Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
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Union or Secession
  • "Lo it all turned out exactly the opposite"
A planned Union meeting in Marion County, in northwestern Virginia, on January 7, 1861, drew a surprisingly large pro-Southern crowd that wanted Virginia to call a state convention.
Related documents:
  • Breckinridge ballot 1860
    Democratic Party ballot for John C. Breckinridge 1860
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"Lo it all turned out exactly the opposite"

Zedekiah Kidwell to Governor John Letcher, January 8, 1861, Executive Papers of Governor John Letcher, Acc. 36787, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.

Writing to the governor on January 8, 1861, from Fairmont, in Marion County, in northwestern Virginia, Zedekiah Kidwell recommended a man for appointment to the board of a branch bank in Wellsburg, in the northern panhandle. The state owned stock in most of the banks in Virginia and was therefore entitled to representation on their boards of directors. Kidwell had been a candidate for presidential elector for Democrats John C. Breckinridge and Joseph Lane in 1860. In a postscript to his letter, Kidwell reported on a meeting in Marion County that may have been called to discuss separating some of the western counties from the state, but "lo it all turned out exactly the opposite. I have never seen more unanimity here for the South before." Nevertheless, on February 4, 1861, the voters in Marion County elected two opponents of secession to the Virginia Convention.

Zedekiah Kidwell to Governor John Letcher, January 8, 1861, Executive Papers of Governor John Letcher, Acc. 36787, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.
Strictly Confidential
Fairmont, Virginia,
Jany 8th. 1861
My Dr. Gov Letcher
I am requested by Sundry friends in Wellsburg, Va., to ask you to appoint Mr. Wilson Beall as a Director in the branch bank at Wellsburg (a branch of the North Western Va. Bank)
I assure you he is the leading and reliable spirit of the Democracy of Brooke Co., a walthy and most active Man, and a gentleman of the very first respectability and intelligence
No better appointment can be made; indeed none so good. Appoint him at once.
As my friend Cuthers and others may be before you I write this in the strictest confidence, not Knowing who may be before you.
Your sincere friend
Z Kidwell
P.S. A Union Meeting was gotten up here at our court on Monday for the purpose of sustaining Lincolns Election and aiding a separation of the State, When lo it all turned out exactly the opposite. I have never seen more unanimity here for the South before, or as Much. The Meeting was held late or we would have sent a big bundle of resolutions. All in favor of a Convention at once
Yrs.
Z.K.