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

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On May 21, 1864, Confederate General and former Congressman Albert Gallatin Jenkins was killed at the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain, Virginia. He was 33.

As a young man, the Cabell County native had attended Marshall Academy, Jefferson College, and Harvard Law School before being elected twice to Congress. In 1859, he inherited his father’s plantation in Cabell County and became one of the largest slaveholders in present West Virginia.

May 20, 1983: Basketball Coach, Author Clair Bee Dies at 87

May 20, 2015

On May 20, 1983, basketball coach and author Clair Bee died at age 87. He was a native of Pennsboro in Ritchie County but grew up in Grafton.

He became a coaching legend at Long Island University in the 1930s. Bee led the Blackbirds to 43 straight wins, two undefeated seasons, and National Invitational Tournament titles in 1939 and ’41. He resigned in 1951 after a point-shaving scandal implicated three of his players. During his career, Bee won nearly 83 percent of his games—still an NCAA Division I record. He also developed the 1-3-1 zone.

On May 14, 1982, Judge Arthur Recht handed down a legal ruling that reshaped the course of public education in West Virginia.

  

On May 13, 1941, Fairmont State College President Joseph Rosier was seated in the U.S. Senate, ending one of the state’s most bizarre political tussles. He was succeeding Democratic powerbroker Matthew Neely, who’d stepped down as senator to become West Virginia’s 21st governor.

May 7, 1972: Activist Lenna Lowe Yost Dies at 94

May 7, 2015

  Activist Lenna Lowe Yost died on May 7, 1972, at age 94. The Marion County native and West Virginia Wesleyan College graduate had become involved in women’s issues as a young adult. For 10 years, she was president of the state chapter of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. The WCTU, as it’s known, principally opposed the consumption of alcohol but also supported social reforms for women.

May 6, 1968: Incident at Hominy Falls Traps 25 Miners for Days

May 6, 2015

  On May 6, 1968, a continuous miner machine cut into an unmapped coal mine at Hominy Falls in Nicholas County. The incident unleashed a torrent of water from the old abandoned mine into the Gauley Coal & Coke Saxsewell No. 8 mine. Most miners made it out unharmed, but 25 were cut off from the entrance. The next 10 days were filled with tension and, often, despair.

April 30, 1774: Family of Chief Logan Slaughtered in Hancock County

Apr 30, 2015
Chief Logan Statue at Chief Logan State Park.
e-WV, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV Division of Tourism, Steve Shaluta

On April 30, 1774, one of the worst atrocities of the frontier era occurred in present-day Hancock County. A band of frontiersmen led by Daniel Greathouse slaughtered a group of Indians, including the family of Logan. Logan was chief of the Mingo Indians, a multi-tribal confederation allied to the Six Nations. During the four years he’d lived in the area, he had consistently tried to maintain peace.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV Humanities Council, Heidi Perov

On April 29, 1863, the largest Civil War battle in present northern West Virginia occurred at Fairmont. It was part of the Jones-Imboden Raid. In the previous five days, Confederate cavalry under General William “Grumble” Jones had fought battles in Hardy and Preston counties. On April 28, Jones raided Morgantown. Ironically, one of the Confederate raiders was William Lyne Wilson, who would later return to Morgantown as president of West Virginia University.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

  Andrew Rowan, made famous as the subject of a patriotic essay, was born in Monroe County on April 23, 1857. In 1898, the United States was on the verge of war with Spain over the island of Cuba. President William McKinley needed military intelligence from Cuban General Calixto Garcia. The Army chose Lieutenant Andrew Rowan to deliver the message.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

  On April 22, 1861, some 1,200 protesters gathered at the Harrison County Courthouse in Clarksburg to vent their anger about Virginia seceding from the Union. Five days earlier, Virginia delegates had adopted an Ordinance of Secession, just days after the start of the Civil War.

Arch Moore
U.S. Government Printing Office / wikimedia Commons

  Arch Moore was born in Moundsville on April 16, 1923. During World War II, he was severely wounded in the face and had to learn to talk again during his long hospital recovery. The Republican was elected to the state legislature in 1952 and to Congress four years later.

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

  State founder Peter G. Van Winkle died in Parkersburg on April 15, 1872, at age 63. The native of New York City had moved to Parkersburg in 1835 to practice law. Through his wife’s family, he became a key player in the region’s oil industry. He also helped organize and serve as president of the Northwestern Virginia Railroad.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

  The 1872 West Virginia Constitutional Convention adjourned on April 9, 1872. The day was chosen specifically because it was the seventh anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. The convention had selected former Confederates to all offices, including the convention president, who had been the lieutenant governor of secessionist Virginia.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

  Writer Breece D’J Pancake died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on April 8, 1979. The South Charleston native grew up in Milton, which became the fictionalized setting for many of his short stories.

A graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan and Marshall, Pancake taught at two military schools in Virginia before entering the University of Virginia’s Creative Writing Program, where he was influenced by authors James Alan McPherson, Peter Taylor, and Mary Lee Settle. He began writing human interest stories for a Milton newspaper and working on a series of short stories. His big breakthrough came in 1977, when the Atlantic Monthly published his story “Trilobites.”

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Jennings Boyd died on April 2, 2002, at age 68. He was one of the legendary coaches in West Virginia history.

  In 1966, two significant events happened in Northfork. First, racial segregation ended in that part of McDowell County, as Northfork merged with the historically black Elkhorn High. Second, Jennings Boyd was hired as head basketball coach. Boyd’s teams would become known for their up-tempo styles, fast breaks, and transition offense.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / Courtesy of E. I du Pont de Nemours & Company, Belle

  On April 1, 1926, the DuPont plant at Belle produced North America’s first ammonia made from a high-pressure process. A few years before, chemical giant E. I. DuPont had decided to build an ammonia plant, using technology developed by Germany during World War I. The technology consisted of giant mechanical compressors, called ‘‘hypers,’’ which generated up to 15,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. In 1925, DuPont started construction of its new hyper-pressure plant in the eastern Kanawha County town of Belle.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Statesman Cyrus Vance was born in Clarksburg on March 27, 1917. After serving as a navy gunnery officer during World War II, he became an attorney in New York City. His first government post was as a special counsel to then-Senator Lyndon Johnson’s committee on space and aeronautics. In this role, he helped write the law that created NASA.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / via West Virginia State Archives

Governor William Marland was born in Illinois on March 26, 1918. When he was seven, his family moved to Wyoming County. After graduating from WVU Law School, he quickly moved up the political ranks. He was appointed state attorney general and, in 1952, was elected governor at age 34.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Musician Frank Hutchison was born in Raleigh County on March 20, 1897. As a child, he moved to Logan County, where he encountered blacks who had migrated from the Deep South to work in the southern West Virginia coalfields. After listening to the music all around him, Hutchison started merging the blues with traditional Appalachian mountain music. He also developed a distinct style, featuring his slide guitar and high-pitched vocals.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / via West Virginia State Archives (WVSA), Coal Life Collection

The West Virginia Mine Workers Union was founded on March 19, 1931. It was a radical alternative to the United Mine Workers of America, known as the UMWA. The new union was the brainchild of Frank Keeney, who had been a key UMWA leader during the West Virginia Mine Wars.

After the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain, UMWA national president John L. Lewis began exerting greater control over local union matters. The year after the battle, Keeney had agreed to a temporary wage cut for miners. Lewis used the wage cuts as an excuse to fire Keeney.

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