March 15, 1861: Birthpangs of West Virginia

One hundred and fifty years ago, the nation was divided by a looming civil war.  Within the South there were pockets of unionism that were very unhappy with the trend of  events.  On March 15, 1861, the citizens of Harper’s Ferry and Bolivar voiced their unhappiness, unhappiness that would eventually lead to the creation of the new state of West Virginia in 1863.


At a meeting of the citizens of Harper’s Ferry and Bolivar, held at Camp-Hill School House, on Friday the 15th March, 1861, on motion, E. H. Chambers was called to the chair, and A. McCliesh appointed secretary.

On motion, it was

Resolved, That there is no change of public sentiment upon the subject of secession, so far as the people of Harper’s Ferry and Bolivar are concerned, and that we fully endorse the resolutions adopted by the Convention at Charlestown, on the 21st day of January, 1861, which nominated the Union candidates, Messrs. Osburn and Barbour.

On motion, it was

Resolved, That the position of our Senators in Congress and in the State Senate, does not reflect the true sentiments of their constituency; and that we regard their conduct as being in open rebellion to our interests as a people, and at war with the Constitution of our beloved country.

On motion, it was ordered that a copy of the proceedings of this meeting be sent to Messrs. Osburn and Barbour, delegates to the Virginia Convention.

The meeting then adjourned.

E. H. CHAMBERS, Chairman.

A. McCliesh, Secretary.

Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (3)  
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  1. Smile.. I had family on both sides of that border. Growing up there were two Family reunions one county apart. A couple of the elderly aunts tried to bring ‘union’ back. It didn’t work as far as I know.
    There are ripples through the generations of that conflict.
    Thank you for your work.
    In Christ
    Dennis McCutcheon

  2. I have always loved the motto of West Virginia Dennis: Mountains are ever free!

  3. […] West Virginia, Unionists and Secessionists were picking sides.  An earlier post, which may be read here, looked at a meeting of Unionists.  Here is a report of a meeting of Secessionists on April 8, […]

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