This Week in West Virginia History


By Michael Keller

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CHARLESTON – The following events happened on these dates in West Virginia history. To read more, go to e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia at www.wvencyclopedia.org.

Aug. 7, 1864: In what became known as the Battle of Moorefield, Union troops under Gen. William W. Averell attacked the headquarters of Gen. Bradley Johnson. The Confederates were routed and fled south into the town; the Union captured 500 men and 400 horses.

Aug. 7, 1877: West Virginia voters chose Charleston as the state capital over Clarksburg and Martinsburg.

Aug. 7, 1893: Parsons became the county seat of Tucker County. Parsons was named for Ward Parsons, a prominent resident and the largest landholder.

Aug. 8, 1915: Businessman Alex Schoenbaum was born in Richmond, Va. After settling in Charleston in 1943, he went into the restaurant business. His restaurants were named Shoney’s when Schoenbaum’s nickname was selected in an employee contest.

Aug. 9, 1954: Don Chafin died in Huntington. As sheriff of Logan County, Chafin was a bitter foe of union organizers and, with financial support from coal companies, used his many deputies to keep labor organizers out of the county.

Aug. 10, 1920: General Frank Kendall ‘‘Pete’’ Everest Jr. was born in Fairmont. Everest was a military aviator and a pioneer in U.S. rocket plane flying. In 1956, he flew the X-2 at Mach 3, exceeding 1,900 miles per hour and breaking the record of Chuck Yeager, his rival and close contemporary.

Aug. 11, 1844: Emanuel Willis Wilson was born at Harpers Ferry. He served as the seventh governor of West Virginia.

Aug. 11, 1994: The Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge became the 500th refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge system. It is one of the largest and most diverse freshwater wetland areas in central and southern Appalachia.

Aug. 12, 1937: Author Walter Dean Myers was born in Martinsburg. In January 2012, Myers was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress.

Aug. 12, 1997: The Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel strike ended when 79 percent of the workers approved a new contract. A 10-month walkout by steelworkers at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel was the longest steel manufacturing strike on record when it concluded.

Aug. 13, 1900: Railroad mogul and founder of Huntington, Collis Potter Huntington, died. Raised in poverty, Huntington went west when gold was discovered in California. There he became rich, not from mining but by selling supplies to miners.

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia is a project of the West Virginia Humanities Council. For more information, contact the West Virginia Humanities Council, 1310 Kanawha Blvd. E., Charleston, WV 25301; (304) 346-8500; or visit e-WV at www.wvencyclopedia.org.

Courtesy Photo Alex Schoenbaum was born in Richmond, Va. After settling in Charleston in 1943, he went into the restaurant business. His restaurants were named Shoney’s when Schoenbaum’s nickname was selected in an employee contest.
Courtesy Photo Alex Schoenbaum was born in Richmond, Va. After settling in Charleston in 1943, he went into the restaurant business. His restaurants were named Shoney’s when Schoenbaum’s nickname was selected in an employee contest.
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