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Debating Secession

  • Debating Secession
Artist David Hunter Strother sketched a scene of two men debating secession.
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« Return to Virginia Convention Votes Against Secession on April 4, 1861

Debating Secession

David Hunter Strother, Pending the Ordinance, Pierre Morand Memorial, Special Collections, Library of Virginia.

Artist Davis Hunter Strother sketched a scene of two men debating secession. In the Potomac River valley county of Jefferson, where he resided, opinions were deeply divided during the secession crisis. A majority of the county's voters supported Constitutional Union Party nominee John Bell for president in November 1860. On February 4, 1861, they elected two opponents of secession to the Virginia Convention. The county's delegates, Alfred Madison Barbour and Logan Osborn, both voted with the majority on April 4, when the convention by a 90 to 45 margin defeated a motion to secede.

Born on September 26, 1816, at Martinsburg, Virginia, David Hunter Strother was one of the best-known illustrators in the United States by the eve of the Civil War. In 1853 he achieved fame as "Porte Crayon" for a series of illustrated articles on Virginia published by Harper's New Monthly Magazine. He served in the Union army during the Civil War. His memoirs of the war were published in eleven installments in Harper's Monthly between June 1866 and April 1868. Strother died at Charles Town, Jefferson County, West Virginia, on March 8, 1888.