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Gordon Battelle


Minister Gordon Battelle (November 14, 1814-August 7, 1862) played a role in the formation of West Virginia. Battelle was born in Newport, Ohio, and was educated at the Marietta Collegiate Institute (now Marietta College) in Ohio and the Allegheny College at Meadsville, Pennsylvania, where he received a B.A. degree in 1840. He taught at the Asbury Academy in Parkersburg, and then became the principal at the Northwestern Virginia Academy at Clarksburg.

Although he earned a reputation as an excellent teacher, his strong religious leanings led Battelle to be ordained a Methodist minister in 1847. Four years later, he left teaching and accepted a call as pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. After two years, he moved to a similar position in Clarksburg, where in 1855 he was appointed as the presiding elder of the Clarksburg District of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Battelle was called to a church in Wheeling in 1859, where he became embroiled in the anti-slavery movement.

He was elected as a delegate to the first Constitutional Convention in 1861 and was instrumental in including a provision in the proposed constitution to support free public education. He failed, however, in having the abolition of slavery included in the final draft of the constitution. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he volunteered as chaplain to the First Virginia Volunteer Infantry and died of typhoid fever in Washington.

Written by Kenneth R. Bailey


  1. Blazier, George J. The Pioneer Battelles and their Contributions to the Building of Ohio and West Virginia. West Virginia History, (April 1954).