This Week in West Virginia History

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 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.

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 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 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 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.

McNeill’s Rangers destroyed property belonging to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

In the predawn hours of October 3, 1864, Confederate guerilla John “Hanse” McNeill led a raid near Mount Jackson, Virginia. After a quick exchange of fire with Union cavalry, McNeill collapsed from a gunshot wound. He would die five weeks later.

Labor leader Miles Stanley helped promote Appalachian workers' rights.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Miles Stanley, labor, AFL-CIO, Dunbar, 1924

Miles Stanley was born in Dunbar on October 2, 1924. Before his untimely death at age 49, he would become one of West Virginia’s most important labor leaders.

Stanley served in the army artillery during World War II. He then went to work in a steel factory and, in 1947, became president of his local union. After rising quickly through the labor ranks, he was elected president of the newly created West Virginia Federation of Labor AFL-CIO in 1957. In this influential position, he urged the Appalachian region to develop a more skilled workforce. And, for his emphasis on human rights in the workplace, he was named as an adviser to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. In the mid-‘60s, he moved to Washington, D. C., for several years to serve as a personal assistant to national AFL-CIO president George Meany. However, in 1967, he returned to West Virginia, where he continued to build the state’s AFL-CIO into a major political force.

Miles Stanley died suddenly of a heart attack on May 3, 1974. The state’s AFL-CIO building in Charleston is named in his honor.

September 28, 1955: Labor Activist Mother Blizzard Dies

Sep 28, 2018
Sarah "Mother" Blizzard
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Labor activist Sarah “Mother” Blizzard died on September 28, 1955, at age 90. She spent her early years on her family’s farm in Fayette County.

September 27, 1914: Author Catherine Marshall Born

Sep 27, 2018
Catherine Marshal
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Author Catherine Marshall was born in Tennessee on September 27, 1914. In the late 1920s, her family moved to West Virginia and lived in Keyser, where she graduated from high school in 1932.

While attending Agnes Scott College in Georgia, she met the Rev. Peter Marshall, and they got married in Keyser in 1936. After their son’s birth in 1940, Catherine was homebound with tuberculosis for nearly three years.

September 26, 1820: Daniel Boone Dies in Missouri

Sep 26, 2018
Daniel Boone
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Frontiersman Daniel Boone died in Missouri on September 26, 1820, at age 85. Thanks to a colorful biographical sketch by John Filson, Boone was already one of America’s most famous pioneers when he moved to Point Pleasant in 1788.

While living there, Boone represented Kanawha County in the Virginia General Assembly, served as a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia militia, and won a contract to supply militia companies in Western Virginia.

September 21, 1970: The Filming of Fool's Parade Crime Drama Begins

Sep 21, 2018
e-WV

Filming of the Columbia Pictures crime drama Fool’s Parade began on September 21, 1970.

The movie was based on Davis Grubb’s 1969 novel of the same title. Like Grubb’s earlier breakthrough novel, The Night of the Hunter, Fool’s Parade was set in the author’s native West Virginia. Much of the filming was shot on site in Moundsville. 

Shepherdstown, WV
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

It was the morning of September 19, 1862, and two days after the Battle of Antietam. The bulk of Robert E. Lee’s retreating Confederate Army had already crossed the Potomac River at Shepherdstown.

Lee left behind a rear guard at the Potomac to defend against an anticipated attack from Union General George McClellan.

September 18, 1989: Playwright Maryat Lee Dies in Lewisburg

Sep 18, 2018
WV Regional and History Collection

Playwright Maryat Lee died in Lewisburg on September 18, 1989, at age 66. She was born in Covington, Kentucky, in 1923, and graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in religious studies before studying at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary.

September 17, 1847: Lawrence Nuttall Born in Pennsylvania

Sep 17, 2018

Amateur botanist Lawrence Nuttall was born in Pennsylvania on September 17, 1857. In 1878, he moved to the New River Gorge town of Nuttallburg in Fayette County to join his father, pioneer coal operator John Nuttall. Within just seven years, Lawrence Nuttall had collected about 1,000 species of flowering plants, many of which were named after him, and hundreds of fungi. At least 108 of the fungi species were new to science.

E-WV

On September 14, 1862, Confederate artillery launched the opening barrage in the Battle of Harpers Ferry, initiating perhaps the most important Civil War conflict in present West Virginia.

Harpers Ferry was key to Confederate Commander Robert E. Lee’s strategy in invading Maryland. Union forces stationed at Harpers Ferry stood in the way of Lee’s supply line. Lee dispatched “Stonewall” Jackson to capture Martinsburg, which fell without a shot, and then take Harpers Ferry.

September 13, 1910: Jazz Musician Leon "Chu" Berry Born

Sep 13, 2018
Leon "Chu" Berry performed with Fletcher Henderson, Bessie Smith, Benny Carter, and many others.
E-WV

Musician Leon “Chu” Berry was born in Wheeling on September 13, 1910. He became one of the most highly regarded saxophonists of the Swing Era, ranking alongside Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young.

At West Virginia State College (now University), Berry performed with the Edwards Collegians and other regional groups.

September 12, 1872: The Big Bend Completed

Sep 12, 2018
Great Bend Tunnel
Library of Congress/e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

The Great Bend Tunnel, also known as the Big Bend, was completed in present-day Summers County on September 12, 1872.

At more than a mile long, it cut off a seven-mile meander of the Greenbrier River and was the longest tunnel on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway.

West Virginia’s first black legislator, Christopher Payne, was born in Monroe County on September 7, 1848. He was raised near Hinton, where he worked as a farmhand. Although he was born a free person of color, he was forced as a teenager to serve as a servant in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

  

After the war, Payne attended night school in Charleston and taught school in Monroe, Mercer, and Summers counties. He became a Baptist minister and earned a doctor of divinity degree from the State University in Louisville.

Sept. 5, 1950: Appalachian Bible College Founded

Sep 5, 2018
Appalachian Bible College Chapel
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Appalachian Bible College—originally known as Appalachian Bible Institute—opened at Sylvester in Boone County on September 5, 1950. The nondenominational, independent Christian college was the brainchild of Raleigh County minister Robert Guelich.

Before the school opened, southern West Virginians had to travel all the way to Pikeville, Kentucky, if they wanted to take advanced Bible studies.

September 4, 1957: Engineer Frank Duff McEnteer Dies in Clarksburg

Sep 4, 2018

Engineer Frank Duff McEnteer died on September 4, 1957, at age 74. The Pennsylvania native and graduate of Harvard’s engineering school moved to Clarksburg in 1911 to supervise construction of the Palace Furniture Company building, which is still in use. It was one of West Virginia’s first reinforced concrete buildings and launched McEnteer’s career in that fledgling field.

August 31, 1957: Historian Charles Ambler Dies at 81

Aug 31, 2018
Charles Ambler
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Historian Charles Ambler died on August 31, 1957, at age 81. He was one of the most influential historians in West Virginia history.

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