This Week in West Virginia History: August 26 through September 1


CHARLESTON, WV—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. 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.
Aug. 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.
Aug. 27, 1902: Mary McClain 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.
Aug. 28, 1900: Harrison H. Ferrell Jr. was born in Chicago. Known as “the Dean” to generations of students, he was professor of German, 1928–66, at West Virginia State College (now University) and served as dean and in other capacities from 1930 until 1970.
Aug. 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.
Aug. 30, 1862: Confederate raiders under the command of General Albert G. Jenkins attacked and occupied Buckhannon, where they captured 20 prisoners and 5,000 stands of small arms.
Aug. 31, 1945: The USS West Virginia led American battleships into Tokyo Bay two days before the formal surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945.
Sept.1, 1777: Fort Henry, located at what is now Wheeling, was attacked by Indians for the first time. Nearly half the militia were lured outside the post and killed.
Sept. 1, 1907: Walter Phillips Reuther was born to German immigrant parents in Wheeling. Reuther was a founder of the modern labor movement and a long-time president of the United Auto Workers.
Sept. 1, 1921: By this date during the Battle of Blair Mountain, miners had captured half of the 25-mile mountain ridge and were ready to descend upon Logan. President Warren Harding placed the strike zone under martial law, and ordered federal troops and a squadron of bomber aircraft to the state.
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.

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