The Times West Virginian

January 22, 2013

Historical society to mark Pierpont’s birthday

By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Have some cake and celebrate Francis H. Pierpont’s 199th birthday Friday.

The Marion County Historical Society is marking the birthday of the “Father of West Virginia” with free cake and tours of the historical museum, 211 Adams St., beside the Marion County Courthouse.

Pierpont was born Jan. 25, 1814, in Monongalia County and spent his youth in Fairmont.

He was elected governor of Restored (to the United States) Virginia, at the Second Wheeling Convention, June 20, 1861, and served until 1868.

The Wheeling Conventions were meetings of elected representatives from Northwestern Virginia who were loyal to the United States and did not agree to Virginia’s leaving the Union at the time of the Civil War.

Pierpont’s plans and actions, prior to and while serving as the governor of Restored Virginia, made him responsible for the creation of West Virginia on June 20, 1863, said Dora Grubb, president of the historical society.

Pierpont died March 24, 1899, and is buried in the family plot in Fairmont’s Woodlawn Cemetery Historic District next to his wife, Julia Augusta Robertson Pierpont.

On April 30, 1910, the U.S. Congress accepted his statue from West Virginia to stand in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., honoring him as the “Father of West Virginia.”

But he has done more for the state, Grubb added.

Cake and coffee with be served, and a “maid from the past” will be at the museum to answer any questions.

There will also be displays from Pierpont’s life, including a photo of him in later life and the 1830s clock, given to him by his father, that he passed on to his daughter.

 

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