This Week in W.Va. History: Nov. 3 – Nov. 9

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The Flood of 1985
The Flood of 1985

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.

Nov. 3, 1947: Kanawha Airport (now Yeager 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.

Nov. 9, 1874: Matthew Mansfield Neely was born in Doddridge County. He was the 21st governor of West Virginia.

Nov. 9, 1952: The Huntington Museum of Art opened as Huntington Galleries. The museum is located on more than 50 acres in the Park Hills section of Huntington.

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.