Chester D. Hubbard
- from the Wheeling Intelligencer, November 13, 1863
The First West Va. Legislature.
Sketches Personal, Political and Biographical.
BY AN OBSERVER
CHESTER D. HUBBARD
Mr. Hubbard was born at Hamden, Connecticut, Nov. 25, 1814. In his infancy his parents removed to the vicinity of Pittsburg - thence to Wheeling in the spring of 1819. His life up to manhood was spent in the brick yard and saw mill in which his father was interested, having the privilege of attending school in the winters until his fourteenth year. At the ago of twenty-one he determined to obtain a better education; and with that object, on his 21st birth day, he purchased a Latin grammar, devoted himself to its study, and the following summer entered the Freshman class of the Wesleyan University, at Middletown, Connecticut, at which institution he graduated with the honors of his class in 1840. After graduation he returned to Wheeling and engaged in the saw mill and lumber business, in which he continued till 1853, when he was elected President of the Bank of Wheeling, which institution had just been organized. He gave his personal attention to the business of the said bank, in which employment he has continued until the present time.
He was a member of the Virginia Legislature during the long sessions of 1852 and 1863, immediately succeeding the adoption of the amended Constitution, and was one of the famous members of the infamous Convention which assembled in Richmond, Feb'y 13, 1861, where he was known as one of the pall-bearers of the Peace Conference Resolutions, being one of only four members who voted for their adoption by that body. After voting against the Ordinance of Secession, he considered his work there done, and immediately returned home to his constituents, and commenced organizing for the protection and defence of Western Virginia, writing on the day of his return to General Jackson at Parkersburg, and to Mr. Carlile at Clarksburg, urging them to start the movement as far in the interior as possible, that it might escape the supposed odium of "Black Republicanism," which might attach to it if started in Wheeling.
He was a member of the May Convention, and of the Convention of the 11th of June, which re-organized the State Government, and took an active part in raising the First Virginia Regiment of three months' men, and aiding in their outfit, as there was no organized government to take charge of them; and throughout the struggle in this section, he has been one among the foremost in every loyal movement, and one of the most earnest, ardent workers. He was elected one of the Senators for the first district, by the almost unanimous voice of the people.
His first vote was given for Harrison in 1840, and he has been a consistent old line Whig all the way through, not even turning aside after the "dark lantern," though I guess he voted for Mr. Fillmore. At the last election he voted for Bell and Everett. To-day he stands with the men who stand up for the Union; was conservative on the slavery question; believed it to be a State institution; was disposed to let each State deal with it as such, and deprecated all agitation of the question. But since the passage of the Ordinance of Secession, and the outbreak of the rebellion, has been the steady opponent of the institution; and upon this question, if upon no other, he may be called a radical - he believes slavery to be doomed, and that having taken up the sword, it ought to perish with the sword.
Mr. Hubbard has been a member of the M. E. Church for more than twenty-five years, having united with it when a student in College, and regards it as one of the best instrumentalities Providence has ever recognized for making Christians and Patriots, and is devoted to its usages and faithful to its duties.
He spent the summer of 1857 abroad, travelling with his family and some friends (of whom I believe the accomplished daughter of Mr. Jacob Hornbrook was one,) in England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, noting the peculiarities of those countries and more particularly the condition of their laboring classes, coming to the conclusion, that, while the old countries may do well enough for those born to wealth and rank, our own land is the true home and refuge of those born to a heritage of labor, and offers the brightest future to them and their children. He was enraptured with the gorgeous scenes of Switzerland.
In person Mr. Hubbard is quite tall and slender; short and rather round face; blue eyes; projecting chin; heavy, dark hair, and whiskers dark brown; rather large mouth; and features, in a word, small, regular and intelligent; wears a standing collar of considerable altitude, fine, plain clothes, scrupulously white shirt, in which sparkles a trio of gold setts, and from his vest is suspended a fine gold chain.
He is one of the most useful members, is chairman of the Committee on Banks and Corporations, and a member of the Committee on Finance and Claims, Education, &c. Is a rapid, earnest, forcible speaker, expressing himself as clearly as any member of the body.
Mr. Hubbard seems to be of a sanguine temperament, hopeful and not easily depressed by reverses; but never despaired of the final success of ___ cause; has full faith in man's capacity for self government; believes that Providence is guiding the destinies of the nation; and regards West Virginia as the "promised land," which the true "Israel," who have followed the "light" of the Union and the "pillar" of the Constitution shall ever "possess."