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Some 5,000 spectators poured into the Jackson County seat. Many were drunk, and some even sold souvenirs.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / e-WV

On December 16, 1897, John F. Morgan was hanged in Ripley for the murder of Chloe Greene and two of her sons. It was the last public execution in West Virginia history.

Some 5,000 spectators poured into the Jackson County seat. Many were drunk, and some even sold souvenirs. The rowdy scene prompted West Virginia lawmakers to take action.

Jim McGuire

Mountain Stage with Larry Groce is proud to announce the return of Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn and The Del McCoury Band to Charleston, West Virginia.

A faulty eyebar eventually cracked and began to corrode, out of sight from the public or bridge inspectors. At about 5 p.m. on December 15, the eyebar failed, setting off a series of other failures that caused the bridge to collapse.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online

  

December 15, 1967, was one of the darkest days in West Virginia history. Sadly, it was only the first of many tragic days that West Virginians would suffer.

The Silver Bridge, which connected Point Pleasant with Gallipolis, Ohio, had opened to traffic in 1928. It was the first bridge in the nation to use an innovative eyebar-link suspension system rather than a traditional wire-cable suspension.

Josh Saul/Mountain Stage

As Don Henley's long-time writing partner, JD Souther has had his hands in some of the most memorable pop songs of all time,  including "The New Kid in Town" and "Best of My Love." But here, Souther teams up with Mountain Stage favorite Nellie McKay to cover another legendary songwriter: Cole Porter's standard "Every Time We Say Goodbye."

Discover our holiday line-up of radio specials. 

Battle of Allegheny Mountain: December 13, 1861

Dec 13, 2016
Union General Robert Milroy’s force of about 1,900 went up against the Confederate’s 1,200 troops.
Wikipedia

On December 13, 1861, the Battle of Allegheny Mountain was fought in Pocahontas County. Following the Battle of Greenbrier River at Camp Bartow on October 3, the Confederate army had withdrawn to winter quarters atop Allegheny Mountain. Union General Robert Milroy likely believed the Confederates were demoralized and launched an attack on the cold mountain summit. Milroy’s force of about 1,900 went up against the Confederate’s 1,200 troops.

Adam Harris / Mountain Stage

2016 was a big year for NPR Music and West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Mountain Stage. We celebrated 33 years of live performance radio, commemorated the 25th anniversary of R.E.M.’s legendary set, and listened to the voices of two new guest hosts

Shoneys
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online

On December 12, 1975, the original Shoney’s Restaurant closed down for good in Charleston. The Shoney’s chain grew from the original Parkette Drive-In and Bowling Alley, which had opened on the city’s West Side in 1947.

The restaurant was the brainchild of Alex Schoenbaum, a former All-American football player at Ohio State. He moved to Charleston in 1943 and opened the Parkette four years later.

Over the years, the performers who have recorded Wheeler’s songs read like a Who’s Who of country music.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

On December 9, 1932, songwriter, musician, playwright, humorist, and poet Billy Edd Wheeler was born in Boone County. He started writing and performing songs when he was just a teenager.

Wheeler got his first check in the music business when Pat Boone recorded his song “Rock Boll Weevil.” He would go on to write more than 500 other songs, including the country classics “Jackson,” “The Reverend Mister Black,” and “Coward of the County.”

Blenko Glass also manufactures trophies for the annual Country Music Awards.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

Glassmaker William Blenko was born in England on December 8, 1854. In his late thirties, he immigrated to the United States and tried to produce stained glass for a living. Unfortunately, business after business failed—until he wound up in the Cabell County town of Milton in 1921.

Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

Once part of the Grammy-winning duo The Civil Wars, Southern folk musician John Paul White returns to the Mountain Stage to perform cuts from his new solo release Beulah, including the atmospheric lament "Once and Future Queen." 

Monongah Mine Disaster: December 6, 1907

Dec 6, 2016
Fairmont Coal Company’s No. 6 and 8 mines at Monongah in Marion County
Appalachian History.net

On December 6, 1907, a massive explosion ripped through the Fairmont Coal Company’s No. 6 and 8 mines at Monongah in Marion County. The powerful blast killed at least 361 men, and that number is likely low due to poor record keeping. It was the worst mine disaster in U.S. history.

His first plows sold for between $150 and $175.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

On December 5, 1916, Benjamin Franklin Gravely of South Charleston received a patent for his Gravely Motor Plow.

He had first started working on the invention five years earlier.  Gravely’s first crude attempt had combined a push plow, a tractor wheel, and a two-and-a-half-horsepower motorcycle engine. From this simple start, he kept adapting the plow until he perfected it.

Charles Town Race Track Opens: December 2, 1933

Dec 2, 2016
The Charles Town Race Track opened in Jefferson County on December 2, 1933.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

The Charles Town Race Track opened in Jefferson County on December 2, 1933.  It was the first track in West Virginia to open after the state legalized racing and parimutuel betting. The sprawling complex featured a 3,000-seat, steam-heated grandstand and a 200-seat restaurant.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

Legendary political consultant Matthew Reese died on December 1, 1998, at the age of 71. His political career started in 1948, when he helped Huntington’s Maurice “Bernie” Burnside get elected to Congress.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

 

Spellbinding folk with a captivating voice. It would only make sense for such a performance by Aoife O'Donovan to be titled "Magic Hour," one of the many songs we'll preview on this week's Mountain Stage broadcast.

We'll also hear performances by Old Crow Medicine Show crooner Willie Watson, Grammy-nominated country songwriter Brandy Clark, Chicago indie rockers Frances Luke Accord, and acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter John Doyle.

Izetta Jewell Kenny Born: November 24, 1883

Nov 24, 2016
got involved with farm women’s groups, attended the first farm women’s camp at Jackson’s Mill, and served on a committee to improve wool production.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Izetta Jewell Brown, US Senate, William Gay Brown, Preston County

Izetta Jewell Kenny was born in New Jersey on November 24, 1883. In 1914, she moved to West Virginia with her husband, William Gay Brown, a congressman from Kingwood.

In 1920—the year women got the right to vote nationally—Brown attended the National Democratic Convention. She seconded the presidential nomination of West Virginia’s John W. Davis, a first for a woman in U.S. history.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

 

As the year winds down and we prepare for the camaraderie of Thanksgiving, Mountain Stage looks back at some of our favorite performances of 2016. One of those performances comes from The Wood Brothers, an established folk-soul trio from Nashville whose latest release Paradise was produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach.

November 17, 1766: Pioneer Morgan Morgan Died

Nov 17, 2016
Pioneer Morgan Morgan was an influential member of the Bunker Hill community and helped found Christ Episcopal Church. Today, his grave is part of the church’s cemetery, and a log cabin he built stands nearby.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Morgan Morgan, Bunker Hill, Berkeley County, Christ Church Episcopal Church, Potomoke

Pioneer Morgan Morgan died on November 17, 1766. Generations of schoolchildren grew up being taught that Morgan was the first permanent white settler in present West Virginia. Now, though, we know that others came before him.

Brian Blauser

Somewhere between experimental folk and traditional Appalachian you'll find Asheville-based band River Whyless, an up-and-coming indie act making their Mountain Stage debut on this week's broadcast (which includes this trip-loopy performance of "All Day All Night").

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