Stephen Coonts

This Week in West Virginia History: July 17-23

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

July 17, 1861: The Battle of Scary Creek took place in Putnam County. It was one of the earliest battles of the war and one of the first Confederate victories.

July 17, 1914: Singer Eleanor Steber was born in Wheeling. She made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1940.

July 17, 1922: The Cliftonville Mine Battle took place east of Wellsburg, Brooke County. The gun battle between striking miners and sheriff’s forces left at least nine people dead. 

July 18, 1776: The Methodist bishop Francis Asbury first set foot in present West Virginia outside of Berkeley Springs. He worked extensively in what is now the Eastern Panhandle, preaching and lecturing almost every day, before continuing farther into western Virginia.

July 18, 1893: Spencer State Hospital opened. With its connected brick buildings, a quarter-mile in length, the hospital was sometimes referred to as the longest continuous brick building in America. Spencer State Hospital remained in operation until June 1989.

July 19, 1863: A Confederate raid led by Gen. John Morgan came to an end on Buffington Island, near Ravenswood. The Confederates were overtaken by federal troops, local militia, and three U.S. Navy gunboats.

July 19, 1946: Author Stephen Coonts was born in Morgantown. After graduating from West Virginia University and serving in the navy during the Vietnam War, Coonts became a best-selling action and adventure novelist with the 1986 publication of Flight of the Intruder.

July 20, 2010: Carte Goodwin became the nation’s youngest senator when he took the oath of office. Goodwin was appointed to fill Robert C. Byrd’s seat in the U.S. Senate following Byrd’s death.

July 21, 1924: Don Knotts was born in Morgantown. Knotts will be forever remembered as Barney Fife on the “Andy GriffithShow.”

July 22, 1859: Athlete John Wesley ‘‘Jack’’ Glasscock was born in Wheeling. Glasscock, who played bare-handed, became one of baseball’s premier shortstops in the 19th century.

July 22, 1937: Musician Tommy Thompson was born in St. Albans, Kanawha County. Through his group the Red Clay Ramblers and a career that spanned four decades, Thompson played a major role in keeping old-time music alive.

July 23, 1863: Financier and industrialist Isaac Thomas Mann was born in Greenbrier County. As president of the Bank of Bramwell and president of the Pocahontas Fuel Company for three decades, ‘‘Ike’’ Mann held vast holdings in coal, timber, and especially financial institutions.

July 23, 1919: Novelist Davis Grubb was born in Moundsville. His renown came with his first novel, Night of the Hunter (1953), a gripping suspense story adapted to film in 1955 and for television in 1991.

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

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!