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Debates and Proceedings
of the
First Constitutional Convention
of West Virginia

February 14, 1862

*The Convention met at the usual hour, and after prayer by the Rev. Mr. Brooks, the journal was read and approved.

*See note, Vol. II, page 219.

Mr. Harrison, chairman of the special committee on the subject of forfeited, waste and unappropriated lands, submitted the following report:

28. All private rights and interests in lands within this State, derived from the laws of Virginia prior to the time this Constitution goes into operation, shall remain valid and secure under the laws of this State, and shall be determined by the laws then existing in the State of Virginia.

29. No entry by warrant on lands in this State shall be made after this Constitution goes into operation; and in all cases where an entry has been made before that time, and then or thereafter, so perfected as to entitle the locator to a grant, the legislature shall make provision by law for issuing the same.

30. The legislature shall make provision for the sale of all lands in this State, forfeited to the State of Virginia for the non-payment of taxes charged thereon for the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-one, and prior thereto, or for the failure of the owners thereof to have the same entered and charged on the land books of the proper county, with taxes for the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-one, or prior thereto, under the laws of Virginia, as well as of all waste and unappropriated lands, by proceedings to be had in the circuit court of the county where such lands may lie.

31. All lands within the bounds of this State returned delinquent for non-payment of taxes to the State of Virginia, or forfeited for the failure of the owners to have the same entered on the books of the commissioner of the revenue, since the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty- one, shall, as soon as this Constitution goes into operation, be released and exonerated from forfeiture and from the delinquent taxes charged thereon; provided, however, that this section shall not apply in the case of forfeiture of any tract containing more than one thousand acres, and in cases of delinquency to any tract where the amount of taxes, exclusive of damages, shall exceed twenty dollars.

32. And all such lands as have been vested in the State of Virginia as mentioned in the preceding section either by forfeiture or purchase at the sheriffs' sales for delinquent taxes, but which shall not be released from such forfeiture, by the proviso thereto, may be redeemed by the former owners by payment to the State of West Virginia of the amount of taxes and damages due thereon within five years after this Constitution goes into operation, and the residue of such lands so vested, and not redeemed, or which shall not be released by this Constitution from such forfeiture or delinquency shall be treated as forfeited lands. Provided, however, that the former owners shall be entitled to the excess of the proceeds of such lands over the taxes and damages due thereon, and the costs of their claim to the same be filed in the Circuit Court within two years from the sale of the land.

On motion of Mr. Van Winkle this report was taken up for consideration, section by section.

The several sections were then read and adopted.

And, on motion of Mr. Van Winkle, said report was taken up on its second reading; and the question recurring upon the adoption of the whole report, it was put and decided in the affirmative; after which it was referred to the Committee on Revision and Engrossment.

On motion of Mr. Dille the Convention adjourned till 10 o'clock to-morrow morning.

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Chapter Eleven: First Constitutional Convention of West Virginia

A State of Convenience

West Virginia Archives and History