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.
March 20, 1849: Businessman James Kay was born in Scotland. He constructed the coke ovens at Hawks Nest, installed a cable car to carry coal across the New River, and installed a tramway to move miners and coal up and down the gorge face at Kaymoor.
March 20, 1897: Musician Frank Hutchison was born in Raleigh County. With a slide guitar sound akin to the bottleneck style, he helped to instill a blues strain in modern country music, and was influential among coalfield musicians.
March 20, 1936: Recurring storms led to major flooding on the Ohio River. At Parkersburg, the river reached 48 feet, 10 feet above flood stage.
March 21, 1914: The West Virginia boys’ high school basketball tournament began in Buckhannon. The event was first sponsored by West Virginia Wesleyan College, which at the time had West Virginia’s largest and finest gymnasium.
March 21, 2018: Sculptor Frank Gaylord died. Born 1925 in Clarksburg, his best-known work is “The Column,” a platoon of 19 larger-than-life, stainless steel soldiers comprising the central element of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington.
March 22, 1922: Physician Mildred Mitchell-Bateman was born in Georgia. She became the first black woman in West Virginia to hold a high-level state administrative position when, in 1962, Governor William Wallace Barron appointed her as the director of the Department of Mental Health.
March 23, 2003: Private Jessica Lynch of Palestine, Wirt County, was serving as a supply clerk with the Army’s 507th Maintenance Company when she was captured by Iraqi forces after her group was ambushed.
March 24, 1890: Confederate General William Lowther ‘‘Mudwall’’ Jackson died in Louisville. Jackson, who was born in Clarksburg, joined the Confederate Army as a private. After helping to organize an infantry unit, he was promoted to colonel. He served on the staff of his cousin, Gen. Thomas J. ‘‘Stonewall’’ Jackson, and was jokingly nicknamed ‘‘Mudwall.’’
March 25, 1878: Attorney General Armistead Abraham ‘‘Cousin Abe’’ Lilly was born at Jumping Branch, Summers County. Lilly appealed the Virginia Debt Suit to the U.S. Supreme Court; when settled, it was estimated that Lilly saved the state a large sum of money.
March 26, 1863: The state’s first constitution was overwhelmingly ratified by the voters, by a majority of 28,321 to 572. The constitution was drafted during the state’s first Constitutional Convention at the federal custom house in Wheeling.
March 26, 1920: Aviator Rose Agnes Rolls Cousins was born. She was the first black woman to become a solo pilot in the Civilian Pilot Training Program at West Virginia State College (now University).
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.