David R. Zimring n the morning of June 20, 1863, two separate births occurred in the city of Wheeling, Virginia. Edward Davis, a blacksmith by trade, and his wife Mary celebrated the birth of their daughter Frances. Nothing seemed extraordinary about this event on the surface. The Ohio County records simply listed her as the eighty-ninth child born in Wheeling in 1863. Yet Frances Davis stood out from all the other Wheeling babies before because she was the first child of Wheeling not born in Virginia. Instead, she became the first person ever born in the city of Wheeling, West Virginia. For on that same day, another birth took place: the first day of the existence of the brand new state of West Virginia. For many, it was a day of triumph; for others, a day of defeat; for all, a day that began a new era few believed would ever happen.1 Western Virginians who wanted a new state faced nearly insurmountable obstacles before that day arrived. The Constitution specifically states in article four, section three, that, in order to form a new state out of an existing one, the nascent state needed the consent of both the
West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Oct 15, 2009
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