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.
the admission of West-Virginia into the Union is expedient."