This Week in the Civil War - 597

Jun 21, 2013

On Saturday, June 20, 1863 by virtue of a presidential proclamation West Virginia officially joined the Union as the thirty-fifth state, and at Wheeling, Arthur Boreman was inaugurated as West Virginia's first state governor. 

Before the war eastern and western Virginia existed as one state, but with two distinctly different lifestyles. The eastern side adopted a coastal based, slave economy, which allowed them a larger legislative voice as the number of slaves increased their population for larger representation. Yet they paid lower taxes than the west because slave property was valued less.

The western side, meanwhile, established a river-based economy and lifestyle, mostly without slaves. When Virginia ceded from the Union to join the Confederacy, Virginians in the west declared its secession void and began working for statehood.