FRANCIS HARRISON PIERPONT,
considered to be the Father of West Virginia, was a school teacher, lawyer, coal mine owner, and politician who was strongly in favor of the Union during the Civil War. He was a representative at the First and Second Wheeling Conventions in 1861 which were called to respond to Virginia’s secession from the Union. On June 20, 1861, Pierpont was unanimously elected the first Governor of the Reorganized (pro-Union) Government of Virginia. He established his government in Wheeling and the offices were located in Independence Hall. As a result of Pierpont’s efforts, West Virginia officially became a separate state on June 20, 1863.
Pierpont Essay Competition 2016 – Quotation concerning the impact that Western Virginians would have faced if they had joined the Eastern Virginians in the movement to secede from the Union in 1861. Message of Gov. Pierpont to the Virginia Assembly (Pro-Union Restored Government of Virginia’s Assembly) in Wheeling, July 2, 1861 :
“I need not remark to you, Gentlemen, how fatal the attempted disseverance of the Union must prove to all our material interests. Secession and annexation to the South would cut off every outlet for our productions, We cannot get them to the Confederate states across the Alleghenies. The Ohio river and the country beyond it would be closed to our trade. With Maryland in the Union, our outlet to the East would be interrupted; while we could not carry our products across the Pennsylvania line, by the Monongahela or other route. In time of war we would encounter a hostile force, and in time of peace, a custom house, at every turn.” Ambler 383.
The essay should demonstrate research of the subject, originality, appropriate grammar, a clearly stated main thesis, and clarity of argument/evidence. The first place winner will receive $100 and the traveling statuette of Governor Pierpont, provided by WVIHF, will be on display for one year in the winning school. The second place winner will receive $50 and the third place winner will receive $25.
8th-grade students residing in Ohio County and enrolled in a public or private school or are home-schooled.
- The 300-500 word essay must be an original work written solely by the student authoring the essay.
- Research must be cited.
- The essay should be typed in 14 point type, using black ink; single sided only. It should be double spaced.
- No names or schools may appear in the essay. Pages must be numbered as follows: pg 1 of 3, pg 2 of 3, pg 3 of 3.
- Students may submit only one essay. Essays must be photocopied and the original sent to WVIHF, who will take ownership of all essays submitted.
- Parents, guardians or teachers may assist the writer to edit the essay for grammatical errors only after the essay has been completed.
- In November, essayists are strongly encouraged to visit WVIH and, after touring the exhibits.
- The authors of the 10 best essays and their families will be invited to a special reception in their honor at WVIH where the 3 finalists will be announced and present their essays orally.
2017 WINNER: HUNTER MIDCAP