April 29, 1861
Two Thousand Five Hundred People Turn Out—Old Monongalia Alive with Enthusiasm for the Union—Strong Resolves—A Division of the State Declared for—Monongalia Will Never Submit to the Treason at Richmond—The Display on Monday Last.
[From the Morgantown Star.]
Monday, the 22d of April, 1861, will long be remembered by the people of Monongalia, and forever honored and cherished as the day which revealed to the doubting that old Monongalia is firmly attached to the Union. There was no general notice given for the display by the leading Union men, but it was left to the cool, calm and reflecting yeomanry, who, anxious to show their true devotion to the “Stars and Stripes,” turned out en masse. About 9 o’clock, A. M., the sound of the fife and drum was heard coming down Main street; all eyes were turned in that direction and beheld a very nice flag bearing the motto of
and followed by about three hundred of the hard-fisted, true-hearted farmers of that section of the county. Then came the Fort Martin Boys, to the number of about 250 or 300, commanded by that noble champion of the Union cause, Joseph Snider, Jr. Cheer after cheer rent the air, and the ladies—God bless them—joined in the merry throng, and waved their handkerchiefs as a welcome to the sons whom they look to for defence. After the procession had gathered around the Union pole in front of the Court House, and sent up three cheers for the Union, they were dismissed until 1 o’clock, P. M.
AFTERNOON.—At one o’clock, the Mechanics’ Bugle band commenced playing some of their favorite Union airs, and the throng commenced gathering on Main street. The procession was formed, and marched up Main street to N. E. Boundary, thence down front to Foundry, up Foundry to Main, and up Main to the Court House, where a stand had been previously erected for speaking.
The meeting was called to order by the olection [election] of Col. Wm. Lazier as Present, and Dr. I Scott and Dr. Wm. M. Dent Secretaries. The President, in a few brief, appropriate remarks, explained the object of the meeting, and then introduced F. H. Pierpoint, Esq., of Marion county, who addressed the immense throng for some time, in an able and eloquent manner— He handled the secessionists without gloves, and, in the opinion of all honest minded men, completely swamped the disunionists, who went away and refused to hear the truth.
The following resolutions of the previous meeting were read and adopted by acclamation:
WHEREAS, An alarming crisis now exists in this county, imminently threatening the existence of the American Union, and all the blessings of that civil and religious liberty, to secure which our revolutionary fathers waged and endured all the hardships and privations of a seven years’ war. And whereas, the present deplorable condition of our public affairs has arisen from the indiscreet and useless agitation of the slavery question in our national legislature by demagogues and selfish politicians North and South. And whereas, the time has now come when it behooves every true friend of the Union and his country to rally under the flag and maintain the same with an unwavering hand, and under the most adverse and trying circumstances. Therefore be it
Resolved, That we the people of Monongalia, without distinction of party, deprecate and hereby enter our solemn protest against the secession of Virginia in the present exigency as unwise and inexpedient and fatal to her best interests and the interests of our whole country; believing as we do, that amongst its legitimate and immediate results, will be the utter ruin and bankruptcy and desolation of our hitherto proud and powerful old Commonwealth.
Resolved, That we are attached to the Federal Union as the ark of our political security and safety; that it is endeared to us by the enduring fame and patriotic deeds of its founders, and that we will cling to it despite all the tirades and treasonable threats of the ingrates and traitors who are engaged in the unholy work of firing the Southern heart and precipitating us in the yawning gulf of secession.
Resolved, That secession, as it is practically exemplified in the so-called Southern Confederacy, is unmitigated treason against the Constitution and Government of the United States, and its leading actors, in the language of its prime mover and greatest champion, Wm. L. Yancy, “are traitors, and liable to be treated as such for violating the Constitution and laws of their country.”
Resolved, That the idea of seceding from the General Government of the United States, and attaching Virginia (as the outside sentinel) to the so-called Cotton or Gulf State Confederacy, is repulsive, and opposed to every feeling, sentiment and instinct of patriotism, and the sense of this meeting is unalterable opposed to being dragged into the walks of secession by South Carolina, the hot-bed of political heresies and treason.
Resolved, That Western Virginia has patiently submitted to and borne up under that oppressive policy of Eastern Virginia for the last half century, as shown in her course in denying to us equal representation and refusing to bear her equal share of the burden of taxation, (in uniformly claiming and receiving exemption from equal taxation on her slave property.—That now the measure of Eastern oppression is full, and that if, as is claimed by her, secession is the only remedy offered by her for all our wrongs, the day is near at hand when Western Virginia will rise up in the majesty of her strength and repudiating her oppressors, will dissolve all her civil and political connection with them, and remain firmly under the time honored stars and stripes.
Resolved, That we hereby tender our thanks to our delegates in the Convention, W. T. Willey and M. M. Dent, Esqs., for their firm stand and active resistance to the extreme and unwise policy of secession, and cordially say to them, “Well done good and faithful servants.”
The following also were offered by H. Dering, Esq., and adopted unanimously, viz.
Resolved, That this meeting heartily approves of the patriotic Union course pursued by the Hon. Wm. G. Brown in the Virginia Convention assembled at Richmond.
Resolved, That this meeting has heard with pleasure of the nomination of the Hon. Wm. G. Brown as the Union candidate to represent this District in the Congress of the United States, and that we hereby endorse and ratify the nomination, and pledge ourselves to use our influence in favor of his election.
Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting by tendered to F. H. Pierpont and Fontaine F. Smith, Esqs., of Marion county, for their eloquent speeches in behalf of the National Union.
Resolved, That all papers in the District friendly to the Union be requested to publish the same.
Fontaine F. Smith, Esq, of Marion county, was then introduced. He spoke for about two hours, whilst the people, anxious for facts, gave him all the attention that an orator could desire. At every mention of the “Stars and Stripes,” or “The Union,” thunders of applause greeted the speaker. After Mr. Smith concluded, Mr. Peirpoint was again called out, and spoke for about 30 minutes. Although the people had been standing there for over three hours, after marching in procession all around town, yet they seemed to be not at all wearied, but listened patiently, and was only sorry that our speakers had become too hoarse to say more.
After the band had given “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Yankee Doodle,” and the whole concourse of people had sent up three cheers for the Union, three for the Stars and Stripes, three for Messrs. Pierpoint and Smith, and three for Hon. Wm. G. Brown, the Union candidate for Congress, the crowd left for their homes, well pleased with the fact, that they had given one day to their country.
The streets of our town were beautifully decorated with the flag of our country, and presented the appearance of a military encampment. There were not less than fifty American flags put up on Monday, and the greatest and most unanimous Union feeling was manifested. Quietude and good order reigned supreme, and no disturbance took place to mar the harmony of the day. We have not as yet heard of one single cross word being spoken between a Union man and a secessionist, although we saw several parties taking a friendly discussion together. God grant that all our public days may pass off so pleasantly.
The procession was the largest ever witnessed in Morgantown, or at least since the great Convention in 1844; but as that was swelled by delegations from other States, and this was Monongalia county alone, it was even larger than that. There were, according to count on Foundry street, nine hundred and eighty in the procession and we noticed Union men all along the streets who were not in the procession at all. Altogether, there were not less than two thousand people in town on Monday, and some say, as high as 2,500. All hail Monongalia!
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: April 1861