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

November 14, 1970: Marshall University Plane Crash

3 hours ago
1970 Marshall University Football Team
Marshall University

On the night of November 14, 1970, a Southern Airways DC-9 approached a foggy and rainy Tri-State Airport in Wayne County. The airliner slammed into a hillside just short of the runway and burst into flames. All 75 passengers were killed.

On board were nearly the entire Marshall University football team along with the head coach, athletic director, and 36 other fans, coaches, announcers, and crew members. It is still the deadliest sports-related air disaster in U.S. history.

November 13, 1879: Arthurdale Educator Elsie Clapp Born

Nov 13, 2018
Educator Elsie Clapp was born in Brooklyn Heights and influenced by progressive educator John Dewey.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / John Dewey, Elsie Clapp, Arthurdale, Preston County

Educator Elsie Clapp was born on November 13, 1879, in Brooklyn Heights. She was influenced by progressive educator John Dewey, who believed that schools should have a direct impact on the communities they serve.

In 1934, Clapp brought this philosophy with her to West Virginia as director of the community school at Arthurdale. The Preston County town was the first of the nation’s New Deal subsistence homesteads. A pet project of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Arthurdale was intended to give unemployed miners and their families a fresh start.

November 12, 1844: Wheeling Businessman Henry Schmulbach Born

Nov 12, 2018
Schmulbach was one of many German immigrants who turned Wheeling into an important brewing center in the late 1800s.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Wheeling, Henry Schmulbach, Nail City Brewery, Schmulbach Brewing, Mozart Park, The Wheeling Bridge Company

Henry Schmulbach was born in Germany on November 12, 1844. When he was a child, he and his family immigrated to Wheeling. By the time he was a young adult, Schmulbach had become one of the city’s most successful businessmen, selling retail groceries and wholesale liquor.

In 1881, he purchased Wheeling’s Nail City Brewery. The next year, he changed its name to Schmulbach Brewing and increased the plant’s annual output to 200,000 barrels of beer. Schmulbach was one of many German immigrants who turned Wheeling into an important brewing center in the late 1800s.

November 9, 1952: Opening of The Huntington Museum of Art

Nov 9, 2018
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.

November 8, 1936: Darrell McGraw Born in Wyoming County

Nov 8, 2018
Darrell McGraw helped to expand the rights of injured workers to sue employers
Yahoo Images

Darrell McGraw was born in Wyoming County on November 8, 1936. After graduating from Pineville High School, he earned degrees from Berea Academy and West Virginia University, where he served as student body president. He also served a stint in the army.

November 7, 1775: Pioneers Form Forks-of-Cheat Baptist Church

Nov 7, 2018
Forks-of-Cheat Baptist is the oldest church in West Virginia west of the Alleghenies with continuous records.
TripAdvison.com

On the night of November 7, 1775, the Reverend John Corbly and 12 others organized the Forks-of-Cheat Baptist Church. The meeting took place near Stewartstown, about six miles north of Morgantown.

The church remains in service today. As such, it is the oldest church in West Virginia west of the Alleghenies with continuous records. Its earliest artifact is the small hand-written minute book of that charter meeting in 1775.

November 6, 1863: Battle of Droop Mountain

Nov 6, 2018
At first glance, the battle might not have seemed that significant because Echols’s forces managed to escape.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park, General William Averell, General John Echols, Pocahontas County, Lewisburg, Civil War

On November 6, 1863, one of the most important Civil War battles in West Virginia occurred in Pocahontas County. In August of that year, Union General William W. Averell had launched a series of raids to disrupt the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad in southwestern Virginia.

November 5, 1891: Birthday of "Greasy" Neale

Nov 5, 2018
Neale also was a football innovator, developing the “naked reverse,” the five-man defensive line, and man-to-man pass defense. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Greasy Neale, 1919 World Seies, Canton Bulldogs, Cincinnati Reds, National Football League

Alfred Earle Neale was born in Parkersburg on November 5, 1891. As a youth, he excelled at virtually every sport. On the football field, he was particularly hard to tackle, earning him the nickname “Greasy.” He went on to enjoy a spectacular football, baseball, and basketball career at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

November 3, 1828: Birthday of Surveyor-Geologist Jedediah Hotchkiss

Nov 3, 2018
Hotchkiss's mapmaking skills played a major role in “Stonewall” Jackson’s brilliant Shenandoah Valley Campaign.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Jedediah Hotchkiss, mapmaking, Stonewall Jackson, Civil War

November 2, 1942: Ceramist Frederick Rhead Dies at 62

Nov 2, 2018
Frederick Hurten Rhead (at far left) and others at the Art Academy of People's University (now the Lewis Center) in University City, Missouri, celebrating its first high-firing kiln in April 1910.
Public Domain

Ceramist Frederick Rhead died on November 2, 1942, at age 62. He learned the pottery trade in his native England before emigrating to the United States in 1902. Rhead’s pottery skills were honored with a gold medal at the 1915 San Diego Exposition.

Rhead was at the top of his profession in 1927, when he joined the Homer Laughlin Company at Newell in Hancock County. At the time, Homer Laughlin was the third largest producer of pottery or chinaware in the world. Rhead made pottery, taught, wrote, and created glazes and shapes.

November 1, 1968: Charles Rogers of Fayette County Earned Medal of Honor

Nov 1, 2018
Charles Rogers of Fayette County earned the Medal of Honor for his actions during a battle in the Vietnam War.
Photo Courtesy of HomeOfHeroes.com

On November 1, 1968, Charles Rogers of Fayette County earned the Medal of Honor for his actions during a battle in the Vietnam War. The 40-year-old Rogers had previously received Army ROTC training at West Virginia State College (now University).

In the early hours of November 1, he was commanding an army infantry battalion near the Cambodian border. The fire-support base he was protecting was under attack from heavy shelling and a ground wave assault.

October 31, 1990: Ravenswood Aluminum Workers Locked Out

Oct 31, 2018

On October 31, 1990, union workers at Ravenswood Aluminum arrived as usual for their midnight shift.

Only this time, they were turned away from the gates. Thus began one of the most bitter labor disputes of the late 20th century.

From the time Kaiser Aluminum opened the Ravenswood plant in 1954 until it sold its operations in 1988, there had never been a strike. But, workers felt that the new owners’ cost-cutting measures were jeopardizing their safety. In fact, four workers had been killed on the job just the summer before the conflict began.

October 30, 1930: First Mountain State Forest Festival Held

Oct 30, 2018
It also features arts-and-craft shows, wood chopping contests, old English knight tournaments, a carnival, and a fire-engine parade representing departments from across West Virginia.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Mountain State Forest Festival, Elkins, 1930, Neil Armstrong, Randolph County, Queen Silvia

The first Mountain State Forest Festival began in Elkins on October 30, 1930. Since then, it has been held every October except for the years 1941 to 1949.

October 29, 1861: General Lee Ends Three-Month Campaign

Oct 29, 2018
The rest of his Civil War career would rank Lee among the greatest generals in history. However, his first campaign was a total calamity.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Robert E. Lee, Traveler, Pocahontas County, Cheat Mountain

On October 29, 1861, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee departed present-day West Virginia, near the end of his ill-fated western Virginia campaign. The rest of his Civil War career would rank Lee among the greatest generals in history. However, his first campaign was a total calamity.

He had been dispatched to the region to regain territory for the Confederacy. His plans came to a head in September 1861 atop Cheat Mountain in Pocahontas County. Lee’s attack, though, fell apart. His troops made a hasty retreat, and he soon abandoned the effort.

October 26, 1934: Basketball Star Rod Hundley Born in Charleston

Oct 26, 2018
Hot Rod Hundley
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / West Virginia & Regional History Collection

Basketball star Rod Hundley was born in Charleston on October 26, 1934. He was a sensation at Charleston High School, dazzling opponents with his tricks and talent. His flashy style is rarely seen today, outside of the Harlem Globetrotters.

His repertoire included trick shots, a signature behind-the-back dribble, and spinning the ball on his finger—all during games. His flair on the court earned him the nickname the “clown prince of basketball.” But he’ll always be remembered as “Hot Rod.”

October 25, 1918: Athlete Biggie Goldberg Born

Oct 25, 2018
Biggie
e-WV West Virginia Encyclopedia / West Virginia Humanities Council

Athlete Marshall “Biggie” Goldberg was born in Elkins on October 25, 1918. He was an all-state football and basketball player at Elkins High School. After graduating, he became a two-time All-American at the University of Pittsburgh and led Pitt to the 1937 national football championship.

As a senior, Goldberg asked to switch from tailback to fullback. Pitt’s coach tried to discourage him, but Goldberg made the move and repeated as an All-American.

October 23, 1943: German POWs Arrive at Camp Ashford

Oct 23, 2018
Camp Ashford was built in the summer of 1942 by Italian POWs, who stayed at the camp until the German prisoners arrived the following year.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online; The Greenbrier / The Greenbrier, Camp Ashford, White Sulphur Springs, World War II

On October 23, 1943, German prisoners of war were moved into Camp Ashford at White Sulphur Springs. This was one of two POW camps in West Virginia during World War II. The other was at Camp Dawson in Preston County.

October 22, 1977: New River Gorge Bridge Dedicated

Oct 22, 2018
The Fayette County bridge has become one of West Virginia’s most recognizable landmarks and was featured on the state quarter.
E-WV

On October 22, 1977, the New River Gorge Bridge was dedicated in Fayette County before a crowd of 30,000. Throughout history, transportation across the rugged gorge has been a challenge. A bridge built at Fayette Station in 1889 helped considerably. But still, a drive down and back up the winding Fayette Station Road took about 45 minutes. The New River Gorge Bridge would change everything.

October 19, 1949: Writer Richard Currey Born in Parkersburg

Oct 19, 2018
Crossing Over: The Vietnam Stories by Richard Currey
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Writer Richard Currey was born in Parkersburg on October 19, 1949. He served as navy medical corpsman from 1968 to 1972 and also studied at West Virginia University and Howard University.

Currey’s first poem was published in 1974, His first book of poetry came out in 1980, earning him a Pulitzer Prize nomination. As a result of the anthology Crossing Over: A Vietnam Journal, Currey became the D.H Lawrence Fellow in Literature and writer in residence at the University of New Mexico. He founded the Santa Fe Writers Project and continues to live in New Mexico.

October 18, 1778: Martinsburg Incorporated

Oct 18, 2018
Martinsburg took off with the arrival of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad IN 1842.
e-WV / WV Humanities Council

The town of Martinsburg in Berkeley County was incorporated on October 18, 1778. The place had been settled originally by Joseph and John Morgan in the 1740s. But it was Scotland native Adam Stephen who put Martinsburg on the map. Stephen established mills along the banks of Tuscarora Creek, built himself a limestone house, and, in 1773, laid out the town. He named it for Colonel Thomas Bryan Martin, a nephew of Lord Thomas Fairfax, who owned much of the present Eastern Panhandle.

October 17, 1785: Virginia General Assembly Establishes Morgan's Town

Oct 17, 2018
In 1886, the arrival of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad sparked a regional boom in coal, oil, and gas.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online; Library of Congress. / Morgantown, Morgan's Town, 1785, 1886, West Virginia University, Zackquill Morgan

On October 17, 1785, the Virginia General Assembly established Morgan’s Town. It was named for Zackquill Morgan, the son of pioneer Morgan Morgan. Zackquill had settled in the area in 1771 and laid out the town in 1783.

October 16, 1859: John Brown Captures U.S. Armory

Oct 16, 2018
Harpers Ferry was the site of the US Armory, and played a vital role before and during the Civil War.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Harpers Ferry, John Brown, US Armory, Robert E. Lee, Civil War

On the night of October 16, 1859, a band of antislavery men under John Brown captured the U.S. armory at Harpers Ferry. Earlier in the year, Brown had settled into a western Maryland farmhouse, where he trained his 18-man army in military tactics. His goal was to seize weapons from the national armory at Harpers Ferry and arm slaves, who would then overthrow their masters.

October 15, 1850: Virginia Constitutional Convention

Oct 15, 2018
Joseph Johnson, represented Harrison County in the 1980 Virginia Convention.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Harrison County, Virginia Constitutional Convention, 1850

On October 15, 1850, Joseph Johnson of Harrison County called the Virginia Constitutional Convention to order. The convention had been a long time in the making. For years, residents of western Virginia had felt neglected by the state government in Richmond. This was due in large part to the region’s underrepresentation in the state legislature. This underrepresentation occurred because the eastern part of the state could use its large slave population to inflate its number of delegates despite the fact that slaves had no legal rights.

October 12, 1953: Hugh Ike Shott Died at 87

Oct 12, 2018
Hugh Isaac Shott
Wikimedia commons

Hugh Isaac Shott died on October 12, 1953, at age 87. “Hugh Ike,” as he was known, was born in Staunton, Virginia, where he learned the printing trade. He moved to Bluefield and served as a clerk on N&W Railway.

In 1896, he purchased the weekly Bluefield Telegraph newspaper and switched it to a daily publication. His timing was great because the Bluefield area was growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the rapid spread of coal mining in the area.

October 11, 1811: State Founder Waitman Willey Born

Oct 11, 2018
State founder Waitman Willey served as one of West Virginia’s first two U.S. senators from 1863 to 1871.
e-WV / WV Humanities Council

State founder Waitman Willey was born near Farmington in Marion County on October 11, 1811. He opened his first law practice in Morgantown in 1833 and served as Monongalia County Court clerk for more than a decade.

Willey gained statewide attention for his “Liberty and Union” speech at the 1850-51 Virginia Constitutional Convention. At the start of the Civil War, he spoke passionately against secession and war. After Virginia seceded from the Union, Willey was elected to represent the loyal citizens of Virginia in the U.S. Senate.

October 10, 1774: The Battle of Point Pleasant is Fought

Oct 10, 2018
The treaty that followed the Battle of Point Pleasant, which was signed five months before the Revolutionary War began, brought relative peace to the region.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Cornstalk, Andrew Lewis, Battle of Point Pleasant, Lord Dunmore's War, 1774,

On October 10, 1774, perhaps the most important battle ever fought in present-day West Virginia occurred at Point Pleasant. It was preceded by a long spring and summer of deadly violence between settlers and Indians. In response to these hostilities, Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore dispatched two armies to attack Shawnee villages in Ohio. Dunmore personally led the northern army, while the southern column was under Colonel Andrew Lewis.

October 9, 2001: Actress and Model Dagmar Dies

Oct 9, 2018
Born Virginia Ruth Egnor in Logan County in 1921, she moved with her family to Huntington.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Dagmar, Milton Berle, Frank Sinatra, Life Magazine, Dagmar's Canteen, Ceredo, Huntington, 1921, 2001, Huntington

The entertainer known as Dagmar died on October 9, 2001. In the 1950s, she was one of the most recognizable faces on television and even graced the cover of Life magazine.

October 8, 1764: Harman Blennerhassett Born in London

Oct 8, 2018
Harman Blennerhassett would be aquitted of treason, along with Aaron Burr
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Aaron Burr, Harman Blennerhassett, 1805 plot, Thomas Jefferson, Blennerhassett Island, Ohio River

Harman Blennerhassett was born in London to a wealthy Irish family on October 8, 1764. He and his wife Margaret immigrated to the United States in 1796. Two years later, they settled on an island in the Ohio River near Parkersburg. In 1800, they built an immense mansion on what would become known as Blennerhassett Island.

October 5, 1931: U.S Senator Dwight Morrow Dies

Oct 5, 2018
Dwight W. Morrow
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

Financier, diplomat, and U.S. Senator Dwight Morrow died in New Jersey on October 5, 1931, at age 58. He was born in Huntington in 1873, while his father, James E. Morrow, was serving as the 11th principal of Marshall College—now Marshall University. When Dwight was an infant, his family moved to West Liberty, where his father served briefly as president of West Liberty Normal School—which is today West Liberty University. The Morrows then moved to Pittsburgh.

October 4, 1890: Lions Born in Alderson

Oct 4, 2018
TWWVH
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / WV Humanities Council

On October 4, 1890, a traveling circus called French & Company’s Great Railroad Show arrived in the town of Alderson on the Greenbrier-Monroe county line. What started as a circus show would lead to one of the more bizarre incidents in West Virginia.

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