Mary Berkley Minor Blackford to John Barbee Minor, April 3, 1861, Minor and Wilson Family Papers, Small Special Collections, University of Virginia.
Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford, of Lynchburg, had a long history of antislavery sympathies. On April 3, 1861, she wrote to her cousin, John Barbee Minor, about the difficulties that Charles William Button, editor of the Unionist Lynchburg Daily Virginian, was experiencing keeping his newspaper in business. "I did not use to read the political papers," she wrote, "but since my Country has been in such a state of threatened ruin, I feel the intensest interest in all its affairs." In February 1861, the district of Lynchburg and Campbell County elected two delegates to the Virginia Convention. On the day after Blackford wrote her letter, one delegate voted against and one voted for secession when the motion failed 90 to 45. They both voted for secession on April 17, and thereafter, prosecession sentiment rapidly increased. At the May 23, 1861, vote on ratifying the Ordinance of Secession, 2,504 men in the district voted for ratification, and none against.