West Virginia State Museum Education

West Virginia's Historic People

Important People

Joseph H. Diss DeBar

J. Diss DeBar

Joseph H. Diss DeBar (1820-1905) was a French-born artist. He designed the Great Seal and Coat of Arms of West Virginia in 1863. He immigrated to the United States in 1842 on board the same ship as Charles Dickens, whom he met and sketched. He was a member of the House of Delegates representing Doddridge County. A supporter of the movement to create West Virginia, Diss Debar was commissioned in 1863 to design the Great Seal. Many of his sketches of early West Virginia figures and scenes survive today. As immigration commissioner he produced The West Virginia Hand-Book and Immigrant’s Guide in 1870. He died in Pittsburgh in 1905.

Helpful Links

e-West Virginia Joseph H. Diss DeBar

e-West Virginia State Seal