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Ellie Schaul

This Week in West Virginia History: Nov. 26 – Dec. 2

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.

Nov. 26, 1952:  A fire on the evening before Thanksgiving at the Huntington State Hospital killed 14 patients, with three more patients later dying from their injuries. Huntington State Hospital is known today as the Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital.

Nov. 26, 1861: The Constitutional Convention of 1861–63 was convened in Wheeling. The convention provided the foundation for state government in preparation for statehood.

Nov. 27, 1848: African-American educator William H. Davis was born. As a teacher for Black children in Malden, his most famous student was Booker T. Washington. In 1888, Davis was nominated as an independent candidate for the gubernatorial election – to date, the only Black person so honored in West Virginia history.

Nov. 27, 1933: Daniel Boardman Purinton, a faculty member and president of West Virginia University, died. He was an early and strong supporter of co-education.

Nov. 28, 1864: In a local skirmish north of Moorefield, Rosser’s Confederate cavalry and McNeill’s Rangers rebuffed a raid by Union Col. R. E. Fleming and spared the South Branch Valley from destruction. The battlefields are part of the Middle South Branch Valley rural historic district.

Nov. 29, 1921: The actress Dagmar was born Virginia Ruth Egnor in Lincoln County. Her acting career took off in 1950 when she was hired to be on NBC’s “Broadway Open House,” the network’s first late-night television show.

Nov. 29, 2001: Writer John Knowles died in Florida. Knowles, born in Fairmont, attained literary fame in 1959 with his first novel, A Separate Peace.

Nov. 30, 1796: Brooke County was established under an act of the General Assembly of Virginia. The county was formed from part of Ohio County and named in honor of Robert Brooke, governor of Virginia.

Dec. 1, 1797: Journalist and politician John S. Gallaher was born in Martinsburg. He owned or managed several Whig newspapers and was instrumental in establishing the free school system in Virginia. He played a prominent role in having early railroads routed through the Eastern Panhandle.

Dec. 1, 1936: Artist Ellie Schaul was born in Massachusetts. Since moving to West Virginia in 1956, she has been one of Appalachia’s most enduring artists.

Dec. 2, 1859: John Brown was hanged at Charles Town in Jefferson County. Maj. Thomas J. Jackson, later nicknamed “Stonewall,” was among those commanding the Virginia forces standing guard at the execution of the abolitionist who led the raid at Harpers Ferry.

Dec. 2, 1933: The Charles Town Race Track opened shortly after West Virginia legalized racing and parimutuel betting. The Jefferson County complex contained 22 buildings and included 12 stables.

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