Harpers Weekly featuring the Second Wheeling Convention in 1861.

This Week in West Virginia History: June 11-17

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 www.wvencyclopedia.org.

June 11, 1866: Architect Elmer Forrest Jacobs was born in Preston County. His work can be seen particularly in downtown Morgantown, in residential South Park, and on the West Virginia University campus. Most of his Morgantown buildings are now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

June 12, 2006: Robert C. Byrd became the longest-serving U.S. senator in history. He served in the Senate from 1959 until his death in 2010. His record was broken in 2013, by Congressman John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, but Byrd still retains the Senate record.

June 13, 1861: The Second Wheeling Convention began in the federal courtroom of the Wheeling Custom House. This convention declared the Confederate state government in Richmond illegal; created a Reorganized Government of Virginia loyal to the United States; elected Francis Pierpont governor of Virginia; and called for the western counties to be formed into a new state.

June 13, 1928: Mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. was born in Bluefield. In 1994, Nash was honored with the Nobel Prize in Economics. He was the subject of a best-selling biography, A Beautiful Mind, which was later made into a movie.

June 14, 1912: Botanist Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Bartholomew was born in Wheeling. Bartholomew was instrumental in building the dried plant collection at West Virginia University from 30,000 to 140,000 specimens, and she initiated a 2,000-plant seed collection.

June 15, 1876: Attorney and civil right activist T. G. Nutter was born in Maryland. The first Black delegate from Kanawha County, he helped establish Lakin State Hospital and other institutions for Blacks, and crafted an anti-lynching law.

June 15, 1880: Musician “Blind Alfred” Reed was born in Floyd County, Virginia, though he spent most of his life in West Virginia. He composed and recorded some of the most creative topical country songs on Victor Records between 1927 and 1929.

June 15, 1963: The Cass Scenic Railroad took its first passenger trip during the state’s Centennial celebration.

June 16, 1842: Margaret Agnew Blennerhassett, wife of Harman Blennerhassett, died in poverty in New York City. She lived from 1800 to 1806 in a grand 16-room mansion she and her husband had constructed on an Ohio River island near present Parkersburg. She and her son, Harman Jr., were reburied on Blennerhassett Island in 1996.

June 17, 1813: General Thomas Maley Harris was born at present Harrisville. He rose to prominence after the Civil War, when he served on the military commission that tried conspirators who acted with John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.

June 17, 1916: The West Virginia High School Athletic Association was organized at Charleston with 11 charter members. Its name was changed to the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission in 1955.

June 17, 1961: A Wayne County bridge was named in honor of TV newsman David Brinkley. The bridge’s condition had become a news item during the 1960 presidential primary; state officials closed the bridge, repaired it, and invited Brinkley to return for the ceremony officially naming it the “Brinkley Bridge.”

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