This Week in West Virginia History: September 14-20


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 www.wvencyclopedia.org.

Sept. 14, 1898: Okey L. Patteson was born in Mingo County. Patteson, called the ‘‘Great Persuader,’’ tackled difficult decisions as West Virginia’s 23rd governor from 1949 to 1953. 

Sept. 15, 1875: Henry Hatfield was born near Matewan, Mingo County. As a doctor in the coal camps, he helped secure funding to establish three miners hospitals for the southern part of the state. In 1912, he was elected the state’s 14th governor. 

Sept. 15, 1906: Songwriter Jack Rollins was born in Keyser. Rollins wrote the lyrics to ‘‘Here Comes Peter Cottontail’’ and ‘‘Frosty the Snow Man,’’ two of America’s most popular songs.

Sept. 16, 1926: Writer John Knowles was born in Fairmont. He attained literary fame in 1959 with his first novel, A Separate Peace. 

Sept. 16, 1950: Scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. was born in Keyser. Gates is one of the leading African-American intellectuals in the United States and has written several books, including Colored People: A Memoir, which describes his experiences growing up in Mineral County.

Sept. 17, 1848: Artist Lily Irene Jackson was born in Parkersburg. Jackson was best known as a painter of animal portraits and floral arrangements, and as an advocate for the arts.

Sept. 18, 1947: Historian and journalist Minnie Kendall Lowther died. Born in Ritchie County, she was one of the first West Virginia women to become a newspaper editor.

Sept. 18, 1989: Playwright Maryat Lee died in Lewisburg. She established Eco Theater in Summers County as an indigenous mountain theater, using Summers County people as actors.

Sept. 19, 1892:  William ‘‘Bill’’ Blizzard was born in Cabin Creek, Kanawha County. Blizzard became one of West Virginia’s most influential and controversial labor leaders of the 20th century.

Sept. 20, 1914: Ken Hechler was born on Long Island, New York. Hechler served 18 years in the U.S. Congress and four terms as West Virginia’s secretary of 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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