2017-08-23 / Opinions

This Week in West Virginia History

from The West Virginia Encyclopedia

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

August 23, 1970 - The Mormon Church established its first ‘‘stake,’’ or congregation, in West Virginia. The stake was organized in Charleston with a membership of nearly 4,000 people.

August 24, 1918 - Louis Bennett Jr. died of injuries sustained when his plane was shot down by German anti-aircraft fire. Bennett, with 12 combat kills, was West Virginia’s only World War I fighter ace.

August 25, 1903 - Soprano Susanne Fisher was born in Sutton. Fisher was the first West Virginian to sing at the Metropolitan Opera.

August 25, 1921 - Miners began to arrive at Blair Mountain near the border of Logan and Boone counties. Sheriff Don Chafin, a hated symbol of anti-unionism in southern West Virginia, met them with a combined force of deputies, mine guards, civilian volunteers, and others.

August 25, 2000 - The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope was dedicated. It is the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope.

August 26, 1863 - Union and Confederate forces collided in what became known as the Battle of White Sulphur Springs. The next morning, with ammunition nearly depleted, Union Gen. William Averell decided to retreat to his base without accomplishing any of his objectives.

August 26, 1918 - Mathematician Katherine Johnson was born in White Sulphur Springs. For 33 years, Johnson worked for NASA doing calculations for manned space flight, including the Apollo 11 moon landing. In 2015, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

August 27, 1902 - Mary Mc- Clain was born Mary Smith in Huntington. McClain was a blues legend who performed at Carnegie Hall, the White House, the Apollo Theatre, and the Cotton Club.

August 28, 1900 - Harrison H. Ferrell Jr. was born in Chicago. Known as “the Dean” to generations of students, he was professor and chairman of German, 1928– 66, at West Virginia State College (now University) and served as dean and in other capacities from 1930 until 1970.

August 29, 1952 - A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Mercer County to mark the beginning of construction of the West Virginia Turnpike. Initially, most of the turnpike was just two lanes because officials believed revenues would be too low to finance four lanes.

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