Francis Harrison Pierpont, Post-War Mil. Gov. of Virginia

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Francis Harrison Pierpont

Also Known As: "Father of West Virginia", "Pierpoint"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Peirpoint Plantation in the Forks of Cheat, Morgantown-Ices Ferry Road, Monongalia County, Virginia, United States
Death: March 24, 1899 (85)
Pittsburg, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Francis Harrison Pierpont and Catherine Pierpont
Husband of Julia Augusta Pierpont

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Francis Harrison Pierpont, Post-War Mil. Gov. of Virginia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_H._Pierpont

Francis Harrison Pierpont (January 25, 1814 – March 24, 1899), called the "Father of West Virginia," was an American lawyer, politician, and unelected "governor" of the Union-controlled parts of Virginia during the Civil War. After the war, he was the "Governor" of all of Virginia during the early years of Reconstruction. In recognition of his significance to its state history, in 1910 the state of West Virginia donated a marble statue of Pierpont as its second contribution to the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection.


Early life


Born near Morgantown (and kin to its founder Zackquill Morgan), Pierpont grew up in western Virginia, in what is today Marion County, West Virginia; he was linked with the region's history for the rest of his life. He graduated from Allegheny College, and taught school in Virginia and Mississippi while also studying law.


He was admitted to the bar in 1841, and became the local attorney for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1848. Prior to entering politics, he also helped found Fairmont Male and Female Seminary, the forerunner to Fairmont State University.


Political career


Civil war


An active supporter of Abraham Lincoln, Pierpont became more involved in politics as an outspoken opponent of Virginia's secession from the Union. When Virginia seceded and entered the war, delegates from the northwestern counties of Virginia, which refused to join the Confederacy, met at the Wheeling Convention. These counties ultimately declared that their elected officials had abandoned their posts and established a rump government in Wheeling, with Pierpont as the provisional "governor." This "Restored government of Virginia" drafted a new Virginia Constitution and sent representatives to the Union Congress. In 1862, Pierpont attended the Loyal War Governors' Conference in Altoona, Pennsylvania, organized by Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin, which ultimately backed Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Union war effort.


Under Pierpont's leadership, the Wheeling government called for a popular vote on the question of the creation of a new separate state. Despite a lack of overwhelming support and widespread fraud in the voting process, the "Restored Government" pressed the U.S. Congress for statehood, which also approved the issue. The new state took the name "West Virginia" and was admitted into the Union in 1863. When Arthur I. Boreman was elected governor for West Virginia, Pierpont became "governor" of the "restored" state of Virginia, comprising the several Northern Virginia, Norfolk area, and Eastern Shore counties under Union control. The capital of the "restored" state was established in Alexandria for the remainder of the Civil War.


At the end of the war in 1865, President Andrew Johnson appointed Pierpont as the provisional "governor" of Virginia. He moved the capital back to Richmond, Virginia.


Reconstruction


Pierpont followed a policy of forgiveness to those politicians who had served in the Confederate military and government. The Virginia government started to pass laws restoring ex-Confederates to their lost privileges, to the displeasure of most former Union Republicans. As the South became increasingly resistant to Reconstruction after the war, the United States Congress passed the Military Reconstruction Act of 1867. Through this Act, Virginia was designated the "First Military District" in 1868, and military commander John Schofield replaced Pierpont with Henry H. Wells until state delegates could write and enact a new constitution could be enacted. According to the Civil War historian Richard Lowe, Hiram Bond, a former Vanderbilt University functionary and friend of Grant, planned the removal of Pierpont and installation of Welles. Pierpont became one of the key figures in the Virginia constitutional convention of 1867-1868, which resulted in the "Underwood Constitution" of 1869. After this, Pierpont left Virginia politics and returned to his law practice in West Virginia.


Pierpont subsequently was elected to one term in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1870, but lost his seat when the Democrats took control of the state. His last public office was as collector of Internal Revenue under President James Garfield. After his retirement, he helped create the West Virginia Historical Society. He died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on March 24, 1899. Three years later, his remains were relocated to Woodlawn Cemetery in Fairmont, West Virginia. They are next to his wife Julia and three of their four children.

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https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Pierpont_Francis_H_1814-1899

Francis Harrison Pierpont was a lawyer, early coal industrialist, governor of the Restored government of Virginia during the American Civil War (1861–1865), governor of Virginia (1865–1868) during the first years of Reconstruction (1865–1877), and a state senator representing Marion County in West Virginia (1869–1870). Pierpont was an antislavery member of the Whig Party and delegate to the First and Second Wheeling Conventions in 1861, during which Unionist politicians in western Virginia resisted the state's vote to secede by establishing the Restored government of Virginia. The second convention unanimously elected him governor. Although never actually governor of West Virginia, he is still remembered as one of the state's founding fathers.

Pierpont was born in Monongalia County, Virginia (now West Virginia), on January 25, 1814. He spent his youth in Fairmont, Virginia (also in what is now West Virginia), and, from 1835 until 1839, attended Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. After a brief stint as a teacher, Pierpont began his legal career in trans-Allegheny Virginia representing such influential clients as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Pierpont, along with partner James Otis Watson, became one of Virginia's earliest coal operators. A lifelong Methodist, he married Julia Augusta Robertson on December 26, 1854.

Pierpont's political career began in 1840 when he made speeches across western Virginia in support of Whig presidential nominees William Henry Harrison of Ohio and fellow Virginian John Tyler. During the presidential election of 1860, he campaigned for Constitutional Union nominees John Bell of Tennessee and Edward Everett of Massachusetts. (The Constitutional Union Party attracted conservative Southern members of the Whig Party and anti-immigrant Know Nothings who sought to emphasize the Union and downplay slavery.) During the secession crisis of 1860 and 1861, Pierpont delivered pro-Union, antislavery addresses to large crowds across northwestern Virginia.

After meeting since February, the Convention in Richmond voted to secede in April 1861. This prompted the still-Unionist western delegates of the state to organize the First Wheeling Convention (May 13–15, 1861). During the meeting, Pierpont promoted the reorganization of the state government, and following the passage of the Virginia Ordinance of Secession by statewide referendum on May 23, Pierpont was elected to attend the Second Wheeling Convention (June 11–25, 1861). On June 20, he was unanimously elected governor of the Restored government of Virginia.

The city of Wheeling initially served as the headquarters of the Restored government of Virginia, but after the formation of West Virginia on June 20, 1863, and Pierpont's reelection as governor that December (governor, that is, of the Restored government and not of West Virginia), the reorganized state government relocated to Alexandria. Pierpont dedicated his energies to raising troops and funds for the Union war effort, coordinating with U.S. president Abraham Lincoln's administration, combating Confederate sympathizers, and working to return Virginia to the Union. Pierpont promoted the creation of "free schools," the extension of constitutional rights to freedmen, and in 1864 the convening of a state constitutional convention aimed at abolishing slavery.

After the conclusion of the Civil War, the Alexandria government moved to Richmond, where Pierpont began the process of reconstructing Virginia. Pierpont and his civilian administration oversaw local and state elections, promoted the rights of freedmen, and worked to rebuild the state's economy. Due to his conciliatory policies toward ex-Confederates, Pierpont was criticized by Radical Republicans. In March 1867, the United States Congress, as part of its new Reconstruction policy, placed Virginia under the military command of General John M. Schofield. Despite his protestations, Pierpont was removed from office on April 4, 1868.

After his ouster, Pierpont quietly returned to Fairmont, where his support for the statehood movement earned him election by Marion County voters to the West Virginia state senate in 1869. Due to the increasing Democratic control of the state government, he was not reelected in 1870 and subsequently retired from politics. Pierpont spent the final years of his life as a founder and member of the West Virginia Historical Society. He died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on March 24, 1899.

Time Line

January 25, 1814 - Francis Harrison Pierpont is born in Monongalia County, Virginia (now West Virginia).

1835–1839 - Francis Harrison Pierpont attends Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

1840 - Francis Harrison Pierpont's political career begins when he makes speeches across western Virginia in support of Whig Party presidential nominees William Henry Harrison of Ohio and John Tyler of Virginia.

December 26, 1854 - Francis Harrison Pierpont and Julia Augusta Robertson marry.

1860 - Francis Harrison Pierpont campaigns for the Constitutional Union Party nominees for U.S. president, John Bell of Tennessee and Edward Everett of Massachusetts. He delivers pro-Union, antislavery addresses to large crowds across northwestern Virginia.

May 13–15, 1861 - During the First Wheeling Convention, representing the still-Unionist western portion of Virginia, Francis Harrison Pierpont promotes the reorganization of state government.

June 20, 1861 - During the Second Wheeling Convention, Francis Harrison Pierpont is unanimously elected governor of the reorganized Virginia government still loyal to the Union.

June 20, 1863 - The newly elected governor, Arthur I. Boreman, in front of Wheeling delegates, proclaims West Virginia the thirty-fifth state. Only forty-eight of the fifty existing counties become part of the new state. The other two, Berkeley and Jefferson, will be added in 1866.

December 1863 - Francis Harrison Pierpont is reelected governor of the Restored government of Virginia, which has relocated to Alexandria. He runs the governor's office from a house at what is now numbered as 415 Prince Street.

1865 - Following the end of the Civil War, Francis Harrison Pierpont, previously governor of the Restored government of Virginia, becomes governor of Virginia.

March 1867 - Amid mounting pressure from Radical Republicans, the U.S. Congress places Virginia under the military command of General John M. Schofield.

April 4, 1868 - Francis Harrison Pierpont is removed as governor of Virginia.

1869–1870 - Francis Harrison Pierpont serves as a state senator representing Marion County in West Virginia.

March 24, 1899 - Francis Harrison Pierpont dies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Francis Harrison Pierpont, Post-War Mil. Gov. of Virginia's Timeline

1814
January 25, 1814
Monongalia County, Virginia, United States
1899
March 24, 1899
Age 85
Pittsburg, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States
????
Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia, United States