Pierpont, Francis Harrison

views updated

Francis Harrison Pierpont, 1814–99, Union leader in Virginia during the American Civil War, "Father of West Virginia," b. near Morgantown, Va. (now W.Va.). When Virginia seceded, he became a leader of the disaffected Unionist forces in the western part of Virginia and was elected head of the government set up by the Wheeling Convention of June, 1861. This government granted (1862) the approval, necessary under the Constitution, for the organization of the western counties into a new state, West Virginia. Pierpont himself was never governor of West Virginia. After the admission (1863) of that state to the Union, he served as governor of "restored" Virginia (i.e., that part under federal control but not incorporated in West Virginia). After the war he remained as governor until 1868. He himself seems to have spelled his name Pierpoint.

See biography by C. H. Ambler (1937).