Scope and Contents
Papers regarding West Virginia statehood and the history of Wheeling and Ohio County compiled by Judge Gibson L. Cranmer (1826-1903) of Wheeling, West Virginia, who served as secretary of the Wheeling Convention that repudiated Virginia's secession from the United States in 1861.
Series 1. West Virginia Statehood Papers; 1861-1864, undated; box 1. This series includes manuscript narratives and correspondence describing events of the West Virginia statehood movement, written by eyewitnesses at the request of Gibson L. Cranmer. Manuscript authors include John S. Burdett, John S. Carlile, Daniel Frost, Lewis Ruffner, and Benjamin Wilson. 34 items, 76 leaves in box 1. Note that each original item in box 1 (except those in folders 11 and 12) is accompanied by a typescript description. Transcripts for the original items in box 1, folders 1-3, 6-7, and 10-12 are in folder 13.
Series 2. History of Wheeling and Ohio County, West Virginia Papers; 1787-1895, undated; box 2. This series includes Cranmer's handwritten notes, drafts of articles, copies of documents, and letters solicited by him regarding the history of Wheeling and Ohio County, West Virginia.
For additional information on the history of Wheeling and Ohio County, West Virginia, see
History of Wheeling City and Ohio County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens, edited and compiled by Gibson Lamb Cranmer (Wheeling, WV: Wheeling Genealogy Society, , or Chicago, Ill.: Biographical Publishing Company, 1902). Content from some of the manuscripts in this collection was used in the book.
Series 1. West Virginia Statehood Papers:
Box 1; Folder 1; Manuscript Narrative of Passage of Ordinance of Secession (contains autograph manuscript narrative by Gibson L. Cranmer regarding the scene at the passage of the Ordinance of Secession by Special Convention in Richmond; 1 p.; for transcript, see box 1, folder 13); 1861
Box 1; Folder 2; Manuscript Narrative of Separation of West Virginia from Virginia (contains autograph manuscript concerning the breaking away of West Virginia from Virginia after passage of the Ordinance of Secession 17 April 1861, and describing unrest in Pruntytown and Grafton; 18 pp.; for transcript, see box 1, folder 13); undated
Box 1; Folder 3; Burdett Letters (contains three autograph letters from John S. Burdett, Pruntytown, [West] Virginia [to Gibson L. Cranmer?]; 8 pp.; for transcript, see box 1, folder 13); 1861, undated
Box 1; Folder 4; Manuscript Narrative of Passage of the Robertson Resolution (contains autograph manuscript account by Gibson L. Cranmer regarding the passage of the Robertson Resolution by the General Assembly of Virginia upon the subject of the coercion of a state; 2 pp.; no transcript); 1861
Box 1; Folder 5; Manuscript Narrative of Firing on Fort Sumter (contains autograph manuscript by Gibson L. Cranmer regarding the firing on Fort Sumter, 13 April 1861; 1 p.; no transcript); 1860s
Box 1; Folder 6; Manuscript Narrative Regarding General Wise (contains autograph manuscript account by Gibson L. Cranmer regarding General Wise's invasion of Jackson County, [West] Virginia, during the Civil War; 2 pp.; for transcript, see box 1, folder 13); undated
Box 1; Folder 7; Daniel Frost Letter and Narrative (contains a manuscript letter from Daniel Frost to Cranmer with an autograph manuscript narrative regarding the early days of West Virginia; 9 pp.; for transcript, see box 1, folder 13); 1862
Box 1; Folder 8; A. Lane Letter (contains autograph letter from A. Lane, Brockwayville, PA to John S. Carlile regarding secession and statehood; 1 p.; no transcript); 1861
Box 1; Folder 9; Ohio County Secession Votes List (contains autograph manuscript entitled "List of persons who voted direct for the Secession of the State of Virginia in Ohio County."; 3 pp.; no transcript); ca. 1861
Box 1; Folder 10; L. Ruffner Letter (contains autograph letter from L. Ruffner, Wheeling, to G.L. Cranmer regarding military service of [West] Virginians during the Civil War; 8 pp.; for transcript, see box 1, folder 13); 1864
Box 1; Folder 11; B. Wilson Letter (contains autograph letter from B. Wilson, Richmond, to "Judge" [Cranmer?] regarding events leading up to Ordinance of Secession; 2 pp.; for transcript, see box 1, folder 13); 1861
Box 1; Folder 12; Manuscript Fragment Regarding Votes on Secession and Eastern/Western Virginia Divisions (2 pp.; for transcript, see box 1, folder 13); undated
Box 1; Folder 13; Inventory and Transcripts (includes partial inventory of the collection, and transcripts for the original items in folders 1-3, 6-7, and 10-12); undated
Series 2. History of Wheeling and Ohio County, West Virginia Papers:
Box 2; Folder 1; Manuscript Notes Regarding the History of Wheeling and Ohio County, West Virginia (3 items); undated includes: notes on the vote on the Ordinance of Secession in Ohio County (1 of 3 on two pages); notes on "Old Stage Coach Days" (2 of 3 on two pages); notes on the Panhandle and Kentucky Railroad (3 of 3 on two pages); notes on "An Incident" involving an Irishman assisting a slave who ran away from William Chapline; and letter to Cranmer from A.A. Howell reminiscing on the "Stage Companies running East on the National Road" (the Howell letter describes the National Road Stage Company and the Good Intent Stage Company from 1841-1853, and describes the former company's efforts in its contract to carry the U.S. mail).
Box 2; Folder 2; Manuscript Notebook (likely written by Cranmer, the notebook includes manuscript extracts, notes, and citations on a wide variety of American and world history people and events, such as early American battles and Dutch history; 1 item); undated
Box 2; Folder 3; Manuscript Notes (7 items); 1881, undated includes: histories of Lieutenant John Jolliffe Yarnall, Charles Hammond, and Revolutionary War hero Major Robert Kirkwood; manuscript copy of muster roll for Captain William Irvine's company of Virginia Militia light infantry (1815); notes on the history of Presbyterianism in Wheeling; letter from Isaac Craig to Cranmer regarding Major Isaac Craig (1881), which includes extracts from the Major's letters (1793); and notes on Ohio County in the War of 1812.
Box 2; Folder 3a; Manuscript Notes and Notebook (includes miscellaneous manuscript notes and a notebook with entries regarding Wheeling history; 15 items); undated
Box 2; Folder 3b; Manuscript Notes (6 items); undated includes: history of Fort Henry, by Cranmer; bundle of 12 leaves of notes on various topics related to Wheeling and Ohio County, including "History of Louis Wetzel's Gun" and "The Race Course"; manuscript copy of an article from The Hesperian, a magazine published in Columbus Ohio in 1838, regarding the lack of wagon roads in the late 1700s (original and copy); and bundle of 4 leaves of transcripts of book excerpts regarding the building of a log cabin (original and copy).
Box 2; Folder 3c; Original Items (3 items); 1787, 1830, post-1882 includes: one piece of ephemera from the Ohio Valley Trades and Labor Assembly (post-1882); copy of the 1806 act incorporating Wheeling into Ohio County (1830); and manuscript document regarding military response to Native American activities in Washington County, PA (1787).
Box 2; Folder 4; Manuscripts and Correspondence (10 items); 1846-1887, undated includes: manuscript biographical sketch on George Washington; notes on the flood of 1832; notes on a slave of Noah Zane who escaped to Canada then returned with Zane's help; Zane family genealogy;
notes on industry before and during the age of steam; history of a Westminster Confession of Faith book belonging to the Fleming and McNabb families; correspondence regarding ships built during the War of 1812; and three miscellaneous notes.
Box 2; Folder 4a; Manuscripts and Correspondence (7 items); 1822-1895, undated includes: copy of the bylaws of the Northwestern Bank of Virginia (1822); manuscript transcription of a 1782 letter from Ebenezer Zane regarding preparations to defend Fort Henry, including reference to the powder supply (1882); typescript and manuscript biographical sketches of Daniel Lamb and Charles Hammond (undated); typescript narrative about a trip from New York to St. Paul to the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, 39 pp. (undated); and other material. The narrative includes detailed descriptions of travel on the Pennsylvania Railroad and the "St. Paul and Milwaukee Railroad", scenery, St. Paul, and the fair, as well as a mention of Lizzie Borden's acquittal.
Box 2; Folder 5; Ohio Civil War Cemetery Address (contains a bound speech probably given at a memorial service for Civil War soldiers somewhere in Ohio; 1 item); undated
Biographical / Historical
Judge Gibson Lamb Cranmer (20 February 1826-1903) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He went to Wheeling, [West] Virginia at age 17 to study law with his relative, Daniel Lamb, Esq. He then moved to Springfield, Illinois, and practiced law. On 22 May 1849, Cranmer was married to Oella Zane, daughter of Daniel Zane. In 1850, he returned to Wheeling. He served as president of the Antietam National Cemetery Association at the time that the burial ground was turned over to the national government. He was also judge of the Municipal Court of Wheeling for 8 years.
Cranmer was a member of the General Assembly of Virginia from Ohio County during the session of 1855-1856. He was a delegate to and secretary of the First Wheeling Convention. He was made secretary of the First Session of the Second Wheeling Convention, and was clerk of the House of Delegates of the "Restored Government of Virginia." Cranmer was also the custodian of the manuscript proceedings, journals, and other documents of the two Conventions. Cranmer's home on Wheeling Island was flooded in 1884, which likely destroyed all of the manuscripts. It is possible that the Convention proceedings were shipped to Alexandria, Virginia, in the 1860s, but if that is the case, they have been lost. For more information on the proceedings, see How West Virginia was Made, by Virgil A. Lewis, [Charleston, W. Va., News-Mail Company, Public Printer], 1909.
0.4 Linear Feet (Summary: 5 in. (2 doc cases, 2 1/2 in. each))