Parkersburg's Wartime Politicians
During the Civil War, several Parkersburg residents played a role in carving the new state of West Virginia from the Old Dominion of Virginia and in representing it at the national level.
Much of the political life of the city took place in nearby venues such as the U.S. Hotel, which stood just southeast of here, the courthouse that stood on the site of the present structure a block farther southeast, and the Swann House, which was located on "The Point" three blocks southwest. Wartime visitors to the Swann House, the most prominent hotel in the city, included Union Gens. George B. McClellan, Jacob D. Cox, Ambrose E. Burnside, and David Hunter, and Union Cols. Rutherford B. Hayes and James A. Garfield.
Prominent Parkersburg residents were motivated to keep northwestern Virginia in the Union and to help protect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the oilfield at Burning Springs (Oiltown). Peter G. Van Winkle contributed importantly to drafting the first constitution for the new state of West Virginia and served as one of its first two U.S. senators. Local attorney Arthur I. Boreman became the state's first governor. William E. Stevenson served in the first state constitutional convention and then became the state's third governor. Physician John W. Moss presided over the First Wheeling Convention and later served as colonel of the 2nd West Virginia Infantry (US). Gen. John Jay Jackson, as a delegate to Virginia's secession convention, voted against secession. His son, Judge John Jay Jackson, served as a federal judge and delegate to the First Wheeling Convention.
(lower left) Congressman Peter G. Van Winkle Courtesy Library of Congress
; Governor Arthur I. Boreman Courtesy of Library of Congress
; Governor William E. Stevenson West Virginia Archives and History
(upper right) Central Parkersburg, M. Wood White's County and District Map of the State of West Virginia