Charleston, W.Va. -- Rare documents, photos, letters, pamphlets and books, most of them dealing with West Virginia's role in the Civil War, will be on public display during "A Gathering Storm," the second annual West Virginia Archives and History Showcase, which starts at 7 p.m. Monday.
"We see this as a good time for the people of West Virginia to come in and look at some of things we spend a lot of time collecting and saving," said Susan Scouras, Archives and History librarian.
"We had a good turnout at last year's first Showcase, and we hope to give people even more to see this year," said State Archivist Joe Geiger. In addition to dozens of exhibits in the Archives library, "We'll have screens and photo exhibits in the Great Hall, and free food and gifts."
Because next year marks the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War, "A Gathering Storm" was chosen for the theme of this year's event.
Among documents on display will be the handwritten executive minutes book of West Virginia's first governor, Arthur I. Boreman, starting with his first entry on June 20, 1863, and a letter by the state's briefest-serving governor, D.D.T. Farnsworth, written during his seven-day term in 1869.
Farnsworth, serving as Senate president, replaced Boreman when the former governor resigned to become a U.S. senator. Farnsworth's term ended when newly elected governor William E. Stevenson was sworn in as the state's chief executive.
In his letter to his parents from the capital in Wheeling, Farnsworth attributed his success to their "good and faithful lessons" early in his life, and warned them to be watching for a paper he was forwarding bearing "the strange news of the location of the Capitol at Charleston."
Among Civil War papers on display will be an extradition warrant from officials in Chambersburg, Pa., seeking the delivery of former Confederate Gen. John McCausland of Mason County to Pennsylvania to stand trial on felony arson charges. McCausland ordered the torching of Chambersburg in July 1864, in retaliation for Union destruction in the Shenandoah Valley. President Grant later pardoned his former enemy.
An 1861 letter from Confederate Gen. Henry Wise to Capt. John P. Hale, who served as mayor of Charleston after the end of the Civil War, will also be on display. The letter, sent from Wise's headquarters in White Sulphur Springs, informs Hale, who had recently resigned his commission as an artillery officer, that Wise had no role in a letter-writing campaign criticizing Hale for the move.