679px Bataille de Yorktown by Auguste Couder

April 19 1775

The American Revolution Begins

The first shot of the American Revolutionary War was fired, leaving 8 Americans dead and 10 injured. Only one British soldier was injured. The first shot, taking place in Lexington, Virginia, is nicknamed "The Shot Heard 'Round The World".


A Petition To Congress

The Continental Congress is petitioned by residents of western Virginia for the establishment of a separate government for their region because of the many differences between western and eastern Virginia.

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June 18 1812

War of 1812 Begins

President James Madison signs a declaration of war against Britain . Both the House of Representatives and Congress were divided on the issue, however ultimately voted in favor of war due to the Britain's attempts to restrict U.S. trade, Britain's violation of maritime rights and the impressment of U.S. merchant seamen, and Britain's encouragement of Indian hostility towards Americans trying to expand West.


April 12 1861

First Shots of the Civil War

After much tension, the Civil War broke out when Confederate forces bombarded the Union controlled Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay.

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April 17 1861

Virginia’s Secession

The Virginia State Convention moves to secede from the Union by an emotional vote of 88 to 55, after previously voting against secession only weeks before.

ordinance virginia

May 23 1861

Opposition from Western Virginia

The movement to secede from the Union was ratified, however the majority of Western Counties (supposedly) opposed it's ratification. This was not the case with Jefferson County, nor Berkeley County, where vote tallies appear to have been botched. In fact, original maps show Jefferson and Berkeley Counties remaining as part of Virginia. Historical evidence proves that the two counties resident's actually were in favor of succession, and sympathies still lie with South today.

The Ordinance of Secession is online at the Library of Virginia. The original ordinance was inscribed on parchment and signed by 92 convention members. Later during the second and third conventions, 142 members of the convention signed a ceremonial parchment of the ordinance.

Timeline Help

A chronological listing of historical events which may have affected the lives of residents in eastern Jefferson County and surrounding areas.
1Where is this information from?
The vast majority of these accounts are taken from newspaper articles of local papers of the time period.
2How can I apply this information to my own research?

We use this timeline to help us understand the events that may have affected or shaped a person's life. Here are some ideas as to how this timeline may help your further your own research:

  • View events that may have affected a particular ancestor or their family members.
  • Uncover events which an ancestor may have participated in, leading to more sources of information.
  • Discover more about the history and culture of the area in which an ancestor lived.
  • Evaluate possible concerns and popular pastimes of an ancestor.
3I want to view a timeline of events in a specific area.
Click on "Location" in the "Filter by" bar. This will drop down a list of locations which currently have happenings in the timeline. Clicking on a location will show only events related to that specific area. Note that clicking on a county or state will show all happenings related to any location within that county (and any county within a state).
4I want to see timeline items between two years.
Click on "Years" in the "Filter by" bar. This will drop down a form which accepts a starting year and an ending year. Filling out both fields will display timeline items which took place in and between the two years. Filling out only one field will display all timeline items beginning at or ending on the years inputted.