This Week in West Virginia History: June 23-29

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.

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. The Meadow, Cherry and Elk rivers, as well as Howard Creek, flooded downtowns and The Greenbrier resort and killed 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 also 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 Harold Everett ‘‘Hal’’ Greer was born in Huntington. Greer was the first African-American athlete to play at Marshall College (now University). During his three-year college career, Greer scored 1,377 points and averaged 19.4 points per game.

June 27, 1897: Musician Maceo Pinkard was born in Bluefield. 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 State Park near Beckley. The play by Kermit Hunter depicts the founding of the Mountain State in 1863.

June 28, 1936: Athlete Charles Louis ‘‘Chuck’’ Howley was born in Wheeling, Howley played linebacker for 12 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys. He was named All-Pro six times and named to six Pro Bowls.

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 Wesley Atkinson was born in Charleston. In 1896, Atkinson was elected governor in an upset victory over Cornelius C. Watts of Charleston which ended 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.

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.

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