|NOTE: The following article appears without
explanation as to its content, an omission corrected with the next installment
of Louis Ayers' series on the Civil War. The following is a reprint
of a portion of the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention held in
Wheeling in 1861-63. The article concerns the debate regarding the
seating of delegate Job Robinson from Calhoun County. It was retrieved
from the State Archives by the late Boyd Stutler, whose roots are in Calhoun,
and given to Louis E. Ayers for publication in the Calhoun Chronicle.
In the next installment of the series, the following explanation is
given, "In our last issue we reprinted that part of the proceedings of
the constitutional convention of 1861-63 which had to do with the seating
of Delegate Job Robinson, who was selected from Calhoun county. However,
we omitted to give proper credit for this. The article was dug out
of the state archives by Boyd B. Stutler from the manuscript of the journal
and debates of the convention, never having been printed in any form.
"The article was particularly interesting to readers of the Chronicle
in Calhoun County and we have heard many comments on the same. It
was not much trouble in those stirring days to cut a little red tape and
Delegate Robinson had little trouble in getting his seat. He
probably represented the county very credibly, although his election appears
to have been rather irregular, to say the least." NKS
Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle
Credentials of Delegate Job Robinson
Constitutional Convention 1862
January 7, 1862
Mr. Van Winkle: I hold in my hand what purports to be credentials
of a gentleman accredited from Calhoun County. It is short, sets
forth the facts, and supports it by affidavit, addressed to the convention:
"To the Honorable the Convention of Delegates of the people of West Virginia,
assembled in the city of Wheeling under and in pursuance of the Ordinance
passed August 20, 1861, to provide for the formation of out of a portion
of the territory of this State:
"The humble memorial of the undersigned qualified voters in and or the
County of Calhoun, respectfully represent that they were unable to hold
an election for delegate to your Convention on the fourth Thursday in October1861
as they desired to do and would have done but for the following reasons,
There is neither Sheriff, Clerk or Justice in said county, and no court
has been held in said county since June, last; all the county officer are
or have been engaged in the rebellion so that there was no one to hold
Your memorialist desiring to have their said County of Calhoun represented
in your Convention, respectfully appoint and recommend to a seat in that
body our fellow citizen, Job Robinson, Esq. who has been faithful and loyal
to the constitution and government of the United States, is honest, intelligent
and competent to represent our County in said Convention.
"The undersigned compromise nearly the whole loyal voters in the said
County; for, in fact at the election upon the Ordinance of Secession there
were but fifty (50) votes cast in said county against it.
John Haverty, T.F. Ferrell, A.J. McDonald, Josua Evans, Ezekiel Braden,
James Robison, Moses Ayers, Thomas Matthew, Granville Tingler, Ferrell
Boners, Michael A. Ayers, Jasper Ball, William Pride, Emmanuel Geho, Laban
J. Bennett, Jacob L. Bunner, Thomas G. Ferrell, S.V. Ayers, Adolphus B.
Ayers, Jacob Poling, Levi Proudfoot, Salathiel Stalnaker, William Hamrick,
T.S Stalnaker, James Ferrell, Harvey Robinson, William Barnes, Isaac B.
Cox, Francis Robinson, Robert Bunner, Joseph Pride, Jesse McKee, F.W. Collins,
Martin Smith, Alfred Barr, Valentine Ferrell, James F. McDonald, James
P. Hunter, Robert Been, James Barr, Alpheus Norman, G.W. Shriver, D.S.
Haverty, Lemuel Haverty, Benjamin Barnes, John Snyder, James T. Holt, John
Sigler, Ford Webb, A.J. Ervin, Henry Hathaway, A. Reefe, A. Richards, Isaac
Richards, Jacob Poland, Em. Kight, B.A. Kight, Bunner, R. Poling, James
Bunner, R. Bunner, Jony Bunner, Wm. L. Cunningham, John Cunningham, S.
Norman, Benjamin Right, Emmanuel Right and Henry Barr.
It has 68 signatures. Calhoun it is shown, is a very small county
and the whole number of voters in the county probably would not exceed
175. Then deduct the secession vote which I expect would be a tolerably
strong one--people of the county, and the evidence is here strong that
a large majority of it could be done. Now rules and reg what kind,
are to effect certain objects--defeat it, the rule ought to be nullified--cause
the election was not held on a certain day the Convention should decide
the motion was agreed to. Mr. Van Winkle: I would state, sir,
that the gentleman from Calhoun is present and will take the oath.
James F. McDonald
Suscribed and Sworn to before me, in my County, aforesaid.
J.A. Williamson, Justice."
"I do not know sir, that it is necessary to refeer it to the Committee
on Credentials, as the whole subject is here and members could probaly
act upon it without the intervention of a Committee. I met the gentleman
on the boat coming up, was introduced to him and he requested me to present
his application. My own opinion is that it is one that the Convention
ought to consider favorably. The object of the election is of course,
to ascertain the true will of the people of the county, and the evidence
is here strong that a large majority of the Union voters are in favor of
this gentleman representing them, that they were prevented by force of
circumstances from holding an election at the proper time and have remedied
it as soon as it could be done. Now, rules and regulations and laws
and all things of that kind, are to effect certain objects, and if a strict
adherence to a rule would defeat it, the rule ought to be nullified, and
that would be the case here, if because the election was not held on a
certain the Convention should decide this gentleman not entitled to a seat.
The object of the election is as well ascertained as it could have been
by an election. This body are the judges of the election, qualification
and returns of their own members. No body else can interfere with
it. It is the privilege of all deliberative bodies whatever.
Each House of Congress, each House of the Legislature, judges as to its
own members. The power then lies with this Convention to do justice
to the efforts of Calhoun County, who while they have preserved a remnant,
we ought to hail with satisfaction an effort to have them represented among
us, and the more so as it is one and the smallest counties in the proposed
new state. Do not let us go to crowding them because we have got
If any gentleman prefers that this shall go to a committee, I am willing
to submit; but I move that Mr. Robinson be admitted to a seat in this convention
as a member from Calhoun County."
The question was put to a vote and the motion was agreed to. Mr.
Vanwinkle - I would state, sir, that the gentleman from Calhoun is present
and will take the oath.
Mr. Robinson then came forward and the oath was administered to him
by the Secretary.