On This Day
in West Virginia History...


May 1
On May 1, 1940, opera singer Eleanor Steber of Wheeling performed a homecoming concert in her hometown.

May 2
On May 2, 1900, United States Senator Waitman T. Willey, who was instrumental in the creation of West Virginia, died in Morgantown.

May 3
On May 3, 1960, the Diamond Department Store in Charleston opened its dining facilities to African Americans.

May 4
On May 4, 1953, a 12-day strike at Perfection Garment Company plants in Martinsburg and Ranson, ended.

May 5
On May 5, 1899, the West Virginia Industrial Home for Girls at Salem opened.

May 6
On May 6, 1968, 25 coal miners at Hominy Falls in Nicholas County were trapped in a Gauley Coal and Coke Company Mine.

May 7
On May 7, 1887, the West Virginia legislature passed an act appropriating funds for the construction of Spencer State Hospital.

May 8
On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

May 9
Early on the morning of May 9, 1913, military authorities raided the offices of The Socialist and Labor Star, a socialist newspaper in Huntington.

May 10
On May 10, 1863, Confederate General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson, who was born in Clarksburg and raised at Jackson's Mill in Lewis County, died of wounds received in the Battle of Chancellorsville.

May 11
On May 11, 1919, a child labor law restricting the employment of children took effect.

May 12
On May 12, 1914, the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled in Jameson v. Board of Education, District of Union, that marriage was not grounds for removal of a woman teacher from her position.

May 13
On May 13, 1861, the First Wheeling Convention, which set the stage for the creation of West Virginia, began .

May 14
On May 14, 1982, Ohio Circuit Judge Arthur Recht, special judge assigned in 1981 to a court case brought by a Lincoln County parent, issued a 244-page opinion that declared West Virginia''s system of financing public schools unconstitutional.

May 15
On May 15, 1880, the first central telephone office was established in Wheeling.

May 16
On May 16, 1778, Native Americans attacked Fort Randolph at Point Pleasant.

May 17
On May 17, 1854, a violent storm destroyed the Wheeling Suspension Bridge.

May 18
On May 18, 1966, Staff Sergeant Jimmy G. Stewart, a native of West Columbia in Mason County, was killed in Vietnam. Stewart was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

May 19
On May 19, 1920, a gun battle in Matewan between Baldwin-Felts detectives and armed miners resulted in the deaths of ten persons.

May 20
On May 20, 1910, Dr. Daniel Mayer died in Cincinnati, Ohio.

May 21
On May 21, 1875, Governor John Jacob and several other state officials left Charleston for Wheeling, aboard the steamer Emma Graham, after a legislative act temporarily moving the state capital to Wheeling became law.

May 22
On May 22, 1933, the West Virginia legislature passed a bill overhauling the state education system, replacing independent and magisterial school districts with 55 county school boards.

May 23
On May 23, 1862, Union forces led by Colonel George Crook repelled an attack by Confederates under General Henry Heth at the Battle of Lewisburg.

May 24
On May 24, 1927, a Virginian passenger train and a freight train collided near Ingleside, resulting in the death of two persons.

May 25
On May 25, 1968, the Cass Scenic Railroad officially opened service to the top of Bald Knob.

May 26
On May 26, 1922, a memorial window to members of the British Flying Services who died in World War I was dedicated at Westminster Abbey. The window was placed through the efforts of Sallie Maxwell Bennett of Weston, whose son, Louis Bennett, Jr., was one of the airmen who died during the war.

May 27
On May 27, 1922, William Blizzard, UMWA official indicted for his role in the Armed March on Logan, was found not guilty of treason in Jefferson County.

May 28
On May 28, 1938, basketball star Jerry West was born at Cabin Creek in Kanawha County .

May 29
On May 29, 1778, Native Americans attacked Fort Donnally, near present-day Lewisburg.

May 30
On May 30, 1940, Smoke Hole Caverns in Grant County opened to the public.

May 31
On May 31, 1985, Randy Barnes of St. Albans set a state record in the discus throw. Barnes, who still holds the state record in both the shot put and the discus, won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympic Games.

On This Day in West Virginia History

West Virginia Archives and History