May 16, 2013WHEELING, W.Va. — Nationally recognized Civil War author Bob O’Connor will present a talk on his eighth book, Countdown to West Virginia Statehood, at West Virginia Independence Hall in downtown Wheeling. The free program will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, and the public is invited to attend.
West Virginia became a state in a unique process. O’Connor’s book documents the highly charged controversy of the story, presenting it both for the novice historian and for the serious student. The nonfiction book explains in detail, with photographs and maps, how each person and event led up to the decision of the western territory of Virginia to become a separate state.
In his PowerPoint presentation, O’Connor will explain the long-standing dispute between the western “mountaineers” and the eastern “planters,” which dated back to 1776.
A reception and book signing will follow O’Connor’s program.
O’Connor grew up in Illinois and moved to Charles Town, W.Va., in 2001. He spent more than 30 years in the tourism industry, including working for the Martinsburg/Berkeley County and Jefferson County Convention and Visitors Bureaus. He is the author of nine books, including The U.S. Colored Troops at Andersonville Prison, A House Divided Against Itself, and The Virginian Who Might Have Saved Lincoln.
He has been named a finalist four times for the Best Book Awards and the Indie Book Awards. O’Connor has studied John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, Ward Hill Lamon (Lincoln’s bodyguard), the U.S. Colored Troops and the Civil War extensively and says he was inspired to write his first book, The Perfect Steel Trap Harpers Ferry 1859, when he learned that John Wilkes Booth came to Charles Town to attend the hanging of John Brown.
For more information, contact Travis Henline, site manager at WVIH, at (304) 238-1300.
West Virginia Independence Hall, originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, served as the home of the pro-Union state conventions of Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861 and as the capitol of loyal Virginia from June 1861 to June 1863. It also was the site of the first constitutional convention for West Virginia. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, the museum is maintained and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, with the cooperation and assistance of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, with the exception of major holidays. The museum is located on the corner of 16th and Market Streets in Wheeling.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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