West Virginia, the Mountain State

By Charles H. Ambler; Festus P. Summers | Go to book overview

Chapter XVI
The Reorganized Government

SECESSION AFTERMATHS

OF THE 47 DELEGATES from what is now West Virginia in the Virginia Secession Convention, 32 voted against secession, 11 for it, and 4 did not vote. Two of those who did not vote later signed the ordinance, as did also two of those who had voted in the negative. The number of those favoring secession was therefore 15.1 With these, Lincoln's call for troops to be used to coerce the seceding states, rather than the theoretical right of secession, was the determining factor. Having repeatedly declared against the right of coercion, they refused to back down when put to the test. Political alliances, social influences, and the like were also important factors.

Most of the delegates from present West Virginia who voted against secession lingered in Richmond two to three days awaiting "a more happy

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1
Those voting against the ordinance were: Edward M. Armstrong, George W. Berlin, Caleb Boggess, William G. Brown, John S. Burdett, James Burley, Benjamin W. Byrne, John S. Carlile, Sherrard Clemens, C. B. Conrad, James H. Couch, Alpheus F. Haymond, Chester D. Hubbard, John J. Jackson, William McComas, James C. McGrew, Henry H. Masters, Logan Osburn, Spicer Patrick, Edmund Pendleton, George McC. Porter, Samuel Price, David Pugh, Marshall M. Dent, Ephraim B. Hall, Allen C. Hammond, James W. Hoge, Burwell Spurlock, Chapman J. Stuart, George W. Summers, Campbell Tarr, and Waitman T. Willey--thirty-two in all.

Those voting for the ordinance were: Allen T. Caperton, John Echols, Napoleon B. French, James Lawson, Johnson Orick, Henry L. Gillispie, Cyrus Hall, Leonard S. Hall, John N. Hughes, Samuel Woods, and Franklin P. Turner--eleven in all.

Those not voting were: Thomas Maslin, Benjamin Wilson, Alfred M. Barbour, and Paul McNeil, but the two last named later signed the secession ordinance.

George W. Berlin and Alpheus F. Haymond voted against secession, but later cast their lots with the Confederacy.

See Lewis, How West Virginia Was Made, pp. 29-30; and Shanks, Secession Movement in Virginia, pp. 204-207. The official documents may be found in W. Va. Legislature, Hand Book and Manual ( 1917), pp. 259-260; W. Va. Department of Archives and History, Second Biennial Report (Lewis, 1908), pp. 158-160.

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