This Week in West Virginia History


Charleston WV (November 2016) – 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.

Nov. 13, 1879: Educator Elsie Clapp was born. Under her direction the community school at Arthurdale stressed education for real-life situations and revived traditional music to strengthen reading and writing skills.

Nov. 14, 1788: Kanawha County, named for the Kanawha River which flows through it, was created on this date.

Nov. 14, 1939: The Charleston Civic Orchestra gave its first concert at the Municipal Auditorium. The group changed its name to the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra in 1988.

Nov. 14: 1970: A chartered plane slammed into a hillside just short of Huntington’s Tri-State Airport near Ceredo, killing all 75 of the passengers and crew. The victims included nearly the entire Marshall University football team, all but one of their coaches, and several fans.

Nov. 15, 2010: The landmark Aracoma Hotel in Logan was damaged by fire. It was demolished later that year. Nov. 16, 1734: Samuel Washington was born at Pope’s Creek, Virginia. Samuel, a younger brother of George Washington, was the first of several members of the Washington family to live in what is now the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

Nov. 16, 1823: Politician and industrialist Henry Gassaway Davis, known in the early 20th century as West Virginia’s ‘‘Grand Old Man,’’ was born in Baltimore, Md.

Nov. 17, 1927: Composer and performer Robert Drasnin was born in Charleston. He performed with classic combos and big bands such as Tommy Dorsey and Les Brown, and scored music for movies and television.

Nov. 18, 2007: Country singer Chickie Williams died. As wife of musician Doc Williams, she performed with his Border Riders band and appeared on the Wheeling Jamboree radio show.

Nov. 19, 1854: Poet Danske Dandridge was born in Copenhagen. The daughter of an American ambassador, she lived in Shepherdstown from age 19, where her work was published in Harper’s and The Century. Both of her homes, The Bower and Rosebrake, are Jefferson County landmarks.

Nov. 19, 1899: Sculptor Gladys Tuke was born in Linwood, Pocahontas County. Tuke was a member of the original artist colony at The Greenbrier; during World War II she taught at Ashford General Hospital, and later established a pottery and sculpture studio in White Sulphur Springs.

Nov. 19, 1900: William Page Pitt was born in New York City. In 1926, Pitt joined the faculty of what was then Marshall College. In his 45-year career at Marshall, he built its journalism program into one with dozens of classes and hundreds of students. Today, Marshall University’s W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications is named in his honor.

Nov. 19, 1909: The Lincoln County courthouse was burned. With coal, oil and gas, and timber booming, the arson was suspected to have been done to destroy land records and confuse titles.

Nov. 19, 1921: The USS West Virginia was christened. It was one of the six battleships at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941, suffering massive damage from torpedoes and bombs in the surprise attack. The USS West Virginia was rebuilt and joined the Seventh Fleet for the invasion of the Philippines.

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