Kanawha County

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A group of 30 organizations across West Virginia is calling on the Capitol Building Commission and Gov. Jim Justice to take down a statue of Stonewall Jackson from the state Capitol grounds.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On June 30, 1904, the Kelly Axe and Tool Company acquired 53 acres of land along the Kanawha River on the West End of Charleston. It eventually became home to the world’s largest axe factory.

The company was founded in 1874 by William C. Kelly, who established his first factory in Kentucky before relocating to Indiana and then West Virginia. Kelly was attracted to the Kanawha Valley by the availability of abundant natural gas and good access to river and rail transportation.

June 10, 1913: Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Hearings Begin

Jun 10, 2020
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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Updated Thursday, May 21 at 10:30 a.m.

The West Virginia National Guard will begin its second round of free, drive-thru and walk-up testing, to reach minority and densely-populated communities on Friday, May 22.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Updated Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 4:55 p.m.

Four people working in Kanawha County day care facilities have tested positive for the coronavirus. The ongoing testing of day care staff is part of an effort to reopen West Virginia’s economy, but will now be mandated under an executive order. 

April 28, 1913: Peace Returns to West Virginia Coalfields

Apr 28, 2020

On April 28, 1913, coal operators and United Mine Workers of America accepted a new contract ending the yearlong Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Strike in Kanawha County. It was the bloodiest strike of the West Virginia Mine Wars. The settlement was known as the “Hatfield Contract” because it was practically dictated to both sides by new governor Henry Hatfield.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, criminal justice reform advocates are urging Gov. Jim Justice to do more to stem the spread of coronavirus in jails and prisons.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

At least five people at a nursing home in West Virginia's capital have the coronavirus, officials said Tuesday as they wait on dozens of test results.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Attorney and politician William T. Brotherton Jr. died on April 6, 1997, at age 70. During his long career, he’d risen to the top position in two of West Virginia’s three branches of government.

April 1, 1788: The Clendenins Start Their Journey to Kanawha Valley

Apr 1, 2020
e-WV Encyclopedia / The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America

On April 1, 1788, George Clendenin, along with family members and about 30 Greenbrier County Rangers, departed from present Lewisburg to make a new home for themselves in the Kanawha Valley. The previous year, Clendenin had purchased about 1000 acres of unsettled land, which would eventually become the heart of Charleston.

Upon their arrival, Clendenin’s group built a two-story fort and sturdy cabins to protect against Indian attacks. The stockade, originally called Clendenin’s Fort, was later renamed Fort Lee to honor Virginia Governor Henry Lee.

March 31, 1943: The First Buna-S Synthetic Rubber Shipped at Institute

Mar 31, 2020
Synthetic rubber production at Institute
e-WV Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

On March 31, 1943, the first Buna-S synthetic rubber was shipped from Union Carbide’s plant at Institute in Kanawha County. It was a significant development in our nation’s fight against the Axis powers during World War II.

Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The 2020 West Virginia legislative session has ended with no new legislation addressing black lung benefits, leaving former and current coal miners to depend on waning federal benefits to combat the lifelong disease.  


February 13, 1913: Mother Jones Arrested in Charleston

Feb 13, 2020
Mother Jones
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

On February 13, 1913, labor leader Mary Harris “Mother” Jones was arrested in Charleston for agitating striking miners during the deadly Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Strike.

Jones was no stranger to West Virginia’s labor movement, or its jails. Since the 1890s, she’d been active in union causes across the country but felt a special affinity for miners of the Mountain State. She once reported that conditions in West Virginia “were worse than those in Czarist Russia.” During a 1902 strike, she’d been jailed in Parkersburg for violating a court injunction.

Debris covers the floor of the Richwood Middle School art room. Floodwaters completely blew out the large glass window exposing the classroom to the outdoors.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice's office announced on Friday West Virginia will receive more than $131 million to replace schools in Nicholas County destroyed by flooding in 2016.

The money comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] and will be used to replace Summersville Middle School, Richwood Middle School and Richwood High School, according to an announcement from Justice.

January 24, 2003: Musician Tommy Thompson Dies

Jan 24, 2020
Thompson was born in western Kanawha County in 1937
e-WV / WV Humanities Council

Musician Tommy Thompson died on January 24, 2003, at age 65. Thompson was born in western Kanawha County in 1937 and lived there until he was about 11, when his family moved to Florida.

As a young adult, he got interested in jazz, blues, and eventually old-time music. He picked up the claw-hammer-style of banjo playing and, while attending the University of North Carolina, founded the Hollow Rock String Band, along with his wife, Bobbie, and fiddler and folklorist Alan Jabbour.

A photo taken during the demolition of Herbert Hoover High School in Sept. 2018.
Kanawha County Schools

 


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide West Virginia $52.3 million to rebuild Herbert Hoover High School after devastating flooding in 2016 damaged the building. 

In the days before refrigeration, pioneers needed this natural resource to preserve meat. As such, it is one of the few products that settlers would spend money on or trade for.
E-WV, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

September 24, 1930: Governor William MacCorkle Dies

Sep 24, 2019
William MacCorkle
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Governor William MacCorkle died on September 24, 1930, at age 73. He was the last of six Democrats to serve as governor over 26 consecutive years. This was the longest period of domination of the governorship by one party in our state’s history.

Sept. 4, 1964: Businessman A.W. Cox Dies at 79

Sep 4, 2019
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Businessman A. W. Cox died on September 4, 1964. He was 79 years old.  

The Roane County native attended a one-room school through the eighth grade. And, by 17, he was operating his father’s sawmill. After a brief teaching career, he got a part-time job at a store in Clendenin in northern Kanawha County. While working there, Cox decided to make a career of retail sales. He moved to Charleston in 1914, when he was 29, and bought out a downtown department store. It became the first in a chain of 21 A. W. Cox Department Stores in West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. 

Kanawha Textbook War
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On September 3, 2974, Kanawha County schools opened amid high tensions. Months earlier, school board member Alice Moore had objected to the content of new language arts books the county was adopting. She felt that many were anti-religious or anti-American. Fueled by the efforts of conservative ministers, an opposition movement to the books grew rapidly, particularly in rural parts of Kanawha County. Despite petitions bearing 12,000 signatures and public condemnation of the books by 27 ministers on the grounds of immorality and indecency, the board approved most of the books.

Eric Nelson
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A longtime Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates is vying for a seat in the state Senate. Del. Eric Nelson of Kanawha County made the announcement Tuesday outside the state Capitol.

April 25, 1923: Labor Leader Arnold Miller Born in Kanawha County

Apr 25, 2019
E- WV Encyclopedia / Rick Lee via Goldenseal magazine

Labor leader Arnold Miller was born in Kanawha County on April 25, 1923. The son and grandson of coal miners, Miller quit school at age 16 to become a miner himself. 

Jim Justice
Walter Scriptunas II / AP Photo

A Republican committee in West Virginia's largest county has approved a resolution of no confidence in GOP Gov. Jim Justice.

e-WV Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

On March 7, 1942, aviator “Spanky” Roberts completed his training at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, becoming one of the first five Tuskegee Airmen.

Roberts, a native of London in eastern Kanawha County, moved to Fairmont as a child. He graduated from Fairmont’s segregated Dunbar High School before earning a degree in mechanical arts from West Virginia State College (now University). He went through the college’s Civilian Pilot Training Program and became the first black licensed pilot in the state.

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

Feb 15, 2019
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.

Like scores of other Western Virginians, Isaiah Welch went west during the California Gold Rush in the late 1840s. He came home without striking it rich. That would come later.

During the Civil War, he reached the rank of captain in the Confederate Army. He also served in the legislature of Confederate Virginia throughout the war.

January 23, 1888: Labor Leader Fred Mooney Born

Jan 23, 2019
This was a particularly active period in the Mine Wars—a violent time that pitted miners against coal operators.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

Labor leader Fred Mooney was born in Kanawha County on January 23, 1888. At age 13, he began working in coal mines as a trapper boy. 

Six years later, at the young age of 19, he became secretary-treasurer of District 17 of the United Mine Workers of America.

January 17, 1918: Engineering Firm Hired to Build Plant at Nitro

Jan 17, 2019
In November 1918, just as Nitro was nearing completion, World War I ended.
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

On January 17, 1918, the U.S. War Department hired a New York engineering firm to build a nitrocellulose plant along the Kanawha-Putnam county border. The DuPont Company had previously chosen the site to manufacture munitions for World War I.

However, there were political objections to one company receiving such a large contract, so DuPont abandoned its plans, and the federal government picked up the task.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This is a developing story and may be updated. 

Following Tuesday’s midterm election, Kanawha County election officials have announced that more than 1,700 ballots may have not yet been counted. Technical issues with voting machines could affect vote totals at 20 precincts across the county, including locations in Elkview, Clendenin, Pinch and Kanawha City.

County election officials made the announcement at a Friday news conference.

Kanawha County Schools

Demolition crews started tearing down Herbert Hoover High School in Kanawha County on Monday. The high school was damaged by high waters during the 2016 flood. 


e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

  Labor leader Bill Blizzard died on July 31, 1958, at age 65. The Kanawha County native was the son of two passionate union activists.

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