FayCo History: Closing the Court House (1861)

Image result for fayette county wv courthouse

From the WV Culture website: Fayetteville, the county seat of Fayette County, West Virginia, was originally named Vandalia for its founder, Abraham Vandal. Before 1837, the name was changed to Fayetteville, after the name of the county, and in honor of Marquis de Lafayette, the French nobleman, who helped this country during the dark days of the Revolutionary War.

The site goes on to detail the Civil War activity that occurred in the Fayetteville area around 1860-1861, to give you an idea of the times discussed in this blog. During that period of time, the county primarily sympathized with the Confederate side. You can find that data here:


The photo above was found at this courthouse historical link: http://courthousehistory.com/gallery/states/west-virginia/counties/fayette

As a side note, the present courthouse (pictured above) was not built until 1895. Fayette County was created in 1831. At that time there was a conflict of personalities as communities vied to have the courthouse located in their area. Vandalia (Fayetteville) was eventually agreed upon with a courthouse built in 1838.

During a genealogy research binge on marriage licenses in the mid-to-late 1800’s I came across an interesting Fayette County Courthouse notation:

“WHEREAS our state has been invaded by a hostile army of northern fanatics, and we feel bound to resist said invasion to the last extremity.

RESOLVED, therefore, first that we feel it to be our duty in accordance with an act of the Legislature passed Jan. 10, 1861, to levy on the people of the County from time to time as may be necessary to enable us to resist said invasion successfully such amounts of money as we shall think practicable and expedient.

RESOLVED, 2nd that we will then after money and property are exhausted feel it to be our duty to levy for said purpose on the credit of the county and when that also is gone we will eat roots and drink water and still fight for our liberty unto death. And

RESOLVED 4rd that should any of the members of this Court feel friendly to the North that we invite them or him peacefully and civily to resign his or their commission.

SINGED – – T.B. Westlake

These early sentiments lingered long, but the building from which they were proclaimed was razed during the conflict. The courthouse appears to have been in three (maybe four) different locations before the one as it sits today. I have found some interesting reading material I will share in upcoming blogs on that.

It appears that the authors (and transcribers of records) for this book found the actual license to marry for Preston and Virginia. To look back at these old records and the styles of actual handwriting is fascinating.

In researching old family records in the state of West Virginia, I have found the WV Department of Arts, Culture and History is (by far) one of the best resources a person could utilize.

You can search birth, death and marriage records at this link:


Keep in mind that there are date limits to what you can search. Records are either fifty (or in some cases 100) years or older to be searchable in this database. This keeps people from stalking living persons.

Using the website, I researched Preston Zimmerman and found their marriage record, as noted above. It is also the last entry in the book (second page, last entry).

I enlarged the specific selection they noted above for Preston and Virginia.

In hopes that Preston and Virginia survived the war that was raging in FayCo during that time, I found an additional records that gives me hope: on May 22, 1867, Preston and Virginia had a son.

Volume 55

Another interesting read:

Loyalty and Civil Liberty in Fayette County During the Civil War

By Lou Athey

Link for reading excerpts can be found here:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.