West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

West Virginia Independence Hall to Host Coffee Social and Statehood Debate Featuring First-person Portrayers of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson

WHEELING, W.Va. – West Virginia Independence Hall (WVIH) in Wheeling will host a morning coffee social on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the historic McLure House Hotel from 9 – 11 a.m., followed by a debate over West Virginia statehood between Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by John King, and Andrew Johnson, portrayed by Kevin Titus, in the courtroom of WVIH at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required for this free event by calling WVIH. The deadline to reserve a spot is Thursday, Oct. 6.

In 1861 – 1863, during the Wheeling Conventions held at the Custom House, the assembly of Virginia Southern Unionist delegates would meet at the McLure House, a local hotel that opened its doors in downtown Wheeling in March of 1852, for morning coffee before assembling in the courtroom of West Virginia Independence Hall during the Wheeling Conventions.

Senator Andrew Johnson, who later became Abraham Lincoln’s vice president, was an old-fashioned southern Jacksonian Democrat and was against the statehood of West Virginia and did his best to talk Lincoln out of admitting West Virginia as the 35th state.

For the past 25 years, John W. King has been telling the story of the 16th President during that great conflict. King is a full-sized, first-person portrayer of Lincoln at 6 feet 4 inches. As a retired teacher, he educates his audience in a most entertaining manner and has brought Lincoln to life for school students, historical groups, civic groups, churches, clubs, Civil War rededications, festivals, and Memorial Day parades. We Made History’s King won the “Lincoln Look-Alike Contest” at the Shriver House Museum in Gettysburg, Pa. on July 3, 2013, as part of the town’s 150th Anniversary of the Battle. 

Kevin Titus, a resident of Huntsville in Falls Village Connecticut, is a historian, actor and radio broadcaster who has appeared in television and movies on memorable people, and has played roles such as George Reeves, known for his role as Superman in the 1950s, Presidents Andrew Johnson and Warren G. Harding, British General Benedict Arnold, and pilots Charles Lindberg and Emilio Carranza. Titus is the TV, stage and movie actor who constantly “nails-it” and is with DEOA Historical Productions out of Connecticut. “I’m well-known as a presidential portrayer,” said Titus, while wearing what was an actual cape worn by Johnson during his presidency. He has collected a lot of historical and presidential memorabilia over the years and is nationally known for his portrayal of famous people from history.

Visitors may attend one event or both.  Please contact WVIH to reserve for one or both events at 304-238-1300.

Exit mobile version