Information

Steamship Virginia V


The earliest use of the steamboat in the United States was the adoption of steam for small passenger and cargo carrying vessels. Dating to the first decades of the 19th century, these craft in time dominated the American steam excursion fleet.With glowing wooden decks and sparkling white paint, the Virginia V, at 83 years old, is in the best shape it has been in since it was new. "The Five" now is ready for another 80 years of service for the Pacific Northwest. The Virginia V has been cruising the Northwest waters since 1922.The Virginia V was, as its name implies, the fifth of the Virginia steamers. The first Virginia was built as a towboat in 1908, as the Virginia Merrill, for the Merrill and Ring Logging Company. The 54-foot vessel was sold to a consortium of neighbors who lived along Colvos Passage near Vashon Island.Also known as "West Pass," the area gave its name to a new company, the West Pass Transportation Company, headed by Nels Christensen. Rechristened Virginia, the tiny vessel operated and linked the West Pass communities with Tacoma and Seattle.The Virginia was replaced with the Virginia II, in 1912, and the Virginia III was added, in 1914. In 1918, the steamer Tyrus was purchased and renamed the Virginia IV.These vessels served the West Pass Transportation Company for several years. The Virginia III was sold in 1927, while the Virginia IV was sold in 1922, when its engine and machinery were removed for the new steamer, Virginia V, the last of the Virginia steamers.The success of the company was measured by the fact that competing steamboat lines had withdrawn from West Pass, and by 1930, the Virginia V was the only steamer operating between Seattle and Tacoma.The Virginia V documents a crucial phase in Seattle's maritime history. "Matt" Anderson at Maplewood; a small community on Puget Sound opposite Vashon Island.The Virginia V was ordered and laid down, for the West Pass Transportation Company, in 1922. The Virginia V’s keel was laid in October 1921. The hull was framed and planked by Christmas, and the steamer was launched without its engine in March 1922.Towed to Seattle's King Street Drydock, the Virginia V was fitted with the Virginia IV's machinery in April, and in June, the Virginia V made its maiden voyage, beginning a 16-year career serving Colvos Passage, making 13 stops each voyage at the various communities along the way. Virginia V worked seven days a week, making a 126-mile daily trip, for a total of 46,000 miles a year. As a member of the mosquito fleet, the Virginia V joined a waterfront scene that was similar to many other American ports between 1840 and 1940.Virginia V survived a near disaster on October 21, 1934 when it was caught and beat against the dock at Olalla, Washington, during the "great hurricane" of that decade. Seventy knot winds battered in the superstructure, collapsed the pilothouse, and laid up Virginia V with $11,000 in damages that took two months to repair. By the end of 1934, however, Virginia V had returned to service.The Virginia V was added to the National Register of Historic Sites and named a City Landmark by the cities of Seattle and Tacoma. The Virginia V is owned and operated by The Steamer Virginia V Foundation and designated a National Maritime Historic Landmark.


Old Point Comfort

Old Point Comfort is a point of land located in the independent city of Hampton, Virginia. Previously known as Point Comfort, it lies at the extreme tip of the Virginia Peninsula at the mouth of Hampton Roads in the United States. It was renamed Old Point Comfort to differentiate it from New Point Comfort 21 miles (34 km) up the Chesapeake Bay. [1]

The first African slaves were brought to mainland English America at this site in 1619.

Today the location is home to Continental Park and Fort Monroe National Monument.


Waterman Steamship Corporation

Waterman Steamship Corporation is an American deep sea ocean carrier, specializing in liner services and time charter contracts. It is owned by International Shipholding Corporation, based in Mobile, Alabama.

Waterman Steamship Corporation
Founded1919
HeadquartersMobile, Alabama, United States
ServicesContainer shipping and Roll-on/roll-off
Websitehttp://www.intship.com

Waterman was founded in 1919 in Mobile, Alabama by John Barnett Waterman, T.M. Stevens, W.D. Bellingrath and C.W. Hempstead following their departure from the British-owned Elder Dempster Steamship Company. Waterman and associates started with just one ship, the Eastern Sun leased from the U.S. Shipping Board for service to Liverpool and Manchester. [1]

In 1955, McLean Industries, Inc. purchased the stock of Waterman Steamship Corporation from the stockholders. From its single-ship beginnings, Waterman had amassed a fleet of 125 ships, owned and operated its own shipbuilding and repair yards, owned or controlled three other shipping companies and employed thousands of workers. [1]

In November 1988, Waterman Marine Corp. has merged with Central Gulf Lines. The two firms have agreed to add a Central Gulf ship to Waterman's liner operation. [2]

The former Waterman Steamship Corporation building on Saint Joseph Street remains a prominent building in the downtown Mobile skyline. It was sold to Darryl Smith of Hammond, LA in 2017. [3] [4] It opened in 1950 and is famous for its extensive murals in the lobby and a large rotating globe. The globe can now be seen on display at the Mitchell Center at the University of South Alabama. [5]

  1. ^ ab From the Waterman Steamship Corporation records at the University of South Alabama website
  2. ^"CENTRAL GULF VESSEL JOINS WATERMAN RUN". Journal of Commerce. 15 November 1988 . Retrieved 24 May 2021 .
  3. ^https://starservice.com/portfolio/item/44-waterman-steamship-building
  4. ^https://www.al.com/business/2017/10/house_sells_for_42_million_cas.html
  5. ^
  6. Kirkland, Scotty. "Waterman Steamship Corporation". Encyclopedia of Alabama. The Encyclopedia of Alabama TM . Retrieved 16 May 2015 .

This article related to a United States ship transport company is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.


Robert Fulton's Milestones

On August 17, 1807, the Clermont, Robert Fulton's first American steamboat, left New York City for Albany, serving as the inaugural commercial steamboat service in the world. The ship traveled from New York City to Albany making history with a 150-mile trip that took 32 hours at an average speed of about five miles per hour.

Four years later, Fulton and Livingston designed the New Orleans and put it into service as a passenger and freight boat with a route along the lower Mississippi River. By 1814, Fulton, together with Robert Livingston’s brother, Edward, was offering regular steamboat and freight service between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi. Their boats traveled at rates of eight miles per hour downstream and three miles per hour upstream.


Voices from Gold Mountain

After 1910, immigrants arriving on the West Coast passed through the immigration inspection station at Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. Many were detained there for weeks or months. Rage, loneliness, and joy are among the emotions reflected in these rhymes from immigrants to the United States, or &ldquoGold Mountain.&rdquo These verses are from San Francisco’s Chinatown and were written in the early 1910s.

I am a man of heroic deeds
I am a man with pride and dignity.
My bosom encompasses the height of Heaven
and the brilliance of Earth
Everywhere they know me as a truly noble man.
In search of wealth&mdash
Greed led me on the road to Gold Mountain.
Denied landing upon reaching the shore, I am filled with rage.
With no means to pass the border, what can a person do?

To chase after a pin-head gain,
I endured the separation from my mother.
Drifting on a voyage of thousands of miles,
I reached the Flowery Flag Nation to take my chances.
Sorrow is to be so far away from home.
I must burden Mother to send me clothes for my stay.
Unable to prepare the homebound whip, stranded in a foreign land,
O, when can I repay her kindness in raising me?

In a sojourn in San Francisco,
Luck and wealth grace me as spring arrives.
With trunks full of yellow eagles, it’s time to head home *
Right away my boat ticket and visa are prepared and ready.
O, truly wonderful&mdash
I bid farewell to all my good friends.
I am returning home with purses and bags stuffed full.
Soon, I will see my parents’ brows beaming with joy.

* &ldquoYellow eagles&rdquo is a term used by the Chinese in America for U.S. gold coins.

Marlon K. Hom, Songs of Gold Mountain: Cantonese Rhymes from San Francisco Chinatown

©1987 Copyright/ University of California Press.

Explore the Ship

Steamships across the Pacific transported large numbers of immigrants and only modest numbers of first-class passengers. From this deck plan you can discover that hundreds of steerage passengers slept in bunks near the ship’s engine first-class, or saloon, passengers slept in cabins farther from the engine steerage travelers had no dining room or leisure spaces first-class travelers had a dining space with skylights, and two social rooms on the upper deck.

Courtesy of the Mariners’ Museum

S.S. Japan, 1868–74

The Japan officially accommodated as many as 190 in 50 first-class staterooms and 908 in row after row of open bunks stacked three high in steerage. The most frequent first-class passengers were businessmen, missionaries, and government and military officials. Steerage was filled almost entirely by Chinese merchants and laborers. In the month-long Pacific crossing, steerage passengers made do with no dining or sitting rooms. The immigrant trade was so profitable that the Japan often carried hundreds of passengers beyond its legal limit. In 1873 the Japan’s captain was cited for carrying 451 passengers above the legal limit on a single voyage.

Photograph by Jack London, courtesy of The Huntington Library

Chinese crews, 1905

The Pacific Mail Steamship Company hired Chinese workers exclusively to crew its ships and run its port facilities. Only its ships’ officers were American or European. &ldquoThe saving therefrom, in wages, food, &c., will be very great,&rdquo wrote the company president. But by 1915, pressure from sailors’ unions and discriminatory government labor rules had begun to force hundreds of Chinese seamen out of their jobs.

In this image Chinese crew handle mooring lines near the stern of the Pacific Mail steamer Siberia. About 227 Chinese crew worked aboard Siberia on each of its 11 roundtrip voyages between Hong Kong and San Francisco.

Wong Hand’s residence and travel documents

Documents courtesy of the Ethnic Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley

Certificate of residence, 1894

A federal law passed in 1892 required every Chinese resident to carry a certificate of residence. People without one could be deported or jailed, and travelers needed them to return to the country. This is Wong Hand’s certificate of residence, which identifies him as a Chinese laborer and a cook, as well as a resident of Redlands, California.

Health inspection card, 1914

Immigrants and steerage passengers on Pacific Mail steamships were subjected to a daily health inspection by the ship’s surgeon, who recorded each inspection by punching each passenger’s health card. Wong Hand’s card indicates 31 inspections on his 1914 voyage to San Francisco. To avoid detention at U.S. Quarantine stations or on railroads, Wong Hand would have been required to show this card. The rigorous inspection process, intended to prevent the spread of disease and to keep out illegal immigrants, also meant a frustrating, difficult time for legal Chinese residents reentering the country.

Alien tax receipt, 1914

Wong Hand traveled back to China at some point and returned to San Francisco aboard the Pacific Mail steamship Siberia in 1914. As an alien, he was required to pay a tax of $4, a sum that would have been returned to him if he had left the United States again within 30 days.


U.S. Supreme Court

Old Dominion Steamship Company v. Virginia

Argued April, 25-26, 1905

Decided May 15, 1905

ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF

APPEALS OF THE STATE OF VIRGINIA

The general rule that tangible personal property is subject to taxation by the state in which it is, no matter where the domicil of the owner may be, is not affected by the fact that the property is employed in interstate transportational on either land or water.

Vessels registered or enrolled are not exempt from ordinary rules respecting taxation of personal property. The artificial status created as the home port of a vessel, under § 4141, Rev.Stat., only controls the place of taxation in the absence of an actual situs elsewhere.

Vessels, though engaged in interstate commerce, employed in such commerce wholly within the limits of a state are subject to taxation in that state although they may have been registered or enrolled at a port outside its limits.

On March 17, 1904, the Supreme Court of Appeals of the State of Virginia, in a matter appealed from a finding of the State Corporation Commission, entered the following findings and order:

"That the Old Dominion Steamship Company was a nonresident corporation, having been incorporated by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware that it was then and had been for many years theretofore engaged in the transportation of passengers and freight on the Atlantic Ocean and communicating navigable waters between the City of New York, in the State of New York, and Norfolk, and certain other ports within the State of Virginia. That said steamship company, in the prosecution of its said transportation business, owned and operated the vessel property above named that these vessels, with the exception of the tug Germania, whose movements and use will be hereinafter stated, visited various ports or points within the State of Virginia for the purpose of receiving freight and passengers, for which they

issued bills of lading and tickets to points outside the State of Virginia that, owing to the shallow waters where these vessels plied, it was impossible in most instances for the larger oceangoing steamers of the company to be used that, in consequence, the vessels above enumerated were used to receive the freight and passengers as aforesaid, giving the shipper of freight a bill of lading for the same, destined to New York and other points outside of Virginia, and the passenger a ticket to his destination, and thus transported such freight and passengers to deeper water at Norfolk and Old Point Comfort, where, upon such bills of lading and tickets, the passengers and freight were transferred to one of the larger ocean-going vessels of the steamship company, and so the ultimate destination, namely, New York and elsewhere outside of Virginia, was reached that any other business transacted by the above-named vessels was incidental in character and comparatively insignificant in amount that the said vessels were built and designed for interstate traffic especially, and were adjuncts to or branches of the main line of the Old Dominion Steamship Company between New York and Norfolk that each and all of the said vessels were regularly enrolled, under the United States laws, outside of the State of Virginia, with the name and port of such enrollment painted on the stern of each of them that the said vessels, though regularly enrolled and licensed for coastwise trade, were then used on old established routes upon navigable waters within Virginia, as follows, to-wit:"

"First. The steamer Hampton Roads between Fort Monroe and Hampton and Norfolk."

"Second. The steamer Mobjack between points in Mathews and Gloucester Counties and Norfolk."

"Third. The steamers Luray and Accomac between Smithfield and Norfolk."

"Fourth. The steamer Virginia Dare between Suffolk and Norfolk."

"Fifth. The steamers Berkeley and Brandon between Richmond and Norfolk and "

"The steamers Berkeley and Brandon ply between Richmond and Norfolk. These two steamers were completed in the year 1901, or early in 1902, one of them having been constructed at the William R. Trigg shipyard in the City of Richmond, and the other outside of the State of Virginia. Early in the year 1902, they were placed upon the line between Norfolk and Richmond, one steamer leaving Richmond each evening and arriving in Norfolk each morning, thus giving a night trip every night each way between Richmond and Norfolk. At the time these steamers were placed upon this route, and since that time, the Old Dominion Steamship Company has, by public advertisement, called attention to the fact that these two steamers were especially fitted in the matter of stateroom accommodations for carrying passengers between Richmond and Norfolk, and the said two steamers have since that time been advertising for the carriage of passengers and freight on their route between Richmond and Norfolk, and have been regularly carrying freight and passengers between the said two points in Virginia as well as taking on freight and passengers for further transportation on their ocean steamers at Norfolk. The Old Dominion Steamship Company applied, under the revenue laws of the State of Virginia, for a license to sell liquor at retail on each of these steamers, and on July 1, 1902, there was granted, through the Commissioner of the Revenue of the City of Richmond, a license to the Old Dominion Steamship Company for the sale of liquor at retail on each of these steamers, said licenses to expire on April 30, 1903. On or about the same time, the said steamship company complied with the revenue laws of the United States and paid the necessary revenue tax through the custom house at the City of Richmond for the purpose of selling liquor at retail on each of these steamers. In the spring of 1903, the said steamship company, in order to obtain licenses to sell liquor at retail on each of these steamers, applied for the same in the City of Richmond, and complied with the requirements of section 143 of the new revenue law, approved April 16, 1903, and so obtained

licenses for the year 1903-1904 to sell liquor at retail on each of these steamers on their route between the cities of Richmond and Norfolk, and likewise, on or about the same time, complied with the revenue laws of the United States in the matter of selling liquor at retail on each of the said steamers on said route."

"Sixth. The steam tug Germania, which was used in the harbor of Norfolk and Hampton Roads for the purpose of docking the large ocean-going steamers of the Old Dominion Steamship Company, and the transferring from different points in those waters freight from connecting lines destined to points outside of Virginia."

"And the court, having maturely considered said transcript of the record of the finding aforesaid and the arguments of counsel, is of opinion that the legal situs of the vessels and barges assessed for taxation by the finding of the State Corporation Commission is, for that purpose, within the jurisdiction of the State of Virginia, and that said property is amenable to the tax imposed thereon, notwithstanding the fact that said vessels and barges are owned by a nonresident corporation, that they may have been enrolled under the act of Congress at some port outside the State of Virginia, and that they are engaged, in part, in interstate commerce, and doth so decide and declare. Therefore it seems to the court here that the finding of the State Corporation Commission appealed from is without error, and said finding is approved and affirmed. It is further considered by the court that the appellee recover against the appellant thirty dollars damages and its costs by it about its defense expended upon this appeal. "

MR. JUSTICE BREWER delivered the opinion of the Court.

The facts being settled, the only question is one of law. Can Virginia legally subject these vessels to state taxation? The general rule is that tangible personal property is subject to taxation by the state in which it is, no matter where the domicil of the owner may be. This rule is not affected by the fact that the property is employed in interstate transportation. Pullman's Palace Car Company v. Pennsylvania, 141 U. S. 18 , in which Mr. Justice Gray, speaking for the Court, said (p. 141 U. S. 23 ):

"It is equally well settled that there is nothing in the Constitution or laws of the United States which prevents a state from taxing personal property employed in interstate or foreign commerce like other personal property within its jurisdiction."

This is true as to water as well as to land transportation. In Gloucester Ferry Company v. Pennsylvania, 114 U. S. 196 ,

114 U. S. 217 , Mr. Justice Field, in delivering the opinion of the Court, after referring to certain impositions upon interstate commerce, added:

"Freedom from such impositions does not, of course, imply exemption from reasonable charges, as compensation for the carriage of persons, in the way of tolls or fares, or from the ordinary taxation to which other property is subjected, any more than like freedom of transportation on land implies such exemption."

See also Passenger Cases, 7 How. 283, in which Mr. Justice McLean said (p. 48 U. S. 402 ):

"A state cannot regulate foreign commerce, but it may do many things which more or less affect it. It may tax a ship or other vessel used in commerce, the same as other property owned by its citizens."

The same doctrine is laid down in the same case by Mr. Chief Justice Taney (p. 48 U. S. 479 ). See also Transportation Company v. Wheeling, 99 U. S. 273 . That the service in which these vessels were engaged formed one link in a line of continuous interstate commerce may affect the state's power of regulation, but not its power of taxation. True, they were not engaged in an independent service, as the cabs in Pennsylvania Railroad Company v. Knight, 192 U. S. 21 , but, being wholly within the state, that was their actual situs. And, as appears from the authorities referred to, the fact that they were engaged in interstate commerce does not impair the state's authority to impose taxes upon them as property. Indeed, it is not contended that these vessels, although engaged in interstate commerce, are not subject to state taxation, the contention being that they are taxable only at the port at which they are enrolled. In support of this contention, the two principal cases relied upon are Hays v. Pacific Mail Steamship Company, 17 How. 596, and Morgan v. Parham, 16 Wall. 471. Registry and enrollment are prescribed by Rev.Stat. sections 4141 and 4311, for vessels of the United States engaged in foreign and domestic commerce. Section 4141 reads:

"SEC. 4141. Every vessel, except as is hereinafter provided, shall be registered by the collector of that collection district which includes the port to which such vessel shall belong at the time of her registry which port shall be deemed to be that at or nearest to which the owner, if there be but one, or, if more than one, the husband or acting and managing owner of such vessel, usually resides."

By sections 4131 and 4311, vessels registered or enrolled are declared to be deemed vessels of the United States. As stated by Chancellor Kent in his Commentaries, vol. 3, p. *139:

"The object of the registry acts is to encourage our own trade, navigation, and shipbuilding, by granting peculiar or exclusive privileges of trade to the flag of the United States and by prohibiting the communication of those immunities to the shipping and mariners of other countries. These provisions are well calculated to prevent the commission of fraud upon individuals, as well as to advance the national policy. The registry of all vessels at the custom house, and the memorandums of the transfers, add great security to title, and bring the existing state of our navigation and marine under the view of the general government. By these regulations, the title can be effectually traced back to its origin."

This object does not require, and there is no suggestion in the statutes, that vessels registered or enrolled are exempt from the ordinary rules respecting taxation of personal property. It is true, by section 4141, there is created what may be called the home port of the vessel, an artificial situs, which may control the place of taxation in the absence of an actual situs elsewhere, and to that extent only do the two cases referred to go.

In Hays v. Pacific Mail Steamship Company, 17 How. 596, ocean steamers owned and registered in New York and regularly plying between Panama and San Francisco and ports in Oregon, remaining in San Francisco no longer than was necessary to land and receive passengers and cargo and in Benicia only for repairs and supplies, were held not subject to taxation

by the State of California. In the course of the opinion, by Mr. Justice Nelson, it was said (p. 58 U. S. 599 ):

"We are satisfied that the State of California had no jurisdiction over these vessels for the purpose of taxation they were not properly abiding within its limits so as to become incorporated with the other personal property of the state they were there but temporarily, engaged in lawful trade and commerce, with their situs at the home port, where the vessels belonged, and where the owners were liable to be taxed for the capital invested, and where the taxes had been paid."

Clearly the ruling was that these steamers had acquired no actual situs within the State of California that occasionally touching at ports in the state did not make them incorporated with the other personal property of the state. Hence, having no situs in California, they were not subject to taxation there, but were subject to state taxation at the artificial situs established by their registry.

In Morgan v. Parham, 16 Wall. 471, it appeared that a steamship was registered in New York, under the ownership of the plaintiff that she was employed as a coasting steamer between Mobile and New Orleans that she was regularly enrolled as a coaster in Mobile by her master, and received a license as a coasting vessel for that and subsequent years. It was held that she was not subject to taxation by the State of Alabama. Mr. Justice Hunt, in delivering the opinion of the Court, said (pp. 83 U. S. 474 -476):

"The fact that the vessel was physically within the limits of the City of Mobile at the time the tax was levied does not decide the question. Thus, if a traveler on that day had been passing through that city in his private carriage, or an emigrant with his worldly goods on a wagon, it is not contended that the property of either of these persons would be subject to taxation, as property within the city. It is conceded by the respective counsel that it would not have been."

"On the other hand, this vessel, although a vehicle of commerce, was not exempt from taxation on that score. A steamboat

or a post coach engaged in a local business within a state may be subject to local taxation although it carry the mail of the United States. The commerce between the states may not be interfered with by taxation or other interruption, but its instruments and vehicles may be. . . . It is the opinion of the Court that the State of Alabama had no jurisdiction over this vessel for the purpose of taxation, for the reason that it had not become incorporated into the personal property of that state, but was there temporarily only."

In other words, here, as in the prior case, there was no actual situs of the vessel. She had not become commingled with the general property of the state, and was therefore subject to taxation at the artificial situs -- the port of her registry.

In Transportation Company v. Wheeling, supra, Mr. Justice Clifford concludes his discussion with this statement (p. 99 U. S. 285 ):

"From which it follows as a necessary consequence that the enrollment of a ship or vessel does not exempt the owner of the same from taxation for his interest in the ship or vessel as property, upon a valuation of the same, as in the case of other personal property."

Of course, if the enrollment does not exempt vessels from taxation as other personal property, the place of enrollment, whether within or without the state in which the property is actually situated, is immaterial, for other like property is taxable at its actual situs.

So far as the state authorities are concerned, reference may be made to Lott v. Mobile Trade Company, 43 Ala. 578 National Dredging Company v. State, 99 Ala. 462 Northwestern Lumber Co. v. Chehalis County, 25 Wash. 95.

Our conclusion is that, where vessels, though engaged in interstate commerce, are employed in such commerce wholly within the limits of a state, they are subject to taxation in that state although they may have been registered or enrolled at

a port outside its limits. The conclusion therefore reached by the Court of Appeals of Virginia was right, and its judgment is

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Old Dominion Steamship Company v. Virginia

On March 17, 1904, the supreme court of appeals of the state of Virginia, in a matter appealed from a finding of the state corporation commission, entered the following findings and order:

'That the Old Dominion Steamship Company was a nonresident corporation, having been incorporated by the senate and house of representatives of the state of Delaware that it was then and had been for many years theretofore engaged in the transportation of passengers and freight on the Atlantic ocean and communicating navigable waters, between the city of New York, in the state of New York, and Norfolk, and certain other ports within the state of Virginia. That said steamship company, in the prosecution of its said transportation business, owned and operated the vessel property above named that these vessels, with the exception of the tug Germania, whose movements and use will be hereinafter stated, visited various ports or points within the state of Virginia, for the purpose of receiving freight and passengers, for which they issued bills of lading and tickets to points outside the state of Virginia that, owing to the shallow waters where these vessels plied, it was impossible in most instances for the larger oceangoing steamers of the company to be used that in consequence the vessels above enumerated were used to receive the freight and passengers as aforesaid, giving the shipper of freight a bill of lading for the same, destined to New York and other points outside of Virginia, and the passenger a ticket to his destination, and thus transported such freight and passengers to deeper water at Norfolk and Old Point Comfort, where, upon such bills of lading and tickets, the passengers and freight were transferred to one of the larger ocean-going vessels of the steamship company, and so the ultimate destination, namely, New York, and elsewhere outside of Virginia, was reached that any other business transacted by the above-named vessels was incidental in character and comparatively insignificant in amount that the said vessels were built and designed for interstate traffic especially, and were adjuncts to or branches of the main line of the Old Dominion Steamship Company between New York and Norfolk that each and all of the said vessels were regularly enrolled, under the United States laws, outside of the state of Virginia, with the name and port of such enrollment painted on the stern of each of them that the said vessels, though regularly enrolled and licensed for coastwise trade, were then used on old established routes upon navigable waters within Virginia, as follows, to wit:

'First. The steamer Hampton Roads, between Fort Monroe and Hampton and Norfolk.

'Second. The steamer Mobjack, between points in Mathews and Gloucester counties and Norfolk.

'Third. The steamers Luray and Accomac, between Smithfield and Norfolk.

'Fourth. The steamer Virginia Dare, between Suffolk and Norfolk.

'Fifth. The steamers Berkeley and Brandon, between Richmond and Norfolk and 'The steamers Berkeley and Brandon ply between Richmond and Norfolk. These two steamers were completed in the year 1901, or early in 1902, one of them having been constructed at the William R. Trigg shipyard in the city of Richmond, and the other outside of the state of Virginia. Early in the year 1902 they were placed upon the line between Norfolk and Richmond, one steamer leaving Richmond each evening and arriving in Norfolk each morning, thus giving a night trip every night each way between Richmond and Norfolk. At the time these steamers were placed upon this route, and since that time, the Old Dominion Steamship Company has, by public advertisement, called attention to the fact that these two steamers were especially fitted in the matter of stateroom accommodations for carrying passengers between Richmond and Norfolk, and the said two steamers have since that time been advertising for the carriage of passengers and freight on their route between Richmond and Norfolk, and have been regularly carrying freight and passengers between the said two points in Virginia as well as taking on freight and passengers for further transportation on their ocean steamers at Norfolk. The Old Dominion Steamship Company applied, under the revenue laws of the state of Virginia, for a license to sell liquor at retail on each of these steamers, and on July 1st, 1902, there was granted, through the commissioner of the revenue of the city of Richmond, a license to the Old Dominion Steamship Company for the sale of liquor at retail on each of these steamers, said licenses to expire on April 30th, 1903. On or about the same time the said steamship company complied with the revenue laws of the United States, and paid the necessary revenue tax through the custom house at the city of Richmond for the purpose of selling liquor at retail on each of these steamers. In the spring of 1903 the said steamship company, in order to obtain licenses to sell liquor at retail on each of these steamers, applied for the same in the city of Richmond, and complied with the requirements of § 143 of the new revenue law, approved April 16th, 1903, and so obtained licenses for the year 1903-1904 to sell liquor at retail on each of these steamers on their route between the cities of Richmond and Norfolk, and likewise, on or about the same time, complied with the revenue laws of the United States in the matter of selling liquor at retail on each of the said steamers on said route.

'Sixth. The steam tug Germania, which was used in the harbor of Norfolk and Hampton Roads for the purpose of docking the large ocean-going steamers of the Old Dominion Steamship Company, and the transferring from different points in those waters freight from connecting lines destined to points outside of Virginia.

'And the court, having maturely considered said transcript of the record of the finding aforesaid and the arguments of counsel, is of opinion that the legal situs of the vessels and barges assessed for taxation by the finding of the state corporation commission is, for that purpose, within the jurisdiction of the state of Virginia, and that said property is amenable to the tax imposed thereon,-notwithstanding the fact that said vessels and barges are owned by a nonresident corporation, that they may have been enrolled under the act of Congress at some port outside the state of Virginia, and that they are engaged, in part, in interstate commerce,-and doth so decide and declare. Therefore it seems to the court here that the finding of the state corporation commission appealed from is without error, and said finding is approved and affirmed. It is further considered by the court that the appellee recover against the appellant thirty dollars damages and its eosts by it about its defense expended upon this appeal.'

To review this order the Old Dominion Steamship Company sued out this writ of error.


M/V Lee A. Tregurtha

M/V Lee A. Tregurtha has a long and distinguished history since her construction as a World War II tanker. One of the most altered vessels on the Great Lakes, she also boasts two battle stars for WWII service as the Chiwawa. Her original dimensions were 501&rsquo8&rdquo x 68&rsquo x 30&rsquo8&rdquo and her speed was 15 knots. Chiwawa served on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans during the war and was present in Tokyo Bay during the September 2, 1945, surrender ceremony. The vessel was decommissioned on May 6, 1946, and transferred to the Maritime Commission shortly thereafter.

During the 1959-60 winter, Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company purchased the idle ship for conversion to Great Lakes use. Not only was the ship lengthened with the midbody insertion, but the hull was widened by 7 feet and deepened by 2 feet. In 1961, the new ship &mdash largest and longest in the Cliffs fleet (22,500 ton capacity, 730&rsquo x 75&rsquo) &mdash was christened Walter A. Sterling in honor of Cliffs&rsquo chairman. In 1976, she was again lengthened by addition of a 96-foot midbody, giving her an overall length of 826 feet. Her capacity increased by 7000 gross tons. Two years later, she came back again for conversion to a self-unloader. She also received a bow thruster in 1966 and stern thruster in 1982.

When Cleveland-Cliffs sold what remained of its fleet in 1985, the ship joined the Ford Motor (later Rouge Steel) fleet and was renamed William Clay Ford(2).

In 1989, Rouge Steel disposed of its fleet, and the ship joined the Interlake Steamship family as part of Lakes Shipping Company, Inc. She was renamed Lee A. Tregurtha in honor of the wife of Interlake&rsquos vice chairman. Through the 2005 navigation season, the Lee A. Tregurtha held the distinction of being the largest steam-powered ship on the Great Lakes.


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Inspired by the service of the British liners RMS Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, which transported hundreds of thousands of US troops to Europe during World War II, the US government sponsored the construction of a large and fast merchant vessel that would be capable of transporting large numbers of soldiers. Designed by American naval architect and marine engineer William Francis Gibbs (1886–1967), the liner's construction was a joint effort by the United States Navy and United States Lines. The US government underwrote $50 million of the $78 million construction cost, with the ship's prospective operators, United States Lines, contributing the remaining $28 million. In exchange, the ship was designed to be easily converted in times of war to a troopship. The ship has a capacity of 15,000 troops, and could also be converted to a hospital ship. [13]

The vessel was constructed from 1950 to 1952 at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Virginia. The hull was constructed in a dry dock. United States was built to exacting Navy specifications, which required that the ship be heavily compartmentalized, and have separate engine rooms to optimize wartime survival. [14] A large part of the construction was prefabricated. The ship's hull comprised 183,000 pieces. [15]

The construction of the ship's superstructure involved the most extensive use of aluminum in any construction project up to that time, which posed a galvanic corrosion challenge to the builders in joining the aluminum superstructure to the steel decks below. However, the extensive use of aluminum meant significant weight savings, as well. [16] United States had the most powerful steam turbines of any merchant marine vessel at the time, with a total power of 240,000 shaft horsepower (180 MW) delivered to four 18-foot (5.5 m)-diameter manganese-bronze propellers. The ship was capable of steaming astern at over 20 knots (37 km/h 23 mph), and could carry enough fuel and stores to steam non-stop for over 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km 12,000 mi) at a cruising speed of 35 knots (65 km/h 40 mph). [17]

Interior design Edit

The SS United States interiors were designed by Dorothy Marckwald & Anne Urquhart, the same designers that did the interiors for the SS America. The goal was to "create a modern fresh contemporary look that emphasized simplicity over palatial, restrained elegance over glitz and glitter". [18] [19] They would also hire artists to produce American themed artwork for the public spaces. [20] This included artist: Hildreth Meière, Louis Ross, Peter Ostuni, Charles Lin Tissot, William King, Charles Gilbert, Raymond Wendell, Nathaniel Choate, muralist Austin M. Purves, Jr., and sculptor Gwen Lux. [21] Interior décor also included a children's playroom designed by Edward Meshekoff. [22] Markwald and Urquhart were also tasked with the challenge of creating interiors that were completely fireproof.

Fire safety Edit

As a result of a various maritime disasters involving fire that included the SS Morro Castle and the SS Normandie, [23] designer William Francis Gibbs specified that the United States incorporate the most rigid fire safety standards. [24]

To minimize the risk of fire, the designers of United States prescribed using no wood in the ship's framing, accessories, decorations, or interior surfaces, although the galley did feature a wooden butcher's block. Fittings, including all furniture and fabrics, were custom made in glass, metal, and spun-glass fiber, to ensure compliance with fireproofing guidelines set by the US Navy. Asbestos-laden paneling was used extensively in interior structures. [25] The clothes hangers in the luxury cabins were aluminum. The ballroom's grand piano was made from mahogany — although originally specified in aluminum — and accepted only after a demonstration in which gasoline was poured upon the wood and ignited, without the wood itself ever catching fire. [26]

Deck plans Edit

1952–1969 Edit

On her maiden voyage—July 3–7, 1952—United States broke the eastbound transatlantic speed record (held by the RMS Queen Mary for the previous 14 years) by more than 10 hours, making the maiden crossing from the Ambrose lightship at New York Harbor to Bishop Rock off Cornwall, UK in 3 days, 10 hours, 40 minutes at an average speed of 35.59 knots (65.91 km/h 40.96 mph). [27] and winning the coveted Blue Riband. [28] On her return voyage United States also broke the westbound transatlantic speed record, also held by RMS Queen Mary, by returning to America in 3 days 12 hours and 12 minutes at an average speed of 34.51 knots (63.91 km/h 39.71 mph). In New York her owners were awarded the Hales Trophy, the tangible expression of the Blue Riband competition. [29] The maximum speed attained for United States is disputed as it was once held as a military secret. [30] The issue stems from an alleged value of 43 knots (80 km/h 49 mph) that was leaked to reporters by engineers after the first speed trial. In a 1991 issue of Popular Mechanics, author Mark G. Carbonaro wrote that while she could do 43 knots (80 km/h 49 mph) it was never attained. [31] Other sources, including a paper by John J. McMullen & Associates, places the ship's highest possible sustained top speed at 35 knots (65 km/h 40 mph). [32]

During the 1950s to the early 1960s the United States was a popular ship for transatlantic travel. It attracted frequent passengers such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, along with celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Cary Grant, Salvador Dali, Duke Ellington, and Walt Disney, who would feature the ship in the 1962 film Bon Voyage!

By the mid-to-late 1960s, owing to the advent of jet-powered airliners, the market for transatlantic travel by ship had dwindled—America was sold in 1964, Queen Mary was retired in 1967, and Queen Elizabeth in 1968—and United States was no longer profitable. The United States unknowingly completed its last voyage (Number 400) on November 7, 1969. The ship had sailed to Newport News after this voyage for its scheduled annual overhaul, when it was announced United States Lines decided to withdraw her from service. This was due to the skyrocketing expenses of operating the ship, and the U.S. government would no longer continue supporting operating subsidies. The announcement halted all work on the ship, leaving things like funnels half painted, something that can still be faintly seen today. The ship was sealed up, with all furniture, fittings, crew uniforms left in place, and ownership turned over to the United States Maritime Administration. [23]

1970–1980 Edit

After a few years, the ship was relocated to Norfolk, Virginia. In 1976, Norwegian Caribbean Cruise Line (NCL) was reportedly interested in purchasing the ship and converting her into a cruise ship for cruises in the Caribbean, but went on purchasing the former SS France instead, after the U.S. Maritime Administration refused the sale due to the classified naval design elements of the ship. [23] The Navy would finally declassify the ship's design features in 1977. [23] That same year, a group headed by Harry Katz sought to purchase the ship and dock it in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where it would be used as a hotel and casino. However, nothing came of the plan. [33] The United States was briefly considered by the US Navy to be converted into a troopship or a hospital ship, to be called USS United States. This plan never materialized, being dropped in favor of converting two San Clemente class supertankers. [34] The United States was seen as obsolete for Naval use by 1980, and was put up for sale by the U.S. Maritime Administration.

1980–1996 Edit

The vessel was sold for $5 million to a group headed by Seattle developer Richard H. Hadley, who hoped to revitalize the liner in a time share cruise ship format. In 1984, to pay creditors, the ship's fittings and furniture, which had been left in place since after the ship was sealed in 1969, were sold at auction in Norfolk, Virginia. [35] After a weeklong auction from October 8-14, 1984, about 3,000 bidders paid $1.65 million for objects from the ship. Some of the artwork and furniture would go to various museums, while the largest collection was installed at the Windmill Point Restaurant in Nags Head, North Carolina.

Richard Hadley's plan of a time-share style cruise ship eventually failed financially, and the ship, which had been seized by US marshals, was put up for auction by MARAD in 1992. At auction, Marmara Marine Inc.—which was headed by Edward Cantor and Fred Mayer, but with Juliedi Sadikoglu, of the Turkish shipping family, as majority owner—purchased the ship for $2.6 million. [36] [37] The ship was towed to Turkey and then Ukraine, where, in Sevastopol Shipyard, she underwent asbestos removal which lasted from 1993 to 1994. [38] The interior of the ship was almost completely stripped during this time. In the US, no plans could be finalized for repurposing the vessel, and in 1996, the United States was towed to South Philadelphia. [39]

1997–2010 Edit

In November 1997, Edward Cantor purchased the ship for $6 million. [40] Two years later, the SS United States Foundation and the SS United States Conservancy (then known as the SS United States Preservation Society, Inc.) succeeded in having the ship placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2003, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) purchased the ship at auction from Cantor's estate after his death. NCL's intent was to fully restore the ship to a service role in their newly announced American-flagged Hawaiian passenger service called NCL America. The United States is one of the few ships eligible to enter such service because of the Passenger Service Act, which requires that any vessel engaged in domestic commerce be built and flagged in the US and operated by a predominantly American crew. [41] NCL began an extensive technical review in late 2003, after which they stated that the ship was in sound condition. The cruise line cataloged over 100 boxes of the ship's blueprints. [42] In August 2004, NCL commenced feasibility studies regarding a new build-out of the vessel and in May 2006, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Malaysia-based Star Cruises (the owner of NCL), stated that SS United States would be coming back as the fourth ship for NCL after refurbishment. [43] Meanwhile, the Windmill Point restaurant, which had contained some of the original furniture from the United States, closed in 2007. The ship's furniture was donated to the Mariners' Museum and Christopher Newport University, both in Newport News, Virginia. [44]

When NCL America first began operation in Hawaii, it used the ships Pride of America, Pride of Aloha, and Pride of Hawaii, rather than United States. NCL America later withdrew Pride of Aloha and Pride of Hawaii from its Hawaiian service. In February 2009, it was reported that SS United States would "soon be listed for sale". [45] [46]

The SS United States Conservancy was then created that year as a group trying to save United States by raising funds to purchase her. [47] On July 30, 2009, H. F. Lenfest, a Philadelphia media entrepreneur and philanthropist, pledged a matching grant of $300,000 to help the United States Conservancy purchase the vessel from Star Cruises. [48] A noteworthy supporter, former US president Bill Clinton, has also endorsed rescue efforts to save the ship, having sailed on her himself in 1968. [14] [49]

In March 2010, it was reported that bids for the ship, to be sold for scrap, were being accepted. Norwegian Cruise Lines, in a press release, noted that there were large costs associated with keeping United States afloat in her current state—around $800,000 a year—and that, as the SS United States Conservancy was not able to tender an offer for the ship, the company was actively seeking a "suitable buyer". [50] By May 7, 2010, over $50,000 was raised by The SS United States Conservancy. [51] The Conservancy eventually bought SS United States from NCL in February 2011 for a reported $3 million with the help of money donated by philanthropist H.F. Lenfest. [52] The group had funds to last 20 months (from July 1, 2010) that were to go to supporting a development plan to clean the ship of toxins and make the ship financially self-supporting, possibly as a hotel or other development project. [53] [54] SS United States Conservancy executive director Dan McSweeney stated that he planned on placing the ship at possible locations that include Philadelphia, New York City, and Miami. [53] [55]

In November 2010, the Conservancy announced a plan to develop a "multi-purpose waterfront complex" with hotels, restaurants, and a casino along the Delaware River in South Philadelphia at the proposed location of the stalled Foxwoods Casino project. The results of a detailed study of the site were revealed in late November 2010, in advance of Pennsylvania's December 10, 2010, deadline for a deal aimed at Harrah's Entertainment taking over the casino project. However, the Conservancy's deal soon collapsed, when on December 16, 2010, the Gaming Control Board voted to revoke the casino's license. [56]

2011–2015 Edit

The SS United States Conservancy assumed ownership of United States on February 1, 2011. [7] [57] Talks about possibly locating the ship in Philadelphia, New York City, or Miami continued into March. In New York City, negotiations with a developer were underway for the ship to become part of Vision 2020, a waterfront redevelopment plan costing $3.3 billion. In Miami, Ocean Group, in Coral Gables, was interested in putting the ship in a slip on the north side of American Airlines Arena. [58] With an additional $5.8 million donation from H. F. Lenfest, the conservancy had about 18 months from March 2011 to make the ship a public attraction. [58] On August 5, 2011, the SS United States Conservancy announced that after conducting two studies focused on placing the ship in Philadelphia, it was "not likely to work there for a variety of reasons". However, discussions to locate the ship at her original home port of New York, as a stationary attraction, were reported to be ongoing. [59] The Conservancy's grant specifies that the refit and restoration must be done in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for the benefit of the Philadelphia economy, regardless of her eventual mooring site.

On February 7, 2012, preliminary work began on the restoration project to prepare the ship for her eventual rebuild, although a contract had not yet been signed. [60] In April 2012, a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was released as the start of an aggressive search for a developer for the ship. A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in May. [61] In July 2012, the SS United States Conservancy launched a new online campaign called "Save the United States", a blend of social networking and micro-fundraising that allowed donors to sponsor square inches of a virtual ship for redevelopment, while allowing them to upload photos and stories about their experience with the ship. The Conservancy announced that donors to the virtual ship would be featured in an interactive "Wall of Honor" aboard the future SS United States museum. [62] [63]

By the end of 2012, a developer was to be chosen, who would put the ship in a selected city by summer 2013. [64] In November 2013, it was reported that the ship was undergoing a "below-the-deck" makeover, which lasted into 2014, in order to make the ship more appealing to developers as a dockside attraction. The SS United States Conservancy was warned that if its plans were not realized quickly, there might be no choice but to sell the ship for scrap. [65] In January 2014, obsolete pieces of the ship were sold to keep up with the $80,000-a-month maintenance costs. Enough money was raised to keep the ship going for another six months, with the hope of finding someone committed to the project, New York City still being the likeliest location. [66]

In August 2014, the ship was still moored in Philadelphia and costs for the ship's rent amounted to $60,000 a month. It was estimated that it would take $1 billion to return United States to service on the high seas, although a 2016 estimate for restoration as a luxury cruise ship was said to be, "as much as $700 million". [67] [68] On September 4, 2014, a final push was made to have the ship bound for New York City. A developer interested in re-purposing the ship as a major waterfront destination made an announcement regarding the move. The Conservancy had only weeks to decide if the ship needed to be sold for scrap. [69] On December 15, 2014, preliminary agreements in support of the redevelopment of SS United States were announced. The agreements included providing for three months of carrying costs, with a timeline and more details to be released sometime in 2015. [70] [71] In February 2015, another $250,000 was received by the Conservancy from an anonymous donor which went towards planning an onboard museum. [72]

As of October 2015, the SS United States Conservancy had begun exploring potential bids for scrapping the ship. The group was running out of money to cover the $60,000-per-month cost to dock and maintain the ship. Attempts to re-purpose the ship continued. Ideas included using the ship for hotels, restaurants, or office space. One idea was to install computer servers in the lower decks and link them to software development businesses in office space on the upper decks. However, no firm plans were announced. The conservancy said that if no progress was made by October 31, 2015, they would have no choice but to sell the ship to a "responsible recycler". [73] As the deadline passed it was announced that $100,000 had been raised in October 2015, sparing the ship from immediate danger. By November 23, 2015, it was reported that over $600,000 in donations had been received for care and upkeep, buying time well into the coming year for the SS United States Conservancy to press ahead with a plan to redevelop the vessel. [74]

2016–present Edit

On February 4, 2016, Crystal Cruises announced that it had signed a purchase option for the SS United States. Crystal would cover docking costs, in Philadelphia, for nine months while conducting a feasibility study on returning the ship to service as a cruise ship based in New York City. [75] [76] On April 9, 2016, it was announced that 600 artifacts from the SS United States would be returned to the ship from the Mariners' Museum and other donors. [77]

On August 5, 2016, the plan was formally dropped, Crystal Cruises citing the presence of too many technical and commercial challenges. The cruise line then made a donation of $350,000 to help with preservation through the end of the year. [78] [79] [80] The SS United States Conservancy continued to receive donations, which included one for $150,000 by cruise industry executive Jim Pollin. [9] In January 2018, the conservancy made an appeal to US president Donald Trump to take action regarding "America's Flagship". [81] If the group runs out of money, alternative plans for the ship include sinking it as an artificial reef rather than scrapping her. [9]

On September 20, 2018, the conservancy consulted with Damen Ship Repair & Conversion about redevelopment of the United States. Damen had converted the former ocean liner and cruise ship SS Rotterdam into a hotel and mixed-use development. [82]

On December 10, 2018, the conservancy announced an agreement with the commercial real estate firm RXR Realty, of New York City, to explore options for restoring and redeveloping the ocean liner. [83] In 2015, RXR had expressed interest in developing an out-of-commission ocean liner as a hotel and event venue at Pier 57 in New York. [84] The conservancy requires that any redevelopment plan preserve the ship's profile and exterior design, and include approximately 25,000 sq ft (2,323 m 2 ) for an onboard museum. [82] RXR's press release about the United States stated that multiple locations would be considered, depending on the viability of restoration plans. [83] [84]

In March 2020, RXR Realty announced its plans to repurpose the ocean liner as a permanently-moored 600,000 sq ft (55,740 m 2 ) hospitality and cultural space, requesting expressions of interest from a number of major US waterfront cities including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. [85]

Artwork Edit

The Mariners' Museum of Newport News, Va., holds many objects from the SS United States, including the ''Expressions of Freedom'' by Gwen Lux, the aluminum sculpture from the main dining room, purchased during the 1984 auction. [35]

Artwork designed by Charles Gilbert that included glass panels etched with sea creatures and plants from the first class ballroom, were purchased by Celebrity Cruises and had initially been incorporated onboard the Infinity in its SS United States themed specialty restaurant. [86]

At the National Museum of American History, “The Currents” mural by Raymond John Wendell is on display. [87] Hildreth Meière cabin class lounge mural Mississippi, Father of Waters had also been relocated to the museum, but is not currently on display. [20]

Propellers & fittings Edit

The ship used four 60,000 lb (27,000 kg) manganese bronze propellers, two four-bladed screws outboard, and two inboard five-bladed. One of the four-bladed propellers is mounted at the entrance to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, while the other is mounted outside the American Merchant Marine Museum on the grounds of the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. The starboard-side five-bladed propeller is mounted near the waterfront at SUNY Maritime College in Fort Schuyler, New York, while the other is at the entrance of the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Virginia, mounted on an original 63 ft (19 m) long drive shaft. [88]

The ship's bell is kept in the clock tower on the campus of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. It is used to celebrate special events, including being rung by incoming freshman and by outgoing graduates. [89]

One of the ship's horns had stood on display for decades above the Rent-A-Tool building in Revere, Massachusetts, but has since been sold to a private collector in Texas for $8,000 in 2017. [90]

The large collection of dining room furniture and other memorabilia that had been purchased during the 1984 auction, and incorporated at the Windmill Point Restaurant in Nags Head, North Carolina was donated to the Mariners' Museum and Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA after the restaurant shut down in 2007. [91] The chairs from the tourist class dining room are used in the Mariners' Museum cafe.

With both the eastbound and westbound speed records, the United States obtained the Blue Riband which marked the first time a US-flagged ship had held the record since the SS Baltic claimed the prize 100 years earlier. United States maintained a 30 knots (56 km/h 35 mph) crossing speed on the North Atlantic in a service career that lasted 17 years. United States remained unchallenged for the Blue Riband throughout her career. During this period the fast trans-Atlantic passenger trade moved to air travel, and many regard the story of the Blue Riband as having ended with the United States. [92] Her east-bound record has since been broken several times (first, in 1986, by Virgin Atlantic Challenger II), and her west-bound record was broken in 1990 by Destriero, but these vessels were not passenger-carrying ocean liners. The Hales Trophy itself was lost in 1990 to Hoverspeed Great Britain, setting a new eastbound speed record for a commercial vessel.


Contents

The area now known as West Virginia was a favorite hunting ground of numerous Native American peoples before the arrival of European settlers. Many ancient earthen mounds constructed by various mound builder cultures survive, especially in the areas of Moundsville, South Charleston, and Romney. The artifacts uncovered in these give evidence of a village society having a tribal trade system culture that practiced the cold working of copper to a limited extent. As of 2009, over 12,500 archaeological sites have been documented in West Virginia. [1] [2]

Paleo-Indian culture appears by 10,500 BC in West Virginia passing along the major river valleys and ridge-line gap watersheds. Following are the traditional Archaic sub-periods Early (8000–6000 BC), Middle (6000–4000 BC), and Late (4000–1000 BC). [3] Within the greater region of and neighboring the Mountain State, the Riverton Tradition includes Maple Creek Phase. Also are the Buffalo Phase, Transitional Archaic Phase, Transitional Period Culture and Central Ohio Valley Archaic Phase. Also within the region is the Laurentian Archaic Tradition, which includes Brewerton Phase, Feeley Phase, Dunlop Phase, McKibben Phase, Genesee Phase, Stringtown/Satchel Phase, Satchel Phase and Lamoka/Dustin Phase.

The Adena provided the greatest cultural influence in the state. For practical purposes, the Adena is Early Woodland period according to West Virginia University's Dr. Edward V. McMichael, [4] also among the 1963 Geological Survey. Middle and Late Woodland people include Middle Woodland Watson pottery people, Late Woodland Wood Phase, Late Hopewell at Romney, Montana (late Woodland AD 500–1000), Wilhelm culture (Late Middle Woodland, c. AD 1

500), Armstrong (Late Middle Woodland, c. AD 1

500), Buck Garden (Late Woodland AD 500–1200), Childers Phase (Late Middle Woodland c. 400 AD), and Parkline Phase (Late Woodland AD 750

1000). Adena villages can be characterized as rather large compared to Late Prehistoric tribes.

The Adena Indians used ceremonial pipes that were exceptional works of art. They lived in round (double post method) wicker sided and bark sheet roofed houses. [5] Little is known about the housing of Paleo-Indian and Archaic periods, but Woodland Indians lived in wigwams. They grew sunflowers, tubers, gourds, squash and several seeds such as lambsquarter, may grass, sumpweed, smartweed and little barley cereals. In the Fort Ancient period, Indians lived in much larger poled rectangular shaped houses with walls hide covered. [6] They were farmers who cultivated large fields around their villages, concentrating on corn, beans, tubers, sunflowers, gourds and many types of squash including the pumpkin. They also raised domestic turkeys and kept dogs as pets. Their neighbors in the northerly of the state, the Monongahela houses were generally circular in shape often with nook or storage appendage. Their living characteristics were more of a heritage from the Woodland Indians. [7]

The Late Prehistoric (c. AD 950–1650) phases of the Fort Ancient Tradition include Feurt Phase, Blennerhassett Phase, Bluestone Phase, Clover Complex followed by the Orchard Phase (c. AD 1550–1650) with a Late Proto-historic arrival of a Lizard Cult from the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex. Contemporaneously to Fort Ancient Tradition southerly of the state, the sister culture called Monongahela is found on the northerly of the Mountain State stemming from the Drew Tradition. Early historic tribes living within or routinely hunting and trading within the state include Calicuas later mixed in colonial north-western Virginia-Pennsylvania at the time as popular termed Cherokee, Mohetans, Rickohockans from ancient Nation du Chat area, Monetons and Monecaga or Monacan, Tomahitans or Yuchi-Occaneechi, Tuscarora or mixed broad termed Mingoe & Canawagh or Kanawhas (Chiroe n haka, Mooney 1894:7–8), Oniasantkeronons or Tramontane of the proto-historic southerly Neutral Nation trade empire (element Nation du Chat), Shattera or Tutelo, Ouabano or Mohican-Delaware, Chaouanon or Shawnee, Cheskepe or Shawnee-Yuchi, Loupe (Captina Island historic mix, Lanape & Powhatan), Tionontatacaga and Little Mingoe (Guyandottes), Massawomeck and later mixed as Mohawk, Susquesahanock or White Minqua later mixed Mingoes and Arrigahaga or Black Minqua of the Nation du Chat and proto-historic Neutral Nation trade empire.

Within the Mountain State, these tribal villages can be characterized as rather small and scattered as they moved about the old fields every couple of generations. Many would join other tribes and remove to the midwest regions as settlers arrived in the state. Although, there were those who would acculturate within the historic as sometimes called Fireside Cabin culture. Some are early historic documented seeking protection closer, moving to the easterly Colonial trade towns. And later, other small splintered clans were attracted to, among others, James Le Tort, Charles Poke and John Van Metre trading houses within the state. This historic period changed the way of living extends from a little before the 18th century Virginia and Pennsylvania region North American fur trade beginning on the Eastern Panhandle of the state.

In 1671, General Abraham Wood, at the direction of Royal Governor William Berkeley of the Virginia Colony, sent the party of Thomas Batts and Robert Fallum into the West Virginia area. During this expedition the pair followed the New River and discovered Kanawha Falls.

On July 13, 1709, Louis Michel, George Ritter, and Baron Christoph von Graffenried petitioned the King of England for a land grant in the Harpers Ferry, Shepherdstown area, Jefferson County, in order to establish a Swiss colony. Neither the land grant or the Swiss colony ever materialized.

Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood is sometimes credited with taking his 1716 "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Expedition" into what is now Pendleton County, although according to contemporary accounts, Spotswood's trail went no farther west than Harrisonburg, Virginia. The Treaty of Albany, 1722, designated the Blue Ridge Mountains as the western boundary of white settlement, [8] and recognized Iroquois rights on the west side of the ridge, including all of West Virginia. The Iroquois made little effort to settle these parts, but nonetheless claimed them as their hunting ground, as did other tribes, notably the Shawnee and Cherokee. Soon after this, white settlers began moving into the Greater Shenandoah-Potomac Valley making up the entire eastern portion of the State. They found it largely unoccupied, apart from Tuscaroras who had lately moved into the area around Martinsburg, WV, some Shawnee villages in the region around Moorefield, WV and Winchester, VA, and frequent passing bands of "Northern Indians" (Lenape from New Jersey) and "Southern Indians" (Catawba from South Carolina) who were engaged in a bitter long-distance war, using the Valley as a battleground.

John Van Metre, an Indian trader, penetrated into the northern portion of West Virginia in 1725. Also in 1725, Pearsall's Flats in the South Branch Potomac River valley, present-day Romney, was settled, and later became the site of the French and Indian War stockade, Fort Pearsall. Morgan ap Morgan, a Welshman, built a cabin near present-day Bunker Hill in Berkeley County in 1727. The same year German settlers from Pennsylvania founded New Mecklenburg, the present Shepherdstown, on the Potomac River, and others soon followed.

Orange County, Virginia was formed in 1734. It included all areas west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, constituting all of present West Virginia. However, in 1736 the Iroquois Six Nations protested Virginia's colonization beyond the demarcated Blue Ridge, and a skirmish was fought in 1743. The Iroquois were on the point of threatening all-out war against the Virginia Colony over the "Cohongoruton lands", which would have been destructive and devastating, when Governor Gooch bought out their claim for 400 pounds at the Treaty of Lancaster (1744).

In 1661, King Charles II of England had granted a company of gentlemen the land between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers, known as the Northern Neck. The grant eventually came into the possession of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron and in 1746 a stone was erected at the source of the North Branch Potomac River to mark the western limit of the grant. A considerable part of this land was surveyed by George Washington, especially the South Branch Potomac River valley between 1748 and 1751. The diary kept by Washington indicates that there were already many squatters, largely of German origin, along the South Branch. Christopher Gist, a surveyor for the first Ohio Company, which was composed chiefly of Virginians, explored the country along the Ohio River north of the mouth of the Kanawha River in 1751 and 1752. The company sought to have a fourteenth colony established with the name Vandalia.

Many settlers crossed the mountains after 1750, though they were hindered by Native American resistance. The 1744 Treaty of Lancaster had left ambiguous whether the Iroquois had sold only as far as the Alleghenies, or all their claim south of the Ohio, including the rest of modern West Virginia. At the convening of the 1752 Treaty of Logstown, they acknowledged the right of English settlements south of the Ohio, but the Cherokee and Shawnee claims still remained. During the French and Indian War (1754–1763), the scattered settlements were almost destroyed. The Proclamation of 1763 again confirmed all land beyond the Alleghenies as Indian Territory, but the Iroquois finally relinquished their claims south of the Ohio to Britain at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768.

Most of the Cherokee claim within West Virginia, the southwestern part of the state, was sold to Virginia in 1770 by the Treaty of Lochaber. In 1774, the Crown Governor of Virginia, John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, led a force over the mountains, and a body of militia under Colonel Andrew Lewis dealt the Shawnee Indians under Cornstalk a crushing blow at the junction of the Kanawha and Ohio rivers, in the Battle of Point Pleasant. Following this conflict, known as Dunmore's War, the Shawnee and Mingo ceded their rights south of the Ohio, that is, to West Virginia and Kentucky. But renegade Cherokee chief Dragging Canoe continued to dispute the settlers' advance, fighting the Cherokee–American wars (1776–1794) until after the American Revolutionary War. During the war, the settlers in Western Virginia were generally active Whigs and many served in the Continental Army.

Early river traffic Edit

By 1739, Thomas Shepherd had constructed a flour mill powered by water from the Town Run or the Falling Springs Branch of the Potomac River in present-day Shepherdstown.

In October 1748, the Virginia General Assembly passed an act establishing a ferry across the Potomac River from the landing of Evan Watkin near the mouth of Conococheague Creek in present-day Berkeley County to the property of Edmund Wade in Maryland. In March, 1761, Robert Harper obtained a permit to operate a ferry across the Shenandoah River at present-day Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County. [8] The two ferry crossings became the earliest locations of government authorized civilian commercial crafts on what would become a part of the West Virginia Waterways.

During the late 17th and early 18th centuries, a growing demand for beaver sent trappers up and down the Kanawha region's tributary creeks by canoe and raft. Traiding posts were established at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers at Point Pleasant, West Virginia where, in the mid 1780s, Daniel Boone resided for several years. Likewise, St. Albans, West Virginia, at the confluence of the Kanawha and Coal Rivers, became a point of trade.

In the late 18th century, the steel trap increased efficiency, and beaver became scarce. A shift to exporting the state's other natural resources began. Kanawha salt production followed by coal and timber could be seen on the waterways. A number of riverside locations were used for early Industrial Revolution production. Keelboats were built in the Kanawha region in Leon, Ravenswood Murraysville, and Little Kanawha River. 19th century steamboats were built and repaired in Wheeling, Parkersburg, Point Pleasant and Mason City. Wooden coal barges were built on the Monongahela River near Morgantown, as well as along Coal River and Elk River.

The logging industry furthered the river shipping industry. A horse drawn logging "tram" with a special block & tackle for hill-side harvesting was brought into use, allowing expansion of Crooked Creek and the opening of a wooden barrel plant at the creek's mouth. In the 1880s, this tram and other steam machinery were used for collecting timber used as railroad ties in the railway construction along the Kanawha river. Railroad spurs were built throughout West Virginia, connecting mines to the riverboats, barges and coal-tipples.

Social conditions in western Virginia were entirely unlike those in the eastern portion of the state. The population was not homogeneous, as a considerable part of the immigration came by way of Pennsylvania and included Germans, Protestant Scotch-Irish, and settlers from the states farther north. Counties in the east and south were settled mostly by eastern Virginians. During the American Revolution, the movement to create a state west of the Alleghenies was revived and a petition for the establishment of "Westsylvania" was presented to Congress, on the grounds that the mountains presented an almost impassable barrier to the east. The rugged nature of the country made slavery unprofitable, and time only increased the social, political, economic, and cultural differences (see Tuckahoe-Cohee) between the two sections of Virginia.

In 1829, a constitutional convention met in Richmond to consider reforms to Virginia's outdated constitution. Philip Doddridge of Brooke County championed the cause of western Virginians who sought a more democratic frame of government. [9] However, western reforms were rejected by leaders from east of the Alleghenies who "clung to political power in an effort to preserve their plantation lifestyles dependent on enslaving blacks." [10] Virginia leaders maintained a property qualification for suffrage effectively disenfranchising poorer farmers in the west, whose families did much of the farm work themselves. In addition, the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829–1830 gave the slave-owning counties the benefit of three-fifths of their slave population in apportioning representation in the Virginia Assembly.. As a result, every county west of the Alleghenies except one voted to reject the constitution, which nevertheless passed because of eastern support. Failure of the eastern planter elite to make constitutional reforms exacerbated existing east–west sectionalism in Virginia and contributed to Virginia's later split. [11]

The Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850–51, the Reform Convention, addressed a number of issues important to western Virginians. It extended the vote to all White males 21 years or older. The governor, lieutenant-governor, the judiciary, sheriffs, and other county officers were to be elected by public vote. The composition of the General Assembly was changed. Representation in the house of delegates was apportioned on the basis of the census of 1850, counting Whites only. The Senate representation was arbitrarily fixed at 50 seats, with the west receiving twenty, and the east thirty senators. This was made acceptable to the west by a provision that required the General Assembly to reapportion representation on the basis of White population in 1865, or else put the matter to a public referendum. But the east also gave itself a tax advantage in requiring a property tax at true and actual value, except for slaves. Slaves under the age of 12 years were not taxed and slaves over that age were taxed at only $300, a fraction of their true value. Small farmers, however, had all their assets, animals, and land taxed at full value. Despite this tax and the lack of internal improvements in the west, the vote was 75,748 for and 11,063 against the new Constitution. Most of the opposition came from delegates from eastern counties, who did not like the compromises made for the west. [12]

For the western areas, problems included the distance from the state seat of government in Richmond and the difference of common economic interests resultant from the tobacco and food crops farming, fishing, and coastal shipping to the east of the Eastern Continental Divide (waters which drain to the Atlantic Ocean) along the Allegheny Mountains, and the interests of the western portion which drained to the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and the Gulf of Mexico.

The western area focused its commerce on neighbors to the west, and many citizens felt that the more populous eastern areas were too dominant in the Virginia General Assembly and insensitive to their needs. Major crises in the Virginia state government over these differences were averted on more than one occasion during the period before the American Civil War, but the underlying problems were fundamental and never well resolved. Given these differences, many in the west had long contemplated a separate state. In particular, men such as lawyer Francis H. Pierpont from Fairmont, had long chafed under the political domination of the Tidewater and Piedmont slave-holders. In addition to differences over the abolition of slavery, he and allies felt the Virginia government ignored and refused to spend funds on needed internal improvements in the west, such as turnpikes and railroads. [13]

John Brown at Harpers Ferry, 1859 Edit

John Brown (1800–1859), an abolitionist who considered slavery to be a sin, led an anti-slavery movement in Kansas (see Bleeding Kansas) and hoped to arm slaves and lead a violent revolt against slavery. With 18 armed men on October 16–17, 1859, he took hostages and freed slaves in Harpers Ferry, but no slaves answered his call and instead local militia surrounded Brown and his men in a firehouse. The President sent in a unit of U.S. Marines led by Robert E. Lee they stormed the firehouse and took Brown prisoner. Brown was quickly convicted of treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia and hanged on December 2.

In 1861, as the United States itself became massively divided over slavery, leading to the American Civil War (1861–1865), the western regions of Virginia split with the eastern portion politically, and the two were never reconciled as a single state again. In 1863, the western region was admitted to the Union as a new separate state, initially planned to be called the State of Kanawha, but ultimately named West Virginia.

Separation Edit

On April 17, 1861, the Richmond convention voted on the Ordinance of Secession. Of the 49 delegates from the future state of West Virginia, 17 voted in favor, and 30 voted against, and two abstained. [14] [15] Almost immediately after the adoption of the ordinance, a mass meeting at Clarksburg recommended that each county in northwestern Virginia send delegates to a convention to meet in Wheeling on May 13, 1861.

When the First Wheeling Convention met, 425 delegates from 25 counties were present, but a division of sentiment soon arose. Some delegates favored the immediate formation of a new state, while others argued that, as Virginia's secession had not yet been ratified or become effective, such action would constitute revolution against the United States. [16] It was decided that if the ordinance were adopted (of which there was little doubt) another convention including the members-elect of the legislature should meet at Wheeling in June 1861.

In a referendum on May 23, 1861, secession was ratified by a large majority in the state as a whole. But in the western counties that would form the state of West Virginia, the vote was approximately 34,677 against and 19,121 for ratification of the Ordinance of Secession.

The Second Wheeling Convention met as agreed on June 11, 1861, and adopted "A Declaration of the People of Virginia". This document, drafted by former state senator John S. Carlile, declared that the Virginia Declaration of Rights required any substantial change in the nature or form of the state government to be approved by the people. Therefore, since the Secession Convention had been called by the legislature and not the people, all its acts were illegal. It further declared the pro-secession government in Richmond void and called for a reorganization of the state government, taking the line that all who adhered to the Ordinance of Secession had effectively vacated their offices. The convention passed an act for the reorganization of the government on June 19, 1861. On the following day, the convention chose Francis H. Pierpont as governor of the "Restored Government of Virginia", elected other officers, and adjourned. The legislature of the Restored Government was composed of members from the western counties who had been elected on May 23, 1861, and some senators who had been elected in 1859. It met at Wheeling on July 1, 1861, filled the remainder of the state offices, completed the reorganization of the state government, and elected two United States senators who were quickly seated in Washington. There were, therefore, two governments claiming to represent all of Virginia, one owing allegiance to the United States and one to the Confederacy.

Even before the American Civil War, counties in northwest Virginia had desired to break away from Virginia to form a new state. However, the federal Constitution did not allow a new state to be created out of an existing state unless the existing state gave its consent. Soon after the Union government declared that the Restored Government was the legitimate government of the Commonwealth, the Restored Government asserted its authority to give such approval. It authorized the creation of the State of Kanawha, consisting of most of the counties that now comprise West Virginia. A little over one month later, Kanawha was renamed West Virginia. The Wheeling Convention, which had taken a recess until August 6, 1861, reassembled on August 20, 1861, and called for a popular vote on the formation of a new state and for a convention to frame a constitution if the vote should be favorable.

In the election held on October 24, 1861, 18,408 votes were cast for the new state and only 781 against. At this time, West Virginia had nearly 70,000 qualified voters, and the May 23, 1861 vote to secede had drawn nearly 54,000 voters. [17] However most of the pro-Confederate elements no longer considered themselves citizens of the United States they saw themselves as citizens of another country (the Confederacy) and did not vote in elections sponsored by the United States. Votes from the secessionist counties in the October 24 vote on statehood were mostly cast by refugees in the area around Wheeling, not in the counties themselves. [18] In secessionist counties where a poll was conducted it was by military intervention. Even in some counties that had voted against secession, such as Wayne and Cabell, it was necessary to send in Union soldiers. [19]

Returns from some counties were as low as 5%, e.g. Raleigh County 32–0 in favor of statehood, Clay 76–0, Braxton 22–0, and some gave no returns at all. The Constitutional Convention began on November 26, 1861, and finished its work on February 18, 1862. The instrument was ratified on April 11, 1862, with 18,162 votes for and 514 against.

The composition of all three Wheeling Conventions, the May (First) Convention, the June (Second) Convention, and the Constitutional Convention, was of an irregular nature. The members of the May Convention were chosen by groups of Unionists, mostly in the far Northwestern counties. Over one-third came from the counties around the northern panhandle. [20] The May Convention resolved to meet again in June 1861 should the Ordinance of Secession be ratified by public poll on May 23, 1861, which was the case. The June 1861 convention consisted of 104 members, 35 of which were members of the General Assembly in Richmond, some elected in the May 23 vote, and some hold-over State Senators. Arthur Laidley, elected to the General Assembly from Cabell County, attended the June Convention but refused to take part. [21] The other delegates to the June Convention were "chosen even more irregularly-some in mass meetings, others by county committee, and still others were seemingly self-appointed". [22] It was this June Convention which drafted the Statehood resolution. The Constitutional Convention met in November 1861, and consisted of 61 members. Its composition was just as irregular. A delegate representing Logan County was accepted as a member of this body, though he did not live in Logan County, and his "credentials consisted of a petition signed by fifteen persons representing six families". [23] The large number of Northerners in this convention caused great distrust over the new Constitution during Reconstruction years. In 1872, under the leadership of Samuel Price, former Lt. Governor of Virginia, the Wheeling constitution was discarded, and an entirely new one was written along ante-bellum principles. [24]

At first the Wheeling politicians controlled only a small part of West Virginia. However Federal forces soon drove the Confederates out of most of West Virginia. [25]

On May 13, 1862, the state legislature of the reorganized government approved the formation of the new state. An application for admission to the Union was made to Congress. On December 31, 1862, an enabling act was approved by President Lincoln, admitting West Virginia on the condition that a provision for the gradual abolition of slavery be inserted in the Constitution. [26] [27] The convention was reconvened on February 12, 1863, and the demand was met. The revised constitution was adopted on March 26, 1863, and on April 20, 1863, President Lincoln issued a proclamation admitting the state at the end of 60 days, on June 20, 1863. Meanwhile, officers for the new state were chosen, and Governor Pierpont moved the Restored Government to Alexandria from which he asserted jurisdiction over the counties of Virginia within the Federal lines.

Legality Edit

The constitutionality of the new state was achieved when the Unionist government of Virginia approved the division. The question of the addition of two counties came before the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Virginia v. West Virginia, 78 U.S. 39 (1871). [28] Berkeley and Jefferson counties lying on the Potomac east of the mountains, in 1863, with the consent of the Reorganized government of Virginia voted in favor of annexation to West Virginia. Many men absent in the Confederate army when the vote was taken refused to acknowledge the transfer upon their return. The Virginia General Assembly repealed the act of cession and in 1866 brought suit against West Virginia asking the court to declare the two counties a part of Virginia. Meanwhile, Congress on March 10, 1866, passed a joint resolution recognizing the transfer. The Supreme Court decided in favor of West Virginia, and there has been no further question.

Civil War Edit

During the American Civil War, West Virginia suffered comparatively little. General George B. McClellan's forces gained possession of the greater part of the territory in the summer of 1861. Following Confederate General Robert E. Lee's defeat at Cheat Mountain in the same year, supremacy in western Virginia was never again seriously challenged. In 1863, General John D. Imboden, with 5,000 Confederates, overran a considerable portion of the state. Bands of guerrillas burned and plundered in some sections, and were not entirely suppressed until after the war was ended. Estimates of the numbers of soldiers from the state, Union and Confederate, have varied widely, but recent studies have placed the numbers about equal, [29] from 22,000 to 25,000 each. The low vote turnout for the statehood referendum was due to many factors. On June 19, 1861, the Wheeling convention enacted a bill entitled "Ordinance to Authorize the Apprehending of Suspicious Persons in Time of War" which stated that anyone who supported Richmond or the Confederacy "shall be deemed. subjects or citizens of a foreign State or power at war with the United States." [30] Many private citizens were arrested by Federal authorities at the request of Wheeling and interned in prison camps, most notably Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio. [31] Soldiers were also stationed at the polls to discourage secessionists and their supporters. [32] In addition, a large portion of the state was secessionist, [33] and any polls there had to be conducted under military intervention. The vote was further compromised by the presence of an undetermined number of non-resident soldier votes. [34]

At the Constitutional Convention on December 14, 1861, the issue of slavery was raised by Rev. Gordon Battelle, an Ohio native who sought to introduce a resolution for gradual emancipation. Granville Parker, originally from Massachusetts and a member of the convention, described the scene – "I discovered on that occasion as I never had before, the mysterious and over-powering influence 'the peculiar institution' had on men otherwise sane and reliable. Why, when Mr. Battelle submitted his resolutions, a kind of tremor – a holy horror, was visible throughout the house!" [35] Instead of Rev. Battelle's resolution a policy of "Negro exclusion" for the new state was adopted to keep any new slaves, or freemen, from taking up residence, in the hope that this would satisfy abolitionist sentiment in Congress. When the statehood bill reached Congress, however, the lack of an emancipation clause prompted opposition from Senator Charles Sumner and Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio. A compromise was reached known as the Willey Amendment which was approved by Unionist voters in the state on March 26, 1863. It called for the gradual emancipation of slaves based on age after July 4, 1863. [36] Slavery was officially abolished by West Virginia on February 3, 1865. To note, it took the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution accomplished on December 6, 1865, to abolish slavery nationwide.

During the war and for years afterwards, partisan feeling ran high. The property of Confederates might be confiscated, and, in 1866, a constitutional amendment disfranchising all who had given aid and comfort to the Confederacy was adopted. The addition of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution caused a reaction, the Democratic Party secured control in 1870, and in 1871, the Constitutional Amendment of 1866 was abrogated. The first steps toward this change had been taken, however, by the Republicans in 1870. On August 22, 1872, an entirely new constitution was adopted.

Following the war, Virginia unsuccessfully brought a case to the Supreme Court challenging the secession of Berkeley County and Jefferson County to West Virginia. (Five more counties were formed later, to result in the current 55).

President Lincoln was in a close campaign when he won reelection in 1864 with the majority of the popular vote and 212 electoral votes, versus 21 electoral votes cast for his Democratic opponent. However, the act that created West Virginia was signed in 1862, two years before Lincoln's re-election.

Enduring disputes Edit

Beginning in Reconstruction, and for several decades thereafter, the two states disputed the new state's share of the pre-war Virginia government's debt, which had mostly been incurred to finance public infrastructure improvements, such as canals, roads, and railroads under the Virginia Board of Public Works. Virginians led by former Confederate General William Mahone formed a political coalition based upon this theory, the Readjuster Party. Although West Virginia's first constitution provided for the assumption of a part of the Virginia debt, negotiations opened by Virginia in 1870 were fruitless, and in 1871 that state funded two-thirds of the debt and arbitrarily assigned the remainder to West Virginia. The issue was finally settled in 1915, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that West Virginia owed Virginia $12,393,929.50. The final installment of this sum was paid off in 1939.

Disputes about the exact location of the border in some of the northern mountain reaches between Loudoun County, Virginia and Jefferson County, West Virginia continued well into the 20th century. In 1991, both state legislatures appropriated money for a boundary commission to look into 15 miles (24 km) of the border area. [37]

In recent years, there has been serious talk about the possibility of certain counties in the Eastern Panhandle rejoining the Commonwealth of Virginia. Frustrated by bad economic conditions and what they perceive to be neglect from the Charleston government, this movement has gained at least some momentum. In 2011, West Virginia state delegate Larry Kump sponsored legislation to allow Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson counties to rejoin Virginia by popular vote. [38]

Salt Edit

The new state benefited from development of its mineral resources more than any other single economic activity after Reconstruction. Much of the northern panhandle and north-central portion of the State are underlain by bedded salt deposits over 50 feet (15 m) thick. Salt mining had been underway since the 18th century, though that which could be easily obtained had largely played out by the time of the American Civil War, when the red salt of Kanawha County was a valued commodity of first Confederate, and later Union forces. Newer technology has since proved that West Virginia has enough salt resources to supply the nation's needs for an estimated 2,000 years. During recent years, production has been about 600,000 to 1,000,000 tons per year. [39]

Timber Edit

West Virginia was forested. During the period 1870 to 1920 most of the old-growth forest was logged. Logging was supported by a dense rail network extending throughout the mountains and hollows. [40] Small pockets of virgin forest remain at Gaudineer Scenic Area and Cathedral State Park. [41]

Coal Edit

In the 1850s, geologists such as British expert Dr. David T. Ansted (1814–1880), surveyed potential coal fields and invested in land and early mining projects. After the War, with the new railroads came a practical method to transport large quantities of coal to expanding U.S. and export markets. Among the numerous investors were Charles Pratt and New York City mayor Abram S. Hewitt, whose father-in law, Peter Cooper, had been a key man in earlier development of the anthracite coal regions centered in eastern Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey. As those mines were playing out by the end of the 19th century, these men were among investors and industrialists who focused new interest on the largely untapped coal resources of West Virginia.

Accidents in coal mines Edit

Rakes (2008) examines coal mine fatalities in the state in the first half of the 20th century before safety regulations were strictly enforced in the 1960s. Besides the well-publicized mine disasters that killed a number of miners at a time, there were many smaller episodes in which one or two miners lost their lives. Mine accidents were considered inevitable, and mine safety did not appreciably improve the situation because of lax enforcement. West Virginia's mines were considered so unsafe that immigration officials would not recommend them as a source of employment for immigrants, and those unskilled immigrants who did work in the coal mines were more susceptible to death or injury. When the United States Bureau of Mines was given more authority to regulate mine safety in the 1960s, safety awareness improved, and West Virginia coal mines became less dangerous. [42]

Early railroads, shipping to East Coast and Great Lakes Edit

The completion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) westerly across the state from Richmond, Virginia to the new city of Huntington on the Ohio River in 1872 opened access to the New River Coalfield. Within 10 years, the C&O was building tracks east from Richmond down the Virginia Peninsula to reach its huge coal pier at the new city of Newport News, Virginia on the large harbor of Hampton Roads. There, city founder Collis P. Huntington also developed what would become the largest shipbuilder in the world, Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. Among its many products, the shipyard began building ocean-going ships, known as colliers, to transport coal to other eastern ports (notably in New England) and overseas.

In 1881, the new Philadelphia-based owners of William Mahone's former Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad (AM&O) which stretched across Virginia's southern tier from Norfolk, had sights clearly set on the Mountain State, where the owners had large land holdings. Their railroad was renamed Norfolk and Western (N&W), and a new railroad city was developed at Roanoke to handle planned expansion. After its new President Frederick J. Kimball and a small party journeyed by horseback and saw firsthand the rich bituminous coal seam (which Kimball's wife named "Pocahontas," the N&W redirected its planned westward expansion to reach it. Soon, the N&W was also shipping from its own new coal piers on Hampton Roads at Lamberts Point outside Norfolk. In 1889, in the southern part of the state, along the Norfolk and Western rail lines, the important coal center of Bluefield, West Virginia was founded. The "capital" of the Pocahontas coalfield, this city would remain the largest city in the southern portion of the state for several decades. It shares a sister city with the same name, Bluefield, in Virginia.

In the northern portion of the state and elsewhere, the older Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) and other lines also expanded to take advantage of coal opportunities as well. The B&O developed coal piers in Baltimore and at several points on the Great Lakes. Other significant rail carriers of coal were the Western Maryland Railway (WM), particularly notable was a latecomer, the Virginian Railway (VGN), built in an extraordinary manner to the latest and highest standards and completed in 1909.

New competitor helps open "Billion Dollar Coalfield" Edit

By 1900, only a large area of the most rugged terrain of southern West Virginia was any distance from the existing railroads and mining activity. Within this area west of the New River Coalfield in Raleigh and Wyoming counties lay the Winding Gulf Coalfield, later promoted as the "Billion Dollar Coalfield."

A protégé of Dr. Ansted was William Nelson Page (1854–1932), a civil engineer and mining manager based at Ansted in Fayette County. Former West Virginia Governor William A. MacCorkle described him as a man who knew the land "as a farmer knows a field." Beginning in 1898, Page teamed with northern and European-based investors to take advantage of the undeveloped area. They acquired large tracts of land in the area, and Page began the Deepwater Railway, a short-line railroad which was chartered to stretch between the C&O at its line along the Kanawha River and the N&W at Matoaka, a distance of about 80 miles (130 km).

Although the Deepwater plan should have provided a competitive shipping market via either railroad, leaders of the two large railroads did not appreciate the scheme and sought to discourage competition in an area they considered theirs for expansion plans. In secret, but lawful collusion (in an era before U.S. anti-trust laws were enacted), each declined to negotiate favorable rates with Page, nor did they offer to purchase his railroad, as they had many other short-lines. However, if the C&O and N&W presidents thought they could thus kill the Page project, they were to be proved mistaken. One of the silent partner investors Page had enlisted was millionaire industrialist Henry Huttleston Rogers, a principal in John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust and an old hand at developing natural resources, transportation. A master at competitive "warfare", Henry Rogers did not like to lose in his endeavors, and also had "deep pockets".

Instead of giving up, Page (and Rogers) secretly planned and had surveyed a route to provide a new, third major railroad, all the way to new coal pier facilities at Sewell's Point on the harbor of Hampton Roads, fully 440 miles (710 km) away from the railhead on the Kanawha River. In early 1904, the Tidewater Railway, a new railroad, was quietly formed in Virginia by a Rogers attorney. The necessary sections of right-of way and land were acquired before the large railroads realized what was happening. Efforts to block Page and Rogers through many legal tactics and even several violent confrontations ultimately failed.

With Page as its first president, and largely financed from Rogers' personal fortune, and the two railroads were merged in 1907 to form the Virginian Railway (VGN). Building the Virginian Railway cost $40 million by the time it was completed in 1909. Well-engineered and highly efficient with all new infrastructure, it operated very profitably. The Class 1 railroad came to be known as the "Richest Little Railroad in the World."

Notwithstanding the competitive fears of the C&O and N&W, soon all three railroads were shipping ever-increasing volumes of coal to export from Hampton Roads. The VGN and the N&W ultimately became parts of the modern Norfolk Southern system, and the VGN's well-engineered 20th-century tracks continue to offer a favorable gradient to Hampton Roads). In the early 20th century, West Virginia coal was also under high demand at Great Lakes ports on Lake Erie. Coal transloading facilities were developed at several points, notably Toledo, Ohio.

Labor, ecology issues Edit

As coal mining and related work became a major employment activities in the state, there was considerable labor strife as working conditions and safety issues, as well as economic ones arose. Even in the 21st century, mining safety and ecological concerns are challenging to the state whose coal continues to power electrical generating plants in many other states.

Woman suffrage Edit

West Virginia suffragists worked at supporting the agendas put forward by the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the National Association of Colored Women and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in the 1890s through the early part of the 20th century. According to historian Anne Wallace Effland, conservative social and religious beliefs together with the campaigns by anti-suffragists kept up a solid defense against them. [43] The organized work by women's clubs during World War I helped convince legislators of their role in getting their women enfranchised. After a failed attempt to include woman suffrage as a state constitutional amendment in 1916, pro-suffrage Governor John J. Cornwell included the ratification of the federal amendment for woman suffrage in the agenda for a special legislative session in February 1920. The West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association under the leadership of President Mrs. John L. Ruhl and WVESA Ratification Committee chair Lenna Lowe Yost created a "living petition" of suffragists who greeted and personally lobbied each legislator as they prepared to vote. This strategy was a success, and West Virginia became the 34th of the 36 states needed to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

State hatcheries and tourism industry Edit

Wildlife biologist Robert Silvester of the State Wildlife Center wrote a history of conservation in West Virginia. He explains as industry developed in the region, the people of West Virginia saw a need for wildlife conservation. The Wildlife and Fish Commission was created in 1921. The commission established the French Creek Game Farm 1923. Various game animals and now protected birds were raised for conservation repopulating or control reasons throughout the state. Coincidentally, it was similar to an indigenous species open zoo of today and became a place of 'family outings' visitation. The following years saw a significant growth of visitors. Buffalo were included in 1954 and attracted additional visitors. Today, the zoological facility is of 338-acre (1.37 km 2 ) modern Wildlife Center under the direction of the Division of Natural Resources. [44]

Mike Shingleton of the Division of Natural Resources explained the Centennial Golden Trout evolution. At the small rainbow trout hatchery in 1955, a yellow-mottled fingerling was noticed by Petersburg manager Vincent Evans. From that small batch of hatchlings he named it "Little Camouflage". Months later upon his arrival, the new Petersburg manager, Chester Mace, was shown the curious novelty. In limited facilities of late 1956, "Goldy" had spawn with a few Rainbow trout. A few months later in 1957, the Petersburg hatchery moved these yellow-mottles to the larger Spring Run hatchery. By the spring stocking of 1963, the West Virginia Centennial year, Evans and Mace had supervised the spawning of good color and quality brood stock of the Mountain State's Centennial Golden Trout. [45]

World War II Edit

West Virginia enthusiastically supported World War II, with 67,000 men and about 1,000 women donning uniforms. Unemployment ended as the mines, railroads. mills and factories worked overtime to create the "Arsenal of Democracy" that supplied the munitions to win the war. However, repeatedly John L. Lewis called his United Mine Workers union out on strike, defying the government, outraging public opinion, and strengthening the hand of anti-union Congressmen. In the postwar years he continued his militancy his miners went on strikes or "work stoppages" annually. Edwards (2008) explores the roles of women volunteers in West Virginia during World War II. Women volunteered for farm and home economics training programs, United Service Organizations (USO) clubs that provided entertainment and assistance to servicemen, salvage campaigns to produce steel scrap, and civil defense training that taught first aid and emergency response techniques. Middle-class women made up the majority of volunteers many programs were not open to African American and lower-class white women. Some West Virginia women also volunteered for military service, which was available to African American women. In spite of sexism, racism, and class distinctions that women faced in volunteering, thousands responded to the national war effort. [46]

School integration Edit

The response in West Virginia to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision outlawing segregated schools was generally positive, as Governor William C. Marland pledged to integrate the state's schools. The state's integration experiences were generally peaceful, swift and cooperative. [47]

Vietnam War Edit

The state had the 27th highest death rate in the nation for the Vietnam War. 711 of its citizens died. [48] [49]


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