West Virginia, the Mountain State, was introduced to the Jr Order United American Mechanics in Wheeling WV in the year of 1870.
West Virginia, with one council, under the jurisdiction of the National Council, Roger Sherman Council #1, was represented at the 1870 National Council Session in Camden, New Jersey. Brother John T. Cowl is of record as the Councilor representing West Virginia.
It is said that Brother Cowl made favorable impression on those in attendance and was elected as Vice Councilor. The following year he was elevated to National Councilor.
Roger Sherman Council # 1 entered with 20 applicants in 1870. In 1871, Eagle Council #2 and Jefferson Council #3 were entered onto the books.
The State Council of West Virginia was instituted in February of 1872.
For reasons unknown, these three councils were abandoned prior to the National Council Session of 1873, held at Wilmington, Delaware. This was a tragedy, because as the National Councilor, Brother Cowl did not show up, nor were any reports submitted to the National Council. As a result, the State Charter was revoked and West Virginia was dropped from the Order.
In 1887, West Virginia once again entered into the National Council with the institution of Wheeling Council #1. The following year, Benwood Council #2 and Cumberland Council #3 were introduced.
Sixteen West Virginia Councils were represented at the National Council Session held at Hoverhill, Massachusetts on June 10, 1889. At this meeting, and on that date, the State Council of West Virginia was instituted.
At the fourth annual West Virginia State Council Session, held in Fairmont, WV, July 19-21, 1892 there was recorded 70 councils with a membership of 2,907.
The fifth annual West Virginia State session, difficulties arose with report that the State Secretary failed to turn over a sum of $1,116.00 and had not paid the National per capita tax, placing the State Council in jeopardy. A special session was held in February to adjust the matters.
The Jr. Order continued to grow with 157 Council reported at the 1898 State Session held in Huntington, West Virginia with a total membership of 6,482.
Discord appeared in the early 1900's causing a rebellion of sorts directed to the National Council by some State Councils. West Virginia, true to her old-time principles, remain loyal to the banner on the Order throughout these years.
1938 reported 132 councils active. From that point forward, the membership has dwindled.
At the 90th State Session of West Virginia, held in Harpers Ferry on August 17-19, 1978, the membership was down to 1,638 with 23 Councils. During this session, Past State Councilor Richard Daughtery of Mineral Wells was keynote speaker. His topic was "Let us share our Fraternalism". At this time he show a graph that revealed a loss of a little over 1300 members in a short ten year span.
Source on information from recordings generated in part by the late brother Paul B. McCallister of St. Albans Council #123.
Gary Vance, State Secretary
2019-2020 WV State Officers
Past Councilor John Mason
Councilor Jennifer Dailey
Secretary Gary Vance
Treasure Joyce Everett
Chaplain Dan Collis
Conductor Dick Myers
Warden Jeanne Dolin
Inside Sentinel David Bailey
Outside Sent. Brenda Petro
GO FORTH AND SPREAD THE NEWS OF OUR BELOVED ORDER'S PRINCIPLES. OUR NATION NEEDS US DURING THESE TROUBLED TIMES.