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.
Jan. 11, 1893: U.S. Senator Harley Martin Kilgore was born in rural Harrison County. Kilgore served as a senator from West Virginia from 1940 until his death in 1952.
Jan. 12, 1869: Newspaperman Herschel Coombs Ogden was born near Fairmont. In 1888, he relocated to Wheeling and entered the newspaper business.
Jan. 13, 1905: Joseph H. Diss Debar died in Philadelphia. A supporter of the movement to create West Virginia, Diss Debar was commissioned in 1863 to design the Great Seal of West Virginia.
Jan. 14, 1842: Marion County was established and named after Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion. Middletown was chosen as the county seat, but the name was changed to Fairmont the following year.
Jan. 14, 1873: The first session of the Glenville Branch of the State Normal School began in the old Gilmer County courthouse. The legislature changed the name to Glenville State College in 1943 and to a university in 2022.
Jan. 15, 1864: Frances Benjamin Johnston was born in Grafton. Johnston gained national renown as the first female press photographer, and enjoyed a long and remarkable career as one of the nation’s leading documentary, portrait, and artistic photographers.
Jan. 16, 1850: Lawman Dan Cunningham was born in Jackson County. His remarkable career involved him in the Hatfield-McCoy Feud, the West Virginia Mine Wars, and the destruction of moonshine stills.
Jan. 16, 1869: Ephraim Franklin Morgan was born in Marion County. Morgan, a Republican, was governor during the tumultuous West Virginia Mine Wars.
Jan. 17, 1918: The War Department hired a New York engineering firm to build the DuPont munitions plant in Nitro. Within 11 months, the powder plant and a complete town with houses, a civic center and a hospital, were completed.
Jan. 17, 1956: Musician Blind Alfred Reed died. He was a street singer, fiddler, and songwriter from Pipestem, Summers County. He also is a member of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.
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.
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