This Week in W.Va. History

Michael Keller
West Virginia Archives
Cousin Abe Lilly
Mildred Mitchell-Bateman
:Mudwall" Jackson
Pfc. Jessica Lynch
Rose Cousins

CHARLESTON – The following events happened on these dates in West Virginia history. To read more, go to e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia at

March 21, 1914: The West Virginia boys’ high school basketball tournament began in Buckhannon. The event was first sponsored by West Virginia Wesleyan College, which at the time had West Virginia’s largest and finest gymnasium.

March 22, 1922: Physician Mildred Mitchell-Bateman was born in Georgia. She became the first black woman in West Virginia to hold a high-level state administrative position when, in 1962, Governor William Wallace Barron appointed her as the director of the Department of Mental Health.

March 23, 2003: Private Jessica Lynch of Palestine, Wirt County, was serving as a supply clerk with the Army’s 507th Maintenance Company when she was captured by Iraqi forces after her group was ambushed.

March 24, 1890: Confederate General William Lowther ‘‘Mudwall’’ Jackson died in Louisville. Jackson, who was born in Clarksburg, joined the Confederate Army as a private. After helping to organize an infantry unit, he was promoted to colonel. He served on the staff of his cousin, Gen. Thomas J. ‘‘Stonewall’’ Jackson, and was jokingly nicknamed ‘‘Mudwall.’’

March 25, 1878: Attorney General Armistead Abraham ‘‘Cousin Abe’’ Lilly was born at Jumping Branch, Summers County. Lilly appealed the Virginia Debt Suit to the U.S. Supreme Court; when settled, it was estimated that Lilly saved the state a large sum of money.

March 26, 1851: Upshur County was created from parts of Randolph, Lewis, and Barbour counties, with Buckhannon as the county seat.

March 26, 1863: The state’s first constitution was overwhelmingly ratified by the voters, by a majority of 28,321 to 572. The constitution was drafted during the state’s first Constitutional Convention at the federal custom house in Wheeling.

March 26, 1920: Aviator Rose Agnes Rolls Cousins was born. She was the first black woman to become a solo pilot in the Civilian Pilot Training Program at West Virginia State College (now University).

March 27, 1917: Statesman Cyrus Roberts Vance was born in Clarksburg. In 1977, President Carter tapped Vance as his secretary of state. In 1978, Vance was instrumental in the Camp David peace accord between Egypt and Israel and in negotiating the Panama Canal Treaty.

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