the courthouse in Wellsburg during which a Union flag made by local women was presented to the Union Party of Brooke County.

A large number of people gathered at the Atheneum in Wheeling to hear speeches by Sherrard Clemens and Thomas Sweeney, candidates for delegate to the Virginia State Convention. Sweeney, who attempted to link Clemens with the Republicans, was hissed by people.

February 3

February 4
Virginia voters went to the polls to elect delegates to the Virginia State Convention in Richmond. In western Virginia, voters chose Samuel Woods (Barbour County), Edmund Pendleton and Allen C. Hammond (Berkeley County), Benjamin W. Byrne (representing Braxton, Nicholas, Clay, and Webster), Campbell Tarr* (Brooke County), William McComas (Cabell County), C. J. Stuart (representing Doddridge and Tyler), Henry L. Gillespie (representing Fayette and Raleigh), C. B. Conrad (representing Gilmer, Wirt, and Calhoun), Samuel Price (Greenbrier County), Edward M. Armstrong and David Pugh (Hampshire County), George McC. Porter* (Hancock County), Thomas Maslin (Hardy County), John S. Carlile* and Benjamin Wilson (Harrison County), Franklin P. Turner (representing Jackson and Roane), Alfred M. Barbour and Logan Osburn (Jefferson County), George W. Summers and Spicer Patrick (Kanawha County), Caleb Boggess (Lewis County), James Lawson (representing Logan, Boone, and Wyoming), Alpheus F. Haymond and Ephraim B. Hall (Marion County), James Burley (Marshall County), James H. Couch (Mason County), Napoleon B. French (Mercer County), Waitman T. Willey* and Marshall M. Dent* (Monongalia County), Allen T. Caperton and John Echols (Monroe County), Johnson Orrick (Morgan county), Sherrard Clemens and Chester D. Hubbard* (Ohio County), Henry H. Masters (Pendleton County), Paul McNeil (Pocahontas County), Cyrus Hall (representing Pleasants and Ritchie), William G. Brown and James C. McGrew (Preston County), James W. Hoge (Putnam County), John N. Hughes (representing Randolph and Tucker), John S. Burdett* (Taylor County), William P. Cecil and Samuel L. Graham (representing Tazewell and Buchanan in present-day Virginia as well as McDowell), George W. Berlin (Upshur County), Burwell Spurlock (Wayne County), Leonard S. Hall (Wetzel County), and John J. Jackson* (Wood County).

Those men with an * after their names would go on to serve in the first or second sessions of the Wheeling Convention later in 1861. James Burley of Marshall and George McC. Porter of Hancock would become members of the Reorganized Government of Virginia, while Ephraim B. Hall and Chapman J. Stuart would serve as delegates to the constitutional convention. William G. Brown, John S. Carlile, and Waitman T. Willey would serve in Congress under the Reorganized Government.

February 5
A crowd of Wheeling residents serenaded Thomas Sweeney and Joseph H. Pendleton, who responded with speeches. Sweeney and Pendleton had been candidates for delegate from Ohio County to the Virginia State Convention but lost to Sherrard Clemens and Chester D. Hubbard.

February 6

February 7

February 8
A provisional constitution for the Confederate States of America was adopted.

February 9

February 10

February 11

February 12
Many delegates to the Virginia State Convention arrived in Richmond. On February 14th, the correspondent to the Wheeling Intelligencer reported that Waitman Willey and Chester Hubbard were "messed on the same floor" at the Spotswood, Sherrard Clemens and Campbell Tarr were together, and Marshall Dent and Alfred M. Barbour were across the hall from them. Among others staying at the Spotswood were James Burley and John J. Jackson.

February 13
The Virginia State Convention convened in Richmond. For the first few days, members focused on organizational matters concerning the election of officers and appointment of committees.

February 14
The Virginia State Convention continued to deal with organizational matters. Benjamin R. Linkous of Raleigh County was elected First Door Keeper.

February 15

February 16
At the Virginia State Convention, John Carlile of Harrison County submitted this resolution:

Resolved, That since the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Chisholm vs. the State of Georgia, and the adoption of the eleventh amendment to the Constitution, we are at a loss to understand how the impression that the Federal Government possessed the power to coerce a State could have obtained credence.

In his letter from Richmond of this date about the Virginia State Convention, the special correspondent to the Wheeling Intelligencer wrote about a few of the delegates from western Virginia. John J. Jackson of Wood County, he wrote, "is reckoned as one of the big guns of the Convention, and when the time comes will make a mighty quaking among the dry bones."

February 17

February 18
Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as provisional president of the Confederate States of America.

February 19
At the Virginia State Convention, Leonard S. Hall of Wetzel County offered resolutions supporting Virginia's right of secession but also stating that the mere election of Abraham Lincoln as president did not afford grounds for secession. The resolutions also called upon Virginia to demand guarantees and amendments to preserve the balance between the sections.

Later that day, Hall was overheard in the parlor of the Spottswood Hotel denouncing his colleagues as "submissionists," which drew a response from John J. Jackson, who "went into Hall before the crowd, and told them . . . that had it not been for the unfortunate divisions of the Union men in Wetzel, Hall would be on the banks of the Ohio, instead of here [Richmond] on the banks of James river."

February 20
At the Virginia State Convention, Franklin P. Turner of Jackson County, submitted resolutions stating that, in the event reconciliation of the two sections does not take place, Virginia unite with the other slaveholding states and also that Virginia will resist any coercive acts by the federal government to reunite seceding states.

Sherrard Clemens of Ohio County, having being accused in several quarters of sending incendiary documents to free African Americans under his congressional frank, asserted that the franks were forgeries. Leonard Hall of Wetzel stated that in his opinion, the franks were forgeries. A frank is any authorized devise to mark mail for postal service. Since the early days of the country, congressional representatives have been able to send mail under their signature without postage.

February 21
At the Virginia State Convention, Samuel Woods of Barbour County offered resolutions asserting that, among other things, "the allegiance which the citizens of Virginia owe to the Federal Government of the United States of America is subordinate to that due to Virginia." In response to the belief among some people that the people of northwestern Virginia were not loyal to Virginia, Waitman T. Willey of Monongalia County gave a speech arguing the loyality of the section: "Why, sir, your honor is her honor; your interest is her interest; your country is her country; your faith shall be her faith; your destiny shall be her destiny."

February 22

February 23
At the Virginia State Convention, Leonard S. Hall of Wetzel County accused convention delegates Sherrard Clemens and Chester Hubbard of Ohio County of standing on a platform advocated by Alexander Campbell of the Wheeling Intelligencer, "a paper that was an out and out Lincoln paper, which advocated his election and denounced slavery as a sin."

February 24

February 25
The president of the Virginia State Convention read a letter from Sherrard Clemens, who was ill, regarding statements made on February 23. Clemens asserted, "I was elected on my own platform."

February 26

February 27

February 28

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood

West Virginia Archives and History