Harpers Ferry Flood - 1936

This Week in West Virginia History: March 19-25

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.

March 19, 1925: Basketball teams from 11 of West Virginia’s 24 African-American high schools took the court at West Virginia State College (now University) in Institute for the first West Virginia Athletic Union (WVAU) state basketball tournament. Lincoln High School of Wheeling defeated Kimball, 25-24, in the final game to win the championship.

March 19, 1992: Four miners were killed at the Blacksville No. 1 Mine in Monongalia County while it was being sealed. Drainage pipes were being welded together, and a spark fell into the shaft, igniting methane gas.

March 20, 1849: Businessman James Kay was born in Scotland. He constructed the coke ovens at Hawks Nest, installed a cable car to carry coal across the New River, and installed a tramway to move miners and coal up and down the gorge face at Kaymoor.

March 20, 1897: Musician Frank Hutchison was born in Raleigh County. With a slide guitar sound akin to the bottleneck style, he helped instill a blues strain into modern country music, and was influential among coalfield musicians.

March 20, 1936: Recurring storms led to major flooding on the Potomac River, hitting record levels at Harpers Ferry. The Ohio River at Parkersburg reached 10 feet above flood stage.

March 21, 1914: The first West Virginia boys’ high school basketball tournament began in Buckhannon. The event was sponsored by West Virginia Wesleyan College, which at the time had West Virginia’s largest and finest gymnasium.

March 21, 2018: Sculptor Frank Gaylord died. Born 1925 in Clarksburg, his best-known work is “The Column,” a platoon of 19 larger-than-life, stainless steel soldiers comprising the central element of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington.

March 22, 1922: Physician Mildred Mitchell-Bateman was born in Georgia. She became the first Black woman in West Virginia to hold a high-level state administrative position when, in 1962, Governor Wally Barron appointed her director of the Department of Mental Health.

March 23, 2003: Private Jessica Lynch of Palestine, Wirt County, was serving as a supply clerk with the Army’s 507th Maintenance Company when she was captured by Iraqi forces after her group was ambushed.

March 24, 1890: Confederate General William Lowther “Mudwall” Jackson died in Louisville. Jackson, who was born in Clarksburg, joined the Confederate Army as a private. After helping to organize an infantry unit, he was promoted to colonel. He served on the staff of his cousin, Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, and was jokingly nicknamed ‘‘Mudwall.’’

March 25, 1878: Attorney General Armistead Abraham “Cousin Abe” Lilly was born at Jumping Branch, Summers County. Lilly appealed the Virginia Debt Suit to the U.S. Supreme Court; when settled, it was estimated that Lilly had saved the state a large sum of money.

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