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On This Day
in West Virginia History...

January


January 1
On January 1, 1853, the first Baltimore & Ohio train arrived in Wheeling from Baltimore, connecting the Atlantic with the Ohio River.

January 2
Official groundbreaking ceremonies for the explosives plant at Nitro were held on January 2, 1918.

January 3
On January 3, 1921, the State Capitol in Charleston was destroyed by fire.

January 4
On January 4, 1808, Harman Blennerhassett was released from prison after being found "not guilty" of treason for his role in the Aaron Burr conspiracy.
United States Senator Stephen Benton Elkins died on January 4, 1911.

January 5
The Cabell County community of Guyandotte was established on January 5, 1810.

January 6
On January 6, 1921, Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield died of pneumonia in Logan County.

January 7
The Virginia General Assembly passed an act compensating $1,500 to state attorney Andrew Hunter of Charles Town, Jefferson County, for his legal services in prosecuting John Brown and his raiders.

January 8
On January 8, 1943, a fire in the Pursglove No. 15 coal mine on Scott's Run, Monongalia County, killed 13.

January 9
The State Board of Education adopted a resolution mandating the salute to the flag as a regular part of school activities for teachers and students. The following year, the law requiring such a salute was found unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court.

January 10
On January 10, 1859, President James Buchanan appointed Democrat Charles Faulkner of Berkeley County as American Minister to France. Faulkner had been recently defeated in the election to retain his seat in the United States House of Representatives.

January 11
On January 11, 1893, United States Senator John E. Kenna of West Virginia died in Washington at the age of 44.

January 12
On January 12, 1941, Doddridge County native Matthew Neely resigned from the United States Senate to become governor of West Virginia.

January 13
On January 13, 1905, Joseph H. Diss Debar, legislator, Commissioner of Immigration, and designer of the State Seal, died in Philadelphia.

January 14
On January 14, 1873, Glenville Normal School opened with T. Marcellus Marshall as acting principal. It later became Glenville State College.

January 15
An extra session of the West Virginia Legislature convened in Charleston to determine the winner of the disputed 1888 gubernatorial election between Democrat Aretas B. Fleming and Republican Nathan Goff.

January 16
Elgin Baylor of the National Basketball Association Minneapolis Lakers refused to play in a basketball game in Charleston, because he was not allowed a room with the team in a Charleston hotel that banned African-Americans.

January 17
On January 17, 1885, James Arthur Jackson, who served as West Virginia Supreme Court librarian from 1925 to 1965, was born in Coal Valley.
On January 17, 1977, John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV was inaugurated in Charleston as the twenty-ninth West Virginia governor, serving until 1985.

January 18
On January 18, 1842, the Virginia General Assembly created Wayne County from part of Cabell County.
On January 18, 1951, eleven coal miners were killed in an explosion at the Burning Springs Collieries Company in Kermit, Mingo County.

January 19
African- American railroad worker John Hardy was hanged at Welch, McDowell County, on January 19, 1894. Hardy later became the subject of a popular folk song.

January 20
The Virginia Theater in Wheeling opened on January 20, 1908.

January 21
Confederate General John McCausland of Mason County died on January 21, 1927.

January 22
On January 22, 1901, the West Virginia Legislature adopted a joint resolution honoring Spanish- American War hero and West Virginia native Captain Andrew S. Rowan.

January 23
On January 23, 1903, the West Virginia Legislature adopted a joint resolution declaring the rhododendron, also known as the big laurel, to be the state flower.

January 24
On January 24, 1960, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached at Charleston's First Baptist Church.

January 25
Francis Pierpont, who served as Governor of the Reorganized Government of Virginia and is known as the "Father of West Virginia," was born in Monongalia County on January 25, 1814.

January 26
On January 26, 1960, Burnsville High School basketball star Danny Heater set a national record by scoring 135 points in a game against Widen High School.
On January 26, 1921, the trial of police chief Sid Hatfield for his role in the Matewan Massacre began in Williamson.

January 27
On January 27, 1826, the Virginia General Assembly passed an act establishing the town of Suttonsville, now Sutton.

January 28
On January 28, 1861, at a mass meeting held at the Greenbrier County Courthouse, Samuel Price was elected delegate to the Richmond Convention.

January 29
On January 29, 1873, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad was completed from Huntington, West Virginia, to Richmond, Virginia.

January 30
On January 30, 1876, Sobieski Brady of Wheeling was appointed state treasurer, replacing John Burdett, who was impeached.

January 31
W. W. Trent, who served as West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools from 1933 to 1957, was born on January 31, 1878 in Nicholas County.


On This Day in West Virginia History