The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

How Berkeley and Jefferson Counties became a part of West Virginia

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Berkeley and Jefferson counties were not included in West Virginia at the time of its admission into the Union. On January 31st, 1863, the Assembly, under the Reorganized Governmnet, passed on an act for Berkeley, and on the ensuing 4th of March for Jefferson, providing that elections be held in each and, if a majority of the votes cast be in favor of becoming a part of West Virginia, then the chief executive of the Reorganized Government should certify the result to the Governor fo West Virginia. This was done, and August 5th 1863, the Legislature of West Virginia passed an act admitting Berkeley County, and by a similar enactment on November 2nd following, Jefferson County was made a part of the new State.

Virginia's Suit for the Recovery of these Counties

On December 8th, 1865, the Virginia Assembly, sitting at Richmond, repealed the act of 1863, by which the counties in question were transferred to West Virginia. Then the authorities of that State appealed to the 39th Congress, and March 2nd, 1866, that body passed an act declaring these counties to be subject to the jurisdiction of the new State the same as if they had been a part of it at the time of its formation. Virginia then brought suit against West Virginia in the Supreme Court of the United States for the recovery of the counties. The case was argued at the December term of that tribunal in 1866, but no decision was reached, and it was not again called until December, 1870, when it was heard a second time and a decision rendered in favor of the defendant -- West Virginia -- three of the judges of the court dissenting. Thus was determined that area and boundaries of the new State as they have since existed.