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

C. Donald Robertson
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Politician C. Donald Robertson was born in Clarksburg on June 9, 1926.

He served Harrison County in the West Virginia House of Delegates for four years beginning in the late 1950s.

He was elected attorney general in 1960 and again in 1964. In 1968, he ran for governor but lost in the Democratic primary to James Sprouse, who would go on to lose to Arch Moore in the general election.

Chuck Howley
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Football great Chuck Howley was born in Wheeling on June 28, 1936. At Warwood High, he starred in football and basketball and in 1954 moved on to West Virginia University, where he lettered in an unprecedented five sports: football, sprinting, wrestling, the trampoline, and diving.

He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the NFL draft but left the team with a knee injury. Howley returned to Wheeling and spent 1960 working at a gas station.

Wheeling Symphony 2006
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

The Wheeling Symphony Orchestra gave its premiere concert at Oglebay Park on June 30, 1929. Under the direction of Enrico Tamburini, the new orchestra performed Mozart’s Overture to Don Juan and Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, among other works.

Tamburini molded the fledgling group of amateurs and professionals into a cohesive ensemble. When he left in 1934, Antonio Modarelli of the Pittsburgh Symphony took the baton. He was succeeded by Henry Mazer, who’d tutored under the great conductor Fritz Reiner in Chicago.

Watt Powell Park
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

On June 23, 1952, the Toledo Mud Hens baseball team made an unexpected midseason move to West Virginia, becoming the Charleston Senators.

As a Triple A minor league, the Senators faced off against cities like Milwaukee, Kansas City, St. Paul, Louisville, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Columbus.

Wheeling Steel
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

One June 21, 1920, the LaBelle Iron Works, Whitaker-Glessner, and Wheeling Steel & Iron Works combined to form the Wheeling Steel Corporation.

With some 17,000 workers, Wheeling Steel was the nation’s third-largest steelmaker.

TWWVH
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / WV Humanities Council

Educator W. W. Trent died on June 15, 1960, at age 82. Having served as state superintendent of schools for nearly a quarter-century, Trent was known to legions of West Virginia schoolchildren for his scrawled signature on their report cards.

Josh and Henry Reed
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

On June 16, 1968, musician Henry Reed died in Glen Lyn, Virginia, at age 84. He was born and grew up in Monroe County, where he learned local tunes dating back generations.

One example is “Quince Dillion’s High-D Tune,” which Reed supposedly learned from a veteran of the Mexican War and Civil War.

Gen. John Lightburn, USA
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

On June 22, 1865, two months after Civil War hostilities ended, General Joseph A. J. Lightburn resigned from the U.S. Army, ending his military service.

The Pennsylvania native had moved with his family to Lewis County in 1840. As a young man, he was friends with Thomas Jackson—later to be known as “Stonewall.” Lightburn wanted to attend West Point, but Jackson received the appointment from his region instead.

Author Rebecca Harding Davis
Wikipedia / WV Humanitites Council

Author Rebecca Harding Davis was born in Pennsylvania on June 24, 1831. She and her family moved to Wheeling about 1836, and she later wrote for the Wheeling Intelligencer newspaper. During the 1860s, she published a number of stories and serialized novels in the Atlantic Monthly.

Her best-known story, “Life in the Iron Mills: A Story of Today” powerfully depicts the plight of mill workers in a town based on Wheeling. Her first two novels focused on worker exploitation and moral and political conflicts raised by the Civil War.

Honey in the Rock
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

On June 27, 1961, the play Honey in the Rock debuted at the newly constructed Cliffside Amphitheater at Grandview in Raleigh County. The play, written by Kermit Hunter, tells of West Virginia’s founding through the experiences of a fictitious family, with some historical figures like “Stonewall” Jackson and the state’s first governor, Arthur Boreman.

The play’s alumni include Academy Award nominee Chris Sarandon and actor, director, and playwright David Selby.

This Week in WV History.
WV Humanitites Council / WV Public Broadcasting

On June 29, 1940, in the Nicholas County town of Richwood, Deputy Sheriff Martin Catlette and Police Chief Bert Stewart detained seven Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose patriotism had been questioned by the local American Legion.

The Legionnaires forced four of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to drink doses of castor oil. They then marched all seven through a jeering mob to the post office, where the Witnesses refused to salute the flag due to conflicts with their religion.

When I Was Young in the Mountains
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Children’s author Cynthia Rylant was born June 6, 1954, in Hopewell, Virginia.

She was raised in Raleigh County and earned degrees from Morris Harvey College—which is now the University of Charleston—and Marshall and Kent State universities.

Harriet Jones, MD
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Physician Harriet Jones was born in Pennsylvania on June 3, 1856, but grew up at Terra Alta in Preston County.

After attending Wheeling Female College, she graduated from the Women’s Medical College of Baltimore.

In 1886, Jones opened a private practice in Wheeling, becoming the first woman licensed to practice medicine in West Virginia. Her specialties were gynecology and abdominal surgery.

This Week in WV History
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Musician Rex Parker died at Princeton in Mercer County on June 2, 1999.

The Fayette County native was the patriarch of the Parker Family, a popular musical fixture on West Virginia radio and television stations for more than a half century.

Paddy Ryan
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

A world championship prize fight was held in the Brooke County town of Colliers on June 1, 1880.

At the time, boxing was illegal in every state. To avoid big-city police, promoters often held matches in rural railroad villages. Colliers was a perfect location, being close to Pittsburgh and several Ohio towns.

John Henry Quick, USMC
Wikipedia / WV Humanitites Council

For his actions on June 14, 1898, Charles Town native John Henry Quick earned the Medal of Honor. His heroism occurred during a joint American-Cuban attack on the Spanish garrison at Guantanamo Bay during the Spanish-American War.

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On June 14, Quick’s Marine battalion and about 50 Cuban soldiers were trying to capture the well that supplied water to the Spanish. An American gunboat, the Dolphin, was providing cover for the mission, but due to visibility problems, the boat started shelling American Marines by accident.

Stacked arms during Cabin Creek strike.
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

On June 10, 1913, a U.S. Senate subcommittee opened hearings on the bloody Paint Creek-Cabin Creek strike in Kanawha County. This marked the first time a congressional committee had investigated the actions of a state government. The hearings were prompted by labor leader “Mother” Jones, who’d been held under house arrest in the Kanawha County town of Pratt. She’d secretly sent letters to the outside world through a trap door.

e-WV Encyclopedia

On June 10, 1775, Captain Hugh Stephenson organized the Berkeley County Riflemen in response to George Washington’s call for soldiers at the start of the Revolutionary War. These were among the first soldiers from the South to volunteer following the outbreak of hostilities in Massachusetts. The men supplied their own uniforms, weapons, equipment, and food. They wore leather leggings and moccasins, deerskin caps, and homespun shirts made of a coarse cloth called linsey-woolsey.

June 9, 1957: Pastor T. D. Jakes Born in South Charleston

Jun 9, 2016
Bishop T. D. Jakes
e-WV Encyclopedia

On June 9, 1957, pastor T. D. Jakes was born in South Charleston. He developed an avid interest in the ministry as a young boy, preaching to imaginary congregations. 

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On June 3, 1861, one of the opening acts of the Civil War unfolded in the town of Philippi. At daybreak, the roar of Union cannons shook some 800 slumbering Confederate soldiers from their tents. The routed Confederates made a hasty retreat, derisively remembered as the “Philippi Races.” The brief engagement was the first land battle of the Civil War involving organized troops. And it probably was the first time in history that railroads had been used to bring together troops for battle.

May 31, 2008: Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy Graduates Last Class

May 31, 2016
e-WV Encyclopedia

The Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy in Wheeling graduated its last class of students on May 31, 2008. 

May 30, 1940: Smoke Hole Caverns Opens for Tours in Grant County

May 30, 2016
e-WV Encyclopedia / David Fattaleh via WV Division of Tourism (WVDT)

On May 30, 1940, Smoke Hole Caverns in Grant County opened for tours. Of our state’s four commercial caves, the Smoke Hole Caverns is likely the most visited.

May 27, 1922: Labor Leader Bill Blizzard Acquitted of Treason Charges

May 27, 2016
e-WV Encyclopedia

On May 27, 1922, a jury acquitted labor leader Bill Blizzard of committing treason against West Virginia. The charges were related to the recent Battle of Blair Mountain. Blizzard was one of several more radical leaders who’d risen to power in the United Mine Workers of America during the 1910s. After the battle, prosecutors brought Blizzard to trial first, believing they had the best case against him.

May 26, 1960: Author Phyllis Reynolds Connection to West Virginia Begins

May 26, 2016
e-WV Encyclopedia

Author Phyllis Reynolds’s connection to West Virginia began on May 26, 1960, when she married Rex Naylor and visited places where he had family ties, such as Grafton, Buckhannon, and Preston County.

May 25, 1903: Philanthropist Bernard McDonough Jr. Born in Texas

May 25, 2016
Marietta College

Industrialist and philanthropist Bernard McDonough Jr. was born in Texas on May 25, 1903. His Irish immigrant grandfather had previously settled the family in Clarksburg and later in Belpre, Ohio, near Parkersburg. Young Bernard and his sisters returned to their grandmother in Belpre after the death of their mother.

May 24, 1896: Former Confederate General John Echols Dies in Staunton

May 24, 2016
e-WV Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

Former Confederate General John Echols died in Staunton, Virginia, on May 24, 1896. In 1843, the Lynchburg, Virginia, native had moved to Union in Monroe County to practice law. He remained in Union until the Civil War began in 1861.

May 23, 1862: The Battle of Lewisburg Fought in Greenbrier County

May 23, 2016
e-WV Encyclopedia

On May 23, 1862, the Battle of Lewisburg was fought in Greenbrier County. It occurred as Union troops were moving from Western Virginia toward Tennessee in the spring of 1862. Union General John C. Frémont planned to move his forces southwest from Monterey, Virginia, to the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad near Christiansburg. There, Frémont was to connect with troops under General Jacob Cox.

May 20, 1922: Artist Della Brown Taylor Hardman Born in Charleston

May 20, 2016
Dr. Della Brown Taylor Hardman
e-WV Encyclopedia

Artist Della Brown Taylor Hardman was born in Charleston on May 20, 1922. After graduating from Charleston’s segregated Garnet High School, she attended West Virginia State College (now University) at Institute and Boston University. For 30 years, she was an art professor at West Virginia State.

May 18, 2012: Harshman Named West Virginia's Poet Laureate

May 18, 2016
e-WV Encyclopedia / Cheryl Harshman

On May 18, 2012, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin named Marc Harshman of Wheeling the state poet laureate. He succeeded the late Irene McKinney, who’d served in the post since 1994. Harshman is the ninth person to serve as poet laureate since the position was established in 1927.

e-WV Encyclopedia / WV State Archives (WVSA), Marion County Historical Society Collection.

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools are unconstitutional, leading eventually to the integration of all schools across the country.

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