The fourth West Virginia Strawberry Festival in 1939.

This Week in West Virginia History: June 1-7

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

June 2, 1951: Cornelius Charlton died of wounds he received in battle during the Korean War. Charlton, a Raleigh County native, was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

June 3, 1856: Harriet B. Jones was born in Pennsylvania. After attending Wheeling Female College and graduating from the Women’s Medical College of Baltimore, she opened a private practice in Wheeling, becoming the first woman licensed to practice medicine in West Virginia.

June 3, 1861: The first land battle of the Civil War between organized troops took place in Philippi. About 3,000 federal troops drove about 800 Confederates from the town.

June 3, 1861: A company of Confederate soldiers known as the Logan Wildcats was created at the Logan Courthouse. The company, consisting of about 85 men, first saw action at the Battle of Scary Creek.

June 3, 1936: The first Strawberry Festival was held in Buckhannon. More than 6,000 spectators attended the festivities, which also included a parade of 30 princesses down Main Street.

June 4, 1975: Clark Kessinger died in St. Albans, Kanawha County. Kessinger was among the most prolific and influential fiddlers of the 20th century and one of West Virginia’s most important traditional musicians.

June 5, 1859: A great frost killed crops in the Preston County fields. The fields were replanted with hardy buckwheat, which was successful and became a staple crop, celebrated in the annual Buckwheat Festival in Kingwood.

June 5, 1915: Four young people were killed at the Rock Springs amusement park in Chester when the Old Mill ride caught fire.

June 6, 1892: Entrepreneur Donald F. Duncan was born in Ohio but grew up in Huntington. Duncan founded the Duncan Yo-Yo Company and the Duncan Parking Meter Corporation.

June 6, 1954: Cynthia Rylant, author of more than 100 books for young people, was born in Hopewell, Virginia, and raised in southern West Virginia. She has been honored with the prestigious Caldecott and John Newbery medals.

June 7, 1899: Congresswoman Elizabeth Kee was born in Radford, Virginia. She became West Virginia’s first female member of Congress in 1951.

June 7, 1926: An explosion at a sand mining operation in Morgan County killed six men. Their deaths were the inspiration for the ballad “The Miner’s Doom.”

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