This Week in West Virginia History: November 2-8

CHARLESTON, W.Va.—The following events happened on these dates in West Virginia history. To read more, go to e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia at

Nov. 2, 1859: John Brown was tried for murder, treason, and insurrection in the Jefferson County courthouse at Charles Town. Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry galvanized the nation, further alienating North and South and drastically reducing any possible middle ground for compromise.

Nov. 2, 1952: Tri-State Airport in Wayne County was dedicated, with the first official landing made at 11 a.m. by Piedmont Airlines. 

Nov. 2, 1996: Baseball player Toni Stone died. Born in Bluefield, she joined the Negro Major League in 1953, becoming the first woman to play professional baseball.

Nov. 3, 1947: Kanawha Airport (now Yeager International Airport) was dedicated. World War I ace Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker was among the dignitaries present. 

Nov. 4-5, 1985: Heavy rains led to devastating floods in parts of West Virginia. Forty-seven people were killed, and several towns were severely damaged. 

Nov. 5, 1891: Alfred Earle ‘‘Greasy’’ Neale was born in Parkersburg. He was one of West Virginia’s greatest all-around athletes. 

Nov. 5, 1922: Cecil Underwood was born at Josephs Mills in Tyler County. Underwood, West Virginia’s 25th and 32nd governor, served as the state’s youngest and oldest chief executive. 

Nov. 6, 1863: Confederate troops led by Brig. Gen. John Echols were defeated at Droop Mountain by a larger federal force led by Brig. Gen. William W. Averell. This was one of the most important Civil War battles fought on West Virginia soil.  

Nov. 6, 1923: A methane gas explosion killed 27 men inside the Glen Rogers coal mine in Wyoming County. The mine, which opened in 1921, became one of the state’s largest. A total of 160 fatalities over a 31-year period occurred at the mine before it was closed.

Nov. 7, 1775: The historic Forks-of-Cheat Baptist Church was organized about six miles north of Morgantown. It is the oldest church with continuous records west of the Alleghenies in West Virginia. 

Nov. 8, 1936: “It’s Wheeling Steel,” a half-hour musical variety radio program, debuted over WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia. The program was an instant success with local audiences and later became a nationwide sensation.

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 


More In Community