Jessie Harlan Lincoln
Jessie Harlan Lincoln was the second daughter of Robert Todd Lincoln, the granddaughter of Abraham Lincoln, the mother of Mary Lincoln Beckwith and Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, the last undisputed Lincoln descendant. Jessie Harlan Lincoln was born on November 6, 1875, in Chicago, Illinois to Mary Eunice Harlan and Robert Todd Lincoln. At the time of her birth, Robert Lincoln was practicing law in Chicago, she was the last of three children of Robert Todd Lincoln. Jessie's sister and brother were, respectively: Mary "Mamie" Lincoln, October 15, 1869 – November 21, 1938 Abraham "Jack" Lincoln II, August 14, 1873 – March 5, 1890Lincoln spent part of her childhood in Washington, D. C. when her father was Secretary of War from 1881 to 1885. She lived in London, England when her father was the Minister to Great Britain from 1889 to 1893. Jessie's brother, Abraham Lincoln II, died on March 5, 1890 in London at the age of 16, three years the family returned to America to Mary Eunice Harlan's mother's residence in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
Jessie and her sister were piano students in the summer session of Iowa Wesleyan in 1886. She was initiated into the Pleasant Chapter A of the P. E. O. Sisterhood on December 31, 1895, an organization of which her sister, Mary "Mamie" Lincoln, had become a member more than 11 years prior. In 1919, while Lincoln was married to her second husband, her father established a trust for her and her sister, Mary Lincoln Isham. For Isham's trust, he deposited 375 shares of Commonwealth Edison stock worth more than $38,000 and 1,000 shares of National Biscuit stock worth $85,000. For Jessie, he deposited 1,000 shares of Commonwealth Edison stock worth $101,750 and 1,000 shares of National Biscuit stock worth $85,000, it was purported that Jessie received more because she was irresponsible with her finances. In 1920, he deposited another 1,250 shares of Commonwealth Edison stock worth than $100,000 into Jessie's trust fund. On November 10, 1897, she married Warren Wallace Beckwith, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at 2:30 in the afternoon.
Beckwith was a member of the Mt. Pleasant Football Team and Jessie's father and bitterly opposed the couple's being together, he believed their relationship had ended until news of their elopement reached his family. He hurried to Jessie's room that Jessie had married several hours before. In Des Moines County, Iowa in 1898, she gave birth to her first child: Mary Lincoln Beckwith She continued to live in Mount Pleasant, Iowa and on July 19, 1904, had her second and last child, named after her father: Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith In 1907, Jessie divorced Warren Beckwith, her second marriage was to Frank Edward Johnson in 1915. In 1926, Jessie married her third and final husband, Robert John Randolph, an electrical engineer of the Randolph family of Virginia, her two marriages did not produce any more children. From 1946 until her death in 1948, Lincoln lived at their summer estate, Hildene, in Manchester, Vermont. On January 4, 1948, Jessie Harlan Lincoln died at the age of 72 at Rutland Hospital in Rutland, the same place where her daughter, Mary would die 27 years later.
Lincoln was buried in Dellwood Cemetery in Vermont. Lincoln family tree
The Trent Affair was a diplomatic incident in 1861 during the American Civil War that threatened a war between the United States and the United Kingdom. The U. S. Navy illegally captured two Confederate diplomats from a British ship; the United States ended the incident by releasing the diplomats. On November 8, 1861, the USS San Jacinto, commanded by Union Captain Charles Wilkes, intercepted the British mail packet RMS Trent and removed, as contraband of war, two Confederate diplomats: James Murray Mason and John Slidell; the envoys were bound for Britain and France to press the Confederacy's case for diplomatic recognition and to lobby for possible financial and military support. Public reaction in the United States was to celebrate the capture and rally against Britain, threatening war. In the Confederate States, the hope was that the incident would lead to a permanent rupture in Anglo-American relations and even war or at least diplomatic recognition by Britain. Confederates realized their independence depended on intervention by Britain and France.
In Britain, the public disapproved of this violation of neutral rights and insult to their national honor. The British government demanded an apology and the release of the prisoners and took steps to strengthen its military forces in Canada and the Atlantic. President Abraham Lincoln and his top advisors did not want to risk war with Britain over this issue. After several tense weeks, the crisis was resolved when the Lincoln administration released the envoys and disavowed Captain Wilkes's actions, though without a formal apology. Mason and Slidell resumed their voyage to Britain but failed in their goal of achieving diplomatic recognition. Relations with the United States were strained and verged on war when Britain supported the Confederacy in the early part of the American Civil War. British leaders were annoyed from the 1840s to the 1860s by what they saw as Washington's pandering to the democratic mob, as in the Oregon boundary dispute in 1844 to 1846. However, British middle-class public opinion sensed a common "Special Relationship" between the two peoples, based on language, evangelical Protestantism, liberal traditions, extensive trade.
During the affair, London drew Washington retreated. The Confederacy and its president, Jefferson Davis, believed from the beginning that European dependence on Southern cotton for its textile industry would lead to diplomatic recognition and intervention, in the form of mediation. Historian Charles Hubbard wrote: Davis left foreign policy to others in government and, rather than developing an aggressive diplomatic effort, tended to expect events to accomplish diplomatic objectives; the new president was committed to the notion that cotton would secure recognition and legitimacy from the powers of Europe. One of the Confederacy's strongest hopes at the time was the belief that the British, fearing a devastating impact on their textile mills, would recognize the Confederate States and break the Union blockade; the men Davis selected as secretary of state and emissaries to Europe were chosen for political and personal reasons—not for their diplomatic potential. This was due, in part, to the belief that cotton could accomplish the Confederate objectives with little help from Confederate diplomats.
The Union's main focus in foreign affairs was just the opposite: to prevent any British recognition of the Confederacy. Notwithstanding a minor border incident in the Pacific Northwest, Anglo-American relations had improved throughout the 1850s; the issues of the Oregon territory, British involvement in Texas, the Canada–US border dispute had all been resolved in the 1840s. Secretary of State William H. Seward, the primary architect of American foreign policy during the war, intended to maintain the policy principles that had served the country well since the American Revolution: non-intervention by the United States in the affairs of other countries and resistance to foreign intervention in the affairs of the United States and other countries in the Western Hemisphere. British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston urged a policy of neutrality, his international concerns were centered in Europe, where both Napoleon III's ambitions in Europe and Bismarck's rise in Prussia were occurring. During the Civil War, British reactions to American events were shaped by past British policies and their own national interests, both strategically and economically.
In the Western Hemisphere, as relations with the United States improved, Britain had become cautious about confronting the United States over issues in Central America. As a naval power, Britain had a long record of insisting that neutral nations honor its blockades of hostile countries. From the earliest days of the war, that perspective would guide the British away from taking any action that might have been viewed in Washington as a direct challenge to the Union blockade. From the perspective of the South, British policy amounted to de facto support for the Union blockade and caused great frustration; the Russian Minister in Washington, Eduard de Stoeckl, noted, "The Cabinet of London is watching attentively the internal dissensions of the Union and awaits the result with an impatience which it has difficulty in disguising." De Stoeckl advised his government that Britain would recognize the Confederate States at its earliest opportunity. Cassius Clay, the US minister in Russia, stated, "I saw at a glance where the feeling of England was.
They hoped for our ruin! They are jealous of our power, they care neither for the North. They hate both."At the beginning of the Civil War, the U. S. minister to the Court of St. James was Charles Francis Adams, he made clear that Washington considered the war an internal insurrec
Richmond in the American Civil War
Richmond, served as the capital of the Confederate States of America for the whole of the American Civil War. It was a vital source of weapons and supplies for the war effort, the terminus of five railroads; the Union made many attempts to invade Richmond. In the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, General George McClellan moved up the James River to the suburbs of the city, but was beaten back by Robert E. Lee in the Seven Days Battles. In 1864-5, General U. S. Grant laid siege to nearby Petersburg, whose evacuation by Lee caused the government to flee the capital, which the retreating Confederates left in flames. In the 1860 United States Census, Richmond was the 25th largest urban area in the United States, with a population of 37,910; the city had been the capital of Virginia since 1780. The Confederate States of America was formed in early 1861 from the first states to secede from the Union. Montgomery, was selected as the Confederate capital. After the Confederate Army fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, on April 12, 1861, beginning the Civil War, additional states seceded.
Virginia voted to secede from the Union on April 17, 1861, existed thereafter as an independent republic before joining the Confederacy on June 19, 1861. However, on May 8, 1861, in the Confederate Capital City of Montgomery, the decision was made to name the City of Richmond, Virginia as the new Capital of the Confederacy. Shortly thereafter, in recognition of Virginia's strategic importance, the Confederate capital was moved to Richmond; the Great Seal of the Confederate States of America, adopted April 30, 1863, features a depiction of George Washington based on the Virginia Washington Monument adjacent to the Confederate Capitol building. Richmond remained the capital of the Confederacy until April 2, 1865, at which point the government evacuated and was re-established, albeit in Danville, Virginia. Positioned on the Fall Line along the James River, the city had ready access to an ample supply of hydropower to run mills and factories; the Tredegar Iron Works, sprawling along the James River, supplied high-quality munitions to Confederacy during the war.
The company manufactured railroad steam locomotives in the same period. Tredegar is credited with the production of 10,000 artillery pieces during the war, about half of the South's total domestic production of artillery between the war years of 1861–1865; the foundry made the 723 tons of armor plating that covered the CSS Virginia, which fought the first battle between ironclad warships in March 1862. The Tredegar works were adjacent to the Richmond Arsenal, recommissioned in the lead-up to the war. On Brown's Island, the Confederate States Laboratory was established to consolidate explosives production to an isolated setting in the eventuality of an accidental explosion. Numerous smaller factories in Richmond produced tents, uniforms and leather goods and bayonets, other war material; as the war progressed, the city's warehouses became the supply and logistical center for much of the Confederate forces within the Eastern Theater. Richmond was a transportation hub, it was the terminus of five railroads: the Richmond and Potomac Railroad.
In addition, the James River and Kanawha Canal ran through it with access to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. At the fall of Richmond in April 1865, all but the Richmond and Danville Railroad and the canal had been cut off by Union forces. In the late spring of 1862, a large Federal army under Major General George B. McClellan landed on the Virginia Peninsula. McClellan, who had enjoyed early publicity from a series of successes in western Virginia, was assigned the task of seizing and occupying Richmond, his military maneuvers and the resulting battles and engagements became collectively known as the Peninsula Campaign, culminating in the Seven Days Battles. McClellan's starting base was the Union-held Fort Monroe at the eastern tip of the Peninsula. Efforts to take Richmond by the James River were blocked by Confederate defenses at the Battle of Drewry's Bluff on May 15, about eight miles downstream from Richmond; the Union Army advance was halted shortly outside of the city at the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31 and June 1, 1862.
Over a period of seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, Richmond's defensive line of batteries and fortifications set up under General Robert E. Lee, a daring ride around the Union Army by Confederate cavalry under General J. E. B. Stuart, an unexpected appearance of General Stonewall Jackson's famous "foot cavalry" combined to unnerve the ever-cautious McClellan, he initiated a Union retreat before Richmond; as other portions of the South were falling, the failure of the Peninsula Campaign to take Richmond led to three more years of warfare between the states. As a result of its proximity to the battlefields of the Eastern Theater and its high level of defense, the city processed many casualties of both sides: as home to numerous hospitals and various cemeteries. On March 13, 1863, the Confederate Laboratory on Brown's Island was rocked by an explosion that killed dozens of workers. On April 2, 1863, the city was beset by a large bread riot as housewives could no longer afford high food prices and broke into stores.
The riot was organized by a huckster and the mother of a soldier. The militia was called out to end
Dakota War of 1862
The Dakota War of 1862 known as the Sioux Uprising, the Dakota Uprising, the Sioux Outbreak of 1862, the Dakota Conflict, the U. S.–Dakota War of 1862 or Little Crow's War, was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of Dakota. It began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota, four years after its admission as a state. Throughout the late 1850s in the lead-up to the war, treaty violations by the United States and late or unfair annuity payments by Indian agents caused increasing hunger and hardship among the Dakota. During the war, the Dakota made extensive attacks on hundreds of settlers and immigrants, which resulted in settler deaths, caused many to flee the area. Intense desire for immediate revenge ended with soldiers capturing hundreds of Dakota men and interning their families. A military tribunal tried the men, sentencing 303 to death for their crimes. President Lincoln would commute the sentence of 264 of them; the mass hanging of 38 Dakota men was conducted on December 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota.
Traders with the Dakota had demanded that the government give the annuity payments directly to them. In mid-1862, the Dakota demanded the annuities directly from Thomas J. Galbraith; the traders refused to provide any more supplies on credit under those conditions, negotiations reached an impasse. On August 17, 1862, one young Dakota with a hunting party of three others killed five settlers while on a hunting expedition; that night a council of Dakota decided to attack settlements throughout the Minnesota River valley to try to drive whites out of the area. There has never been an official report on the number of settlers killed, although in President Abraham Lincoln's second annual address, he said that no fewer than 800 men and children had died. Over the next several months, continued battles of the Dakota against settlers and the United States Army, ended with the surrender of most of the Dakota bands. By late December 1862, US soldiers had taken captive more than a thousand Dakota, including women and elderly men in addition to warriors, who were interned in jails in Minnesota.
After trials and sentencing by a military court, 38 Dakota men were hanged on December 26, 1862 in Mankato in the largest one-day mass execution in American history. In April 1863, the rest of the Dakota were expelled from Minnesota to South Dakota; the United States Congress abolished their reservations. Additionally, the Ho-Chunk people living on reservation lands near Mankato were expelled from Minnesota as a result of the war; the United States and Dakota leaders negotiated the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux on July 23, 1851, Treaty of Mendota on August 5, 1851, by which the Dakota ceded large tracts of land in Minnesota Territory to the U. S. in exchange for promises of money and goods. From that time on, the Dakota were to live on a 20-mile wide Indian reservation centered on a 150 mile stretch of the upper Minnesota River. However, the United States Senate deleted Article 3 of each treaty, which set out reservations, during the ratification process. Much of the promised compensation never arrived, was lost, or was stolen due to corruption in the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Annuity payments guaranteed to the Dakota were provided directly to traders instead. When Minnesota became a state on May 11, 1858, representatives of several Dakota bands led by Little Crow traveled to Washington, D. C. to negotiate about enforcing existing treaties. The northern half of the reservation along the Minnesota River was lost, rights to the quarry at Pipestone, were taken from the Dakota; this was a major blow to the standing of Little Crow in the Dakota community. The land was divided into plots for settlement. Logging and agriculture on these plots eliminated surrounding forests and prairies, which interrupted the Dakota's annual cycle of farming, hunting and gathering wild rice. Hunting by settlers reduced wild game, such as bison, whitetail deer and bear. Not only did this decrease the meat available for the Dakota in southern and western Minnesota, but it directly reduced their ability to sell furs to traders for additional supplies. Although payments were guaranteed, the US government was behind or failed to pay because of Federal preoccupation with the American Civil War.
Most land in the river valley was not arable, hunting could no longer support the Dakota community. The Dakota became discontented over their losses: land, non-payment of annuities, past broken treaties, plus food shortages and famine following crop failure. Tensions increased through the summer of 1862. On August 4, 1862, representatives of the northern Sissetowan and Wahpeton Dakota bands met at the Upper Sioux Agency in the northwestern part of the reservation and negotiated to obtain food; when two other bands of the Dakota, the southern Mdewakanton and the Wahpekute, turned to the Lower Sioux Agency for supplies on August 15, 1862, they were rejected. Indian Agent Thomas Galbraith managed the area and would not distribute food to these bands without payment. At a meeting of the Dakota, the U. S. government and local traders, the Dakota representatives asked the representative of the government traders, Andrew Jackson Myrick, to sell them food on credit. His response was said to be, "So far as I am concerned, if they are hungry let th
The Homestead Acts were several laws in the United States by which an applicant could acquire ownership of government land or the public domain called a homestead. In all, more than 160 million acres of public land, or nearly 10 percent of the total area of the United States, was given away free to 1.6 million homesteaders. An extension of the homestead principle in law, the Homestead Acts were an expression of the Free Soil policy of Northerners who wanted individual farmers to own and operate their own farms, as opposed to Southern slave-owners who wanted to buy up large tracts of land and use slave labor, thereby shutting out free white farmers; the first of the acts, the Homestead Act of 1862, opened up millions of acres. Any adult who had never taken up arms against the Federal government of the United States could apply. Women and immigrants who had applied for citizenship were eligible; the 1866 Act explicitly included black Americans and encouraged them to participate, but rampant discrimination slowed black gains.
Historian Michael Lanza argues that while the 1866 law pack was not as beneficial as it might have been, it was part of the reason that by 1900 one fourth of all Southern black farmers owned their own farms. Several additional laws were enacted in the latter half of the early 20th centuries; the Southern Homestead Act of 1866 sought to address land ownership inequalities in the south during Reconstruction. The Timber Culture Act of 1873 granted land to a claimant, required to plant trees—the tract could be added to an existing homestead claim and had no residency requirement; the Kinkaid Amendment of 1904 granted a full section—640 acres –to new homesteaders settling in western Nebraska. An amendment to the Homestead Act of 1862, the Enlarged Homestead Act, was passed in 1909 and doubled the allotted acreage from 160 to 320 acres. Another amended act, the national Stock-Raising Homestead Act, was passed in 1916 and again increased the land involved, this time to 640 acres. Land-grant laws similar to the Homestead Acts had been proposed by northern Republicans before the Civil War, but had been blocked in Congress by southern Democrats who wanted western lands open for purchase by slave-owners.
The Homestead Act of 1860 did pass in Congress, but it was vetoed by President James Buchanan, a Democrat. After the Southern states seceded from the Union in 1861, the bill passed and was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. Daniel Freeman became the first person to file a claim under the new act. Between 1862 and 1934, the federal government granted 1.6 million homesteads and distributed 270,000,000 acres of federal land for private ownership. This was a total of 10% of all land in the United States. Homesteading was discontinued in 1976, except in Alaska, where it continued until 1986. About 40% of the applicants who started the process were able to complete it and obtain title to their homesteaded land after paying a small fee in cash; the Donation Land Claim Act allowed settlers to claim land in the Oregon Territory including the modern states of Washington, Oregon and parts of Wyoming. Settlers were able to claim 320 or 640 acres of land for free between 1850 and 1854, at a cost of $1.25 per acres until the law expired in 1855.
The "yeoman farmer" ideal of Jeffersonian democracy was still a powerful influence in American politics during the 1840–1850s, with many politicians believing a homestead act would help increase the number of "virtuous yeomen". The Free Soil Party of 1848–52, the new Republican Party after 1854, demanded that the new lands opening up in the west be made available to independent farmers, rather than wealthy planters who would develop it with the use of slaves forcing the yeomen farmers onto marginal lands. Southern Democrats had continually fought previous homestead law proposals, as they feared free land would attract European immigrants and poor Southern whites to the west. After the South seceded and their delegates left Congress in 1861, the Republicans and other supporters from the upper South passed a homestead act; the intent of the first Homestead Act, passed in 1862, was to liberalize the homesteading requirements of the Preemption Act of 1841. Its leading advocates were George Henry Evans and Horace Greeley.
The homestead was an area of public land in the West granted to any US citizen willing to settle on and farm the land. The law required a three-step procedure: file an application, improve the land, file for the patent. Any citizen who had never taken up arms against the U. S. government and was at least 21 years old or the head of a household, could file an application to claim a federal land grant. Women were eligible; the occupant had to reside on the land for five years, show evidence of having made improvements. The process had to be complete within seven years. Enacted to allow poor tenant farmers and sharecroppers in the south become land owners in the southern United States during Reconstruction, it was not successful, as the low prices and fees were too much for the applicants to afford. The Timber Culture Act granted up to 160 acres of land to a homesteader who would plant at least 40 acres of trees over a period of several years; this quarter-section could be added to an existing homestead claim, offering a total of 320 acres to a settler.
This offered a cheap plot of land to homesteaders. Recognizing that the Sandhills of north-central Nebraska, required
The English people are a nation and an ethnic group native to England who speak the English language. The English identity is of early medieval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Angelcynn, their ethnonym is derived from the Angles, one of the Germanic peoples who migrated to Great Britain around the 5th century AD. England is one of the countries of the United Kingdom, the majority of people living there are British citizens; the English descend from two main historical population groups – the earlier Celtic Britons and the Germanic tribes who settled in Britain following the withdrawal of the Romans: the Angles, Saxons and Frisians. Collectively known as the Anglo-Saxons, they founded what was to become the Kingdom of England by the early 10th century, in response to the invasion and minor settlement of Danes beginning in the late 9th century; this was followed by the Norman Conquest and limited settlement of Anglo-Normans in England in the latter 11th century. In the Acts of Union 1707, the Kingdom of England was succeeded by the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Over the years, English customs and identity have become closely aligned with British customs and identity in general. Today many English people have recent forebears from other parts of the United Kingdom, while some are descended from more recent immigrants from other European countries and from the Commonwealth; the English people are the source of the English language, the Westminster system, the common law system and numerous major sports such as cricket, rugby union, rugby league and tennis. These and other English cultural characteristics have spread worldwide, in part as a result of the former British Empire; the concept of an'English nation' has become popular after the devolution process in Scotland and Northern Ireland resulted in the four nations having semi-independent political and legal systems. Although England itself has no devolved government, the 1990s witnessed a rise in English self-consciousness; this is linked to the expressions of national self-awareness of the other British nations of Wales and Scotland – which take their most solid form in the new devolved political arrangements within the United Kingdom – and the waning of a shared British national identity with the growing distance between the end of the British Empire and the present.
Many recent immigrants to England have assumed a British identity, while others have developed dual or mixed identities. Use of the word "English" to describe Britons from ethnic minorities in England is complicated by most non-white people in England identifying as British rather than English. In their 2004 Annual Population Survey, the Office for National Statistics compared the ethnic identities of British people with their perceived national identity, they found that while 58% of white people in England described their nationality as "English", the vast majority of non-white people called themselves "British". It is unclear. In the 2001 UK census, respondents were invited to state their ethnicity, but while there were tick boxes for'Irish' and for'Scottish', there were none for'English', or'Welsh', who were subsumed into the general heading'White British'. Following complaints about this, the 2011 census was changed to "allow respondents to record their English, Scottish, Northern Irish, Irish or other identity."
Another complication in defining the English is a common tendency for the words "English" and "British" to be used interchangeably outside the UK. In his study of English identity, Krishan Kumar describes a common slip of the tongue in which people say "English, I mean British", he notes that this slip is made only by the English themselves and by foreigners: "Non-English members of the United Kingdom say'British' when they mean'English'". Kumar suggests that although this blurring is a sign of England's dominant position with the UK, it is "problematic for the English when it comes to conceiving of their national identity, it tells of the difficulty that most English people have of distinguishing themselves, in a collective way, from the other inhabitants of the British Isles". In 1965, the historian A. J. P. Taylor wrote, "When the Oxford History of England was launched a generation ago, "England" was still an all-embracing word, it meant indiscriminately Wales. Foreigners indeed continue to do so.
Bonar Law, by origin a Scotch Canadian, was not ashamed to describe himself as "Prime Minister of England" Now terms have become more rigorous. The use of "England" except for a geographic area brings protests from the Scotch."However, although Taylor believed this blurring effect was dying out, in his book The Isles, Norman Davies lists numerous examples in history books of "British" still being used to mean "English" and vice versa. In December 2010, Matthew Parris in The Spectator, analysing the use of "English" over "British", argued that English identity, rather than growing, had existed all along but has been unmasked from behind a veneer of Britishness. David Reich's laboratory found that 90% of Britain's Neolithic gene pool was overturned by a population from North Continental Europe characterized by the Bell Beaker culture around 1200BC who carried a large amount of Yamnaya ancestry from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, including the R1b Haplogroup; this population lacked genetic affinity to other Bell Beaker populations, such as the Iberian Bell Beakers, but appeared to be an offshoot of the Corded Ware single grave people
West Virginia is a state located in the Appalachian region in the Southern United States, considered to be a part of the Middle Atlantic States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, Maryland to the east and northeast, Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest. West Virginia is the 41st largest state by area, is ranked 38th in population; the capital and largest city is Charleston. West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions of 1861, after the American Civil War had begun. Delegates from some Unionist counties of northwestern Virginia decided to break away from Virginia, although they included many secessionist counties in the new state. West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, was a key border state during the war. West Virginia was the only state to form by separating from a Confederate state, the first to separate from any state since Maine separated from Massachusetts, was one of two states admitted to the Union during the American Civil War.
While a portion of its residents held slaves, most of the residents were yeomen farmers, the delegates provided for gradual abolition of slavery in the new state Constitution. The Census Bureau and the Association of American Geographers classify West Virginia as part of the Southern United States; however the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies West Virginia as a part of the Mid-Atlantic. The northern panhandle extends adjacent to Pennsylvania and Ohio, with the West Virginia cities of Wheeling and Weirton just across the border from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, while Bluefield is less than 70 miles from North Carolina. Huntington in the southwest is close to the states of Ohio and Kentucky, while Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry in the Eastern Panhandle region are considered part of the Washington metropolitan area, in between the states of Maryland and Virginia; the unique position of West Virginia means that it is included in several geographical regions, including the Mid-Atlantic, the Upland South, the Southeastern United States.
It is the only state, within the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission. The state is noted for its mountains and rolling hills, its significant logging and coal mining industries, its political and labor history, it is known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, whitewater rafting, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, hunting. Many ancient man-made earthen mounds from various prehistoric mound builder cultures survive in the areas of present-day Moundsville, South Charleston, Romney; the artifacts uncovered in these give evidence of village societies. They had a tribal trade system culture. In the 1670s during the Beaver Wars, the powerful Iroquois, five allied nations based in present-day New York and Pennsylvania, drove out other American Indian tribes from the region in order to reserve the upper Ohio Valley as a hunting ground. Siouan language tribes, such as the Moneton, had been recorded in the area. A century the area now identified as West Virginia was contested territory among Anglo-Americans as well, with the colonies of Pennsylvania and Virginia claiming territorial rights under their colonial charters to this area before the American Revolutionary War.
Some speculative land companies, such as the Vandalia Company, the Ohio Company and Indiana Company, tried to legitimize their claims to land in parts of West Virginia and present day Kentucky, but failed. This rivalry resulted in some settlers petitioning the Continental Congress to create a new territory called Westsylvania. With the federal settlement of the Pennsylvania and Virginia border dispute, creating Kentucky County, Kentuckians "were satisfied, the inhabitants of a large part of West Virginia were grateful."The Crown considered the area of West Virginia to be part of the British Virginia Colony from 1607 to 1776. The United States considered this area to be the western part of the state of Virginia from 1776 to 1863, before the formation of West Virginia, its residents were discontented for years with their position in Virginia, as the government was dominated by the planter elite of the Tidewater and Piedmont areas. The legislature had electoral malapportionment, based on the counting of slaves toward regional populations, the western white residents were underrepresented in the state legislature.
More subsistence and yeoman farmers lived in the west and they were less supportive of slavery, although many counties were divided on their support. The residents of this area became more divided after the planter elite of eastern Virginia voted to secede from the Union during the Civil War. Residents of the western and northern counties set up a separate government under Francis Pierpont in 1861, which they called the Restored Government. Most voted to separate from Virginia, the new state was admitted to the Union in 1863. In 1864 a state constitutional convention drafted a constitution, ratified by the legislature without putting it to popular vote. West Virginia abolished slavery by a gradual process and temporarily disenfranchised men who had held Confederate office or fought for the Confederacy. West Virginia's history has been profoundly affected by its mountainous terrain and vast river valleys, rich natural resources; these were all factors driving its economy and the lifestyles of its residents, who tended to live in many small isolated communities in the mountain valleys.
A 2010 analysis of