Walter Aegerter

This Week in West Virginia History: July 2-8

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

July 2, 1829: Potter and businessman Alexander Polk Donaghho was born. He began a pottery operation in Parkersburg, creating hand-thrown, salt-glazed crocks, jars and other pottery that are avidly collected today.

July 3, 1863: At Gettysburg, Union troops in the 1st West Virginia Cavalry took part in a fruitless charge against Confederate infantrymen during the waning moments of that historic battle.

July 4, 1882: The steamboats Scioto and John Lomas collided on the Ohio River as they were returning from holiday excursions. The Scioto sank almost instantly, and 70 people drowned.

July 4, 1918: Poet Muriel Miller Dressler was born in Kanawha County. Her poem “Appalachia,” published in 1970, was her signature piece.

July 4, 1928: West Virginia dedicated Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park. Droop Mountain was one of the most important Civil War battles fought on West Virginia soil.

July 4, 1938: Musician Bill Withers Jr. was born into a miner’s family of 13 children in Slab Fork, Raleigh County. In 1971, he released his first album, Just As I Am, including his first Grammy-winning song, “Ain’t No Sunshine.” In 2015 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

July 5, 1896: Cartoonist Kendall Vintroux was born at Fraziers Bottom. He began his career with the Charleston Gazette when he submitted a cartoon about the town of Poca’s first paved road. Many of his drawings are now in the collection of the University of Charleston.

July 5, 1950: Army Private Kenneth Shadrick of Wyoming County was one of the first U.S. servicemen killed in action in the Korean War.

July 6, 1806: Statesman Charles James Faulkner was born in Martinsburg. Faulkner served in the West Virginia legislature, U.S. Congress (1851–59, 1875-77), and as U.S. minister to France.

July 6, 1848: Historian Virgil A. Lewis was born in Mason County. In 1905, Governor Dawson appointed Lewis as the first director of the Bureau of Archives and History.

July 6, 1883: Judge “R. D.” Bailey was born at Baileysville, Wyoming County. Bailey came into wide prominence as the judge of the Matewan Massacre trial in 1921.

July 7, 1928: The Madonna of the Trail monument was dedicated in Wheeling. It is one of 12 such statues erected along the National Road to honor America’s pioneering women.

July 8, 1894: Walter Aegerter was born in Helvetia. An amateur photographer, Aegerter built both a studio and darkroom on his farm and photographed portraits, families, celebrations and everyday scenes of the German Swiss settlement. The glass plate negatives survive today in several archived collections.

July 8, 1924: Rock ’n’ roll pioneer Johnnie Johnson was born in Fairmont. Johnson collaborated with Chuck Berry on songs such as “Roll Over, Beethoven.” Berry’s hit “Johnny B. Goode” was supposedly written as a tribute to Johnson.

July 8, 1961: Sutton Dam was dedicated by Governor Wally Barron. The Army Corps of Engineers operates the dam for purposes of flood control, low-flow augmentation and recreation.

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