CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Senate adopted a resolution Monday reminding Frederick County of a 158-year-old invitation to become the state’s 56th county.
State Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan County, introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 Friday requesting that citizens of Frederick County consider joining West Virginia. The resolution now heads to the West Virginia House of Delegates for consideration.
Frederick County borders five West Virginia counties: Hardy, Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson. According to the resolution, Frederick was one of three Virginia counties that was invited to join West Virginia in 1862 by the reformed government of Virginia, then headquartered in Wheeling, W.Va., after Virginia succeeded from the Union.
“It started as a matter of historical interest to me on West Virginia’s 150th birthday and the celebration surrounding that,” said Trump, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I learned by reading the old acts from 1862 for the first time that Wheeling clearly contemplated Frederick County as one of the counties that naturally belonged in the new state of West Virginia.”
Only Berkeley and Jefferson counties voted to join West Virginia, while Frederick County stayed with the commonwealth. In a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1870 that affirmed West Virginia’s existence as a state, the invitation to Frederick County to join West Virginia was ruled as still valid.
“Once I learned that, it seemed obvious to me,” Trump said. “Where I live, people have family and work ties with Winchester and Frederick County all the time. People are back and forth. That boundary exists more or less on paper, but it doesn’t impede the flow of everything back and forth.”
Trump acknowledged that he hasn’t talked with officials in Frederick County to gauge their interest in letting the voters choose whether to join West Virginia or not, but he hoped his resolution helped get the conversation started.
“I don’t know if they’ve ever voted on the question in Frederick County, but all I wanted to do with this resolution is to say if you guys have any interest, we would love to have you be part of West Virginia,” Trump said.
Del. Wendy Gooditis, who represents Virginia’s 10th District, which includes part of Frederick County, said when contacted about Trump’s resolution, “The idea is a new one to me, and, while I love the romantic language in which West Virginia Senator Trump couches the invitation, it is very hard to imagine that the citizenry of Frederick County are looking for that upheaval. And loving Frederick County and Winchester as we do, I can’t imagine Virginia would let them go lightly!”
Frederick County Board of Supervisors Chairman Charles DeHaven Jr. was more direct.
“Personally, though we have great respect for our neighbors in West Virginia and work very closely with them on a lot of issues, such as safety, I have zero interest in becoming part of West Virginia,” he said.
Winchester Star reporter Josh Janney contributed information to this article.