Peter G. Van Winkle, U.S. Senator

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Peter G. Van Winkle, U.S. Senator's Geni Profile

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Peter Godwin Van Winkle

Death: April 15, 1872 (63)
Immediate Family:

Son of Peter Simeon Van Winkle and Phoebe Van Winkle
Husband of Juliette Van Winkle
Brother of Henry Edward Van Winkle

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About Peter G. Van Winkle, U.S. Senator

Peter Godwin Van Winkle (September 7, 1808 – April 15, 1872) was an American lawyer, businessman and politician. For many years a leading officer of the Northwestern Virginia Railroad, he became one of the founders of West Virginia and a United States Senator.

Born in New York City, he completed preparatory studies, studied law, and was admitted to the bar, commencing practice in Parkersburg, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1835. He was president of the town board of trustees from 1844 to 1850 and was a member of the Virginia State constitutional convention in 1850. He was treasurer and later president of the Northwestern Virginia Railroad Co. in 1852 and a member of the Wheeling reorganization convention in 1861. He was a delegate to the State convention which framed the constitution of West Virginia and a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1863. Upon the admission of West Virginia as a State into the Union, he was elected as a Unionist to the U.S. Senate and served from August 4, 1863, to March 4, 1869. While in the Senate, he was chairman of the Committee on Pensions (Fortieth Congress).

During President Andrew Johnson's impeachment trial, Van Winkle broke party ranks, along with six other Republican senators and voted for acquittal. These seven Republican senators were disturbed by how the proceedings had been manipulated in order to give a one-sided presentation of the evidence. Senators William Pitt Fessenden, Joseph S. Fowler, James W. Grimes, John B. Henderson, Lyman Trumbull, Peter G. Van Winkle , and Edmund G. Ross of Kansas, who provided the decisive vote, defied their party and public opinion and voted against impeachment.

Van Winkle was a delegate to the Southern Loyalist Convention at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1866; he resided in Parkersburg, where he died in 1872. Interment was in Riverview Cemetery.

Marshall Van Winkle, Peter Van Winkle's grandnephew, was a U.S. Representative from New Jersey in the Fifty-ninth Congress.

His former home at Parkersburg is located in the Julia-Ann Square Historic District., it's known as the Peter G. Van Winkle House.

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Peter G. Van Winkle, U.S. Senator's Timeline

September 7, 1808
April 15, 1872
Age 63