This Week in WV History – February 19th, 2014
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. 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. 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, 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, now Glenville State College, 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 during the Great Depression as the ‘’Clay County Wild Man’’ known 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 (1998), became a runaway bestseller and the basis for the popular film October Sky.
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.
Feb. 21, 1940: Former Governor Gaston Caperton was born in Charleston. Caperton defeated Arch Moore to become the state’s 31st governor.
Feb. 22, 1927: Longtime Agriculture Commissioner Gus R. Douglass was born in Mason County. Douglass, a Democrat, was first elected commissioner of agriculture in 1964.
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 www.wvencyclopedia.org.