October 8, 1863
The First West Va. Legislature.
Sketches Personal, Political and Biographical.
BY AN OBSERVER
DANIEL HAYMOND, of Ritchie.
Mr. Haymond is a Senator from the 4th District, is the oldest member of the Legislature, and the storms of seventy-six winters have left their mark upon him; he begins to tremble and stagger under the weight of years; his bent form, languid appearance, dull, heavy eye and broken voice, give evidence that the allotted “three score years and ten” which he will probably reach by reason of strength, are well nigh run; with him the “sere and yellow death” is at hand. But he bears his years well, and is still possessed of considerable activity and strength, as is evident by his prompt and unfailing attendance upon every session of the Senate. He seems watchful of the interests, not only of his own constituents, but of the people of the entire State. He is a sober, staid old man, honest in all he thinks or does, and brings to his labors in the Senate, and as a check to those whom he thinks too fast, the influence of mature age and long experience. He is entitled to and commands the respect of every member of the Senate, not more perhaps on account of his age than out of deference to his modesty and good sense.
His grandfather came from England and settled in Montgomery county, Maryland, long before the Revolutionary war, and during this war, his father removed to Morgantown, where he commanded a company of Continental troops then stationed there. When Harrison county was formed, during the session of 1783-4, his father was appointed surveyor thereof, and settled near Clarksburg, where the subject of this sketch was born in April, 1787. His father and his sons have held the surveyorship of Harrison county ever since it was formed—seventy-nine years. Daniel removed in his youth, to what was then Wood county, (now Ritchie) where he acted as justice of the peace for twenty years, and was well known as deputy surveyor in the counties of Harrison, Wood and Ritchie, in which position he distinguished himself.
In 1808 he was Captain of a militia company which he held till the close of the war of 1812, during which he volunteered in the defence [sic] of his country, but was not called into active service. Although in political opinion opposed to that war and to the administration of Madison, he patriotically offered himself to his country; in 1832 he was opposed politically to General Jackson, yet sustained him in putting down nullification; and in 1860 he voted for Bell and opposed Lincoln, yet he now sustains him in crushing the rebellion; in all which positions he sets a worthy example before us all, and shames the conduct of the shameless butternuts.
He has been a whig of the “most straightest sect” ever since the organization of that party, and never had much confidence in the political honesty of his opponents.—His views in this way were considered extreme. He was especially opposed to the democratic convention system, and does not like to see his Union friends follow so bad a precedent, and denounces conventions as unjust and monarchical. In an article against conventions published in his county paper last April, he said:
“I should be much pleased to see some movement set on foot that would forever destroy this sly, sneaking serpent that has been preying so long upon the rights of the people. * * * The surest killing stroke that I can think of at present would be to call public meetings and adopt strong resolutions to the effect that they will never again vote for the nominee of any convention, who may hereafter become a candidate. If any one will suggest a more deadly weapon, I will cheerfully lend a helping hand to use it.”
Some of his friends twit him by saying that these opinions are the result of his old prejudice against the democratic party; but no one doubts his honesty or his purity in holding them.
He loves the Union with unalterable devotion, and would crush the rebellion by all the power and resources of the nation; thinks slavery destroyed, and by its professed friends; is a slaveholder himself, but loves the Union more that the peculiar institution. He was an original new State man, as the following article from the Ritchie Press written by him December 13, 1860 will prove:
“To the people of West Virginia:
“It is earnestly requested that the friends of the Union and all those who desire the perpetuation of our republican liberty, in all the counties of Western Virginia, should in some public manner make manifest their determinations, and say, that so far as they are concerned and capable of performing, the Union must and shall be preserved. – From the signs of the times, it is evident that a powerful effort will be made in the Legislature, by disunion traitors, to call a State convention, to decide the course that Virginia shall pursue, or to appoint delegates to a Southern conference. Let either be adopted, the object is evidently to drag Virginia into disunion, whither the people are willing or not. In the event that either of these plans are adopted, it is desired that the people in all of the counties west of the Blue Ridge, and of all counties west of the Blue Ridge, and of all the counties east of it too, whose interests are identified with Baltimore and Washington city (as many of them are) should immediately call a convention for the purpose of adopting or devising such a course as ought to be pursued in case Virginia should secede from the Union, and as will be the speediest mode of acting, so that Western Virginia may separate from Eastern Virginia, and form a new State in the Union – regardless of the decision of any illegal and irresponsible convention that the Legislature may authorize.”
In this letter is displayed both patriotism and prophecy. The Convention was called, the ordinance was passed, the State was handed over to the Confederacy; in the West the May Convention “devised” means of escape, the new State was formed, and in a few days the last county in Virginia connecting us with Baltimore – Jefferson – will be admitted into the new State. We are “separated.”
Mr. Haymond wrote similar articles which were published in the National Intelligencer and contributed no little to the uprising in the West, which followed the passage of the ordinance of secession.
Mr. Haymond shouldered his musket and joined the Legislative company in its pursuit of the rebel John Morgan in his raid through Ohio, giving evidence of his undying love for the Union, at an age when few, if any, would be found in the ranks.
Mr. Haymond’s face is wrinkled; hair rather thick and quite gray, but not white; eyes large and blue; forehead small; is small in stature; walks rapidly and in a stooping position; wears his hat well back on his head; speaks but seldom in or out of the Senate; appears somewhat absentminded, and answers a question a day or two after it is asked; attends to his own business and that of his people, and votes intelligently; is fond of a joke, and loves to annoy the handsome gentleman about what Mr. H. calls the “radical S--- h--- United-States-Senator-resolutions.”
Mr. H. is a member of the Committee on Finance and Claims, and other committees.
Biographies of the First West Virginia Legislature