McDowell County

Jesse Wright / 100 Days in Appalachia

West Virginia state and county health officials will host free coronavirus testing for residents of Ohio, McDowell and Harrison Counties on Friday and Saturday, June 5-6.

U.S. BUREAU OF PRISONS / U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

A staffer at the federal prison in McDowell County has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Data on the federal Bureau of Prisons website this week said the employee works at FCI McDowell, a medium security facility in southern West Virginia with around 1,100 inmates. The case marks another federal prison in the state with reported coronavirus cases.

Minnie Buckingham
E-WV, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On May 15, 1886, Minnie Buckingham was born in Putnam County. She later moved to Keystone in McDowell County and married E. Howard Harper, who was elected to the legislature in 1926. When Harper died in the middle of his term, the county Republican executive committee unanimously recommended Minnie to replace him. In January 1928, Governor Howard Gore appointed Minnie Buckingham Harper to complete her husband’s term, making her the first African-American woman in U.S. history to serve in a state legislature.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a family in West Virginia coal country learned the hard way that their well water was contaminated. As coal mines play out, water problems add up.

Clean Water Wanted: Contaminated Wells And The Legacy Of Fossil Fuel Extraction

Mar 2, 2020

February 14, 1925: Lawman Mack Day Killed by Bootlegger

Feb 14, 2020
Known as a shootist, Mack Day is known to have killed only three times.
E-WV/The Humanities Council

On February 14, 1925, lawman Mack Day was shot dead by a bootlegger at Pageton in McDowell County. The Virginia native had come to McDowell as a young man to mine coal.

He built a 14-room house for his wife and 12 children on Belcher Mountain. He joined the local Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and eventually the Ku Klux Klan, during the Klan’s early-20th-century revival in West Virginia.

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Flooding in the past week has once again consumed much of southern West Virginia, with Gov. Jim Justice signing a state of emergency proclamation for seven counties on Friday. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginia has long been known for its apple production. But apple farmers are struggling and orchards are disappearing.

January 10, 1940: Bartley Mine Explosion

Jan 10, 2020
United Mine Workers monument at the site of the Bartley mine disaster
E-WV

On January 10, 1940, the Pond Creek Number 1 mine exploded at Bartley in McDowell County. The blast killed 91 miners; 47 men escaped. Most of the men who perished died instantly. Although, some asphyxiated following the explosion, and two left farewell letters.

Pond Creek Number 1 was a deep-shaft mine owned by an affiliate of Island Creek Coal. Investigators blamed methane gas for the fatal explosion since the mine’s coal dust had been treated properly.

December 20, 1999: Newspaperman Jack Maurice Dies in Charleston at Age 86

Dec 20, 2019

Newspaperman Jack Maurice died in Charleston on December 20, 1999, at age 86. Maurice was born in 1913 in the McDowell County coal town of Vivian. During his childhood, his family moved frequently around the West Virginia and Kentucky coalfields. He graduated from Huntington High School and Marshall College (now University) and immediately started his career with the Huntington Herald-Dispatch in 1935. Three years later, he joined the staff of the Charleston Daily Mail.

The Five Loaves and Two Fishes Foodbank has 24 hydro-panels for water-gathering in Kimball, West Virginia.
Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In McDowell County, access to clean water can be a challenge. Aging infrastructure, a shrinking tax base and lack of oversight affect the region’s water quality. That is why one community food bank is trying something different, to provide cleaner water to some who are in need.

Adobe Stock

Communities across the Ohio Valley are among an estimated 2 million Americans that do not have consistent access to clean drinking water and basic indoor plumbing, according to a report published Monday by two nonprofits, DigDeep and the US Water Alliance.

 

US Department of Agriculture

On Monday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice shared his recommendations for the next round of Appalachian Regional Commission projects in the state. 

The ARC is a partnership between the federal government and the 13 Appalachian states. The agency awards federal dollars for infrastructure and economic development projects across the region.

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

More than $1.1 million in federal funding has been announced for a West Virginia water project planned to replace outdated systems and improve service in several communities.

Edward Kimmel / Flickr

Officials say a West Virginia county sheriff's office has hired four deputies after it had $240,000 in budget cuts during the last few years.

Sid Hatfield
E-WV

On August 1, 1921, Matewan police chief Sid Hatfield and his friend Ed Chambers were gunned down by Baldwin-Felt Detectives in front of the McDowell County Courthouse in Welch.

The trouble between Hatfield and the Baldwin-Felts had started more than a year earlier. In May of 1920, a shootout in the Mingo County town of Matewan had pitted Baldwin-Felts detectives against Hatfield and a crowd of angry miners.

A shootout left seven of the detectives, two miners, and the town’s mayor dead in the streets of Matewan.

Blue Ridge Mountain Fire Company was one of the many departments that responded to Hundred's call for help after flash floods hit the Wetzel County town July 29, 2017.
Shayla Klein / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A West Virginia fire department has reopened after shutting down earlier this year due to inadequate staffing and outdated equipment.

Minnie Buckingham
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

  On May 15, 1886, Minnie Buckingham was born in Putnam County. She later moved to Keystone in McDowell County and married E. Howard Harper, who was elected to the legislature in 1926. When Harper died in the middle of his term, the county Republican executive committee unanimously recommended Minnie to replace him. In January 1928, Governor Howard Gore appointed Minnie Buckingham Harper to complete her husband’s term, making her the first African-American woman in U.S. history to serve in a state legislature.

A major prescription drug distributor is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit alleging the company fueled West Virginia's opioid epidemic with excessively large shipment of painkillers.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports an attorney for AmerisourceBergen said McDowell County commissioners are misguided in in blaming drug distributors for the drug problem.

Ed Evans
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Courtesy Patrol is a state funded roadside assistance service. But as members in the House continue to look for places to cut to balance the 2018 budget, delegates have set their sights on the program’s $5 million budget.

The courtesy patrol has been around for almost 20 years. It’s a non-profit of the Citizens Conservation Corp through a contract with the West Virginia Division of Highways.To-date, the patrol has received over 3 million calls and employs nearly 100 people.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / Ohio University Press, publishers of Ancella R. Bickley & Lynda Ann Ewen, eds., "Memphis Tennessee Garrison: The Remarkable Story of a Black Appalachian Woman" (Athens, 2001)

Teacher and civic activist Memphis Tennessee Carter was born in Hollins, Virginia, on March 3, 1890.

Her father, a former slave, was a coal miner who moved his family to southern West Virginia when Memphis was a child.

She eventually married a coal company foreman and became Memphis Tennessee Garrison. She graduated from Bluefield State College at age 49 and taught school in McDowell County.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign stop Thursday, May 5, at the Morgantown Event Center.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia National Guard says a scheduled appearance by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at a southern West Virginia armory was canceled due to U.S. Defense Department policy.

Hardy’s hanging probably would have been the end of the story if not for a ballad written about the event.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

John Hardy was hanged in the McDowell County seat of Welch on January 19, 1894.

The black railroad worker had been convicted of murdering a man in a gambling dispute at present-day Eckman.

Hardy was just one of tens of thousands of African Americans who poured into southern West Virginia in the late 1800s and early 1900s to work in the coal and railroad industries.

Hardy’s hanging probably would have been the end of the story if not for a ballad written about the event. The song circulated by word of mouth, with the details changing over time.

A McDowell County official says an agreement has been reached to boost the county's budget and avoid laying off additional sheriff's deputies.

An agreement among the county commission and two other agencies was disclosed at a commission meeting Wednesday.

Jessica Lilly

The economy in southern West Virginia is suffering due to the collapsing of the coal industry and it’s not hard to find reports of layoffs. But an international coal company called ArcelorMittal Princeton is expanding operations at a McDowell County mine bringing 50 to 75 jobs back to the region.


McDowell County officials have voted to shift funds in an effort to keep six deputies that are slated to be laid off by the end of the year.

Prior to the McDowell County Commission's vote Tuesday, Sheriff Martin West told officials that if the deputies are laid off, the department would lose its night shift and could be seriously hampered in its daytime emergency responsibilities.

Paula Riley Thomas was living in Alexandria, Va. in 1991 when her son James was born. She moved back to McDowell County, W.Va. when James was a year old to escape a domestic violence situation. She struggled to recover emotionally but found some hope in her Christian faith and writing poetry.

Listen to hear her story and a poem she wrote about her son, James, shortly after she moved back to McDowell in 1992.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

What happens to a community as coal jobs go away? Here are some things you might expect: many people leave, schools empty, local businesses struggle to keep their lights on. But here’s something that may not come to mind: extra curricular sports go away.

That’s what happened to children in McDowell County over 25 years ago. They lost their local soccer league. And while the thousands of lost coal jobs may not come back, thanks to a 4-H project, and about a dozen volunteers, soccer is making a comeback in McDowell County.

Soccer Returns to McDowell County

Nov 7, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, politics and the addiction crisis. A report on two key races that could shape how the state approaches the problem and soccer returns to McDowell County after a long absence.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

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