Francis Harrison Pierpont - The Father of West Virginia
An active supporter of Abraham Lincoln, Pierpont became more involved in politics as an outspoken opponent of Virginia's secession from the Union. When Virginia seceded and entered the war, delegates from the northwestern counties of Virginia, which refused to join the Confederacy, met at the Wheeling Convention. Declaring that their elected officials had abandoned their posts, a rump government was established in Wheeling, with Pierpont as the provisional Governor.
Under Pierpont's leadership, the Wheeling government called for a popular vote on the question of the creation of a new separate state.