This Week in W.Va. History
CHARLESTON – The following events happened on these dates in West Virginia history. To read more, go to e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia at www.wvencyclopedia.org.
Feb. 14, 1866: Grant County was created and named for Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who later became the nation’s 18th president.
Feb. 15, 1898: Musician John Homer “Uncle Homer” Walker was born in Mercer County. Among the last in a tradition of black Appalachian banjo players, he played the five-string banjo in the clawhammer style.
Feb. 15, 1930: Sara Jane Moore was born in Charleston. On Sept. 22, 1975, Moore attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in San Francisco.
Feb. 15, 1975: Elizabeth Kee, the state’s first female member of Congress, died in Bluefield. Kee was elected to Congress in 1951 after the death of her husband, John. She retired in 1964 and was replaced by her son, James.
Feb. 16, 1821: Morris Harvey was born near Prosperity in Raleigh County. Harvey’s gifts to the Barboursville Seminary led to its name being changed to Morris Harvey College in 1901. The institution is now known as the University of Charleston.
Feb. 16, 1951: Second Lieutenant Darwin Keith Kyle died during an intense exchange against Chinese forces in Korea. He was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Feb. 17, 1735: Morgan Morgan was commissioned a captain of militia in the 201st Field Artillery, which is considered the oldest military unit in the United States.
Feb. 18, 1843: Ritchie County was created from portions of Wood, Lewis, and Harrison counties. The county was named for Virginia journalist and politician Thomas Ritchie.
Feb. 18, 1890: Ellison Mounts, a cousin to the Hatfield family, was hanged for murder, ending the Hatfield-McCoy Feud.
Feb. 18, 1969: Hundreds of miners in Raleigh County went on strike over the issue of black lung. Within days, the walkout spread throughout southern West Virginia.
Feb. 19, 1872: The Glenville Branch of the State Normal School was established by an act of the legislature. The first session of the college opened on January 14, 1873, in the old Gilmer County courthouse.
Feb. 19, 1908: Orval Elijah Brown was born near Lizemores in Clay County. Brown, a free-spirited individual, gained notoriety as the ‘‘Clay County Wild Man’’ during the Great Depression for his untamed physical appearance that included a flowing beard and the wearing of little more than a self-made loincloth.
Feb. 19, 1943: Author Homer Hickam was born in Coalwood, McDowell County. Hickam’s second book, Rocket Boys: A Memoir, was published in 1998 and became a runaway bestseller.
Feb. 20, 1875: The West Virginia Legislature approved a bill to move the state capital back to Wheeling.
Feb. 20, 1995: The West Virginia Legislature voted to make the Golden Delicious apple the official state fruit.
e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia is a project of the West Virginia Humanities Council. For more information, contact the West Virginia Humanities Council, 1310 Kanawha Blvd. E., Charleston, WV 25301; (304) 346-8500; or visit e-WV at HYPERLINK "http://www.wvencyclopedia.org" www.wvencyclopedia.org.