Monday, November 12, 1860
West Virginia wouldn’t become its own state (and then part of the Union) until the summer of 1863, however, its stripes were already showing.
Preston County, just across the border of the Maryland panhandle, was in a quandary over where their allegiance should lie. Would they go with Virginia, should she secede? Or would they remain with the Union? Virginia was not like South Carolina or Georgia. The secession fever had not yet taken the cities by storm. Still, there were some who were calling for it and eventually it would have to be dealt with.
Preston County was the first county to address it. Before Virginia held their conventions – before they even thought to hold them, Preston County gathered to decide what to do.
And with speed it was settled. During a court session in Kingwood, the county seat, a large crowd had gathered. Speeches were made and opinions fervently expressed. By the end of the meeting, the group unanimously agreed that no matter how the rest of their state would go, they would take an uncompromising and aggressive stand for the Union. Even one of the largest slaveholders in the county, William Zinn, stood firm against secession.1
Thus, the first cracks of disunion were forming, not only in the country, but in the states themselves.
- From History of West Virginia: In Two Parts By Virgil Anson Lewis, Hubbard Brothers, 1889. [↩]