This Week in West Virginia History


The late Ken Hechler.

The late Ken Hechler.


West Virginia Humanites Council | Courtesy

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. 15, 1861: In the aftermath of the Battle of Carnifex Ferry, Union forces under the command of Gen. Jacob Cox occupied the area of Spy Rock. Spy Rock is a natural landmark located on U.S. 60, 18 miles east of Hawks Nest.

Sept. 15, 1862: Confederate Gen. Thomas J. ‘‘Stonewall’’ Jackson forced the surrender of a large Union garrison inside the town of Harpers Ferry. The 12,500 prisoners taken by Jackson was the largest capitulation of federal troops in the war.

Sept. 15, 1875: Henry Hatfield was born near Matewan, Mingo County. As a doctor in the coal camps, he helped secure funding to establish three miners hospitals for the southern part of the state. In 1912, he was elected the state’s 14th governor.

Sept. 15, 1906: Songwriter Jack Rollins was born in Keyser. Rollins wrote the lyrics to ‘‘Here Comes Peter Cottontail’’ and ‘‘Frosty the Snow Man,’’ two of America’s most popular songs.

Sept. 16, 1876: The town of Milton in Cabell County was incorporated and named in honor of Milton Rece, a large landowner at the time.

Sept. 16, 1926: Writer John Knowles was born in Fairmont. He attained literary fame in 1959 with his first novel, A Separate Peace.

Sept. 16, 1950: Scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. was born in Keyser. Gates is one of the leading African-American intellectuals in the United States and has written several books, including Colored People: A Memoir, which describes his experiences growing up in Mineral County.

Sept. 17, 1848: Artist Lily Irene Jackson was born in Parkersburg. Jackson was best known as a painter of animal portraits and floral arrangements, and as an advocate for the arts.

Sept. 18, 1947: Historian and journalist Minnie Kendall Lowther died. Born in Ritchie County, she was one of the first West Virginia women to become a newspaper editor.

Sept. 18, 1989: Playwright Maryat Lee died in Lewisburg. She established Eco Theater in Summers County as an indigenous mountain theater, using Summers County people as actors.

Sept. 19, 1892: William ‘‘Bill’’ Blizzard was born in Cabin Creek, Kanawha County. Blizzard became one of West Virginia’s most influential and controversial labor leaders of the 20th century.

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 for the creation of 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.

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.

The late Ken Hechler.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2019/09/web1_Ken.jpgThe late Ken Hechler. West Virginia Humanites Council | Courtesy