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Historian to Speak On ‘Floating Capitol”

By Staff | Sep 23, 2015

A Sesquicentennial Speakers Bureau program will be presented at 7 p.m. on Sept. 24 at West Virginia Northern Community College located at 141 Main Street in New Martinsville when Dr. Billy Joe Peyton delivers the talk “The Floating Capitol.” Prior to the program refreshments will be served starting at 6 p.m. in the Wetzel County Museum located across the street from the college. The event is free and open to the public.

The Sesquicentennial Speakers Bureau is a program of the West Virginia Humanities Council, established to help organizations strengthen their own programs related to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and birth of the Mountain State. The bureau has presented lectures in all corners of the state.

West Virginia’s state capitol was first located at Wheeling before moving to Charleston, back to Wheeling, then back to Charleston. As riverboats were the primary mode of transporting state officials, documents, and archival materials during the moves, the idea of the “floating capitol” was born. In his talk Dr. Peyton will examine the moves and the reasons behind them.

Billy Joe Peyton received a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in history from West Virginia University.

He has worked as a public historian for the National Park Service in both Mississippi and West Virginia. Peyton is an associate professor of history at West Virginia State University where he has taught since 2002. He has numerous local and regional publications to his credit including entries in the West Virginia Encyclopedia and West Virginia History journal, and he recently authored a book of local history titled Charleston Then and Now.

He has worked as a writer and historian on several documentary films and can be seen in The 50 States series that airs on the History Channel. Peyton serves on the Charleston Historic Landmarks Commission and has been involved over the past few years in several community history projects including an archaeological survey of the Glenwood Estate, and oral history interviews with retired Union Carbide workers in the Kanawha Valley. He lectures on various West Virginia history topics throughout the state.

For information about the Sept. 24 program call the Wetzel County Museum at 304-398-4910. Groups interested in scheduling a Sesquicentennial Speaker should contact West Virginia Humanities Council program officer Mark Payne at 304-346-8500 or payne@wvhumanities.org.