Julia PierpontMay 15, 2014
She was humble and gracious. Like her husband, she was a great leader. Though, not in the same way. Governors lead with debate, laws, and doctrine. She led with grace, humility, and calm action.
Julia is credited with inspiring Memorial Day in May 1866, then called Decoration Day.
Decoration Day was a day to repair and decorate the graves of the Civil War soldiers who had given their lives for their country.
In 1882, the holiday’s name was changed to Memorial Day in honor of all who had given their lives for their country.
Back then, Julia didn’t just think of those who died in service. She honored them. And we will do the same. Julia Pierpont Day is a day to prepare for Memorial Day by giving attention to all graves, with special attention to the graves of military veterans, particularly those having served in the Civil War (any dates of death from 1861-1865).
There are countless Civil War veterans buried throughout West Virginia. We will honor them, and in doing so, we will also honor her. We will carry the legacy Julia left, a legacy of respect and reverence. Join Fairmont and Marion County in observing Julia Pierpont Day to dust off those graves of heroes past, and lay flowers for them.
Her life and time
Julia Augusta Robertson Pierpont
Julia Augusta Robertson was a native of New York, but eventually helped introduce West Virginia as its own state.
In 1854 she married Francis H.Pierpont. Little did she know, their shared belief in anti-slavery (anti-slavery or pro-freedom, your choice) would birth the 35th state in the nation. In 1861, Pierpont was officially the Governor of Restored Virginia (now known as West Virginia).
Julia Pierpont had four children: Samuel, Anna, Mary Augusta, and Francis William.
Francis H. Pierpont was the first Governor of Restored Virginia (1861-68) during and after the Civil War. His plan made it possible for this part of Virginia to gain statehood, becoming the new state of West Virginia on June 20, 1863.
He is known as “The Father of West Virginia,” and thus she became “The Mother of West Virginia.”
Julia Pierpont lived from 1828 – 1886.