“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Clarksburg in Harrison County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)

Union Meetings

"We intend… to… remain in the Union"

Union Meetings Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe
1. Union Meetings Marker
Inscription.  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
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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
Erected by West Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil
Union Meetings Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe
2. Union Meetings Marker
. In addition, it is included in the West Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1889.
Location. 39° 16.742′ N, 80° 20.351′ W. Marker is in Clarksburg, West Virginia, in Harrison County. Marker is at the intersection of West Main Street and South 3rd Street, on the right when traveling east on West Main Street. The marker is on the plaza of the Harrison County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Clarksburg WV 26301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson Monument (here, next to this marker); "Stonewall" Jackson (here, next to this marker); Veterans Memorial (here, next to this marker); U.S.S. West Virginia Bow Flag Staff (a few steps from this marker); Clarksburg (a few steps from this marker); Combat Wounded (within shouting distance of this marker); The Immigrants (within shouting distance of this marker); Clarksburg Convention (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Clarksburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on May 4, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 662 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 3, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 1, 2023