This Week in West Virginia History

Monday through Friday, at 6:30am & 4:48pm

The West Virginia Humanities Council, publishers of e-WV, and West Virginia Public Broadcasting have created two-minute radio segments for "This Week in West Virginia History" to introduce listeners to important people, places, and events in Mountain State history. Each daily segment is keyed to the actual date in history on which it occurred. The radio scripts, drawn from the content of e-WV, were written by historian Stan Bumgardner and produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Operations Director, Bob Powell. Our composer, Matt Jackfert, composed the original theme music for the program.

Author and storyteller Colleen Anderson serves as the on-air voice. "This Week" airs Monday through Friday, both morning and afternoon during the news.

e-WV is the online version of the West Virginia Encyclopedia, which became a regional bestseller following its publication in 2006. It is the go-to place for concise, authoritative information on the broad spectrum of things to do with West Virginia. The history features are generated daily from a timeline of more than 12,000 items on the e-WV website.

Visitors to the online encyclopedia may dig deeper into e-WV's 2,300 articles, interactive maps, videos, illustrations, opinion polls, and quizzes that test your "WV-IQ." Visit www.wvencyclopedia.org

Engineer William E. Bailey boards his C&O locomotive
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV State Archives (WVSA), Gauley Bridge Historical Society Collection

On November 23, 1869, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company transferred ownership of its struggling rail line to Collis Huntington and others. It was a major turning point in a venture that would transform southern West Virginia into a coal-producing giant.

November 22, 1825: Kanawha Valley pioneer Anne Bailey dies

Nov 22, 2017
Anne Bailey’s services to frontier settlements were invaluable and remain a powerful symbol of the fortitude of pioneer women.
e-WV West Virginia Encyclopedia

Kanawha Valley pioneer Anne Bailey died in Gallipolis, Ohio, on November 22, 1825, at about age 83. It’s not clear when the native of Liverpool, England, emigrated to America. However, she was living in Staunton, Virginia, by 1761.

After her husband was killed by Indians in the 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant, she swore to avenge his death. She taught herself how to shoot a gun and became a scout. Some say this is when she earned the nickname “Mad Anne.”

US Senator Allen Taylor Caperton became the first ex-Confederate elected to the U.S. Senate and only former Confederate senator to serve in the U.S. Senate after the Civil War.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online

Allen Taylor Caperton was born on November 21, 1810, on his family’s estate in Monroe County. During the 1840s and 1850s, he served as a Whig in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate. 

As the Civil War approached, Caperton was personally opposed to secession.  However, in April 1861, he served as a delegate to the Virginia secession convention and voted with the majority to join the Confederacy.

November 20, 1831: Banker John Q. Dickinson Born in Virginia

Nov 20, 2017
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Banker and saltmaker John Q. Dickinson was born in Virginia on November 20, 1831. During the Civil War, he served in the Confederate Army. He was a prisoner of war for the last year of the conflict.

After the war, Dickinson ventured to the Kanawha Valley and rebuilt the salt furnace his grandfather had started at Malden in 1832, which had been partially destroyed by the flood of 1861 and then finished off by Union troops.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / Michael Keller

Composer and performer Robert Drasnin was born in Charleston on November 17, 1927. His parents were Eastern European immigrants who met while working at a munitions factory in Nitro, about 15 miles west of Charleston.

When Drasnin was 10, his family moved to California. In high school, he played sax and clarinet in an all-star band that provided music for Hoagy Carmichael’s NBC radio show. He also performed with big band leaders Tommy Dorsey and Les Brown. His 1959 solo release, Voodoo, remains a classic of the “exotica” genre.

November 16, 1898: Carrie Williams Case Tried in Supreme Court of Appeals

Nov 16, 2017
J. R. Clifford
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On November 16, 1898, the case of Carrie Williams versus The Board of Education of Fairfax District, Tucker County, was tried before the West Virginia Supreme Court.

To save money, the Tucker County Board of Education had reduced the school term of black schools from eight months to five months. A black teacher from Tucker, Carrie Williams, consulted with J. R. Clifford—West Virginia’s first licensed black lawyer. On his advice, she continued teaching for the entire eight months.

November 15, 2010: Aracoma Hotel in Logan Badly Damaged by Fire

Nov 15, 2017
On November 15, 2010, the Aracoma Hotel in Logan was badly damaged by fire, leading to its demolition several months later.
e-WV West Virginia Encyclopedia

On November 15, 2010, the Aracoma Hotel in Logan was badly damaged by fire, leading to its demolition several months later.

Named for the Indian princess Aracoma, the daughter of Chief Cornstalk, the landmark hotel experienced many brushes with history. Built in 1917 for $50,000 by Syrian immigrant Harvey Ghiz, the hotel was the largest downtown building erected after Logan’s great fire of 1912. During construction, workers unearthed roughly a square-block field of bones and relics that had once been an Indian burial site.

1970 Marshall University Football Team
Marshall University

On the night of November 14, 1970, a Southern Airways DC-9 approached a foggy and rainy Tri-State Airport in Wayne County. The airliner slammed into a hillside just short of the runway and burst into flames. All 75 passengers were killed.

On board were nearly the entire Marshall University football team along with the head coach, athletic director, and 36 other fans, coaches, announcers, and crew members. It is still the deadliest sports-related air disaster in U.S. history.

November 13, 1923: Attorney Virginia Mae Brown Born in Putnam County

Nov 13, 2017
Virginia Mae Brown
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / West Virginia State Archives

Attorney Virginia Mae Brown was born at Pliny, in Putnam County, on November 13, 1923. After graduating from the West Virginia University College of Law, she forged a pioneering career in government. In 1952—before she’d turned 30—Brown became the first woman to serve as assistant attorney general in West Virginia history.

In 1961, Governor Wally Barron named her West Virginia Insurance Commissioner, the first woman to hold that post in any state. The next year, Brown became the first woman ever appointed to a state Public Service Commission.

November 10, 1777: Shawnee Leader Cornstalk Murdered in Point Pleasant

Nov 10, 2017
Cornstalk
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Shawnee leader Cornstalk was murdered while being held in captivity at Point Pleasant on November 10, 1777. He’d spent a lifetime fighting white settlers and the British Army in the vicinity of present West Virginia. 

In 1774, Cornstalk had led the resistance to a combined British and Virginia army that was on its way to attack Indian settlements in Ohio. Cornstalk’s men intercepted the Virginians at Point Pleasant. His Shawnee warriors were defeated after a valiant day of fighting.

November 9, 1952: Opening of The Huntington Museum of Art

Nov 9, 2017
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / David Fattaleh / WV Division of Tourism (WVDT)

On November 9, 1952, the Huntington Galleries opened in the Park Hills section of Huntington. It was West Virginia’s largest art museum. By the time the name of the galleries was changed to the Huntington Museum of Art in 1987, the collection had grown to more than 15,000 objects.

November 8, 1936: Darrell McGraw Born in Wyoming County

Nov 8, 2017
Darrell McGraw helped to expand the rights of injured workers to sue employers
Yahoo Images

Darrell McGraw was born in Wyoming County on November 8, 1936. After graduating from Pineville High School, he earned degrees from Berea Academy and West Virginia University, where he served as student body president. He also served a stint in the army.

Forks-of-Cheat Baptist is the oldest church in West Virginia west of the Alleghenies with continuous records.
TripAdvison.com

On the night of November 7, 1775, the Reverend John Corbly and 12 others organized the Forks-of-Cheat Baptist Church. The meeting took place near Stewartstown, about six miles north of Morgantown.

The church remains in service today. As such, it is the oldest church in West Virginia west of the Alleghenies with continuous records. Its earliest artifact is the small hand-written minute book of that charter meeting in 1775.

Abraham Lincoln
Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected 16th president of the United States. His election started a political cascade in which seven southern states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederates States of America. Four more states would join the Confederacy when the Civil War started five months later.

November 3, 1947: Dedication of Kanawha Airport

Nov 3, 2017
Aerial view of Yeager Airport
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On November 3, 1947, Kanawha Airport was dedicated on Coonskin Ridge near Charleston. World War I ace Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was among those present. The massive earth-moving and mountain-leveling project had taken three years to complete.

The airport’s terminal building was finished in 1950, and an addition was built in 1970. A runway-extension project was completed a year later, allowing the airport to accommodate jet airliners. Other renovations have occurred periodically over the years.

November 2, 1942: Ceramist Frederick Rhead Dies at 62

Nov 2, 2017
Frederick Rhead
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Ceramist Frederick Rhead died on November 2, 1942, at age 62. He learned the pottery trade in his native England before emigrating to the United States in 1902. Rhead’s pottery skills were honored with a gold medal at the 1915 San Diego Exposition.

Rhead was at the top of his profession in 1927, when he joined the Homer Laughlin Company at Newell in Hancock County. At the time, Homer Laughlin was the third largest producer of pottery or chinaware in the world. Rhead made pottery, taught, wrote, and created glazes and shapes.

Charles Rogers of Fayette County earned the Medal of Honor for his actions during a battle in the Vietnam War.
Photo Courtesy of HomeOfHeroes.com

On November 1, 1968, Charles Rogers of Fayette County earned the Medal of Honor for his actions during a battle in the Vietnam War. The 40-year-old Rogers had previously received Army ROTC training at West Virginia State College (now University).

In the early hours of November 1, he was commanding an army infantry battalion near the Cambodian border. The fire-support base he was protecting was under attack from heavy shelling and a ground wave assault.

On October 31, 1990, union workers at Ravenswood Aluminum arrived as usual for their midnight shift.

Only this time, they were turned away from the gates. Thus began one of the most bitter labor disputes of the late 20th century.

From the time Kaiser Aluminum opened the Ravenswood plant in 1954 until it sold its operations in 1988, there had never been a strike. But, workers felt that the new owners’ cost-cutting measures were jeopardizing their safety. In fact, four workers had been killed on the job just the summer before the conflict began.

October 30, 1825: Feudist Randolph McCoy Born in Logan County

Oct 30, 2017
Randolph McCoy
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Feudist Randolph McCoy was born in Logan County on October 30, 1825. He married his cousin, whose father gave the couple a small farm in neighboring Pike County, Kentucky. There, they raised 13 children.

October 27, 1879: W. Va. Attorney General Howard Lee Born in Wirt County

Oct 27, 2017
Wikimedia commons / North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

West Virginia Attorney General Howard B. Lee was born in Wirt County on October 27, 1879. After graduating from Marshall College, now Marshall University, Lee taught school in Putnam County. Then, while studying law at Washington and Lee University, he was elected as a Republican to the West Virginia Legislature.

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