2013-05-15 / Columns

This Week in West Virginia History

West Virginia Humanities Council 1310 Kanawha Blvd., E. Charleston, WV 25301
from The West Virginia Encyclopedia

May 15, 1880 - The state’s first telephone exchange was placed in service in Wheeling with about 25 subscribers.

May 15, 1886 - Minnie Buckingham Harper was born in Winfield. She was the first African-American woman to serve as a member of a state legislative body in the United States. She was appointed by Governor Howard Gore on January 10, 1928, to fill the unexpired term of her husband, E. Howard Harper.

May 15, 1893 - Albert Sidney ‘‘Sid’’ Hatfield, controversial police chief of Matewan and martyred hero to union coal miners, was born near Matewan, on the Kentucky side of Tug Fork.

May 15, 1953 - George Brett, the Hall of Fame third baseman for the Kansas City Royals, was born in Glen Dale in Marshall County. He is one of only four players in baseball history to accumulate 3,000 hits, 300 home runs and a career batting average of .300.

May 16, 1778 - About 300 Wyandot and Mingo Indians attacked Fort Randolph at Point Pleasant. Unable to take the fort, the Indians proceeded up the Kanawha River toward other settlements.

May 17, 1854 - A violent windstorm swept up the Ohio River and severely damaged the Wheeling Suspension Bridge.

May 17, 1862 - The Battle of Pigeon Roost took place in Princeton during the Civil War. Union soldiers were noisily approaching Princeton from the southeast, unaware that the Confederates were lying in ambush. The attack left an estimated 18 federal troops killed and 38 wounded.

May 18, 2012 - Ice Mountain in Hampshire County was named a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the program.

May 19, 1920 - Ten people were killed in what became known as the Matewan Massacre. Baldwin-Felts detectives came to Matewan to evict striking miners and their families, but Police Chief Sid Hatfield tried to stop the evictions as being unauthorized by law.

May 20, 1949 - Nick Joe Rahall II was born in Beckley. When Rahall entered Congress in 1977, he was its youngest member.

May 21, 1853 - William M.O. Dawson was born in Bloomington, Maryland, just across the Potomac River from what is now the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. He became the 12th governor of West Virginia.

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