Union Meetings

Union Meetings (HM1E6L)

Location: Clarksburg, WV 26301 Harrison County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 16.742', W 80° 20.351'

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"We intend? to? remain in the Union"

Harrison County was among the first jurisdictions in western Virginia to support the Union. A pro-Union meeting was called for November 24, 1860, at the Clarksburg Courthouse, just after Abraham Lincoln had been elected president and many Southern states were talking of secession. An anonymous Clarksburg resident wrote prophetically on January 12, 1861, "We intend if eastern Virginia secedes to raise the banner of separate State sovereignty in Western Virginia and remain in the Union."

On April 17, 1861, the Virginia Secession Convention voted 88 to 55 to send the Ordinance of Secession to the people of Virginia for ratification. Delegates from western Virginia argued in vain against seceding from the Union then left Richmond under threat of bodily harm. After returning to Clarksburg, Unionist leader John S. Carlile called a public meeting in Harrison County. On April 22, almost 1,200 residents convened at the courthouse in Clarksburg to determine what course to take in this national crisis. From this meeting came the call for what would be known as the First Wheeling Convention on May 13, thereby setting the stage for West Virginia statehood. When the vote on the Ordinance of Secession was taken, the men of Harrison County voted against it 1,691 to 694.

John Snyder Carlile was a delegate from Harrison County who resided in Clarksburg, served as a state senator, a delegate to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850-1851, and a congressman. He voted against secession at the convention in 1861 and headed the movement to form a new state government for Virginia on the grounds that secession had caused the state government offices to be vacated. He was elected to the United States Senate under the Restored Government of Virginia and at first supported but then opposed statehood for West Virginia when Congress included a provision in the statehood bill requiring gradual emancipation. Although he had been one of the earliest advocates of statehood, ultimately he voted against the bill. Carlile died near Clarksburg in 1878 and is buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery.

(lower left) John S. Carlile Courtesy Richard A. Wolfe
(right) Broadside advertising the Unionist meeting of November 24, 1860 Courtesy West Virginia University Archives
HM NumberHM1E6L
Series This marker is part of the West Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByWest Virginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 10th, 2014 at 8:38pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 556996 N 4347950
Decimal Degrees39.27903333, -80.33918333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 16.742', W 80° 20.351'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 16' 44.52" N, 80° 20' 21.06" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 162-192 S 3rd St, Clarksburg WV 26301, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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