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Van Winkle began his law practice in Parkersburg

June 20, 2013
Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Peter Godwin Van Winkle (Sept. 7, 1808-April 15, 1872) was a United States senator from West Virginia.

Born in New York City, he completed preparatory studies, studied law and was admitted to the bar. He began his practice in Parkersburg, in Virginia, later West Virginia.

He was president of the town board of trustees from 1844-1850 and was a member of the Virginia State constitutional convention in 1850. He was treasurer and later president of the Northwestern Virginia Railroad Co. in 1852 and a member of the Wheeling reorganization convention in 1861. He was a delegate to the state convention which framed the constitution of West Virginia and a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1863.

Upon the admission of West Virginia as a state into the Union, he was elected as a Unionist to the U.S. Senate and served from Aug. 4, 1863, to March 3, 1869. While in the Sentate, he was chairman of the Committee on Pensions (Fortieth Congress).

Following the war, his political career was irrepably damaged when he was among six Republic senators who voted against impeaching President Andrew Johnson, leading to his acquittal.

Van Winkle was a delegate to the Southern Loyalist Convention in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1866. He resided in Parkersburg until his death in 1972. He was interred in Riverview Cemetery on what is now Juliana Street.



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