Union control over what would become West Virginia was established quite early in the Civil War, with Union troops from Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania quickly seizing the area. Under the shelter of the Union Army, the Wheeling Convention of delegates from Western Virginia sat in Wheeling Virginia and repealed the Ordinance of Secession of the state of Virginia, declared the state offices of Virginia vacant, and, on June 19, 1861 declared the “Reorganized Government of Virginia”. On June 20, 1861, Francis Pierpont, the Father of West Virginia, was chosen governor of the “Reorganized Government of Virginia”, and was recognized by the Union as governor of Virginia throughout the War, and served as governor of Virginia after the War until 1868.
Here is the text of the Declaration of the Wheeling Convention issued on June 13, 1861 which explained why the Wheeling Convention was acting as it did. (more…)