Greenbrier County, West Virginia
Greenbrier County is a county in the U. S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 35,480, its county seat is Lewisburg. The county was formed in 1778 from Montgomery counties in Virginia. Prior to the arrival of European-American settlers around 1740, Greenbrier County, like most of West Virginia, was used as a hunting ground by the Shawnee and Cherokee nations, they called this land Can-tuc-kee. Shawnee leaders, including Pucksinwah and his son Tecumseh, were alarmed by the arrival of the European settlers, who by 1771 had set up extensive trade in the area; the day books of early merchants Sampson and George Mathews recorded sales to the Shawnee that included such luxury items as silk, hats and tailor-made suits. Shawnee leaders feared the loss of their hunting lands, they believed the white settlers would continue to encroach on their territory downriver on the Ohio. Confrontations, sometimes violent, settlers. In 1774, the Earl of Dunmore governor of the colonies of New York and Virginia, decided to raise an army of 3,000 men to attack the Shawnees in their homeland in present-day Ohio.
Half of these men were inducted at Fort Pitt, while the other half assembled at Fort Union under the command of General Andrew Lewis. The town of present-day Lewisburg was named for that commander. By early October of that year, Lewis' force had marched downstream to the mouth of the Kanawha River, they fought the Battle of Point Pleasant against a Shawnee force led by Hokoleskwa known as Cornstalk. This site developed as the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. European settlers were subjected to a number of raids by Native Americans during the colonial period, including a raid on Fort Randolph and on Fort Donnally inhabited by 25 men and 60 women and children. One of the heroic defenders of Fort Donnally was an African American slave named Dick Pointer. Pointer, said to have been nearly 7 feet tall, defended the log door with Philip Hamman, giving the settlers enough time to awaken and defend themselves. Pointer addressed the Virginia General Assembly and gave a moving appeal that "in the decline of life" he requested to be freed for his defense of Fort Donnally.
Historic accounts differ as to. His grave is marked beside Carnegie Hall in the county seat of Lewisburg, a historical marker stands prominently in the midst of the Lewisburg Cemetery. Pointer’s gun is on permanent display at The Greenbrier Historical Society and John A. North House Museum in Lewisburg. During the secession crisis of 1861 Greenbrier citizens chose Samuel Price as their delegate to the Richmond convention. On April 17, 1861, the day Virginia's secession ordinance was passed he voted against it, but changed his mind and signed the official document; when the public vote on the secession ordinance was held on May 23, 1861, Greenbrier county voted 1,000 to 100 in favor of secession. The Civil War came to the county in mid 1861, several battles were fought in the area, including Lewisburg in May 1862 and White Sulphur Springs in August 1863. Both battles were Union victories. Greenbrier County became part of the new state of West Virginia, although it never participated in any of the votes held by the Restored Government in Wheeling.
Though most West Virginians fought for the Union during the war 2,000 men from Greenbrier county joined the Confederate army. What is claimed to be the oldest golf course in the United States was founded in 1884 just north of White Sulphur Springs by the Montague family. Sam Black Church is the location of the trial of the famous "Greenbrier Ghost" of Elva Zona Heaster-Shue, a local woman, found dead on January 23, 1897; the coroner listed the cause of her death as "everlasting faint" and as "childbirth." Shue's mother, Mary Jane Heaster, testified in court that her daughter's ghost visited her on 4 different occasions telling her that her neck had been broken by her husband Edward Shue, who had strangled her in a fit of rage. The local prosecutor exhumed Elva's body and tried and convicted Edward Shue on the evidence from the autopsy, it is claimed to be the only known time. The state erected a highway marker on US Highway 60 in commemoration of the event. During the decade prior to World War II, several Civilian Conservation Corps camps were located along the Greenbrier River.
For most of the 20th century, the Meadow River Lumber Company operated the world's largest hardwood sawmill in Rainelle. During World War II The Greenbrier hotel was used as a military hospital. Sections were used as an internment center for Axis diplomats who were stranded in the United States during the war; when the war ended, the military returned the hotel to private control, it re-opened as a hotel. During the years of the Cold War, a large underground bunker was built beneath a section of new construction at the hotel, to serve as a secret Congressional refuge in case of nuclear attack, it was one of the sites to be used as part of the United States Continuity of Operations Plan. After it was reported in a 1992 article, following the fall of the Soviet Union, the US government decommissioned it as a government site. In the June 2016 floods that affected the state of West Virginia, Greenbrier County suffered 16 casualties, the most of any county. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,025 square miles, of which 1,020 square miles is land and 4.9 square miles is water.
It is the second-largest county in West Virginia by area. Much of the area of the northern and western parts of the county i
Virginia the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America and "Mother of Presidents" because eight U. S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna; the capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2018 is over 8.5 million. The area's history begins with several indigenous groups, including the Powhatan. In 1607 the London Company established the Colony of Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony. Slave labor and the land acquired from displaced Native American tribes each played a significant role in the colony's early politics and plantation economy.
Virginia was one of the 13 Colonies in the American Revolution. In the American Civil War, Virginia's Secession Convention resolved to join the Confederacy, Virginia's First Wheeling Convention resolved to remain in the Union. Although the Commonwealth was under one-party rule for nearly a century following Reconstruction, both major national parties are competitive in modern Virginia; the Virginia General Assembly is the oldest continuous law-making body in the New World. The state government was ranked most effective by the Pew Center on the States in both 2005 and 2008, it is unique in how it treats cities and counties manages local roads, prohibits its governors from serving consecutive terms. Virginia's economy has many sectors: agriculture in the Shenandoah Valley. S. Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency. Virginia has a total area of 42,774.2 square miles, including 3,180.13 square miles of water, making it the 35th-largest state by area. Virginia is bordered by Maryland and Washington, D.
C. to the north and east. Virginia's boundary with Maryland and Washington, D. C. extends to the low-water mark of the south shore of the Potomac River. The southern border is defined as the 36° 30′ parallel north, though surveyor error led to deviations of as much as three arcminutes; the border with Tennessee was not settled until 1893, when their dispute was brought to the U. S. Supreme Court; the Chesapeake Bay separates the contiguous portion of the Commonwealth from the two-county peninsula of Virginia's Eastern Shore. The bay was formed from the drowned river valleys of the James River. Many of Virginia's rivers flow into the Chesapeake Bay, including the Potomac, Rappahannock and James, which create three peninsulas in the bay; the Tidewater is a coastal plain between the fall line. It includes major estuaries of Chesapeake Bay; the Piedmont is a series of sedimentary and igneous rock-based foothills east of the mountains which were formed in the Mesozoic era. The region, known for its heavy clay soil, includes the Southwest Mountains around Charlottesville.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the Appalachian Mountains with the highest points in the state, the tallest being Mount Rogers at 5,729 feet. The Ridge and Valley region includes the Great Appalachian Valley; the region includes Massanutten Mountain. The Cumberland Plateau and the Cumberland Mountains are in the southwest corner of Virginia, south of the Allegheny Plateau. In this region, rivers flow northwest, into the Ohio River basin; the Virginia Seismic Zone has not had a history of regular earthquake activity. Earthquakes are above 4.5 in magnitude, because Virginia is located away from the edges of the North American Plate. The largest earthquake, at an estimated 5.9 magnitude, was in 1897 near Blacksburg. A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Virginia on August 2011, near Mineral. The earthquake was felt as far away as Toronto and Florida. 35 million years ago, a bolide impacted. The resulting Chesapeake Bay impact crater may explain what earthquakes and subsidence the region does experience.
Coal mining takes place in the three mountainous regions at 45 distinct coal beds near Mesozoic basins. Over 64 million tons of other non-fuel resources, such as slate, sand, or gravel, were mined in Virginia in 2018; the state's carbonate rock is filled with more than 4,000 caves, ten of which are open for tourism, including the popular Luray Caverns and Skyline Caverns. The climate of Virginia is humid subtropical and becomes warmer and more humid farther south and east. Seasonal extremes vary from average lows of 26 °F in January to average highs of 86 °F in July; the Atlantic Ocean has a strong effect on southeastern coastal areas of the state. Influenced by the Gulf Stream, coastal weather is subject to hurricanes, most pronouncedly near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. In spite of its position adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean the coastal areas have a significant continental influence with quite large temperature differences between summ
Ordinance of Secession
An Ordinance of Secession is the name given to multiple resolutions drafted and ratified in 1860 and 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, by which each seceding Southern state or territory formally declared secession from the United States of America. South Carolina, Mississippi and Texas issued separate documents explaining their reasons for secession. Thirteen states and one territory ratified an ordinance of secession by means of a special convention or by referendum. Of these, only 11 states and one territory authoritatively made secession effective by a regular means driven by state government reliably backed by public opinion and military force; the other two states seceded ineffectively or only by an irregular means, hence remained within the Union. The first seven seceding states, all of the Deep South, were motivated by two factors: the election in November 1860 of Abraham Lincoln, who had no support in the South, the perceived direct threat to slavery his election posed; the next four states to secede were motivated by the same two factors, but a third and decisive factor was the Federal policy of coercion, or using military force to preserve the Union by compelling the earlier seceding states to submit.
In the remaining two states, attempted secession was belated and disrupted. In Missouri, the state government called a convention. Federal military intervention restored Union control, first in St. Louis throughout nearly the whole state, its ordinance of secession was passed only by a rump convention meeting at Neosho. In Kentucky, whose potential secession Unionists feared, both the legislature and public opinion opposed secession. Only an less influential rump convention purported to secede; when Confederate armies invaded Kentucky in 1862 seizing the state capital and installing an ephemeral state government, they found local recruitment weak and popular support conspicuously lacking, despite bringing extra arms to equip new volunteers. This unexpected discovery helped defeat the campaign as the Confederate generals felt they lacked the strength of numbers to confront the larger Union forces that maneuvered to oppose them. Despite Missouri and Kentucky thus remaining within the Union, thousands from both states embraced secession by choosing to fight for the Confederacy.
Though accepted only to have comprised 11 seceding states, these 13 states and one territory formed, by its own contemporary definition as shown by 13 stars in its official and battle flags, the Confederate States of America. Elsewhere, overwhelming Union military intervention and mass arrests of elected lawmakers blocked the secessionist Maryland legislature from considering the question; the Delaware legislature did and overwhelmingly rejecting secession. The unorganized Indian Territory did not document secession and was not unanimous in its orientation, but supported the Confederacy. In several states, effective secession in most of the state critically destabilized or eliminated state government control over a region where people rejected secession, favoring the Union over their state; this was true of Virginia, leading to the creation of West Virginia. The same effect occurred in part of Tennessee and in other areas, but did not result in any split of other states. American Civil War Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union List of signers of the Georgia Ordinance of Secession Texts of the Ordinances Texts of declarations of causes South Carolina's Ordinance of Secession Text and original document from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Virginia's original document from the Library of Virginia. Virginia's Ordinance of Secession Text and original documents from the Library of Virginia and National Archives. Texas Declaration of Causes, Feb. 2, 1861 Text of Declaration of Causes from Texas archives
John S. Carlile
John Snyder Carlile was an American merchant and politician, including a United States Senator. A strong supporter of the Union cause during the American Civil War, he represented the loyalist faction of Virginia, separated into two distinct states over his protests. Carlile was born in Virginia, he was educated by his mother until he was fourteen years old, when he became salesman in a store, at the age of seventeen went into business on his own account. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1840, began practice in Beverly. Entering politics, he joined the Democratic Party, he was selected as a delegate to the Virginia state constitutional convention in 1850. Carlile served in the Virginia State Senate from 1847 to 1851, he joined the new Know Nothing political movement in 1854 and represented Virginia's 11th District in the United States House for one term. Carlile was a delegate from Harrison County to the Virginia secession convention in 1861, voting no on the controversial resolution.
He was a leader in the anti-secession movement, was prominent in the Wheeling Convention of June 1861. On June 13, 1861, at the first session of the Second Wheeling Convention, Carlile authored "A Declaration of the People of Virginia." The document pronounced Virginia's Ordinance of Secession illegal because the convention at which it had been drafted had been convened by the General Assembly, not by a referendum. It called for the reorganization of the government of Virginia, arguing that due to Virginia's decision to secede from the United States, all state government offices had been vacated; the pro-Union Restored Government of Virginia was recognized by President Abraham Lincoln and Congress as the legitimate government of the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, with Wheeling as its provisional capital. He was averse, however, to the formation of a new state out of the bulk of the pro-Union territory of Virginia—what became West Virginia. Carlile was again chosen to Congress in 1861 on a Unionist Party position, but kept his seat in the House of Representatives only from July 4 through July 13, when he was elected as one of two United States Senators representing the Restored Government.
He served until 1865. In the Senate, he was uniformly in favor of a strict construction of the Constitution, opposing all measures recognizing that there existed a rebellion of states instead of individuals, denying the right of Congress to interfere in any way with the slaves, he met with Lincoln to try to garner his support for his causes. Following the war, Carlile returned home to resume his law practice, he died in Clarksburg, West Virginia, was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery. United States Congress. "John S. Carlile". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. John S. Carlile in Encyclopedia Virginia Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889
Kanawha County, West Virginia
Kanawha County is a county in the U. S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 193,063, its county seat is the state capital. Kanawha County is part of WV Metropolitan Statistical Area; the county began taking formation on November 14, 1788 under authorization of the Virginia General Assembly, was founded on October 5, 1789. The county was named for the Kanawha River, which in turn was named after the Indian tribe that lived in the area; the county was the site of a bloody miners' strike in 1912 and a major textbook controversy in 1974 that included bombings and received national attention. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 911 square miles, of which 902 square miles is land and 9.3 square miles is water. It is the fourth-largest county in West Virginia by area; as of the census of 2000, there were 200,073 people, 86,226 households, 55,960 families residing in the county. The population density was 222 people per square mile. There were 93,788 housing units at an average density of 104 per square mile.
The racial makeup of the county was 90.46% White, 6.97% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, 1.27% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race. There were 86,226 households out of which 26.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.00% were married couples living together, 12.30% had a female householder with no husband present, 35.10% were non-families. 30.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.50% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.84. The age distribution was 21.30% under the age of 18, 8.40% from 18 to 24, 28.10% from 25 to 44, 25.60% from 45 to 64, 16.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.10 males. The median income for a household in the county was $33,766, the median income for a family was $42,568.
Males had a median income of $33,842 versus $24,188 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,354. About 11.20% of families and 14.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.60% of those under age 18 and 10.50% of those age 65 or over. As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 193,063 people, 84,201 households, 52,172 families residing in the county; the population density was 214.1 inhabitants per square mile. There were 92,618 housing units at an average density of 102.7 per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 89.1% white, 7.3% black or African American, 1.0% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.3% from other races, 2.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.9% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 14.8% were German, 14.2% were Irish, 13.9% were English, 13.4% were American. Of the 84,201 households, 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 38.0% were non-families, 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals.
The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.84. The median age was 42.4 years. The median income for a household in the county was $42,669 and the median income for a family was $54,203. Males had a median income of $42,522 versus $31,754 for females; the per capita income for the county was $25,439. About 9.7% of families and 13.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over. Kanawha County was dominated by the Democratic Party for much of the 20th century, albeit to a lesser extent than much of West Virginia. However, since 2004 it has been won by Republicans in presidential elections, although as an urban county the swing to the Republicans has not been as vast as in much of the rest of the state. According to the 2010 U. S. Census there are 5,481 private sector businesses within Kanawha County. There are 89,768 people that are employed that live in Kanawha County. FestivALL Live on the Levee Vandalia Gathering Rib Fest Charleston Rod Run Doo Wop Majorette Festival - Daily Mail Kanawha County Majorette and Band Festival Pinch Reunion St. Albans Festival of Lights Clay Center West Virginia State Capitol West Virginia Cultural Center South Charleston Mound Mardi Gras Casino and Resort Charleston Civic Center Heritage Tower Museum West Virginia Power - Baseball team West Virginia Chaos - Soccer club George Crumb, composer Caleb Ellis, touring guitarist for American emo band Dashboard Confessional Conchata Ferrell, best known for her role as Berta on Two and Half Men Jennifer Garner, actress Elizabeth Harden Gilmore and civil rights advocate Earl Lloyd, one of the first African American NBA players, who played for West Virginia State College Kathy Mattea, country singer / songwriter Randy Moss, NFL player Lou Myers, best known for his role as Mr. Gaines on A Different World Les Palmer, NFL football player Phil Pfister, strongman champion Kristen Ruhlin, best known from film and TV roles opposite Charlie Sheen in She Wants Me, Hilary Duff in Gossip Girl and daytime drama One Life to Live Jason Williams, NBA player National Register of Historic Places listings in Kanawha County, West Virginia Kanawha County textbook controversy Scott A. MacKenzie.
"The Slaveholders' War: The Secession Crisis in Kanawha County, Western Virginia, 1860-1861,"
John Jay Jackson Jr.
John Jay Jackson Jr. was a United States federal judge, first from Virginia, from West Virginia, at the time of its creation as a separate state. Born in Parkersburg, Jackson graduated from Princeton University in 1845, read law to enter the Bar in Virginia in 1847. Jackson's father, General John Jay Jackson of Wood County, attended the Wheeling Convention on West Virginia statehood. Jackson's brother Jacob Beeson Jackson served as governor of West Virginia and his other brother was Circuit Judge and Congressman James Monroe Jackson, he was a cousin of Stonewall Jackson. His grandfather, John George Jackson, preceded him as judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, his great-grandfathers included George Jackson. The Jackson Memorial Fountain at Parkersburg is dedicated to the Jackson family. Jackson was in private practice in Wirt County, Virginia from 1847 to 1848, a prosecuting attorney for Wirt County in 1848, he was a Commonwealth attorney of Ritchie County, Virginia from 1849 to 1850 returned to private practice in Wood County, Virginia until 1851.
He was a Member, of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1851 to 1855, returned to private practice, in Parkersburg until 1861. On July 26, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln nominated Jackson to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia vacated by John W. Brockenbrough, who had resigned to join the Confederate government. Jackson was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 3, 1861, received his commission the same day. At the time of Jackson's appointment and West Virginia were still a single state. However, early in the course of the American Civil War, the western portion of Virginia rejected Virginia's secession from the United States, itself seceded from Virginia; this area coincided with the existing Western District of Virginia. West Virginia was thereafter admitted as a state on June 20, 1863, on June 11, 1864, by 13 Stat. 124, the court for the Western District of Virginia became the United States District Court for the District of West Virginia.
Those parts of the Western District that were not part of West Virginia were combined with the Eastern District to again form a single District of Virginia. After 1864, the only federal judge for Virginia was John Curtiss Underwood. There was no Western District of Virginia from 1864 until 1871, when Alexander Rives took the bench after the Western District was re-established following the War. Jackson was reassigned by operation of law to the newly formed United States District Court for the District of West Virginia. Notwithstanding his status as a Republican appointee, Judge Jackson ruled in 1870 that West Virginia's ex-Confederates were eligible to vote under the Fifteenth Amendment, which had profound effects on the polity in West Virginia. On July 1, 1901, the District of West Virginia was subdivided into the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia and the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia; because he had served from before the creation of the District of West Virginia until after its subdivision, Jackson was the only judge to sit on the United States District Court for the District of West Virginia.
Having served for nearly forty-four years, including over forty years in the federal courts in West Virginia, Jackson was known as "the Iron Judge". He was the longest-serving judge appointed by Lincoln. Jackson died in Atlantic City, New Jersey. John Jay Jackson Jr. at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center. Jacob C. Baas, Jr. "John Jay Jackson, Jr.: Business and Political Activities, 1847 - 1859", West Virginia History Volume 50, pp. 63–78
Mason Mathews was an American merchant and politician in the U. S. state of Virginia. A Whig, he served seven terms in the Virginia House of Delegates, representing Greenbrier County from 1859-1861. Mathews was a merchant in the cities of Frankford and Lewisburg, where he served in various civic positions. In 1859, he was elected to represent Greenbrier County in the Virginia House of Delegates, subsequently served in that body throughout the secession of Virginia and the resulting American Civil War. Mathews had opposed secession, but chose to support the Confederate States of America on the outcome of the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861. During wartime, Mathews made field visits to the camps of Confederate generals Henry A. Wise and John B. Floyd to arbitrate a public feud between the two men regarding the placement of blame for the Confederate loss at the Battle of Carnifex Ferry in the Western Virginia Campaign. By 1863, the Confederate army had been driven from the area and Unionist organizing had led to the formation of the Union State of West Virginia, with Greenbrier County among those counties comprising the new state.
Mathews, though living in Union territory, continued to travel to Richmond, Virginia to represent Greenbrier County in the Confederate Legislature of Virginia. The seat was abolished from the Virginia House of Delegates when the Confederacy dissolved at war's end, at which point he retired from politics at the age of 61. Mathews was a member of the Mathews political family, his father, Joseph Mathews, was a nephew of Georgia governor George Mathews, Mason Mathews was the father of West Virginia governor Henry M. Mathews, the grandfather of Chief of US Air Corps Mason Mathews Patrick and federal judge William Gordon Mathews. Mason Mathews was born on December 15, 1803 in Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, Virginia to Mary and Joseph Mathews, his family was well-established in the area, as his father's uncle, Archer Mathews, had been a delegate to the 1781-1782 term of the Virginia General Assembly in which the City of Lewisburg was formally established, had served as an original trustee of the city.
Mason's father, bought one of the original lots in the city, moved his young family there soon after. However, Joseph Mathews died prematurely, so as a young man Mason worked as a store clerk to support the family. Mathews relocated to Frankford, Virginia around 1827 and there joined a mercantile business with partner Henry Erskine as Erskine & Mathews. Mathews returned to Lewisburg after 1834, following Erskine's death, found continued business success, affording him the opportunity to send his three sons to be educated at the University of Virginia Mathews was elected sheriff of Greenbrier County around 1825, under High Sheriff James Andrews, he resigned the office in 1828, in 1830, at the age of 27, was appointed by the Greenbrier County Court to the office of Commissioner of the Revenue for Greenbrier County's lower district, being appointed to the upper district in 1832. He additionally served as a justice of the peace for the city of Frankford, again in Lewisburg, from about 1834 to 1850, at which point the state judicial system was overhauled by the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850.
He served for many years as the treasurer of the Board of Commissioners of Free Schools, which served to raise and deploy funding for the education of children whose parents who could not afford the costs of private education, in the absence of a public school system. In 1859, Mathews was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for Greenbrier County as a representative of the Whig Party, replacing Thomas Creigh; this was a tumultuous time in America, with the 1860 United States presidential election approaching. On the outcome of the election of Abraham Lincoln, talk of secession in the South began in earnest. By March 1861, seven Southern states had seceded from the United States, Virginia was preparing to make its decision on the issue. Mathews, like many northwestern Virginians, opposed secession, calling it "unwise, ill-advised, not justified by the situation." At the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861, Samuel Price, the Greenbrier County representative, voted twice against the motion to secede.
When, on April 17, 1861, the Ordinance of Secession passed, Mathews claimed allegiance to the Confederate States of America. Unionists from northwestern Virginia soon met at the Wheeling Convention to establish the Restored Government of Virginia, which would function as the official Virginia government of the Union; the Restored Government encompassed Greenbrier County, which had not sent a representative to Wheeling, President Lincoln recognized this body as the legitimate authority for the whole of Virginia. In 1863 area encompassed by he Restored Government was incorporated into the new State of West Virginia. Mathews chose to "totally ignore" the new state, making no mention of it in his contemporary correspondence to family and political contacts, though he found himself living in Union territory, he continued to travel to Richmond, Virginia to represent his county in the Confederate Virginia House of Delegates, where he retained his seat throughout the war. In the House, he served on several standing committees related to state fiscal policy.
These included the Committee on Claims, which dealt with issues related to private bills and petitions, the Joint Commission on Executive Expenditures, from which body he submitted legislation supporting the families of soldiers injured in the war, advocated for improved infrastructure in western Virginia by means of an extended Covington and Ohio Railroad. He was charged with examining the state Treasurer's accounts. On the outbreak of war, M