West Virginia

January 19, 1818: Virginia General Assembly Creates Preston County

Jan 19, 2018
Preston County
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV Humanities Council

On January 19, 1818, the Virginia General Assembly created Preston County from the eastern part of Monongalia County.

Industry in Preston County began to take off in the 1830s with the completion of the Northwestern Turnpike, which connected Winchester, Virginia, with the Ohio River. Over such roads, teamsters hauled away Preston’s agricultural products and brought back commercial goods. Today, U.S. 50 follows the route of the turnpike.

January 18, 1937: Homer Holt Becomes W.Va.'s 20th Governor

Jan 18, 2018
Governor Homer Holt (1898-1976).
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV State Archives (WVSA)

On January 18, 1937, Democrat Homer Holt became the state’s 20th governor. Just four years earlier, the Lewisburg native had been swept into statewide office as attorney general in a Democratic wave that ended the Republicans’ long-standing domination of West Virginia politics. He was only 34 at the time.

Becoming attorney general during the darkest days of the Great Depression, he worked with Governor H. Guy Kump to shore up the state’s finances.

January 12, 1880: W.Va. National Guard Puts Down the First Coal Strike

Jan 12, 2018
Photo of coal miners in West Virginia, 1908
Wikimedia commons

On January 12, 1880, West Virginia National Guard troops arrived at Hawks Nest in Fayette County to put down one of the state’s first coal strikes. The strike started at Montgomery when coal operators told their union miners that nonunion competition from the nearby Hawks Nest mines was hurting business.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In this episode of West Virginia Morning, we listen back to one of our favorite stories of 2017, about two flower enthusiasts who love searching for orchids in unlikely places. 


December 29, 1970: "Take Me Home, Country Roads" Is Complete

Dec 29, 2017
John Denver
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On December 29, 1970, songwriters Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, and John Denver finished writing what would become one of the most popular tunes in history and one of West Virginia’s official state songs. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” also branded the Mountain State with its most recognizable slogan: “almost heaven.”

December 28, 1879: Brigadier General Billy Mitchell Born in France

Dec 28, 2017
Brigadier General William "Billy" Mitchell
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / United States Air Force

Brigadier General Billy Mitchell was born in France on December 28, 1879. By 1921, he’d become chief of the Army Air Service. After seeing the potential military impact of aircraft during World War I, he wanted to demonstrate how planes could be used to quell civil unrest at home.

December 22, 1981: Louis Watson Chappell Dies at 91

Dec 22, 2017
Louis Chappell
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / West Virginia Historical Photographs Collection

Louis Watson Chappell, a leading authority on West Virginia folk music, died on December 22, 1981, at age 91. The North Carolina native joined West Virginia University’s English Department in 1921. He soon became fascinated with regional folk songs, spurred on by his WVU colleague and pioneering folklorist, John Harrington Cox.

December 18, 1944: Bernard Bell Earns the Medal of Honor

Dec 18, 2017
Bernard Bell
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / United States Army

On December 18, 1944, during World War II, Bernard Bell captured more than 30 German prisoners, earning the Medal of Honor. 

December 14, 1857: Coal Operator Justus Collins Born in Alabama

Dec 14, 2017
Justus Collins, e-WV
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

Coal operator Justus Collins was born in Alabama on December 14, 1857. He got his start in coal mining in the Deep South but moved north about 1887 to pursue his fortune in the coalfields of southern West Virginia.

In Mercer County, Collins organized the Louisville Coal & Coke Company, one of the first mines to ship coal on the Norfolk and Western Railway. In 1893, he opened Collins Colliery at Glen Jean in Fayette County. About the same time, he started Greenbrier Coal & Coke and later opened the Whipple mine near Mount Hope.

December 11, 1893: Governor Jacob Jackson Dies in Parkersburg

Dec 11, 2017
Governor Jacob Beeson Jackson (1829-93)
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV State Archives (WVSA)

West Virginia’s sixth governor, Jacob Jackson, died in Parkersburg on December 11, 1893, at age 64. The son and grandson of congressmen, Jackson came from one of the region’s most distinguished families. His father was also one of West Virginia’s founders.

Jackson first worked as a teacher and then opened a legal practice in St. Marys. He served as the Pleasants County prosecuting attorney before and during the Civil War. His work took him occasionally to Wheeling, where he was once arrested for making pro-Confederate remarks.

December 1, 1901: Tony Boyle Born in Montana

Dec 1, 2017
Tony Boyle
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Tony Boyle was born in Montana on December 1, 1901. His controversial tenure as president of the United Mine Workers of America would lead to big changes in the way the union was operated.

November 24, 1893: West Virginia Governor John Jacob Dies at 63

Nov 24, 2017
Governor John J. Jacob (1829-93)
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV State Archives (WVSA)

  West Virginia governor John Jacob died in Wheeling on November 24, 1893, at age 63. The Hampshire County native was the first governor born within the borders of what would become West Virginia and, in 1870, became the state’s first Democratic governor.

Much of Appalachia’s economy has rested on the boom and bust cycles of industries like coal and manufacturing for decades. It’s true that these industries have long put bread on the Appalachian table, but as those industries have faded in recent decades, jobs have grown scarce. 

So are there industries that might one day provide more financial stability to the region? This week on Inside Appalachia, we learn more about some unexpected and unique ways Appalachians are thinking outside the box to earn money, like growing industrial hemp, installing solar panels and even growing tea.

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.

American Friends Service Committee South Region

High-profile confrontations between African-Americans and police officers have fueled tensions across the country. West Virginia is NOT a place where people are comfortable talking about these things.

But in Trey's hometown of Charleston, some of the key players are now bringing this tension out into the open.

USDA/ Daniel Boone National Forest

In this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, we visit communities impacted by creation of flood-control lakes. Like the Village of Lilly, where back in the 1940s, about 40 families were pushed off their land along the Bluestone River in Summers County, West Virginia. Many of these families had lived there for more than 200 years. 

Inside Appalachia Host Jessica Lilly has deep roots to this community, as we hear in this episode. 

Trey Kay

Two rivers run through Charleston, West Virginia. While most of the city is situated on the Kanawha, it’s the Elk River that demarcates the West Side from the governmental and business center of Charleston. Today, the West Side is the poorest neighborhood in Charleston.

Adobe Stock

The Kroger Co., donated nearly 1.3 million meals through West Virginia food banks last year, says its new national effort is aiming at helping end hunger and eliminating waste across the grocery company by 2025.

Chief Executive Rodney McMullen says more than 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. isn't consumed and an estimated 72 billion pounds goes to landfills annually.

EMILY SARKEES

There’s no place in America that’s gained a bigger reputation for country and rock and roll music than Nashville, Tennessee. So what does it take to make it there? Well, perhaps having West Virginia roots might help. There are so many talented musicians from our region who’ve found success in Nashville that some refer to the scene as the “WV music mafia.” But what about the folks who stay here in the Mountain State? What does it take to “make it” in the current music scene here?  


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