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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
May 26, 1865


Morgantown Weekly Post and Monongalia and Preston County Gazette
June 10, 1865

BY THE GOVERNOR.

An Address to the People of West Va.

Fellow-Citizens:--The Rebellion has proven a failure. In all its proportions as an organized resistance to the authority of the Government, it is ended. We may not forget by whom, by what means, and in what manner it was inaugurated and has been prosecuted; nor shut our eyes to the ruin, devastation and death that have followed in its train; yet it is not the part of wisdom to brood over the wrongs and evils of the past. Let us rather, as a people who have an interest in the great future, renew our energies to overcome the unfortunate and anomalous condition in which we find ourselves.

In some parts of the States there has been no exercise of civil authority; no mail facilities; no commercial intercourse with the rest of the country—for three or four years. It is desirable that these be restored and that the necessity for the presence of a military force be removed at the earliest possible moment.—The first difficulty that presents itself here is the presence of the guerilla bands that infest the parts of the States referred to; whose presence inspires such a sense of insecurity that the better part of the community hardly feel safe in attending to their ordinary business, much less in performing the duties of civil officers. The Government recognizes no rebel army now east of the Mississippi river, and an order has been issued declaring these guerillas outlaws, and denouncing against them the penalty of death. And I call upon all persons who desire a return of the security and blessings of peaceful society to aid in hunting them down and bringing them to the punishment so justly denounced against them.

Again: I hear of some, in the portions of the State referred to, who manifest hostility to the extension of the authority of West Virginia over them. I would say to such that they may retard the restoration of law and order for a time, and may get themselves into trouble; but they cannot effect the ultimate result.—The constitution and laws of West Virginia are the only State authority existing within her limits or recognized therein by the Federal Government; and it is desirable that they be enforced by the civil officers and courts; and this will be the only means resorted to, if sufficient. But it may as well be understood that this authority will be enforced, and that any who offer resistance will be brought to certain punishment.

There are others amongst the disloyal now in the State—some of whom have been in arms against the government—who, not withstanding the rebellion, as an organized opposition to the government, has been effectually suppressed, seem to take pride in thrusting their disloyal sentiments before the community. The result is that at times they offend and excite loyal people to violence, and thus get themselves into difficulty; and if protection is not at once afforded them against the violence thus wantonly provoked, the authorities are denounced for a failure or neglect of duty. Now, if such persons wish peace and safety, I would advise them not only to yield a willing obedience to the constituted authorities, both Federal and State, but to be careful to avoid the avowal or manifestation of disloyal sentiments or sympathies, and conduct themselves in such wise that the most exacting will have no ground of complaint against them.

To the loyal people I hardly deem it necessary to say anything. It has been your pride and boast—justly so—that you were the supporters and defenders of the Government of the United States and of the State, and all orders made by them for the vindication of their authority, during the great struggle through which we have passed. Will you not continue that support as heretofore, and prove as you have in the past, that you are the law and order party of this country? The constituted authorities of the United States have made orders respecting the return of paroled rebel prisoners which the loyal p0eople of this State deem invidious and unjust. I have used my utmost endeavors in the proper and legitimate way to have these orders revoked; but thus far without success. You have the right to protest against them and petition for their revocation; but while they remain in force, it is your duty as loyal and law abiding citizens to respect them. If these orders allow persons in your midst who are guilty of treason, felony or other offence, you may bring them before the Courts and have them tried, and, if found guilty, punished; and I submit whether this course, sooner than any other, will not secure the re-establishments of the peace and good order of society.

Allow me especially to urge upon all good citizens of the disorganized parts of the State the propriety and necessity of giving their practical aid and co-operation in the restoration of civil authority in their respective counties; and in order to facilitate this desirable object, it may be not inappropriate to make the following suggestions and references to the law;

Sheriffs, Clerks of Courts, Recorders and prosecuting Attorneys may be appointed by the Judge of the Circuit, (when there is a Judge,) to continue in office until the next regular election. (See Acts 1864, ps 25 and 40; and Acts 1865, ps. 23 and 24.) There being no Judge for the Ninth Circuit, the Judge of the Fifth Circuit has been authorized to appoint a Sheriff for Pocahontas county, and the Judge of the Seventh Circuit to appoint Sheriffs for each of the counties of Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer, and McDowell.—(See Acts 1865, ps. 23 and 24.)

The Auditor is authorized to appoint Assessors. (See Acts 1864, ps. 12.)

The Governor is authorized to appoint two Justices and once Constable for each of the old magisterial districts, to continue in office until the counties are laid off into townships. (See Acts 1863, p. 187.)

Commissioners are appointed by law, to lay off the counties into townships and to fix the time for township elections. (See Acts 1863, ps. 27, 28, 29, 114 and 115.)

The Governor is authorized to “fill temporarily all vacancies in offices not provided for by the Constitution or the Legislature;” (See Constitution Art. V, § 3;) and the Legislature not having provided for filling a vacancy in the office of Circuit Judge, nor for filling vacancies in county offices where there is no Judge of the Circuit, the Governor has the authority to appoint temporarily a Judge and county officers for the Ninth Circuit, except Sheriffs, whose appointment is provided for as hereinabove mentioned.

Fellow-Citizens—nature has endowed our New State with all the elements of greatness. The capital, enterprise and labor to develope [sic] these resources await invitation to begin and successfully carry on their work. Let us, then, not only restore peace to her borders, but place her in the high road to prosperity, resolve to advance her to the front rank amongst the States of the Union, in wealth, intelligence and power.

Arthur I. Boreman,
Governor.

Executive Department,
Wheeling, W. Va., May 26, 1865.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: May 1865

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