Shinnston, Feb. 15
A large and respectable meeting of the citizens of Harrison county assembled at the Methodist Protestant Church in this place on Saturday, the 15th inst. The Rev. Aaron Vincent was called to the chair and Benj. Martin, Esq., appointed Secretary. The object of the meeting being explained by B. T. Harmer, and the reading of extracts from the proceedings of the House of Delegates, in connection with the speeches and votes of the delegates from Harrison county, on motion of Albert Shoer the following committee of three was appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting; whereupon the chair appointed Wm. P. Hall, S. S. Fleming and B. Tyson Harmer, who reported the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That we have seen with pride and pleasure, our beloved county, in the darkest hour of our trouble, placing her iron heel upon the neck of the recreant politicians and secession tricksters, who had taken possession of the uppermost seats in the councils of our county.
Resolved, That it is mortifying to the feelings of this meeting, to be compelled to sit in judgment and give vent to public expression in condemnation of the acts and doings of our delegates in the Legislature. Nevertheless, painful as this may be, we believe it is a duty we owe to ourselves, to our country and the cause we have espoused, to place ourselves aright before the public.
Resolved, That when we sent our sons into the field, exposed to all the dangers and privations of the soldier, it was for the purpose of putting down this rebellion; and we do here solemnly declare that no action of ours, directly or indirectly, shall be so construed as to give aid or comfort to, or to foster or pay, delegates to the Legislature for the purpose of maturing plans to apologize for rebels, and oppose all measures and propositions calculated to interfere with, or in any manner inconvenience, the truculent, cut-throat enemies of our country.
Resolved, That the time has now come to lift the masks from the faces of all public servants, and separate the wheat from the tares; and as causes are generally decided by the best evidence in the premises, we are of opinion that the acts and votes of our delegates in the Legislature, John J. Davis and John C. Vance, have been detrimental to the best interests of the loyal people of Harrison county and of the newly organized State Government, and to the putting down of the rebellion.
Resolved, That this meeting is desirous that Harrison county should be represented by men who would respect and represent the will and wishes of their constituents; and believing that the course pursued by our delegates is not so regarded by a large majority of the people of this county, we would respectfully ask them to surrender the trust confided to them again into the hands of the people.
Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting that the neutral-ground-compromise men of the country, represent an element more dangerous and destructive to the putting down of this rebellion, than the open and avowed secession soldier in the ranks of his army; and that this assembly are not of opinion that John J. Davis meant the Union men of Harrison county when he spoke of his constituents, whom he prop[o]sed to “urge to rebel against the taking of an oath to support the Constitution of the United States,” but we believe he had reference to a class of citizens who prevailed upon the young men of his town to surrender to an organized company of armed rebels from Bull Skin their squirrel rifles and shot guns, lest somebody might become offended, or a few dollars worth of property be jeopardized.
Resolved, That we solicit from our loyal brethren in other portions of the county an expression of their opinions in regard to the action of the two delegates from this county in the Legislature, hereinbefore names.
Resolved, That this meeting accord to Governor Peirpoint their admiration for his sterling worth and patriotism, and their confidence in both his integrity and ability as our chief executive officer.—That we cordially approve in general his course of dealing with the traitors in this section of the State, and especially his recent recommendation to the Legislature to further secure by legislative enactment, the safety and immunity of our loyal citizens by requiring rebels to take certain obligations before exercising the privileges of citizenship.
Resolved, That the foregoing proceedings be forwarded to the Wheeling Intelligencer with a request to publish, and that the Fairmont National, the Clarksburg Telegraph, the Ritchie county Press and the Parkersburg Gazette, be requested to copy.
Aaron Vincent, president.
Benjamin Martin, secretary
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: February 1862