The Marion County Museum will be celebrating the 200th Birthday of Francis H. Pierpont, “The Father of West Virginia” and Gov. of Restored Virginia on January 25, 2014 from 10:00 – 2:00.
Fairmont ’s Pierpont was elected as the Governor of Restored (to the United States ) Virginia , at the Second Wheeling Convention, June 20, 1861 . There were now two Virginias– Union and Confederate. The Wheeling Conventions were meetings of elected representatives from Northwestern Virginia who were loyal to the United States and did not agree to Virginia ’s leaving the Union at the time of the Civil War. Pierpont’s plans and actions, prior to and while serving as the Governor of Restored Virginia (1861-68), made him greatly responsible for the creation of West Virginia June 20, 1863. He and President Lincoln corresponded frequently and the collection of these letters are at the archives of West Virginia University.
Francis Pierpont also started free education for all in 1865. As part of this educational program, he started what is now known as Fairmont State University in 1865. He was also very much responsible for nationally reuniting the split of the Methodist Church as well as being elected the National Chairperson. (He was the first non clerical person to ever be elected).
Pierpont died March 24, 1899 , and is buried in the family plot in Fairmont ’s Woodlawn Cemetery Historic District next to his wife Julia Augusta Robertson Pierpont. April 30, 1910 , the US Congress accepted his statue from West Virginia to stand in Statuary Hall of the US Capitol Building, Washington, DC, honoring him as the “Father of West Virginia.” (See Museum photo displays and brochure.)**
Dr. Raymond Alvarez will be at the Museum showing old photographs of Fairmont from his new book and talking about our history. (His book is $5.00 and all profit goes to the restoration fund of the Woman’s Club in Fairmont. We will also be cutting the Birthday Cake at 12:30. We will have free tours, historical questions answered, and free parking. So come and join us this Saturday and bring your family and friends. All are welcome.