Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
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  • "The proposed new State"
  • "The proposed new State"
The Virginia Convention that met in Wheeling adopted an ordinance on August 20, 1861, to hold a convention to write a constitution for a new state.
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"The proposed new State"

Section 1 of the Ordinance to Provide for the Formation of a New State, passed on August 20, 1861, Virginia Convention (1861: Wheeling), Ordinances, 1861, Acc. 40654, State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia.

The final session of the series of Virginia Conventions that met in Wheeling adopted an ordinance on August 20, 1861, to hold a convention to write a constitution for a new state. The name that the August convention chose was Kanawha, but the convention that met from November 26, 1861, to February 18, 1862, and wrote the constitution named it West Virginia. The first section of the ordinance listed thirty-nine counties all in the Ohio River Valley and in the western mountains of Virginia, but the third section allowed for the possible inclusion of Berkeley, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Morgan, and Pocahontas Counties. All of them had become part of the new state of West Virginia by 1865, as well as the counties of McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, and Pendleton. The Fairfax Stone mentioned in the first section was the boundary marker placed in 1746 to mark the western boundary of the Northern Neck Proprietary. It was at the approximate longitude of the western boundary of Maryland.

Section 1 of the Ordinance to Provide for the Formation of a New State, passed on August 20, 1861, Virginia Convention (1861: Wheeling), Ordinances, 1861, Acc. 40654, State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia.

An Ordinance, to provide for the formation of a new State out of a portion of the territory of this State.
(Passed August 20, 1861.)

Whereas it is represented to be the desire of the people inhabiting the Counties hereinafter mentioned, to be Separated from this Commonwealth, and to be erected into a Separate and independent State, and admitted into the Union of States, and become a member of the Government of the United States;
The People of Virginia, by their delegates assembled in Convention at Wheeling, do ordain, that a new State, to be called the State of Kanawha, be formed and erected out of the territory included within the following described boundary; beginning on the Tug Fork of Sandy River, on the Kentucky line where the Counties of Buchanan and Logan join the Same; and running thence, with the dividing lines of said Counties and the dividing line of the Counties of Wyoming and McDowell, to the Mercer County line; and with the dividing line of the Counties of Mercer and Wyoming to the Raleigh County line; and thence, with the dividing line of the Counties of Raleigh and Mercer, Monroe and Raleigh, Greenbrier and Raleigh, Fayette and Greenbrier, Nicholas and Greenbrier, Webster, Greenbrier and Pocahontas, Randolph and Pocahontas, Randolph and Pendleton, to the South west corner of Hardy County; thence, with the dividing line of the Counties of Hardy and Tucker, to the Fairfax Stone; thence, with the line dividing the States of Maryland and Virginia, to the Pennsylvania line; thence, with the line dividing the States of Pennsylvania and Virginia, to the Ohio river; thence, down Said river and including the Same, to the dividing line between Virginia and Kentucky, and with the Said line to the beginning; including within the boundaries of the proposed new State the Counties of Logan, Wyoming, Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas, Webster, Randolph, Tucker, Preston, Monongalia, Marion, Taylor, Barbour, Upshur, Harrison, Lewis, Braxton, Clay, Kanawha, Boone, Wayne, Cabell, Putnam, Mason, Jackson, Roane, Calhoun, Wirt, Gilmer, Ritchie, Wood, Pleasants, Tyler, Doddridge, Wetzel Marshall, Ohio, Brooke and Hancock.