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

July 12, 2003: The Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in downtown Charleston opened to the public. More than 50,000 schoolchildren from 50 West Virginia counties and 21 counties in surrounding states visit the center each year.

July 13, 1861: The Battle of Corricks Ford took place in Tucker County. Confederate Gen. Robert S. Garnett was killed. He was the first Confederate general killed in the Civil War.

July 14, 1861: Union troops under Gen. Jacob Cox drove Confederate militia and cavalry out of Barboursville during the Battle of Barboursville. Union forces remained in control of Barboursville for the remainder of the war.

July 15, 1886: Congressman Cleveland Monroe ‘‘Cleve’’ Bailey was born on a farm in Pleasants County. He represented West Virginia’s third congressional district for eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1945–47 and 1949–63.

July 15, 1988: Interstate 64 was completed when the final section between Sam Black Church and the West Virginia Turnpike was opened to traffic.

July 16, 1869: Philanthropist Michael Late Benedum was born in Bridgeport. He made a fortune in the oil and gas business, but he is best remembered for the establishment of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

July 17, 1861: The Battle of Scary Creek took place in Putnam County. It was one of the earliest battles of the war and one of the first Confederate victories.

July 17, 1914: Singer Eleanor Steber was born in Wheeling. She made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1940.

July 17, 1922: The Cliftonville Mine Battle took place east of Wellsburg, Brooke County. The gun battle between striking miners and sheriff’s forces left at least nine people dead.

July 18, 1776: The Methodist bishop Francis Asbury first set foot in present West Virginia outside of Berkeley Springs. He worked extensively in what is now the Eastern Panhandle, preaching and lecturing almost every day, before continuing farther into western Virginia.

July 18, 1893: Spencer State Hospital opened. With its connected brick buildings, a quarter-mile in length, the hospital was sometimes referred to as the longest continuous brick building in America. Spencer State Hospital remained in operation until June 1989.

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