Statehood leader Francis Pierpont died on March 24, 1899, at age 85. He was born near Morgantown in 1814 and raised for part of his childhood in Marion County. As a young adult, he was as an attorney for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and a pioneer coal operator.
When the Civil War began, he helped form the pro-Union Reorganized Government of Virginia with its capital in Wheeling. In June 1861, he was unanimously elected the first and only governor of this government.