Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
January 1, 1863

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
January 3, 1863

Our Great New Year's Gift.

New Year's Day was made truly and perpetually memorable to the people of West Virginia by the act of the President of the United States signing their new State bill, and thus making it forever an unrepealable law on the statute book of the nation.

The glorious news reached this city about eleven A. M., New Year's Day, through the following dipatch to Gov. Peirpoint, from that faithful laborer in the cause, Hon. Jacob Blair:

Washington, Jan. 1, 1863.

To Governor F. H. Peirpoint: - I have just returned from the President. He has made memorable to the people of West Virginia the first day of the New Year by signing the new State bill. I saw his signature to the bill. Let all the people rejoice!

J. B. Blair.

Within a very few moments after the dispatch was received, we had it in print, in an extra, but faster than extras flew the glorious tidings through the city. People gathered in the streets and the word passed like electricity from mouth to mouth. In an hour every body seemed to know it, and the streets beamed with joyous groups of people exchanging hearty and happy congratulations over the glorious event of the New Year. The old cannon was again brought out, as on the evening of the day the bill passed Congress, and again the hills and dells of our grand old river valley were made to wake the echoes that told the joy of a people made free. New Year's Day was peculiarly New Year's Day no longer. It turned into a new State holiday, and even the boys on the streets hurrahed for West Virginia.

The news was sent off into the interior and there, even more than here, it produced great excitement and great rejoicing among the people. Weston, the county seat of Lewis, was the first to send back her greetings, which she did in the following dispatch.

Weston, January 1st, 1863.

Gov. F. H. Peirpoint:

Our town is brilliantly illuminated tonight. The crack of musketry is reverberating from hill to hill. All is hilarity in honor of the new State.

[Signed] P. M. Hale.

And so the news came from all quarters. Wherever the news could penetrate the people were in extacies, as well they might be. A great suspense had been lifted from off their minds. Their long forebodings and apprehensions, engendered and fostered by many rumors, banished at once and forever, and the reaction that came on was glorious. Never were a people more delighted with a New Years' gift, for never did a people have such a one before.

The President of the United States has doubly endeared himself to the people of West Virginia by this act of his, which frees them from the bonds of their ancient oppressors; and brings to them at last the realization of their long agone dreams and the deferred hopes of two generations. The President's name will henceforth be canonized by the people of West virginia as the redeemer of their country and themselves, and the act that he has signed will be read and commented each recurring New Year's Day, in coming ages, as has been and will ever be, the Declaration of Independence on the fourth of each July, and a grateful people will forever say, "God bless Abraham Lincoln!"

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
January 14, 1863

Meeting in Braxton County.

Editors Intelligencer:

For the sake of celebrating the New Year, in the best and most appropriate manner we knew how, and also in accordance with previous notice, a large and enthusiastic meeting of the citizens of Braxton was held the 1st inst. on Otter Creek at the Church.

The meeting was organized by appointing F. J. Baxter, President, and G. F. Taylor, Secretary.

The President briefly explained the object of the meeting, when Hon. Wm. D. Rollyson was loudly called for and took the stand, making a lengthy and able speech on the question, which he showed himself to be familiar with and handled with signal success, commencing at the breaking out of the rebellion and ending with the President's signature to the bill. He showed the loyalty and constitutionality of the proceedings throughout, vindicating the amendment of the constitution by Congress, by exposing the fallacious fickle theory of "Congressional dictation." So industriously used by the enemies of the new State, and winding up with an array of the many advantages the people of this county will derive from a separation and final disentanglement of interests, with Old Virginia. After which H. A. Baxter briefly addressed the meeting relative to county matters, followed by H. H. Beall, whose remarks were confined to the same subject.

Relinquishing the chair, F. J. Baxter took the stand and delivered a lengthy and elaborate address relative to the reorganized Government of Virginia and the New State. His remarks were chiefly confined to the financial condition of the State, and abounded in much useful and interesting statistical information which was listened to with profound attention, when W. D. Rollyson handed in the following resolution which was unanimously adopted.

Resolved, That our delegate to the Constitutional Convention is hereby requested to vote for the clause in the Constitution, as substituted and passed by Congress.

The following resolution was then offered by Adam Hyer, after which on motion of H. A. Baxter the meeting adjourned:

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published in the Wheeling papers.

F. J. Baxter, President.
G. F. Taylor, Secretary.

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
January 7, 1863

New State Celebration.

Weston, Lewis Co., Va., Jan. 2

Editors Intelligencer:

It would have done your soul good to have been here last night and witnessed with what delight and enthusiasm our citizens celebrated the news that the President had signed the new State bill. The town was most brilliantly illuminated, and at Capt. Larkin Peirpoint's headquarters thirty-five burning tapers, representing the 35 States, was a most magnificent sight. A happy change was evident upon every one's countenance, from a despondency felt for the fate of the new State for several days past. Our citizens together with Capt. L. Peirpont's company and a detachment of Capt. Lot Bowen's cavalry, under charge of Lieut. Wm. Lovell, turned out and formed in procession with torch lights and tapers marched through the streets, firing at intervals a solid volley of musketry that made the very earth fairly tremble. The procession halted in front of Francis Batton's restaurant and partook of some refreshments, gave three cheers for the infant State, and three rousers for Gov. Peirpoint. It was a time that will be long remembered by our citizens and all who participated.

The celebration was closed by a "Hop," by those who enjoyed a shake of the foot. Lewis county will do her whole duty on the ratification.

On Saturday night last a gang of horse thieves came into Lewis county, took eight or ten good horses, and robbed a store within ten miles of Weston, owned by Robert H. Clarke. They stole some six or eight hundred dollars in money from various parties, but took nothing from secessionists, they robbed from Union men exclusively. The band was commanded by one Wilson, from the upper end of this county. There is a gap opened from Sutton to Beverly, through which these thieves and the rebel mail come into this county. The powers that be should see that this wide space, unoccupied by Federal forces, is at once guarded, or every dollar's worth of property belonging to loyal men will be stolen and carried off. This county has furnished nearly five hundred Federal troops, and has only one company for its protection, and it is a border county.


Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
January 3, 1863

Rejoicing at Moundsville.

Moundsville, January 2, 1863

Editors Intelligencer:

We received the news on yesterday evening that the President had signed the bill for the admission of West Virginia as a new State in the Union. We had great rejoicing here, we hauled out our old cannon again and shot as long as we had any ammunition in the locker. We rejoiced as men should rejoice who have won all they have been striving for. We had been in a sorry mood for some time past for fear father Abraham would veto the bill - what kind of a predicament we would then have been placed in I will not endeavor to picture off here; suffice it to say that we have escaped the fearful whirlpool of anarchy and despair and are now on the high road to prosperity with the prospects ahead of a new free State.

Now the next question for us to decide is, what must be done next, shall we stand and fold our arms? By no means. The Convention should be immediately convened. The Convention should give the Virginia soldiers authority to vote at the elction to be held to decide the fate of the new State.

Whether it would be good policy to hold the election for State and County officers at the same time or not might be a question worth considering. Be this as it may the Convention should appoint a sufficient number of good, honeset and judicious Superintendents, New State men at heart, to visit every camp where Western Virginia soldiers may be located, and give them all a fair chance to vote on this question. Are they not vitally interested in this the greatest and long cherished hope of all the true patriots and lovers of the Star Spangled Banner in West virginia? They march under its folds - they fight under this Banner - they wrap themselves up in its folds and die, "that long may it wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave." Shame then on the man that will dare to raise his voice in the Convention against the soldiers having this glorious privilege.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: January 1863

West Virginia Archives and History