West Virginia

WCHS-TV

A judge says he wants more information before he'll approve a class-action settlement stemming from a 2014 chemical spill in West Virginia that contaminated drinking water supplies.

The case involves Kanawha Valley residents and businesses and two former top officials from Freedom Industries.

April 5, 1856: Educator Booker T. Washington Born in Franklin County

Apr 5, 2016
Booker T. Washington
e-WV Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

Educator Booker T. Washington was born a slave in Franklin County, Virginia, on April 5, 1856. After the Civil War, he relocated to Malden, a few miles east of Charleston, where he attended a one-room school for blacks. He also was tutored by Viola Ruffner, whom he later credited for instilling in him the qualities of cleanliness and hard work.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A new report indicates that West Virginia is in an economic recession.

The Register-Herald reports that the Mountain State Business Index has found that West Virginia has seen deterioration in economic activities since the spring of 2015.

The economic recession has been largely a result of the decline in the coal industry. The index found that in March there was a 3.1 percent month-to-month decline in coal production. It also found that there were month-to-month gains registered for natural gas production.

Gas, natural gas, pipeline, energy, valve
Dollar Photo Club

Mountaineer Gas Co. has filed an application with West Virginia regulators for a major natural gas distribution line expansion in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.

The company's senior vice president, Moses Skaff, tells The Journal of Martinsburg that the proposed project would run a 27-mile distribution line from a Columbia Gas transmission line in Pennsylvania to Berkeley Springs and then onto the north end of Martinsburg.

April 1, 1788: The Clendenins Start Their Journey to Kanawha Valley

Apr 1, 2016
e-WV Encyclopedia / The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America

On April 1, 1788, George Clendenin, along with family members and about 30 Greenbrier County Rangers, departed from present Lewisburg to make a new home for themselves in the Kanawha Valley. The previous year, Clendenin had purchased about 1000 acres of unsettled land, which would eventually become the heart of Charleston.

March 31, 1943: The First Buna-S Synthetic Rubber Shipped at Institute

Mar 31, 2016
Synthetic rubber production at Institute
e-WV Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

On March 31, 1943, the first Buna-S synthetic rubber was shipped from Union Carbide’s plant at Institute in Kanawha County. It was a significant development in our nation’s fight against the Axis powers during World War II.

The Main Hall at West Liberty
e-WV Encyclopedia

On March 30, 1837, the Virginia legislature chartered a private academy at West Liberty, north of Wheeling. The first 65 students met for classes the following year. In 1857, public-spirited citizens completed the red-brick Academy Hall, which survived until the mid-1970s.

March 28, 1868: Eli ‘‘Rimfire’’ Hamrick Born in Webster County

Mar 28, 2016
WV Division of Culture and History / Michael Keller

Eli ‘‘Rimfire’’ Hamrick was born at Bergoo in Webster County on March 28, 1868. Considered one of the best woodsmen of his time, he often led coal and lumber barons on hunting expeditions. In 1907, he was hired by the Webster Springs Hotel as a guide and handyman. One of his jobs was to kill and dress chickens for the hotel kitchen. That’s when Rimfire supposedly acquired his nickname. When asked how he killed the chickens for the hotel, he replied, ‘‘With a rimfire rifle, by God.’’

e-WV Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

West Virginia Attorney General Armistead Abraham Lilly was born at Jumping Branch in Summers County on March 25, 1878. He had a meteoric rise in politics, becoming a state legislator at age 22, Raleigh County prosecuting attorney at 26, and state attorney general when he was 34.

March 24, 1890: Confederate General William Lowther Jackson Dies at 65

Mar 24, 2016
Mudwall Jackson
e-WV Encyclopedia

On March 24, 1890, former Confederate General William Lowther Jackson died at age 65. Prior to the Civil War, the Clarksburg native had served as a Ritchie County judge, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, and president of the Virginia state senate.

Telling West Virginia's Syrian Story: Part Two, Zain

Mar 22, 2016
Ikram Benaicha

About 2 million Syrian children have been relocated due to the Civil War. Many of these children are still on the run with their families looking for security, either in neighboring countries or in Europe. But there are some Syrian kids living right here in West Virginia. 11 year-old Zain is one of them. Still, he is not a refugee, he is the youngest of a Syrian immigrant family.

e-WV Encyclopedia / Chris Dorst/The Charleston Gazette

The first state boys’ high school basketball tournament began in Buckhannon on March 21, 1914. The event was hosted by West Virginia Wesleyan College, which had West Virginia’s largest and finest gymnasium. Elkins High School took that first state title.

March 17, 1912: Athlete Joe Stydahar Born in Pennsylvania

Mar 17, 2016
e-WV Encyclopedia

Athlete Joe Stydahar was born in Pennsylvania on March 17, 1912. He and his family moved to Harrison County, West Virginia, where he graduated from Shinnston High School. He went on to become a basketball and football star at West Virginia University.

March 16, 1971: Industrialist J. G. Bradley Dies at 89

Mar 16, 2016
e-WV Encyclopedia

Industrialist J. G. Bradley died on March 16, 1971, at age 89. The New Jersey native moved to West Virginia in 1904 and soon became president of the Elk River Coal & Lumber Company. The company’s landholdings in central West Virginia were so significant that the county of Clay couldn’t meet its financial obligations until the company paid its taxes each year.

March 15, 1988: Reformer Mary Behner Christopher Dies at 81

Mar 15, 2016
e-WV Encyclopedia / Bettijane Burger

Reformer Mary Behner Christopher died in Morgantown on March 15, 1988, at age 81. The Ohio native came to West Virginia in the 1920s as a missionary for the Presbyterian church. From 1928 to 1937, she worked in the impoverished coal communities along Scotts Run, outside of Morgantown. This once-prosperous region had fallen on hard times after the coal market plummeted in the ‘20s. Thousands of families, including numerous immigrants and African-Americans, were stranded by the economic depression.

March 11, 1939: W.Va. Becomes First State to Pass Law on Surface Mining

Mar 11, 2016
Bureau of Land Management

  On March 11, 1939, the West Virginia Legislature passed the state’s first law regulating surface mining. Once referred to as strip mining, surface mining strips away earth, rock, and vegetation—known as overburden—to expose coal deposits.

March 9, 1832: Politician George Latham Born in Prince William County

Mar 9, 2016
e-WV Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

George Latham was born on March 9, 1832, in Prince William County, Virginia, on what would later become the Bull Run Battlefield. He moved to Taylor County in 1849 and taught in local schools while studying to become a lawyer. He opened his legal practice in Grafton in 1860.

March 4, 1924: Blues Musician Nat Reese Born in Virginia

Mar 4, 2016
Bluesman Nat Reese (1924-2012)
e-WV Encyclopedia / Michael Keller

Blues musician Nat Reese was born in Salem, Virginia, on March 4, 1924. When he was young, his family moved to Wyoming County and then to Princeton in Mercer County. He grew up listening to a variety of music, including jazz, blues, and country. And he learned to play the guitar, piano, organ, bass, and string harp.

March 3, 1866: Greenwood Cemetery Incorporated in Wheeling

Mar 3, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Wheeling’s Greenwood Cemetery was incorporated on March 3, 1866, by a group of prominent citizens. The first burial occurred the following July, though prior to that, several bodies had been relocated to Greenwood from other cemeteries. Civil engineer James Gilchrist laid out Greenwood as a park-like setting—a common cemetery design in the mid-1800s. It’s adorned with shrubbery, flowers, trees, and picket fences.

March 2, 1927: West Virginia’s Pasteboard Capitol Burns to the Ground

Mar 2, 2016
West Virginia's Victorian-era capitol
e-WV Encyclopedia / WV State Archives (WVSA)

On March 2, 1927, West Virginia’s so-called pasteboard capitol burned to the ground. It was the second time in six years that a West Virginia capitol had been destroyed by fire.

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