Biographies of the some of the Wood County men who played roles in the formation of West Virginia and the Civil War
Gen. John Jay Jackson
Gen. John Jay Jackson (1800-1877): A delegate to the Richmond Convention, where he voted against secession from the Union. Jackson also served in the First Wheeling Convention. One son, John Jay. Jackson Jr., was appointed a federal judge, while another, Jacob Beeson Jackson, became the sixth governor of West Virginia.
Judge John Jay Jackson
Judge John Jay Jackson (1824-1907): Son of Gen. J.J. Jackson. Served as a delegate to the First Wheeling Convention. He later served as a federal judge.
Dr. John William Moss
Dr. John William Moss (1816-1864): Served as president of the First Wheeling Convention. He was also a delegate to the Second Wheeling Convention and was a member of the House of Delegates for the Reorganized Government of Virginia. He was later appointed colonel of the 2nd West Virginia Infantry and was commissioned surgeon of the 14th West Virginia Infantry and served he until his death at Petersburg in January 1864.
Jacob Blair (1821-1901): Was selected to fill a U.S. House of Representatives seat and was re- elected in 1863. Blair was instrumental in convincing President Lincoln to sign West Virginia's statehood bill.
Arthur Boreman (1823-1896): Practiced law in Parkersburg before the war, served as president of the Second Wheeling Convention and upon statehood became the first governor of West Virginia. He later served as a United States senator from West Virginia.
William Stevenson (1820-1883): Represented Wood County at the First Wheeling Convention, and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He became the third governor of West Virginia.
Peter Van Winkle
Peter Van Winkle (1808-1872): Was a member of the Second Wheeling Convention and played a prominent role in the Constitutional Convention. Van Winkle was one of the first two United States Senators from West Virginia and voted against the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.
Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson (1824-1863): Famed Confederate general of Civil War. Jackson, despite not being born in Wood County, had family in the area and visited here many times. Jackson was stellar field commander and probably the best-known Confederate commander after Gen. Robert E. Lee. Jackson was involved in battles at Bull Run, Antietam, Fredricksburg and Chancellorsville, where accidentally shot by Confederate soldiers. Jackson lost an arm and then died of complications from pneumonia eight days later.
Gen. William Lowther "Mudwall" Jackson (1825-1890): cousin of Gen. Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson, Mudwall was born in 1825 in Clarksburg. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was a circuit judge in Parkersburg and Ritchie County. Jackson was a Southern loyalist and with the coming of war he sought to control the Wood County militia and to seize its three cannons for the Confederacy. During Parkersburg's Jail House Riots in 1861, Jackson engaged the militia's colonel in a fist-fight. After the war Jackson returned to Parkersburg but found the atmosphere hostile. He moved to Louisville where he served as a circuit judge until his death.
Thomas Maley Harris
Thomas Maley Harris (18171906): Born and raised in Harrisville. Harris commanded the 10th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Shenandoah Valley, then a brigade and division during Philip Sheridan's Valley Campaigns of 1864. Harris was later transferred to the Army of the James and took command of a division of reinforcements from the Department of West Virginia. Harris' troops were among those directly responsible for cutting off Gen. Robert Lee's line of retreat at Appomattox Courthouse. Harris also served on the military commission that tried the Lincoln Conspirators. After the war, Harris was elected to the West Virginia legislature and was appointed an adjunct general in the state militia and the U.S. pension agent for Wheeling, W.Va.
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Prentiss
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Prentiss (1819-1901): Born in Belleville, before moving west with his family, Prentiss is credited with a spirited defense at Shiloh that allowed Gen. Ulysses Grant to organize a counterattack and win the battle. At the beginning of the war Prentiss defended railroad lines in Missouri, he was given command of a division Grant. Prentiss' men were among the first attacked at Shiloh and he, along with about 2,200 others, were captured. Despite the defeat and capture at Shiloh, Prentiss was considered a hero for holding on long enough to allow Grant to muster forces to win the battle.