January 22, 1810: State Founder Daniel Lamb Born in Pennsylvania

Jan 22, 2018

Credit West Virginia State Archives

State founder Daniel Lamb was born in Pennsylvania on January 22, 1810. Lamb’s family moved to Wheeling when he was 13. He was elected city clerk at age 21 and worked for two Wheeling banks and an insurance company.

When the Civil War began and Virginia cast its lot with the Confederacy, Daniel Lamb became a leading pro-Union figure in Wheeling. He was a member of the West Virginia Constitutional Convention and the state’s first legislature. The first codification of West Virginia’s laws, known as the Lamb Code, was begun by Lamb but finished by James H. Ferguson.

Despite his pro-Union views, Lamb was forgiving of former Confederates after the war. For instance, he opposed “test oaths,” which prevented former Confederates from voting, and advocated policies that allowed former Confederates to serve in West Virginia government.

Lamb consistently refused nominations for statewide offices. He did, however, campaign in 1871 for the U.S. Senate but was defeated by Democrat Henry G. Davis, who, ironically, was elected by many of the former Confederates Lamb had fought to re-enfranchise.

Daniel Lamb died in Wheeling in 1876 at age 66.