Meet the 'Father of West Virginia’ in May 16 history program

Special to the Jackson Star News
Travis Henline will portray Francis Pierpont, the “Father of West Virginia,” on Sunday, May 16, in a History Alive program.

Francis Pierpont (1814-1889), often called the “Father of West Virginia,” is portrayed by Travis Henline of Wheeling at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 16, in the historic Alpine Theatre in Ripley.

Jackson County Historical Society

The West Virginia Humanities Council’s History Alive program is sponsored by the Jackson County Historical Society. Admission is free and open to the public.

“This event would be of interest to anyone who would like to learn more about our state’s unique history,” said Mike Ruben, JCHS president. “These programs provide an opportunity to question those who have shaped our history.”

As the Civil War broke out in 1861, Pierpont spoke frequently and ardently against secession. When loyal Unionists voted to create a new state government in defiance of Virginia’s secession, he was unanimously elected as its governor. He served in that post until the war’s end in 1865.

Pierpont’s statue stands in Statuary Hall in the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., one of two West Virginians so recognized.

Henline has an extensive background in history. He was the site manager of West Virginia’s Independence Hall in Wheeling. Also, he has worked with Colonial Williamsburg and Prickett’s Fort State Park.

Several character presentations are offered through the History Alive program. Humanities scholars have carefully researched a variety of sources about the figures they portray such as journals, letters, official documents, speeches, autobiographies and research by others in preparing their presentation.