2017-09-06 / News

This Week in West Virginia History

from The West Virginia Encyclopedia

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

September 6, 1875 - Members of the notorious James Gang robbed the Bank of Huntington and got away on horseback. The robbery spawned a host of legends, including stories about outlaw Frank James – brother of Jesse James — hiding out in Wayne County.

September 6, 1980 - The new Mountaineer Field opened in Morgantown with a 41-27 win over Cincinnati. It was the first game of new coach Don Nehlen, who would become the most successful coach in West Virginia University history.

September 7, 1808 - Peter Godwin Van Winkle was born in New York City. Van Winkle was elected as one of the first two U.S. senators from the new state of West Virginia.

September 7, 1848 - Christopher Harrison Payne was born in Monroe County. In 1896, Payne became the state’s first black legislator when he was elected to the House of Delegates from Fayette County.

September 8, 1862 - Raiders led by Confederate Gen. Albert G. Jenkins, a Cabell County native, rode into Barboursville. They skirmished with the enemy, then rode into Wayne, Logan, and Raleigh counties.

September 8, 1947 - Morris Harvey College (now University of Charleston) moved to its current location on the south side of the Kanawha River.

September 9, 1839 - Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield was born in Mingo County. He was the patriarch of the Hatfield family and their leader during the Hatfield- McCoy feud.

September 10, 1782 - Frontier heroine Betty Zane is credited with saving Fort Henry in Wheeling during an attack by the British and Indians. According to one account, Zane sprinted across a field to retrieve gunpowder from the Zane family cabin.

September 10, 1996 - Movie and television actress Joanne Dru died in Los Angeles. Dru was born Joan Letitia Lacock in Logan. Her movie career included more than 40 films.

September 11, 1913 - Ritter Park in Huntington opened. During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration contributed to constructing the roads and stonework around the park.

September 12, 1861 - The Battle of Cheat Mountain was fought near the Randolph Pocahontas County line. Gen. Robert E. Lee came into western Virginia to give support to Gen. William W. Loring, commander of the Army of Northwestern Virginia, but the battle ended in a defeat for the Confederacy.

September 12, 1872 - The Great Bend Tunnel was completed. The tunnel, also known as Big Bend Tunnel, is the place where John Henry defeated the steam drill, becoming one of the world’s great folk heroes.

September 12, 1952 - A group of local youths were startled from a game of football by a fireball streaking across the sky. The fireball fell to earth just beyond a hillside at Flatwoods. This sighting led to the legend of the Braxton County Monster.

September 12, 1974 - Kanawha County schools were closed for four days because of an escalation in violence during the Kanawha County Textbook Controversy. Throughout October and November, sporadic violence continued as protesters demanded the resignation of pro-textbook school board members and the superintendent of schools.

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