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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
March 7, 1863


Wheeling Intelligencer
March 9, 1863

Butternut Meeting At Triadelphia – Anti-New State Resolutions And Speeches. – About forty or fifty of what is commonly known as Butternuts went out from the city to Triadelphia, on Saturday afternoon, by a special train, where they were joined by a dozen or so more of their political friends, and a meeting was held in Frank Lawson’s ball-room.

The crowd assembled in the room about three o’clock, and after a half hour’s silence, somebody was heard to remark, in a sweet voice, “gentlemen!” Turning about we beheld the classic face of Mr. William Otterson beaming out from a prominent position near the fire-place. “Gentlemen! Gentlemen!” continued this voice, “it is necessary that we should do things soberly and quietly, and with an eye – open – to the interests of the American people. To that end I nominate Mr. A. Bedillion as the chairman of this meeting.”

Mr. Bedillion suggested that it was not time yet to organize the meeting, and then there was another pause.

Mr. Robert Sweeney then entered the room, and nominated Mr. Bedillion as Chairman. The nomination was carried, and Dr. George Baird, the Mayor of this city, was appointed Secretary.

Mr. Chas. Marshall said the object of the meeting was to take initiatory steps towards organizing the Democratic party of Ohio county to oppose the new State and break the yower [sic] of abolitionism, which was fast enslaving us. The meeting would also appoint delegates to the Convention which meets in Parkersburg on the 12th March.

A committee was then appointed to draft resolutions. The committee having retired for that purpose, Mr. Robert Sweeney was called upon for a speech. He said the new State movement was unconstitutional, and he undertook to show why it was unconstitutional. He denounced as false the oft repeated assertion that the Democratic party was disloyal. He spoke of the vast number of free negroes that would come into the proposed new and free State; there would be competition between white men and negroes, and white men who now receive $1.50 per day would then only get 75 cents.

Mr. Sweeney spoke about fifteen minutes when his speech was cut short by the arrival of the Committee on Resolutions which seemed to have transacted its business in remarkably short order. The committee through the chairman, Mr. Marshall, reported the following resolutions which were unanimously adopted, of course:

Resolved, That in our opinion it is the duty of the Democratic party, and of all who are opposed to abolitionism, to rally to the polls and vote against the amendments proposed by the late Congress to the new State Constitution. These amendments are, in our opinion, injurious to our best interests and destructive of those principles upon which all constitutional Governments are founded. In their adoption we see the elements which will render insecure the foundations of private property and endanger the good order and peace of society. We cannot expect our rights to be protected by law, when we trample under foot the Constitution of the country in an assault upon the rights of others.

Resolved, That the opening the door to the introduction of free negroes into Western Virginia is, in our opinion, unwise and ruinous to the order and good morals of our society. We look upon the effort to place the African upon an equality with the white man in Western Virginia as vain and foolish. We think that our past experience has proved that such an attempt can only bring demoralization and ruin to both, and if persisted in must destroy the best interests of our country.

Resolved, That we think that it is the duty of every good citizen to express his opinions freely on the important questions submitted to us for our decision at the polls by our late Congress, and to vote at the coming election unawed by the threats of bad men, who, taking advantage of revolutionary times, would attempt to deter the timid. We do especially denounce the action of the meeting convened in Parkersburg on the 3d day of March, 1863, at which A. G. Leonard presided as President, and resolutions were passed threatening violence to those who should attempt to hold a meeting at that place to oppose the new State. We submit that the action of that meeting was contrary to law and decency, and we recommend the Commonwealth’s attorney to enquire as to the expediency of bringing their conduct to the notice of the Grand Jury for that county.

Resolved, That the following gentlemen are by this meeting appointed a Central Committee for organizing and preparing the Democratic party for the coming contest, and that they have power to appoint sub-committees and do all other acts to organize the party:

For the City. – A. J. Sweeney, G. W. Franzheim, Z. Jacob, Josiah Updegraff, L. D. Wait, And. Wilson, Jno. Handlon, Aug. Wiederbush, Jacob M. Bickel, Wm. W. Deen, Nicholas Reester, John Hoffman, Fidel Major, Conrad Stroble,

For the County. – John B. Wilson, John Brady, John Fairs, James Robinson, A. Bedillion, sr., J. B. Kelly, N. H. Garrison, Peter Delaplain, George Frazier.

Resolved, That the following gentlemen be and are by this meeting appointed delegates to represent Ohio county at the Convention to be held at Parkersburg on the 12th day of March, 1863:

John M. Oldham, Wm. Gaston, Samuel S. Jacob, D. M. Edgington, John B. Wilson, Vincent Van Meter, Abraham Bedillion, sr., N. H. Garrison, John Zoegler, Thos. Sweeney, S. Clemens, Z. Jacob, John Hughes, John Scarboro, John Handlon, John Hoffman, J. M. Todd, Robert E. Sweeney, Geo. Jeffers, Daniel Harris, Geo. Sawtell, Wm. S. Buchannon, A. Wilson.

Loud calls were then made for Mr. W. S. Buchanon, when that gentleman responded with an eagerness worthy of a better cause. He said he had been in the habit of addressing public meetings for the last twelve years. He said he intended to expose a secret organization which existed in the city of Wheeling for the purpose of putting the new State movement rhough. “I am a free man,” said the speaker, “as Paul said, “ses he, I’m a man of free birth,” Whenever you see the spread eagle at the mast head of the abolition Intelligencer it is the signal for the meeting of this secret society at Stout’s warehouse where will be furnished arms to support the restored Government. I went into this Union club, as they call it; the first man I saw was Jake Peirpoint (meaning Hornbrook) and then I saw old man Holliday and some more and thinks ses I this is a hell of a place. I took their obligation, however, for although I couldn’t support abolition I could support the flag of my country. I soon saw the error of their ways, and being born a Democrat, I saw the error of my ways and I quit “em.”

In speaking of the conscript act Mr. Buchanan said he had lately seen a poor soldier at the Pemberton House hand-cuffed. I asked him why they handcuffed him, and he said it was because he wouldn’t fight to free the niggers. Is it not a shame that these things should be done in a free country?

The speaker proceeded to say that he would never, never be forced into the army. He was a sound man and within the age, but he would die before he would be conscripted to fight for niggers. They might bastille him and come at him with bayonets, sabres, muskets, stilletos and still he wouldn’t go.

Mr. Buchanan continued for some time with this sort of nonsense, and at the conclusion of the harrangue [sic] Mr. Otterson was called for.

Mr. Otterson appeared and gracefully acknowledged the compliment, but declined to speak. He said Mr. E. M. Norton, the U. S. Marshal, was present, and would like to be heard in favor of the new State. Mr. Otterson asked the President to put the question whether Mr. Norton should be heard.

The President was about to put the question, when Mr. Reester, of Centre Wheeling, moved to adjourn.

The President, notwithstanding the last motion, put the question as to whether the meeting would hear Mr. Norton, which was decided in the affirmative.

Mr. Norton came forward and said he did not desire to say a word unless it was perfectly agreeable. He was requested to go on, but before he could proceed with his argument the arrival of the return train was announced, and Mr. Bedillion declared the meeting adjourned.


Wheeling Intelligencer
March 10, 1863

That Triadelphia Meeting.

Our readers have seen the proceedings of a little bit of a two-penny meeting held at Triadelphia in Frank Lawson’s tavern on Saturday afternoon last. It was made up mostly by a few men who went out from town here, with a few resolutions, got up like those of the three London tailors, by one or two persons, and carried in their breeches pockets according to programme. The meeting was held in the tavern of a man who voted for secession: it was first called to order by another one who voted for secession, and the resolutions were reported by a person who is or was lately on parole to the United States authorities. Of such a character is the opposition to the New State in this county. Our voters here and elsewhere can judge of the objects of such an opposition. The “cat in the meal tub” is very apparent. Any sensible man will not be long in concluding that it bodes no good to the Union cause: that anti-new State is only a pretext made use of to subserve the general cause of disloyalty in the hands of a few men. Billy Otterson & Co., as every man knows who knows the individuals, were just as must opposed to “coercion” and the “restored government” as they can possibly be to the New State. Their opposition naturally runs along through one to the other of these issues. Their little breeches pocket meeting will turn out to be a very diminutive farce on election day. It will never know what hurt it. About an hours’ voting will bury it so deep that nobody can probe it with a long pole.


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

West Virginia Archives and History