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.
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 the site of 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, Withers 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 the first U.S. serviceman 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), 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 the 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 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.
July 9, 1942: An explosion at the Pursglove No. 2 Mine at Scotts Run near Morgantown killed 20 men. It was one of three fatal accidents at the mining operation in an eight-month period.
July 9, 1989: Treasurer A. James Manchin resigned after being impeached. With a stock market downturn in 1987, Manchin bore much of the blame when the state lost nearly $300 million in investments for which he was responsible.
July 10, 1769: Physician Jesse Bennet was born. He performed the first successful caesarian section in America in 1794, on his own wife and without proper equipment and with no antiseptics. He later established a large practice in Mason County and served as an Army surgeon in the War of 1812.
July 10, 1936: The temperature in Martinsburg reached 112 degrees. It tied the record for hottest temperature on record, which had been set August 4, 1930, at Moorefield.
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.