June 24, 1934: Businessman, State Founder Granville Davisson Hall Dies at 96


On June 24, 1934, businessman and state founder Granville Davisson Hall died at age 96. Growing up in Harrison County, he learned the technique of stenography, which would serve him well in coming years. He started his career teaching school when he was 17. In 1861, at the young age of 23, he recorded the proceedings of the Wheeling conventions that would lead to West Virginia becoming a state. He later published his notes in the book The Rending of Virginia, the most influential memoir about the West Virginia statehood movement. In his book, Hall laid out the causes and justifications for Western Virginia’s split from Virginia. He traced Virginia’s history back to the American Revolution, while accusing the state’s politicians of suppressing Western political and economic aspirations in an attempt to maintain slavery at all costs.

In 1863, he became the first clerk of the West Virginia House of Delegates and, in 1865, was elected secretary of state. After the war, Granville Davisson Hall served as a railroad executive and as editor of the Wheeling Intelligencer newspaper. He also published several works of fiction and nonfiction.