WV Senate considers resolution inviting Frederick County to join their state

Published: Jan. 13, 2020 at 1:21 PM EST
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The West Virginia Senate voted on Monday to extend an invitation to Frederick County, Virginia, to become part of West Virginia. And it's actually a long-standing invitation that dates back to the time of the Civil War.

The resolution was drafted and introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles S. Trump, IV, R-Morgan, and it reminds the citizens of Frederick County, Virginia, that Frederick County has a standing invitation to become part of the State of West Virginia.

The resolution, entitled "Senate Concurrent Resolution 2" says it "has its roots deep within West Virginia’s history: Most of what was originally Hampshire County, when it was formed in 1754, came from what was part of Frederick County. Likewise, Berkeley County was created in 1772 from the northern part of Frederick County."

According to the resolution, most of the territory that is now within the West Virginia counties of Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Mineral, Hardy, and Grant was once part of Frederick County.

In 1862, when Virginia’s government met in Wheeling amid the Civil War to consider the formation of a new state, Frederick County was among the counties deemed to be a natural fit as part of the new state.

In that year, when the Virginia Legislature "gave consent of the State of Virginia to form the new State of West Virginia," it expressly provided for Berkeley, Jefferson, and Frederick counties to join the new state if the voters of those counties agreed.

The counties of Berkeley and Jefferson voted to join the new state.

Frederick County never did.

The purpose of the resolution, Senator Trump said, is to let the residents of Frederick County, Virginia, know that the State of West Virginia would still love to have Frederick County join the state, and that there is a basis in law to believe that the citizens of Frederick County still have the right to vote to join the State of West Virginia if they choose to do so.

“In addition to the historical connections between Frederick County and the seven counties of our Eastern Panhandle, there are strong bonds and ties of every kind among the citizens – family, business, education, culture, and commerce. We share common values,” Senator Trump said. “Frederick County’s residents have so much in common with West Virginia that our separation has never made sense. The citizens of Frederick County are champions of freedom and personal liberty, and they would be welcomed with open arms by the citizens of the Mountain State.”

If Frederick County were to join the State of West Virginia, it would become West Virginia’s newest and its oldest county. It's also entirely unclear what would happen as far as the city of Winchester, which is an independent city under Virginia law and not technically part of its surrounding county.

According to Trump, Frederick County would be the second largest county within the State of West Virginia, and it would be immediately entitled to at least six members in the West Virginia House of Delegates and at least two Senators in the West Virginia Senate.

“Even though it has been more than 150 years, I wanted to make sure that the people of Frederick County know that our affection for them remains strong, and our desire for Frederick County to be reunited with the West Virginia counties to which she gave birth has not diminished,” Senator Trump said. “The invitation extended to Frederick County in 1862 to join the new State of West Virginia still stands. If the citizens of Frederick County should decide that they would like to join the new state, West Virginia would welcome them with open arms.”

West Virginia's House votes on the resolution next.

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