Scope and Contents
Papers of Francis Harrison Pierpont (1814-1899) of Monongalia and Marion Counties, West Virginia, who served as governor of the Restored Government of Virginia during the Civil War. Includes manuscripts, typescripts, printed materials, and photocopies consisting of genealogies, correspondence, college essays, speeches, official messages, articles prepared for newspapers, legal documents, pamphlets, scrapbooks, and ephemera. Topics include Pierpont's education; his career as governor of the Restored Government of Virginia at Wheeling, Alexandria, and Richmond; the West Virginia statehood movement; politics; and his later work in the Methodist Protestant Church. Notable series include Pierpont's personal and professional correspondence; his writings and speeches, which include several drafts of his reminiscences on Lincoln; correspondence and notes of Charles H. Ambler, biographer of Pierpont, in the Subject Files series; and a series of several hundred telegrams related to statehood and the Civil War. Pierpont's correspondents include Gordon Battelle, Arthur I. Boreman, John S. Carlile, Abraham Lincoln (copies), Waitman T. Willey, and others. For additional information on correspondence and papers of Pierpont, please see the Calendar of the Francis Harrison Pierpont Letters and Papers in West Virginia Depositories, published by the West Virginia Historic Records Survey in 1940.
Series 1. Pierpont Genealogy and Family History; 1836-1869, 1930, undated; box 1, folders 1-6.
Series 2. Correspondence, Family; 1838-1930, undated (includes facsimiles); box 1, folder 7 - box 2, folder 18.
Series 3. Correspondence, General; 1830-1894, undated (includes facsimiles); box 2, folder 19 - box 3.
Series 4. Writings and Speeches; 1836-1899, undated (includes facsimiles); boxes 4-7.
Series 5. Subject Files; 1816-1935, undated (includes facsimiles); box 8.
Series 6. Telegrams; 1861-1869, undated (includes facsimiles); box 9.
Series 7. Pamphlets; 1850-1949 (bulk 1850-1884); box 10 - box 11, folder 2.
Series 8. Newspaper Clippings Scrapbooks, F.H. Pierpont; 1836-1914; box 11, folder 3 - box 13.
Series 9. Scrapbooks, Anna and William H. Siviter; 1871-1918, undated; box 14-16.
Series 10. Ephemera; 1859-1917, undated; box 17, folders 1-9.
Series 11. Artifacts; 1887, undated; box 17, folders 10-13.
Series 12. Oversized; 1811-1929, undated (includes facsimiles); box 18.
Series 1. Pierpont Genealogy and Family History; 1836-1869, 1930, undated; box 1, folders 1-6. This series consists of Pierpont family genealogies and articles, as well as biographical sketches of Francis H. Pierpont. While authorship is unknown in most cases, some may have been written by Pierpont himself.
Series 2. Correspondence, Family; 1838-1930, undated (includes facsimiles); box 1, folder 7 - box 2, folder 18. This series includes manuscript and typescript letters (both originals and copies). Generally, the letters are from Francis H. Pierpont, Julia Augusta Robertson Pierpont, their children who survived to adulthood (Samuel "Sammie", Anna "Nannie" or "Pierrie", and Francis William "Willie"), and their son-in-law William Henry "Harry" Siviter, to each other. Topics generally include politics, family matters, health, daily life, and travel.
Series 3. Correspondence, General; 1830-1894, undated (includes facsimiles); box 2, folder 19 - box 3. This series contains political correspondence, generally manuscript original and typescript copies of letters. Most correspondence is to or from Francis H. Pierpont. Topics include politics, the Statehood movement, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and religion. Several "letters to the editor" are included. Notable correspondents include Gordon Battelle, Benjamin F. Butler (possible), Arthur I. Boreman, Simon Cameron, Archibald W. Campbell, John S. Carlile, Schuyler Colfax, Jacob D. Cox, Spencer Dayton, Nathan Goff, Whitelaw Reid, J.M. Schofield, William H. Seward, William E. Stevenson, David Hunter Strother, Peter G. Van Winkle, James O. Watson, and Waitman T. Willey.
Series 4. Writings and Speeches; 1836-1899, undated (includes facsimiles); boxes 4-7. This series includes writings, speeches, drafts of letters, and pamphlets by Pierpont from his college days until the time of his death. Contains originals, typescript copies, and photostat copies. Topics include the West Virginia statehood movement, politics, slavery, and other issues surrounding the Civil War and Reconstruction. Also includes multiple drafts of Pierpont's reminiscences of meetings with Abraham Lincoln.
Series 5. Subject Files; 1816-1935, undated (includes facsimiles); box 8. This series is divided by subject, and includes various material such as Julia A. Robertson Pierpont's pocket diary (1852); Francis H. Pierpont's deeds, business papers, and receipts (1816-1896); legal documents pertaining to a lawsuit between James O. Watson and Pierpont regarding debt and their coal mining partnership (ca. 1872, undated); documents regarding a feud between Pierpont and G.W. Atkinson (ca. 1880); materials used by Charles Ambler to research his book about Pierpont (1841-1886, 1934-1935, undated); and other items.
Series 6. Telegrams; 1861-1869, undated (includes facsimiles); box 9. This series includes over 850 original and facsimile telegrams, most of which are addressed to Pierpont. He was elected governor of the "Loyal" or "Restored" Government of Virginia, which was formed in Wheeling shortly after the state's Richmond government left the Union to join the Confederacy in May 1861. The bulk of the telegrams span 1861-1863, documenting Pierpont's efforts to maintain Union rule in western Virginia during the first two years of the Civil War. Concerning matters such as military personnel and recruitment, troop movements and engagements, orders, and provisions, the telegrams provide nearly a daily record of military developments in western Virginia during this period. Spellings and punctuation in the transcriptions provided in the Contents List are maintained from the original documents. Notable correspondents include Arthur I. Boreman, John S. Carlile, Thomas M. Harris, Abraham Lincoln (facsimiles), J.A.J. Lightburn, George B. McClellan, J.C. Paxton, J.C. Rathbone, W.S. Rosecrans, William H. Seward, Edwin M. Stanton, Benjamin F. Wade, and others. For more information on how these items are described, and where to find digitized copies and transcriptions, see the series-level note.
Series 7. Pamphlets; 1850-1949 (bulk 1850-1884); box 10 - box 11, folder 2. This series includes pamphlets on the Knights of the Golden Circle (Copperheads), slavery, Reconstruction, education, terms of governors, Proceedings of the Society of the Army of West Virginia, and various other topics.
Series 8. Newspaper Clippings Scrapbooks, F.H. Pierpont; 1836-1914; box 11, folder 3 - box 13. This series includes scrapbooks of newspaper clippings. The clippings touch on all aspects of Pierpont's life, including his involvement in West Virginia becoming a state and news stories of his death from major newspapers around the country. Some of the scrapbooks are published books into which newspaper clippings have been pasted over the existing text. Some of the scrapbooks were likely created by Francis H. Pierpont, while others were probably created by Anna Pierpont Siviter and William H. Siviter.
Series 9. Scrapbooks, Anna and William H. Siviter; 1871-1918, undated; boxes 14-16. This series includes scrapbooks related to the writings and professional activities of Anna Pierpont Siviter and her husband William H. Siviter. Some of the scrapbooks are published books into which newspaper clippings have been pasted over the existing text. Scrapbooks include newspaper clippings from William Siviter's career as a published humorist and featured column writer for newspapers in the Pittsburgh area, the Derrick (Oil City, PA), Puck, and others; clippings of articles by Anna Siviter for various newspapers and the Methodist newsletter, The Family Visitor; correspondence; theater programs; and Pittsburgh area letterhead and handbills.
Series 10. Ephemera; 1859-1917, undated; box 17, folders 1-9. This series includes certificates, invitations, the diary of an unknown Pierpont family member, and other items. Notable items include Francis H. Pierpont's membership certificate for the Society of the Army of West Virginia (1872), invitations to the weddings of Anna Pierpont Siviter and her daughter Frances Pierpont Siviter Pryor (1886-1917), and Republican National Convention tickets (1884).
Series 11. Artifacts; 1887, undated; box 17, folders 10-13. This series contains ribbons worn by Pierpont, including a Society of the Army of West Virginia ribbon and a Grand Army of the Republic ribbon.
Series 12. Oversized; 1811-1929, undated (includes facsimiles); box 18. This series includes oversized materials such as land grants and indentures, a Virginia military commission, broadsides, a letter, maps, and Civil War newspaper clippings. The letter is from former governor of Georgia George M. Troup. The commission, signed by Pierpont, appoints Joseph Snyder to Colonel. For additional deeds, see Series 5, Subject Files, box 8, folders 3 and 4. For additional Joseph Snyder/Snider items, see Series 5, Subject Files, box 8, folder 15. For the scrapbooks from which the newspaper clippings came, see Series 8, Newspaper Clippings Scrapbooks, F.H. Pierpont, box 11, folder 3 - box 13, and Series 9, Scrapbooks, Anna and William H. Siviter, boxes 14-16.
Biographical / Historical
Francis Harrison Pierpont was born in Monongalia County, (West) Virginia on January 25, 1814, the son of Francis and Catherine Weaver Pierpont. He married Julia Augusta Robertson (July 26, 1828 - March 25, 1886) on December 26, 1854. He graduated from Allegheny College, Pennsylvania, in 1839, and began teaching in Mississippi and then (West) Virginia. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in Fairmont, Marion County, (West) Virginia, in 1842. One of the clients he represented was the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He also started a coal mine on family property in 1854 and entered into a partnership with coal pioneer James Otis Watson. During the 1840s and 1850s, he became interested in politics, joined the Whig Party, and opposed slavery. He participated in the First and Second Wheeling Conventions in 1861. Elected Governor of the Restored Government of Virginia on June 20, 1861, he continued to serve as Governor of Virginia after the Civil War, until 1868. He continued in politics, serving one term in the West Virginia Legislature in 1870, and serving as Collector for the Internal Revenue Service in West Virginia in 1880. After retiring from politics, he spent the final years of his life as a founder and member of the West Virginia Historical Society. He died in Pittsburgh, PA, on March 24, 1899.
Julia and Francis had four children: Samuel Robertson "Sammie" (November 12, 1855 - January 22, 1920), Anna "Nannie" or "Pierrie" (April 14, 1858 - March 22, 1932), and twins Francis William "Willie" (September 13, 1860 - February 11, 1920) and Mary Augusta "Mamie" (September 13, 1860 - June 18, 1864). Anna married William Henry "Harry" Siviter (1858-1939) in 1886.
Note that Francis Harrison spelled his surname "Peirpoint" until 1881, when he changed the spelling to "Pierpont," the form which is now used by historians. See Charles Ambler's Francis H. Pierpont for further details.
7 Linear Feet (Summary: 7 ft. (16 document cases, 5 in. each); (1 document case 2 1/2 in.); (1 large flat storage box, 1 1/2 in.))