Franklin Marks W.Va.’s 150th

Pendleton County Dedicates Statue

Posted: June 22, 2013

LEFT TO RIGHT: Randy Ours, Louis Turner, Austen Whetzel, Wayne Huffman, Roger Ashley and Dewayne Borror pray during the dedication of a Civil War statue at the Pendleton County Courthouse in Franklin, W.Va., Thursday, which marked the state’s 150th birthday. (Photo by Joan Ashley)
FRANKLIN, W.Va. — A Civil War statue depicting a soldier representing both sides of the bloody conflict was dedicated Thursday on the corner of the Pendleton County Courthouse lawn.
 
The dedication was part of county’s sesquicentennial celebration, marking West Virginia’s 150th birthday.
 
The Brigadier General James Boggs Camp No. 1706, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the 7th West Virginia Infantry Camp No. 7, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War petitioned the County Commission in 2011 to erect the monument.
 
“The years 2010 until 2015 are the sesquicentennial years of the War Between the States,” said local historian Dewayne Borror, commander of the SCV and a Pendleton County Historical Society board member.
 
“The statue’s uniform represents both sides to serve as a memory to the local men and women, both Confederate and Union, who served in the war,” Borror said.
 
The sons of Pendleton County were predominately Confederate, fighting and dying for what they believed in.
 
“They were Southern to the end, holding the last county court under the laws of Virginia just three days before Gen. Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865,” Borror said.
 
Even so, those who remained loyal to the Union “are to be admired,” he added. “Living in a hostile area, these men stayed true to what they believed. Men like John Boggs, who was elected, attended and voted at the 1861 constitutional conventions held in Wheeling, which led to the creation of the state of West Virginia.”
 
Randy Ours. commander of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, described most descendants of the war as SOBs — “Sons of Both” — because the area and even families were so divided.
 
“But, we’re all Americans here today to honor all those Americans who lost their lives in this war,” he said.
County Commissioner Gene McConnell, giving a brief history of West Virginia’s statehood, said it became a new state as “the result of an act of Congress on Dec. 31, 1862, and a proclamation from President Lincoln on April 20, 1863, which was effective 60 days later.”
 
“West Virginia is truly a child of the Civil War and represents the only geographical boundary change as a result of the war,” McConnell said.
 
As part of the West Virginia Day event, Franklin’s church bells joined those across the state to ring 35 times at 1:50 p.m. to celebrate West Virginia’s admission into the Union as the 35th state.
 
The statue’s base was created from the stones on the site of a nonworking water fountain built by the Works Progress Administration workers around 1938.
 
Borror said the site was chosen because a vote to join the Confederacy was passed in the former courthouse located on the lot; local men enlisted in the Confederate army and marched off to war from this corner; the former courthouse was used as a hospital by both sides during the war; the Union Home Guard raised the U.S. flag above this courthouse and sang songs of victory in 1865; and Confederate veterans held many reunions here.
 
The site also has historic significance because Confederate cavalry charged past the courthouse in pursuit of a withdrawing Union force in May 1862 after the occupation of Franklin; the Union Home Guard burned the adjacent county jailhouse to prevent confinement of their captured men in 1864; local heroine Phoebe Warner trudged over North Fork Mountain on a freezing snowy night to the nearby John Wilson house to warn of a Union raid in 1865; and Union Gens. Robert Milroy and John C. Fremont established their headquarters in May 1862, in the William McCoy house across the street.
 
There were approximately 900 men from Pendleton who served the Confederate States of America and another 300 or more who served the United States in the regular army and in the Home Guard of West Virginia.
 
“Every native of Pendleton County can most likely trace their lineage to a soldier of that war on one side or the other or both,” Borror said. “No matter what color wool, blue or gray, we wear today, we’re all Americans representing our state for West Virginia Day.”
 
Contact Joan Ashley at 574-6200


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