Chuck Howley

This Week in West Virginia History: June 23-29

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 23, 1944: A tornado struck Shinnston and the surrounding area, killing 103 people and injuring hundreds more.

June 23, 2016: Eight inches of rain fell in a 12-hour period in central West Virginia. The Meadow, Cherry and Elk rivers, as well as Howard Creek, flooded downtowns and The Greenbrier resort, killing 23 people.

June 24, 1842: Author Ambrose Bierce was born. Bierce found the setting for some of his famous short stories in the mountains of Civil War-era West Virginia.

June 25, 1811: Bridge builder Lemuel Chenoweth was born near Beverly, Randolph County. His many bridges included the earliest covered bridge at Beverly and the famous Philippi covered bridge.

June 26, 1887: Sheriff Don Chafin was born in Logan County. Chafin was a bitter foe of union organizers and, with financial support from coal companies, used his many deputies to keep labor organizers out of Logan County.

June 26, 1892: Pearl Buck was born in Hillsboro in the home of her maternal grandparents. She received the Nobel Prize for Literature for The Good Earth.

June 26, 1936: Basketball star Hal Greer was born in Huntington. Greer was the first Black athlete to play at Marshall College (now University). When his pro career ended in 1973, he held the NBA record for most games played and ranked in the top 10 in points scored, field goals attempted, and field goals made.

June 27, 1897: Musician Maceo Pinkard was born in Bluefield. The co-writer of “Sweet Georgia Brown,” Pinkard became one of the most successful songwriters of the 1920s Jazz Era.

June 27, 1961: Honey in the Rock was first performed at Grandview near Beckley. The play by Kermit Hunter depicts the founding of the Mountain State in 1863.

June 28, 1936: Athlete Chuck Howley was born in Wheeling. A standout in college at WVU, Howley played linebacker for 12 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys. The six-time All-Pro was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2023.

June 28, 2010: Robert C. Byrd died at the age of 92. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1958, and he served until his death.

June 29, 1845: George W. Atkinson was born in Charleston. In 1896, Atkinson was elected governor in an upset victory over Cornelius C. Watts of Charleston, ending 26 years of Democratic rule.

June 29, 1952: Writer Breece D’J Pancake was born in South Charleston and grew up in Milton, Cabell County. Many of Pancake’s stories are set in Milton, fictionalized as “Rock Camp.”

June 29, 2012: A violent storm called a derecho raced across West Virginia, leaving downed trees and damaged homes in its wake. About 688,000 homes and businesses lost power for a week during a widespread heat wave.

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