Happy Birthday Marion CountyJanuary 14, 2018
Happy Birthday, Marion County!
January was a big deal for Marion County and ultimately, West Virginia.
With the capital seat in Charleston, many people don’t realize the integral role Marion County played in our state.
What started as the dream of a Delaware native became the home of generations. Boaz Fleming was 29 when he set out with a group of about 40 others to settle what he called Middletown. He had purchased more than 200 acres and cleared 40 of them to fulfill his dream.
His political life was rife with drama, sometimes supported and at others, ignored. Marion County Historical Society has the scoop. And if you’re up for some grave adventure, he is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.
On Jan. 19, 1820, by an act of fate – and the Virginia Assembly- Middletown, Virginia was established. That would be a useless fact if that town hadn’t eventually become Fairmont, West Virginia.
After becoming the Borough of Fairmont in 1843, it took another step up. In January 1899, the West Virginia Legislature granted the borough a new charter incorporating more land and becoming the City of Fairmont.
So Virginia not only played a huge role in pushing West Virginia out on its own, but it was vital in creating the inner workings of the state, too.
Jan. 14, 1842, House Bill 69 was wisely introduced by one wonderful delegate William Morgan. This lovely bill created- you guessed it- a new county. Formed by God himself, and an Act of the General Assembly of Virginia, the new county was named in honor of “The Swamp Fox,” Revolutionary War hero General Francis Marion. Middletown became the county seat.
While the county seats differ, 17 states share Marion Counties, all named in honor of Francis’ heroic existence. The first state to create such a county was, of course, his home state of South Carolina in 1800. The last state to jump on the bandwagon: Texas in 1860.
Before that, on yet another fateful day in January with yet another game changer named Francis. Francis Harrison Pierpont was born and raised in Marion County. The “Father of West Virginia” was elected as the Governor of Restored Virginia in 1861, creating two Virginias, a Confederate state and a Union state. His life was full of passion and love for freedom with a heavy emphasis in politics obviously.
His story is chronicled throughout the county at the Wilson School Museum. (He is also buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.) In 1863, with Marion County (the one in West Virginia, to be clear) as M.V.P., West Virginia was born.
So happy birthday, Marion County! And to everyone else: you’re welcome. (A special thanks to South Carolina for its assistance.)
What is your favorite thing about Marion County?