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Roane County, WV
The Civil War in Spencer, cont.

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In the May 23rd election, the citizens of Roane County voted to secede from the Union and join the Confederate States, as did a majority of the people of Virginia. However, a majority of the future citizens of West Virginia voted against secession and the Second Wheeling Convention was convened on June 11, 1861. The result of the convention was the adoption of a resolution entitled "A Declaration of the People of Virginia" which called for the Virginia state government to be reorganized with pro Union officials. When news from the convention reached Roane County, notice of a county meeting to be held June 24, 1861 was given.

"A large and respectable meeting of the substantial citizens of Roane County assembled" and minutes of the meeting were maintained documenting the seven resolutions unanimously adopted. The fifth resolution was the most important stating:

"We conceive our allegiance to the State of Virginia to be paramount to that we owe to the Federal Government; as our allegiance to that was result of the exercise of her sovereignty; and now that she has absolved us from that, by the same sovereignty, we hold ourselves as alien to her, and bound only to obey her laws."

The minutes make no mention of the slavery issue and indicate that the issues at hand were states' rights and the role of the federal government. A delegation was selected to be sent to Lewisburg to protest the Wheeling Convention and the adopted resolutions were ordered to be published in the Charleston and Lewisburg newspapers.

Roane County's concern for and interest in the war is indicated by 334 of its citizens choosing to take up arms, with 229 joining the Union forces and 115 joining the Confederacy.

The Union troops soon began to secure the towns in the area, and in late June of 1861 Federal troops from the 22n Ohio Volunteer Infantry occupied Spencer for a short period of time before departing westward.