This Week in West Virginia History


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.

Sept. 1, 1777: Fort Henry, located at what is now Wheeling, was attacked by Indians for the first time. Nearly half the militia were lured outside the post and killed.

Sept. 1, 1907: Walter Phillips Reuther was born to German immigrant parents in Wheeling. Reuther was a founder of the modern labor movement and a long-time president of the United Auto Workers.

Sept. 1, 1921: By this date during the Battle of Blair Mountain, miners had captured half of the 25-mile mountain ridge and were ready to descend upon Logan. President Warren Harding placed the strike zone under martial law, and ordered federal troops and a bombing squadron into the state.

Sept. 2, 1722: Frontiersman William Crawford was born in present Jefferson County. He was a farmer, soldier, surveyor, and the land agent of George Washington.

Sept. 3, 1890: West Virginia Wesleyan College opened as the West Virginia Conference Seminary. In that first year, 201 men and women undertook a largely preparatory school curriculum. Gradually the school added college-level studies and awarded its first five degrees in 1905.

Sept. 3, 1966: President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated the Summersville Dam and Lake. Summersville Lake, located on the Gauley River in Nicholas County, is West Virginia’s largest lake, with 2,790 surface acres at summer pool stage and 60 miles of shoreline.

Sept. 4, 1862: General Albert G. Jenkins and his men crossed the Ohio River and became the first to raise the Confederate flag on Ohio soil.

Sept. 5, 1861: Sutton was occupied by 5,000 Union troops. Later in 1861, General Rosecrans bivouacked 10,000 Union troops there, including a future president, William McKinley.

Sept. 6, 1875: Members of the notorious James Gang robbed the Bank of Huntington and got away on horseback. The robbery spawned a host of legends, including stories about outlaw Frank James – brother of Jesse James — hiding out in Wayne County.

Sept. 6, 1980: The new Mountaineer Field opened in Morgantown with a 41-27 win over Cincinnati. It was the first game of new coach Don Nehlen, who would become the most successful coach in West Virginia University history.

Sept. 7, 1808: Peter Godwin Van Winkle was born in New York City. Van Winkle was elected as one of the first two U.S. senators from the new state of West Virginia.

Sept. 7, 1848: Christopher Harrison Payne was born in Monroe County. In 1896, Payne became the state’s first black legislator when he was elected to the House of Delegates from Fayette County.

Sept. 7, 1937: Photographer Arnout ‘‘Sonny’’ Hyde Jr. was born in Bluefield. His images of nature and people have appeared in magazines, books, and calendars throughout the U.S. and Europe.

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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