West Virginia in History

Historical Events

  • 1861-04-27 West Virginia secedes from Virginia after Virginia secedes from Union (US Civil War)
  • 1861-06-03 1st American Civil War land battle: Union forces defeat the Confederacy at Philippi in modern-day West Virginia
  • 1861-06-19 Francis Pierpont is elected provisional governor of West Virginia
  • 1861-07-04 Skirmish at Harper's Ferry, 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)
  • 1862-05-15 -May 17] Battle of Princeton West Virginia
  • 1862-05-17 Battle of Princeton West Virginia, ends with about 128 causalities
  • 1862-09-14 Federal troops escape from beleaguered Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Historic Event

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

  • 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 General David Hunter takes command of Department of West Virginia
  • 1864-06-11 Battle of Laurel Hill, West Virginia
  • 1864-07-03 Harpers Ferry, West Virginia - Federals evacuate in face of Early's advance
  • 1864-08-07 Battle of Moorefield, West Virginia

Battle of Interest

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

  • 1864-11-06 Battle of Droop Mountain, West Virginia (Averell's Raid)
  • 1865-01-11 Battle of Beverly, West Virginia, Confederate forces attack Union post
  • 1882-08-07 Hatfields of south West Virginia and McCoys of east Kentucky feud, 100 wounded or die
  • 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)
  • 1955-07-31 WHIS (now WVVA) TV channel 6 in Bluefield, West Virginia (NBC) 1st broadcast

Sports History

1959-03-21 21st NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: California beats West Virginia, 71-70; WV future Hall of Fame point guard Jerry West is named MOP

Historic Event

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

  • 1970-11-14 Marshall U football team wiped out in DC-9 air crash at Kenova, West Virginia, killing 75
  • 1972-02-26 Slag heap dam collapses above Buffalo Creek, West Virginia, kills 125
  • 1978-04-27 Cooling tower collapses at a coal-fired power plant at Willow Island, West Virginia, kills 51
  • 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
  • 2017-11-25 Actress Naya Rivera arrested on a domestic battery charge in Kanawha County, West Virginia

Famous Birthdays

  • 1814-01-25 Francis Harrison Pierpont, American lawyer & politician (Union), born in Morgantown, West Virginia (d. 1899)
  • 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)
  • 1857-05-07 William A. MacCorkle, American politician, 90th Governor of West Virginia, born in Lexington, Virginia (d. 1930)
  • 1864-01-15 Frances Benjamin Johnston, American photographer, born in Grafton West Virginia (d. 1952)
  • 1868-12-04 Jesse Burkett, American Baseball HOF left fielder (NL batting champion 1895-96, 1901; 240 hits in 1896 MLB record for 15 years; Cleveland Spiders, St. Louis Perfectos/Cardinals), born in Wheeling, West Virginia (d. 1953)
  • 1873-04-13 John W. Davis, American politician and United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, born in Clarksburg, West Virginia (d. 1955)

Harry Ford Sinclair

1876-07-06 Harry Ford Sinclair, American industrialist who founded Sinclair Oil and implicated in the Teapot Dome scandal, born in Benwood, West Virginia (d. 1956)

  • 1891-11-05 Earl Neale, American College and Pro Football Hall of Fame coach (Virginia; NFL: Philadelphia Eagles) and MLB outfielder (Cincinnati Reds), born in Parkersburg, West Virginia (d. 1973)
  • 1892-06-26 Pearl S. Buck, American author (Good Earth-Nobel 1938), born in Hillsboro, West Virginia (d. 1973)
  • 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. 1969)
  • 1897-11-17 Eddie Baker, American actor (A Man About Town, Collars and Cuffs), born in Davis, West Virginia (d. 1968)
  • 1900-07-29 Don Redman, American jazz musician and orchestra leader (Sugar Hill Times), born in Piedmont, West Virginia (d. 1964)
  • 1901-05-09 John Forest "Fuzzy" Knight, American actor (Oklahoma Annie, Cowby & the Lady), born in Fairmont, West Virginia (d. 1976)
  • 1902-03-08 Jennings Randolph, American politician, Senator from West Virginia (1958-85), born in Salem, West Virginia (d. 1998)
  • 1903-02-11 Rex Lease, American actor (Fast Bullets, Sunny Skies, Custer's Last Stand), born in Central City, West Virginia (d. 1966)
  • 1905-04-19 Tommy Benford, American jazz drummer, born in Charleston, West Virginia (d. 1994)
  • 1907-09-01 Walter P. Reuther, American labor leader and President of the UAW & CIO, born in Wheeling, West Virginia (d. 1970)
  • 1909-06-04 William M. Batten, American businessman and CEO (NY Stock Exchange 1976-84), born in Parkersburg, West Virginia (d. 1999)
  • 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 My Three Sons, The Brady Bunch) and actor (Fernwood 2 Night - "Happy Kyne"), 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 ("Phantom 309"; "Teddy Bear"), born in Charleston, West Virginia (d. 1980)
  • 1917-10-24 Marshall Goldberg, American College Football HOF back (Uni of Pittsburgh; All Pro, Pro Bowl 1941; Chicago Cardinals), born in Elkins, West Virginia (d. 2006)
  • 1920-02-03 George A. Miller, cognitive psychologist (the magical number seven), born in Charleston, West Virginia (d. 2012)
  • 1920-11-20 Douglas Dick, American actor and psychologist (Rope, Waterfront), born in Charleston, West Virginia (d. 2015)
  • 1920-12-19 "Little" Jimmy Dickens, American country singer (Grand Ole Opry), born in Bolt, West Virginia (d. 2015)
  • 1921-11-29 Dagmar [Virginia Ruth Egnor], American actress, model, and television personality (Broadway's Open House), born in Yawkey, West Virginia (d. 2001)
  • 1921-12-03 Phyllis Curtin, American soprano (NYC Opera, 1953-64), born in Clarksburg, West Virginia (d. 2016)
  • 1921-12-22 Harold "Hawkshaw" Hawkins, American country singer (Ozark Jubilee; "Lonesome 7-7203"), born in Huntington, West Virginia (d. 1963)
  • 1922-01-31 Joanne Dru [LaCock], American actress (Red River, All the King's Men), born in Logan, West Virginia (d. 1996)
  • 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 (d. 2020) [1]
  • 1923-07-05 John McKay, American football coach (USC, Tampa Bay, 5X Rose Bowl champ), born in Everettville, West Virginia (d. 2001)
  • 1924-07-08 Johnnie Johnson, American blues, jazz, and rock piano player (Chuck Berry's band), born in Fairmount, West Virginia (d. 2005)
  • 1924-07-21 Don Knotts, American actor (Andy Griffth Show, 3's Company), born in Morgantown, West Virginia (d. 2006)
  • 1925-10-02 Paul Goldsmith, American auto and motorcycle racer (USAC stock car champion 1961-62; 127 NASCAR starts, 9 wins), born in Parkersburg, West Virginia
  • 1926-01-02 Gino Marchetti, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end (Pro Bowl x 11), born in Smithers, West Virginia (d. 2019)
  • 1926-09-16 John Knowles, American writer (Morning in Antibes), born in Fairmont, West Virginia (d. 2001)
  • 1927-03-30 Peter Marshall, American TV game show host (Hollywood Squares), born in Huntington, West Virginia
  • 1928-02-22 Paul Dooley, American actor, writer and comedian(16 Candles, Strange Brew, Wedding), born in Parkersburg, West Virginia

John Nash

1928-06-13 John Nash, American mathematician (subject of movie "A Beautiful Mind") and Nobel laureate, born in Bluefield, West Virginia (d. 2015)

  • 1929-10-24 George Crumb, American composer (Pulitzer Prize, 1968 - Echoes of Time and the River; Vox Balaenae), and educator, born in Charleston, West Virginia (d. 2022) [1]
  • 1930-02-22 Allison Hayes, American model & actress (Attack of the 50 Foot Woman), born in Charleston, West Virginia (d. 1977)
  • 1932-06-17 John Murtha, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania), born in New Martinsville, West Virginia (d. 2010)
  • 1933-01-24 Zeke Carey, American doo-wop and R&B singer (The Flamingos - "I Only Have Eyes For You"), born in Baltimore, Maryland (d. 1999)
  • 1933-04-11 Tony Brown, American journalist (Tony Brown's Journal), born in Charleston, West Virginia
  • 1933-11-16 Garnet Mimms, American singer (Enchanters-Cry Baby), born in Ashland, West Virginia
  • 1934-01-08 Gene Freese, American baseball player, born in Wheeling, West Virginia (d. 2013)
  • 1934-09-12 Glenn Davis, American athlete (Olympic gold 1956,60), born in Wellsburg, West Virginia (d. 2009)
  • 1934-10-04 Sam Huff, American College / Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker (5 x Pro Bowl; First-team All-Pro 1958, 59; NY Giants, Washington Redskins), born in Edna, West Virginia (d. 2021)
  • 1936-01-01 Don Nehlen, American College Football Hall of Fame coach (Bowling Green 1968-76, West Virginia 1980-2000), born in Mansfield, Ohio
  • 1936-09-05 Bill Mazeroski, American MLB 2nd baseman (won 1960 World Series for Pitts), born in Wheeling, West Virginia
  • 1937-01-06 Lou Holtz, American football coach (NJ Jets), born in Follansbee, West Virginia
  • 1937-08-12 Walter Dean Myers, African-American author, born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, (d. 2014)
  • 1938-02-28 Foge Fazio, American college football coach (University of Pittsburgh), born in Dawmont, West Virginia (d. 2009)

Jerry West

1938-05-28 Jerry West, American Basketball Hall of Fame guard, executive (LA Lakers, 14-time NBA All Star), born in Chelyan, West Virginia

Bill Withers

1938-07-04 Bill Withers, American singer-songwriter and rhythm & blues musician ("Ain't No Sunshine"; "Lean On Me"), born in Slab Fork, West Virginia (d. 2020)

  • 1939-06-08 Bernie Casey, American actor (Boxcar Bertha, Rent-a-Cop), born in Wyco, West Virginia (d. 2017)
  • 1939-09-24 Sonny Turner, American singer (The Platters, 1959-70 - "With This Ring", The Metrotones), born in Fairmont, West Virginia
  • 1939-10-16 William "Billy" Cox, American bass player (performed with Jimi Hendrix), born in Wheeling, West Virginia
  • 1941-03-28 Charles Ray "Charlie" McCoy, American Grammy-winning session musician and harmonica player (Hee Haw), born in Oak Hill, West Virginia
  • 1941-06-08 Clarence "Fuzzy" Haskins, American pop singer (Funkadelic - "Knee Deep"), born in Elkins, West Virginia
  • 1942-05-22 Calvin Simon, American funk and gospel vocalist (Parliament/Funkadelic - "Livin' the Life"), born in Beckley, West Virginia (d. 2022)
  • 1943-03-28 Conchata Ferrell, American actress (LA Law, Two and a Half Men), born in Loudendale, West Virginia (d. 2020)
  • 1943-08-14 Jon Andrew McBride, Capt USN/astronaut (STS 41G), born in Charleston, West Virginia
  • 1947-01-23 Tom Carper, American politician (D-Delaware, Senator 2001-, Governor of Delaware 1993-2001, Rep 1983-93), born in Beckley, West Virginia
  • 1948-09-14 Fred "Sonic" Smith, American guitarist (MC5 - "Kick Out the Jams"), born in West Virginia (d. 1994)
  • 1948-11-01 Anna Stuart, American actress (Another World, All My Children), born in Bluefield, West Virginia
  • 1949-04-23 Joyce DeWitt, American actress (Janet Wood-Three's Company), born in Wheeling, West Virginia
  • 1951-05-08 Mike D'Antoni, American basketball coach (NBA Coach of the Year 2005, 17; Houston Rockets; LA Lakers, NY Knicks, Phoenix Suns), born in Mullens, West Virginia
  • 1951-10-27 Nancy Jacobs, American politician (R), Senator Maryland (1999-2015), born in Charleston, West Virginia
  • 1951-10-31 Nick Saban, American football coach (National NCAA C'ships 2003, 09, 11-12, 15, 17; LSU, Alabama, Miami Dolphins), born in Fairmont, West Virginia

George Brett

1953-05-15 George Brett, American Baseball Hall of Fame 3rd baseman (13 x MLB All Star; World Series 1985; AL MVP 1980; KC Royals), born in Glen Dale, West Virginia

  • 1956-01-04 Ann Magnuson, actress (Anything But Love, Hunger), born in Charleston, West Virginia
  • 1957-01-17 Steve Harvey, American actor, comedian and radio personality, born in Welch, West Virginia
  • 1961-09-28 Anne White, American tennis player (famously wares spandex Wimbledon 1985), born in Charleston, West Virginia
  • 1962-05-09 John Corbett, American actor (Northern Exposure - "Chris Stevens"; Sex and the City - "Aidan"; My Big Fat Greek Wedding), and country music singer, born in Wheeling, West Virginia
  • 1962-09-19 Tonja Walker, American actress (Alex-One Life to Live), born in Huntington, West Virginia
  • 1963-05-24 Rich Rodriguez, American football coach, born in Grant Town, West Virginia
  • 1963-11-26 Allyson Rice-Taylor, American actress (As the World Turns), born in Huntington, West Virginia
  • 1966-06-16 Randy Barnes, American field athlete (Olympic gold shot put 1996; WR 23.12m), born in Charleston, West Virginia
  • 1967-10-04 Vicky Bullett, American basketball forward and coach (Olympic gold 1988; World C’ship gold 1990), born in Martinsburg, West Virginia
  • 1968-01-24 Mary Lou Retton, American gymnast (Olympic gold all-round 1984), born in Fairmont, West Virginia
  • 1968-04-24 Tracy Gravely, CFL linebacker (Montreal Alouettes), born in West Virginia
  • 1970-06-11 Brock Marion, American NFL safety (Dallas Cowboys), born in Wheeling, West Virginia
  • 1970-11-06 Rich Braham, American NFL center (Cincinnati Bengals), born in Morgantown, West Virginia
  • 1970-11-07 Morgan Spurlock, American director and documentary producer (Super Size Me), born in Parkersburg, West Virginia
  • 1970-12-28 Elizabeth McIntyre, Miss West Virginia (1996), born in Dunbar, West Virginia
  • 1970-12-28 James Jett, US Olympic sprinter and NFL wide receiver (Oakland Raiders), born in Charles Town, West Virginia
  • 1971-11-09 Michael Barber, American NFL linebacker (Seattle Seahawks), born in Winfield, West Virginia
  • 1972-12-02 Alan Henderson, American basketball forward (NBA Most Improved Player 1998; Atlanta Hawks), born in Morgantown, West Virginia
  • 1972-12-31 Kelvin Kinney, American football defensive end (Washington Redskins), born in Montgomery, West Virginia
  • 1973-03-29 Brad Bridgewater, American 200m backstroke (Olympic gold 1996), born in Charleston, West Virginia
  • 1974-01-18 Devon Odessa, American actress (Sharon-My So Called Life, Girl of Limberlost), born in Parkersburg, West Virginia
  • 1976-12-09 Chris Booker, American baseball player, born in West Virginia
  • 1976-12-23 Jamie Noble, American professional wrestler, born in Hanover, West Virginia

Famous Weddings

James Madison

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

  • 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

Jerry West

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

Famous Deaths

  • 1930-09-24 William A. MacCorkle, American politician, 90th Governor of West Virginia, dies at 73
  • 1940-10-21 William G. Conley, Governor of West Virginia (b. 1866)
  • 1995-10-21 Linda Goodman, American astrologer and poet, dies from complications of diabetes at 70
  • 2008-11-24 Cecil H. Underwood, Governor of West Virginia (b. 1922)