West Virginia in History

Historical Events

  • 1861-04-27 West Virginia secedes from Virginia after Virginia secedes from Union (US Civil War)
  • 1861-06-19 Francis Pierpont is elected provisional governor of West Virginia
  • 1861-09-10 -15] Battle at Cheat Mountain, Elkwater West Virginia
  • 1861-10-24 West Virginia secedes from Virginia
  • 1861-11-26 West Virginia created as a result of dispute over slavery with Virginia
  • 1861-12-13 Battle of Alleghany Summit, West Virginia
  • 1862-01-10 Romney expedition, Confederate Army military expedition begins in Romney, West Virginia (US Civil War)
  • 1862-09-14 Federal troops escape from beleaguered Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1862-12-31 President Abraham Lincoln signs act admitting West Virginia to the Union

US President Abraham Lincoln
US President
Abraham Lincoln
  • 1863-03-26 Voters in West Virginia approve gradual emancipation of slaves
  • 1863-06-20 West Virginia admitted as 35th US state of the Union
  • 1863-11-01 -8] Averell's Raid (on)to Lewisburg, West Virginia
  • 1864-05-21 Gen David Hunter takes command of Department of West Virginia

BattleBattle of Interest

1864-10-13 Battle of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (Mosby's Raid)

The Gray Ghost John Singleton Mosby
The Gray Ghost
John Singleton Mosby
  • 1865-01-11 Battle of Beverly, West Virginia, Confederate forces attack Union post
  • 1897-01-23 Elva Zona Heaster is found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. Resulting murder trial of her husband perhaps only case in US history where the alleged testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.
  • 1897-03-11 A meteorite enters the earth's atmosphere and explodes over New Martinsville, West Virginia. The debris causes damage but no human injuries are reported.
  • 1907-12-06 Coal mine explosions in Monongah, West Virginia kills 361
  • 1914-04-28 181 die in coal mine collapse at Eccles, West Virginia
  • 1921-05-03 West Virginia imposes 1st state sales tax
  • 1921-08-25 The first skirmishes of the Battle of Blair Mountain, a civil uprising in Logan County, West Virginia
  • 1924-04-28 119 die in coal mine disaster at Benwood, West Virginia
  • 1925-08-12 The first cast of Alpha Psi Omega, drawn from The Masquers of Fairmont College, West Virginia, is initiated.
  • 1936-07-10 112°F (44°C) at Martinsburg, West Virginia (state record)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1960-05-10 John F. Kennedy wins primary in West Virginia

35th US President John F. Kennedy
35th US President
John F. Kennedy
  • 1972-02-26 Slag heap dam collapses above Buffalo Creek, West Virginia, kills 125
  • 1989-01-02 Notre Dame beats West Virginia for college football championship
  • 1989-07-18 48 cm rainfall at Rockport, West Virginia (state record)
  • 2016-06-23 Storms and widespread flooding in West Virginia leave at least 24 dead

Famous Birthdays

  • 1817-06-17 Thomas Maley Harris, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Wood County, West Virginia (d. 1906)
  • 1823-06-20 Jesse Lee Reno, American Major General (Union Army), born in Wheeling, West Virginia (d. 1862)
  • 1824-09-01 Isaac Hardin Duval, American businessman and Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Wellsburg, West Virginia (d. 1902)
  • 1864-01-15 Frances Benjamin Johnston, Grafton West Virginia, early female photographer

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1876-07-06 Harry Ford Sinclair, founder of Sinclair Oil (Teapot Dome Scandal), born in Benwood, West Virginia

Founder of Sinclair Oil Harry Ford Sinclair
Founder of Sinclair Oil
Harry Ford Sinclair
  • 1894-10-26 John S Knight, American journalist and publisher (Knight Newspapers), born in Bluefield, West Virginia (d. 1981)
  • 1897-10-11 George Preston Marshall, American businessman and NFL team owner (Washington Redskins), born in Grafton, West Virginia (d.
  • 1900-07-29 Don Redman, American jazz musician and orchestra leader (Sugar Hill Times), born in Piedmont, West Virginia (d. 1964)
  • 1907-09-01 Walter P. Reuther, American labor leader and President of the UAW & CIO, born in Wheeling, West Virginia (d. 1970)
  • 1909-08-29 Roy Reuther, American Labor Leader, born in Wheeling, West Virginia (d. 1968)
  • 1911-09-20 Frank De Vol, American composer (theme songs to Family Affair, The Brady Bunch), born in Moundsville, West Virginia (d. 1999)
  • 1912-01-01 Victor Reuther, American labor leader, born in Wheeling, West Virginia
  • 1917-03-27 Cyrus Vance, US Secretary of State (1977-80), born in Clarksburg, West Virginia (d. 2002)
  • 1917-07-07 Woodrow Wilson "Red" Sovine, American country music singer, born in Charleston, West Virginia (d. 1980)
  • 1920-02-03 George A. Miller, Charleston, West Virginia, cognitive psychologist (the magical number seven), (d. 2012)
  • 1920-12-19 [Little] Jimmy Dickens, American country singer (Grand Ole Opry), born in Bolt, West Virginia
  • 1921-12-03 Phyllis Curtin, American soprano (NYC Opera), born in Clarksburg, West Virginia (d. 2016)
  • 1921-12-22 Hawkshaw Hawkins, country singer (Ozark Jubilee), born in Huntington, West Virginia
  • 1922-08-04 Charley Harper, American modernist artist, born in Frenchton, West Virginia (d. 2007)
  • 1923-02-13 Chuck Yeager, American test pilot who was the 1st man to break the sound barrier, born in Myra, West Virginia
  • 1924-07-21 Don Knotts, American actor (Andy Griffth Show, 3's Company), born in Morgantown, West Virginia (d. 2006)
  • 1926-11-29 Dagmar, Huntington, West Virginia, American actress (Broadway's Open House)
  • 1927-03-30 Peter Marshall, TV game show host (Hollywood Squares), born in Huntington, West Virginia

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1928-06-13 John Nash, American mathematician (subject of movie "A Beautiful Mind") and Nobel laureate, born in Bluefield, West Virginia

Mathematician and Economist John Nash
Mathematician and Economist
John Nash
  • 1930-08-25 Page Johnson, actress (Passages from Finnegan's Wake), born in Welch, West Virginia
  • 1933-01-24 Zeke Carey, American R&B singer (Go, Johnny, Go!, Rock Rock Rock!), born in Bluefield, West Virginia (d. 1999)
  • 1933-11-16 Garrett "Garnet" Mimms, Ashland West Virginia, singer (Enchanters-Cry Baby)
  • 1934-09-12 Glenn Davis, American athlete (Olympic gold 1956,60), born in Wellsburg, West Virginia (d. 2009)
  • 1936-09-05 Bill Mazeroski, American MLB 2nd baseman (won 1960 World Series for Pitts), born in Wheeling, West Virginia
  • 1937-08-12 Walter Dean Myers, African-American author, born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, (d. 2014)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1938-05-28 Jerry West, NBA superstar (LA Lakers, Olympic Gold 1960), born in Chelyan, West Virginia

NBA Guard Jerry West
NBA Guard
Jerry West
  • 1941-10-18 William "Billy" Cox, Guitarist (performed with Jimi Hendrix), born in Wheeling, West Virginia
  • 1951-10-27 Nancy Jacobs, American politician (R), Senator Maryland (1999-2015), born in Charleston, West Virginia

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1953-05-15 George Brett, American baseball third baseman (KC Royals, 1980 AL MVP), born in Glen Dale, West Virginia

MLB Third Baseman George Brett
MLB Third Baseman
George Brett
  • 1962-05-09 John Corbett, actor/singer (Northern Exposure, Sex and the City), born in Wheeling, West Virginia
  • 1962-09-19 Tonja Walker, actress (Alex-One Life to Live), born in Huntington, West Virginia
  • 1963-11-26 Allyson Rice-Taylor, actress (As the World Turns), born in Huntington, West Virginia
  • 1977-03-05 Natalie Bevins, Miss USA-West Virginia (1997)

Famous Weddings


HeartWedding of Interest

1794-09-15 4th US President James Madison (43) weds Dolley Madison (26) in Jefferson County, West Virginia

4th US President James Madison
4th US President
James Madison
  • 1891-03-21 A Hatfield marries a McCoy, ends long feud in West Virginia it started with an accusation of pig-stealing & lasted 20 years

HeartWedding of Interest

1960-04-10 NBA guard Jerry West (21) weds his college sweetheart Martha Kane in Morgantown, West Virginia

NBA Guard Jerry West
NBA Guard
Jerry West

Famous Deaths

  • 1930-09-24 William A. MacCorkle, Governor of West Virginia (b. 1857)
  • 1940-10-21 William G. Conley, Governor of West Virginia (b. 1866)
  • 1995-10-21 Linda Goodman, Morgantown, West Virginia, American astrologer and poet, dies from complications of diabetes at 70
  • 2008-11-24 Cecil H. Underwood, Governor of West Virginia (b. 1922)