The following events happened on these dates in West Virginia history. To read more, go toe-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia at www.wvencyclopedia.org.
Sept. 20, 1910: Dorothy Johnson Vaughan was born in Kansas City but moved at a young age to Morgantown, where she was valedictorian of Beechurst High School. Like fellow West Virginian Katherine Johnson, Vaughan became a mathematician and computer expert for NASA and made key contributions to the U.S. space program.
Sept. 20, 1914: Ken Hechler was born on Long Island, New York. Hechler served 18 years in the U.S. Congress and four terms as West Virginia’s secretary of state.
Sept. 21, 1895: Samuel Ivan Taylor was born in Mercer County. Taylor was the first member of the West Virginia state police. He was part of the force that faced off against union miners during the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain in Logan County.
Sept. 21, 1937: The West Virginia Conservation Commission acquired 6,705 acres in Kanawha County to create Kanawha State Forest. Redevelopment of the land, which had been heavily mined and timbered, began the next year by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Sept. 21, 1970: Filming began in Moundsville on the movie Fools’ Parade, based on the novel by Davis Grubb. The filming concluded one month later when Grubb came to Moundsville for a dinner, accompanied by his dog, making the $750 round trip from New York City in a taxi.
Sept. 22, 1856: Albert Blakeslee “A. B.” White was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He was West Virginia’s 11th governor, serving from 1901 to 1905. He was the fourth person to serve as governor from Wood County, his adopted home.
Sept. 22, 1894: Louis Bennett Jr. was born in Weston. Bennett was West Virginia’s only World War I flying ace. With 12 combat kills, including three aircraft and nine balloons, Bennett placed himself ninth on the roster of aces. This record was accomplished in just 10 days after assignment to his combat unit.
Sept. 22, 1970: The “Brinkley Bridge” in Wayne County collapsed under the weight of an overloaded truck. The bridge was named for newscaster David Brinkley who had filmed a 1960 news report about the poor condition of the span.
Sept. 23, 1922: Five men were struck and killed at the Glen Rogers mine in Wyoming County when equipment fell during the construction of a deep shaft.
Sept. 23, 1938: The Mingo Oak was cut down after succumbing to the fumes of a burning coal refuse pile. The Mingo Oak, which stood near the Logan-Mingo county line, was more than 500 years old and may have been the largest white oak in the world.
Sept. 24, 1911: Laura Jackson Arnold died in Buckhannon. The sister of Stonewall Jackson, she was a staunch Unionist during the Civil War, opening her home to care for injured Union soldiers.
Sept. 24, 1918: George Spencer “Spanky” Roberts was born in London, Kanawha County. He entered aviation cadet training with the first class of Tuskegee Airmen and became the firstBlack military pilot from West Virginia.
Sept. 25, 1864: George Smith Patton was killed at the Battle of Winchester. Patton, a Charleston lawyer, had organized the Kanawha Riflemen, a Virginia militia company. He was the grandfather of Gen. George S. Patton of World War II.
Sept. 26, 1816: David Hunter Strother was born in Martinsburg. He was an artist and an author who used the pen name “Porte Crayon.”
Sept. 26, 1863: The Great Seal of West Virginia was adopted by the legislature. The seal, which has remained unchanged, was designed by Joseph H. Diss Debar.