In 1861, as the Virginia delegates voted to secede
from the Union and align with the Confederate States of America, sentiment amongst the western counties was in conflict. They
sought a different direction....if Virginia wanted to secede from the Union then they would secede from Virginia!
Western-Virginia delegates held meetings in Wheeling and adopted
a resolution authorizing the secession of 39 counties, with the counties of Berkeley, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson,
Morgan, and Pocahontas to be added if their voters approved, and authorizing any contiguous counties with these to join the
new state if they so voted as well.
On June 30, 1863 the new state of West
Virginia had been recognized and was approved by President Abraham Lincoln. It was thought by many that the transition was
unconstitutional but Lincoln wrote, as part of his consideration of the issue:
"The division of a State is
dreaded as a precedent. But a measure made expedient by a war, is no precedent for times of peace. It is said that the admission
of West-Virginia, is secession, and tolerated only because it is our secession. Well, if we call it by that name, there is
still difference enough between secession against the constitution, and secession in favor of the constitution."
"I believe the admission of West-Virginia into the Union is expedient."