Kanawha Valley

December 17, 1861: Henry Ruffner Died

Dec 17, 2018
Ruffner was ahead of his time in arguing for a free public education system.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / e-WV

Henry Ruffner died in Malden on December 17, 1861, at the age of 71. He had been one of western Virginia’s most influential citizens. In 1819, at the age of only 29, Ruffner had organized the first Presbyterian denomination in the Kanawha Valley. Then, for nearly three decades, he had taught ancient languages at Washington College and served as the college’s president for 12 of those years.

Freedom Industries
AP

Residents and businesses in nine West Virginia counties left without tap water during a 2014 chemical spill can start filing claims.

According to a website set up to handle claims, forms were being accepted both online and by mail started Wednesday.

Historian and Businessman J.P. Hale
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

Historian, physician, and businessman John P. Hale died on July 11, 1902, at age 78. The great-grandson of the legendary Mary Draper Ingles, Hale was born in present Virginia before moving to the Kanawha Valley in 1840.

He earned a medical degree but decided that medicine wasn’t as lucrative as the booming salt business. By 1860, his salt works, located between Charleston and Malden, was possibly the largest in North America.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

Federal government scientists have released a final update of their study of the January 2014 chemical spill that temporarily fouled the drinking water supplies of 300,000 Charleston-area residents, reporting no significant new findings.

January 27, 1933: Folk Artist Connard Wolfe Born in Kanawha County

Jan 27, 2016
Michael Keller via e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / Goldenseal

Folk artist Connard Wolfe was born at Standard in Kanawha County on January 27, 1933. The self-taught sculptor started carving wood and stone after being discharged from the army about 1955. His first significant carvings were stones for a wall and two headstones. Other early works included a gigantic reclining nude carved from a boulder in the hills near his home and two life-sized sculptures in tree trunks: ‘‘Mountain Girl’’ and ‘‘Standing Christ.’’ Both tree sculptures were later destroyed.