West Virginia

Stephen B. Elkins
e-WV Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

On February 29, 1888, Stephen B. Elkins gave his first political speech in West Virginia—at a rally in Wheeling. He soon bought into the state’s leading Republican newspaper and built a summer mansion in the Randolph County town that would bear his name.

401(K) 2012 / www.401kcalculator.org

Seven southern and Appalachian states, including West Virginia, received Health Impact Project grants yesterday from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts to promote health in southern and Appalachian states.

The goal is to fund projects aimed at addressing health inequities in southern and Appalachian states.

February 24, 1918: Judge K. K. Hall Born in Boone County

Feb 24, 2016
Scale of Justice
Wikimedia Commons

Judge Kenneth Keller “K. K.” Hall was born in Boone County on February 24, 1918. During World War II, he served on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, earning 11 battle stars.

e-WV Encyclopedia / WV State Archives (WVSA)

On February 17, 1863, the West Virginia Constitutional Convention adopted the Willey Amendment, which settled the issue of slavery and paved the way for West Virginia to become the 35th state.

February 16, 1821: Financier Morris Harvey Born in Raleigh County

Feb 16, 2016
Stan Cohen Via e-WV Encyclopedia / The S. Spencer Moore Co.

Civic leader and financier Morris Harvey was born in Raleigh County on February 16, 1821. He worked at his uncle's store in Fayetteville, where he learned the ins and outs of politics and business. When the Civil War began, he enlisted in Thurmond's Rangers, a local Confederate unit. 

February 15, 1902: Confederate Veteran Isaiah Welch Dies at 76

Feb 15, 2016
A 1946 Saturday afternoon, Main Street, Welch.
Russell Lee via e-WV Encyclopedia

Industrial promoter, land speculator, and railroad developer Isaiah Welch died at St. Albans in Kanawha County on February 15, 1902. He was about 76.

Wikimedia Commons

On February 11, 1923, eight gangsters were arrested in Harrison County for their involvement in Black Hand activities. Black Hand was a name given to underworld extortion techniques, such as threatening lives in exchange for money. During the early 20th century, it was most commonly associated with Italian and Sicilian mobsters who extorted money from their fellow countrymen who had emigrated to the United States.

February 10, 1904: The Murder of Jay Legg

Feb 10, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

On February 10, 1904, Sarah Ann Legg shot and killed her husband, Jay, in their home at Harden’s lumber camp in Clay County. Jay floated logs downstream on the Elk River to Charleston. On the day of the shooting, he returned home early and was fatally shot with his own rifle.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, We hear from Ron Pennington about being a trailblazer for African Americans in professional football.

Dollar Photo Club

West Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina have issued advisories for the Zika virus, urging caution, particularly for pregnant women traveling to areas where the disease is circulating.

Courtesy of Dale Payne

Not many Americans know the story of the Mine Wars that were fought between workers, labor unions and mine company guards during the early 1900s. In this show, Jessica Lilly talks with filmmaker Randy MacLowry, whose new PBS documentary The Mine Wars focuses on these armed uprisings by labor organizers in the coalfields of southern West Virginia. 

February 4, 1861: Peace Conference Opens in Washington

Feb 4, 2016
George William Summers
e-West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV Regional and History Collection

On February 4, 1861, a Peace Conference was held in Washington as a last-ditch effort to avert the looming Civil War. The deep divisions between the North and South carried into the conference, which failed to find a compromise. The Civil War started two months later.

Dollar Photo Club

A report released today from Families USA found that West Virginia has one of the most successful Medicaid expansion programs in the country.

The report used U.S. Census data to compare the rate of uninsured workers in all 50 states during 2014, the first year Medicaid expansion was offered. It found that West Virginia had reduced uninsured worker rates by 30 percent – 5 points higher than the expanded Medicaid state average. Non-expansion states reduced their uninsured worker rates by 13 percent on average.

Lyme, tick, Lyme disease, IDSA, infectious disease, WVU
Dollar Photo Club

In June of 2007, Victoria Snyder, then age-nine, attended a week-long church camp. During the week she began to feel sick – muscle aches, lethargy, headaches. A doctor at the camp thought it might be the flu, but she didn’t get better. So after camp, her mother, Christine, took her to see a pediatrician.

“The pediatrician found a bullseye ring on her stomach,” said Christine. “I felt a lot of relief when they put her on antibiotics because with Lyme disease, we knew what we were dealing with.”

Governor Arthur Ingraham Boreman (1823-96)
e-West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV State Archives (WVSA)

On February 3, 1865, West Virginia Governor Arthur Boreman signed a legislative act banning slavery in the state. A common misconception is that West Virginia entered the Union in 1863 as a free state.

January 28, 1864: State Legislature Authorizes W.Va.'s First Flag

Jan 28, 2016
West Virginia State Flag
DollarPhoto Club / DollarPhoto Club

On January 28, 1864, the state legislature authorized West Virginia’s first flag. The new flags were presented to each of the state’s military regiments before the end of the Civil War. Consequently, these first state flags are commonly referred to as regimental or battle flags.

January 21, 1861: Joint Resolution Concerning the Position of Virginia

Jan 21, 2016
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On January 21, 1861, the Virginia General Assembly adopted a joint resolution stating that if differences between the North and South couldn’t be settled, Virginia would join the Confederate States of America. It was a key turning point in history. First, the Confederacy considered Virginia a prize jewel—a necessity for its success as a separate country. Second, Virginia’s eventual secession would lead to West Virginia becoming a state.

January 20, 1978: A Great Blizzard Strikes West Virginia

Jan 20, 2016
Wikimedia commons

On January 20, 1978, one of the worst blizzards in modern history struck West Virginia. It was the result of a Nor’easter that developed the previous day in the Atlantic.

W.Va. State Police
wikimedia / Wikimedia

For the second time since Friday, a West Virginia State Police trooper has used deadly force against a suspect.

State police said Sunday that a trooper fatally shot a suspected drunken driver shortly after midnight.

Lt. Michael Baylous said the trooper was trying to pull the vehicle over, but it failed to stop. A chase ensued. The trooper pursued the vehicle and then approached it on foot. The vehicle then headed directly toward the trooper, and he fired.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia's five downhill ski resorts are banking on a big holiday weekend in hopes of making up for a mild start to the winter season.

With seasonable temperatures arriving and snowguns laying down a blanket of snow, the resorts say they're ready for what traditionally is one of the biggest weekends for the downhill industry.

 The House of Delegates is reviewing legislation that would require Internet providers to offer download speeds of at least 10 megabits per second to promote their broadband service as "high speed," according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail. 

Many rural West Virginians don't have Internet speeds anywhere near that. Customers with slow service can't use TV- and movie-streaming services.

January 14, 1977: Governor Moore Accepts $1 Million Settlement

Jan 14, 2016
Arch Moore
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On January 14, 1977, Governor Arch Moore accepted a $1 million settlement from the Pittston Coal Company related to the 1972 Buffalo Creek Flood. It was one of many lawsuits filed against Pittston after an improperly built coal dam collapsed, unleashing a muddy torrent that killed 125 people. 

January 11, 1994: Author Agnes Smith Dies in Fairmont

Jan 11, 2016
Illustration for An Edge of the Forest
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / Jan Sharkey Thomas

Author Agnes Clifford Smith died in Fairmont on January 11, 1994, at age 87. She spent her childhood in Clarksburg and Charleston before going to a private academy in New York State. She returned to West Virginia and graduated from Fairmont State College (now University) with an English degree. She married Richard Bruce Parrish, who, for many years, was editor of Fairmont’s afternoon newspaper, The West Virginian. For more than 50 years, the couple lived near Worthington, cultivating hay, oats, and other grains. During World War II, Smith ran the farm herself while her husband served in the army.

Joseph F. Rutherford
Wikimedia commons

On December 24, 1942, the President’s Committee on Fair Employment Practices ordered that seven Jehovah’s Witnesses have their jobs reinstated at the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company plant in Clarksburg. The seven had been fired a year earlier after declining to participate in union-sponsored, flag-salute ceremonies due to their religious beliefs. Union truckers refused to accept glass produced by the workers, prompting the company to fire all seven Jehovah’s Witnesses. 

Inspiring West Virginians tells the stories of West Virginians who are exceptional leaders in science and business. We visit them where they are, learn about what they do, hear stories of their childhoods and the influence of a West Virginia upbringing.  Added to that are the perspectives of friends, relatives and colleagues.  

Coming from small towns or modest means, they’ve all overcome hardships and hurdles on their way to the top of their fields.

What do Don Blankenship, heroin, and pepperoni rolls have in common? They’re all on our highly-unscientific list of top stories for 2015.

On December 17, 1957: Wheeling’s J. L. Stifel and Sons Closes its Doors

Dec 17, 2015
Johann Ludwig Stifel
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On December 17, 1957, Wheeling’s J. L. Stifel and Sons closed its doors. The company had been founded by German immigrant Johann Ludwig Stifel in 1835, making it one of West Virginia’s longest-surviving businesses, operated by four generations of the family.

AP Photo/Jeff Gentner

There’s been landmark news here in the coalfields.

After 10 days of deliberation, jurors have found former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship guilty of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards.

Wikimedia commons / W. Bailey, HABS photographer

On November 19, 1909, the Lincoln County Courthouse in Hamlin burned to the ground. While devastating fires were fairly commonplace in the early 20th century, it has been widely speculated that the Lincoln County Courthouse was an act of arson.

Lincoln—one of five counties formed after West Virginia became a state—was always agricultural in nature. In particular, it was one of the state’s most productive farming regions for tobacco.

Jessica Lilly

In this week’s Inside Appalachia, we take a look at first generation college students.  We’ll hear about challenges that first generation college students are going through, and how some colleges and universities are trying to help these students stay in school.

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