WHEELING, W.Va. – JoAnn Peterson of Kingwood will present “A Mother’s Heart Divided: A WV Civil War Story” at West Virginia Independence Hall (WVIH) in Wheeling at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. The program will be in honor of Mother’s Day and is free and open to the public.

“A Mother’s Heart Divided: A Civil War Story” is the tale of Maisie Twigg, whose life is drastically impacted by the Civil War. Maisie’s husband, Johnny, joins the Union army, leaving their only son, Willie, to help on the farm. When Confederate soldiers are foraging for food, Willie leaves with them, telling his mother he is fighting for the true Virginia. As he marches away, she wonders, “How can I now call them traitors when my own son is one of them?” Nineteen songs of the Civil War weave the story together and will tug at your heartstrings as one mother’s heart is divided in two by the Civil War, while telling the story of West Virginia’s birth.

The program is written and performed by Peterson with guitar accompaniment by Tom Peterson. She also has done portrayals of Jenny Lind, Shirley Temple Black, Mary Todd Lincoln and Nellie Bly among others. She writes and directs murder mystery plays, is the owner of Mountaineer Country Tours and portrayed Julia Pierpont in the West Virginia Public Broadcasting Service’s documentary "West Virginia: Road to Statehood.”

For more information about programs at WVIH, contact Debbie Jones, site manager, at (304) 238-1300 or

West Virginia Independence Hall has been on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) since 1970. It was originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, served as the home of the pro-Union state conventions of Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861 and as the capitol of loyal Virginia from June 1861 to June 1863. It also was the site of the first constitutional convention for West Virginia. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, the museum is maintained and operated by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, with the cooperation and assistance of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, with the exception of major holidays. The museum is located on the corner of 16th and Market Streets in Wheeling.