PARKERSBURG- Area residents gathered at Fort Boreman Park Wednesday evening to commemorate the formation of the state of West Virginia 149 years ago.
More than 60 people attended the gathering held outside the reconstructed 200-year-old log cabin at the gateway of the park. A brief history of the formation of the West Virginia was given by Jim Miracle, a member and coordinator of Carlin's Battery Civil War re-enactors.
Others detailed the history of Fort Boreman Hill and the part the original Carlin's Battery played on the site. The re-enactment group demonstrated the loading and firing of its cannon.
Danny and Linda Mullens play some Civil War-era music at Fort Boreman Park as part of the West Virginia Day festivities Wednesday.
The program was topped off with cake and refreshments and traditional bluegrass music performed by Danny and Linda Mullens.
This is the fifth year members of Carlin's Battery Civil War re-enactors put on a program to celebrate West Virginia Day.
''It commemorates the birth of the state of West Virginia,'' Miracle said. ''We as Civil War re-enactors, especially of Carlin's Battery, should be proud of that fact. West Virginia was the only state born out of the Civil War.''
At a recent event, someone asked him how West Virginia could have become a state as it was already a part of Virginia.
''The Constitution says that no state can be formed out of another state, except by permission of that state,'' Miracle said. ''So how did West Virginia become a state, because Virginia didn't let us out.''
As Virginia had succeeded from the Union, individuals, including some from Parkersburg, formed the provisional government of Virginia and took the place of the original government of Virginia and approved the separation. The action was eventually approved by President Abraham Lincoln and West Virginia became the nation's 35th state.
The park was the site of a military fortification constructed during the summer and fall of 1863 and named in honor of Arthur I. Boreman, West Virginia's first governor and a prominent Parkersburg citizen. There were 136 Union soldiers garrisoned there until the autumn of 1865.
Brian Kesterson, local historian and member of the Fort Boreman Park Commission, talked about the original Carlin's Battery, which was stationed on Fort Boreman Hill.
''During the Civil War, the people of Belpre would watch Carlin's Battery skip cannonballs off of the Ohio River for practice,'' Kesterson said. ''They would also watch them do artillery drills with just the powder, not the live rounds.
''They said it was very interesting to see the artillery being fired on top of the hill because they could see the puffs of smoke from all four batteries firing off and a few seconds later they would hear the report (because of the distance).''
The sound the cannons made reportedly could be heard in Marietta, Kesterson said.
''Carlin's Battery saw a lot of action in the eastern theater and they were well thought of,'' he said.
James and Joan Higgins of St. Marys saw the birthday event as a chance to honor the state. They were surprised by the large turnout of people.
''We thought this would be something nice to take in, see the cannon and take in all the activities,'' James Higgins said. ''We're proud of West Virginia and people need to come out and support stuff like this.
Mike and Lois Kester of Vincent, Ohio, came to honor Mike's home state as well as the history of the entire area.
''We continually support our Mountaineers,'' Lois Kester said.
Lois had not seen the inside of the cabin and she also wanted to hear bluegrass music performed live.
''I'm surprised there weren't more people out here,'' she said. ''I wish there were more.