The Intelligencer Marked First Day of a New State
Editor’s note: This account of the day’s statehood festivities appeared in the June 20, 1863, edition of the Daily Intelligencer of Wheeling.
This day ushers into being the new State of West Virginia, and adds the thirty fifth star to the constellation of the American Union. Today is the beginning of a new order of things with us here. The old Government goes out and the new one comes in. Today Gov. Pierpont goes out and … Gov. Boreman will be inaugurated as his successor. With the one the parting cannot be but sad. With the other the greeting cannot but be joyful. Gov. Pierpont goes to his new field of usefulness and labor, followed by the good wishes and benedictions of a grateful people. Gov. Boreman comes to us a worthy successor, the unanimously chosen and honored Chief Magistrate of the new State. While we gratefully remember the one, let us honor and support the other.
The new Commonwealth starts upon its career in the midst of turbulence and danger. Its officers have great difficulties and embarrassments to encounter. They will need the moral support of the whole people, and they are worthy of it. Let us give it to them in unstinted measure.
Today the Legislature of the new State meets for organization. With the beginning of the week it commences the important labor assigned it, of putting the machinery of the new Government into smooth and successful operation. It has an arduous task before it, but, we believe the task will be creditably done.
The occasion is a peculiarly suggestive one, but we do not propose to indulge a retrospect now. Today we enter into the reward of the long and toilsome struggle. Two years ago, this day, the people of Western Virginia, in Convention assembled signed the Declaration against the despotic usurpation and conspiracy at Richmond. That declaration embodied the spirit of all this Western Virginia movement, which on this, the second anniversary of that act, stands completed and consummated. Never may we depart from either the spirit or letter of that Declaration, which declared that “the true purpose of all government is to promote the welfare and provide for the protection and security of the covered,” and that the rebellion at Richmond seeks “to subvert the Union founded by Washington and his co-patriots, in the purer days of the Republic, which has conferred unexampled prosperity upon every class of citizens and upon every section of the country.”
Let us not forget that our New State, which we inaugurate today amid happy auspices, will be destroyed, the liberty it protects overthrown, and the hopes it inspires blasted, if the federal government is not able to sustain itself and enforce its authority. Our fate and the fate of our national Union must be the same. We go on together to prosperity, or we go down together to ruin. Even now the enemies of the country threaten to invade our homes, and the citizens soldiery is under arms for their defense. Let us each and all vow today, in turning this new leaf of our history, undying hostility to this atrocious rebellion which seeks the destruction of the rights of men, and realty to the government and Union, in and under which alone life, liberty and property are secure. As citizens we are of the State, but as patriots we belong to the whole country.
THE INAUGURATION – This will be a big day in the city of Wheeling. Already the hotels are filled with people who have come to witness the inauguration of the Governor of the new State of West Virginia. For the benefit of the public we re-publish the following order of arrangements for the occasion:
1. The Governor elect, members of the Senate and House of Delegates elect, and State officers of the State of West Virginia, and the Governor and State officers of the State of Virginia, are respectfully requested to meet at the McLure House at 9 o’clock, A.M.
2. The 4th and 5th Regiments of West Virginia militia, fully armed and equipped, will parade on Fourth Street, the right of the Fifth resting on Monroe street, at 8 o’clock A.M. After forming the brigade and receiving the General Assembly and officers of the Government at the McLure House, the column will march by the following route, viz: Along Market to John street, thence to Main street, thence to Second street, thence to Chapline street, thence to Market street, thence to Union street, thence to Fourth street, thence to John street, thence to Fifth street and thence to the Linsly Institute.
3. In front of the Linsly Institute, Gov. Pierpont will deliver his valedictory, and introduce Hon. Arthur I. Boreman the governor-elect of West Virginia, who will deliver his inaugural address.
4. At the conclusion of his address Gov. Boreman will cause the national flag to be raised over the Linsly Institute, the temporary Capitol of West Virginia, and a national salute of thirty-five guns will be simultaneously fired.
5. After the two Houses of the General Assembly shall have retired to their respective chambers, the brigade will move to their parade ground and be there dismissed.
6. Citizens are requested to close their places of business between the hours of 8 A. M. and 1 P. M., and display the national flag.