Recently acquired sketchbook hints at seldom-told story
French immigrant Joseph Diss Debar designed West Virginia's state seal. It was adopted by the Legislature on Sept. 25, 1863 and still is in use nearly 150 years later.
This sketch by Diss Debar shows the Debar House, built in 1852 at the mouth of Carder's camp run of Cove Creek. The house served as headquarters of the St. Clara Colony, the first successful settlement by immigrant Germans within the boundaries of what is now West Virginia. Diss Debar helped found the colony, which was named for his first wife. (West Virginia State Archives)
This portrait by Debar shows Arthur I. Boreman, the state's first governor. (West Virginia State Archives)