The Day we Celebrate

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
June 20, 1863

This day ushers into being the new State of West Virginia, and adds the thirty fifth star to the constellation of the American Union. To-day is the beginning of a new order of things with us here. The old Government goes out and the new one comes in. Today Gov. Pierpont goes out and the new comes in Today Governor Pierpont bids us a formal farewell, as our chief magistrate, and Gov. Boreman will be inaugurated as his successor. With the one the parting cannot be but sad. With the other the greeting cannot but be joyful. Gov. Pierpont goes to his new field of usefulness and labor, followed by the good wishes and benedictions of a grateful people. Governor Boreman comes to uses a worthy successor, the unanimously chosen and honored Chief Magistrate of the new State. While we gratefully remember the one, let us honor and support the other.

To new Commonwealth starts upon its career in the midst of turbulence and danger. Its officers have great difficulties and embarrassments to encounter. They will need the moral support of the whole people, and they are worthy of it. Let us give it to them in unstinted measure.

To-day the Legislature of the new State meets for organization. With the beginning of the week it commences the important labor assigned it, of putting the machinery of the new Government into smooth and successful operation. It has an ardous task before it, but, we believe the task will be creditably done.

The occasion is a peculiarly suggestive one, but we do not propose to indulge a retrospect now. To-day we enter into the reward of the long and toilsome struggle. Two years ago, this day, the people of Western Virginia, in Convention assembled signed the Declaration against the despotic usurpation and conspiracy at Richmond. That declaration embodied the spirit of all this Western Virginia movement, which on this, the second anniversary of that act, stands completed and consummated.- Never may we depart from either the spirit or letter of that Declaration, which declared that "the true purpose of all government is to promote the welfare and provide for the protection and security of the covered," and that the rebellion at Richmond seeks "to subvert the Union founded by Washington and his co-patriots, in the purer days of the Republic, which has conferred unexampled prosperity upon every class of citizens and upon every section of the country."

Let us not forget that our New State, which we inaugurate to-day amid happy auspices, will be destroyed, the liberty it protects overthrown, and the hopes it inspires, will be destroyed, the liberty it protects overthrown, and the hopes it inspires blasted, if the federal government is not able to sustain itself and enforce its authority. Our fate and the fate of our national Union must be the same. We go on together to prosperity, or we go down together to ruin. Even now the enemies of the country threaten to invade our homes, and the citizens soldiery is under arms for their defense. Let us each and all vow to-day, in turning this new leaf of our history, undying hostility to this atrocious rebellion which seeks the destruction of the rights of men, and realty to the government and Union, in and under which alone life, liberty and property are secure. As citizens we are of the State, but as patriots we belong to the whole country.

Chapter Sixteen: The New State

West Virginia Statehood

West Virginia Archives and History