This Week in West Virginia History: Oct. 9-15

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.

Oct. 9, 1877: The Episcopal Church created the Diocese of West Virginia. The initial convention of the new diocese met at St. John’s Episcopal in Charleston, with 14 clergy and 16 lay delegates.

Oct. 9, 2014: Following court rulings and announcements by the governor and the attorney general, same-sex marriage was effectively legalized in West Virginia.

Oct. 10, 1774: Shawnee warriors led by Cornstalk were defeated at the Battle of Point Pleasant. It was the only major engagement of Dunmore’s War and the most important battle ever fought in present West Virginia.

Oct. 10, 1872: Architect Rus Warne was born in Parkersburg. Warne designed many notable buildings in Charleston, including City Hall and the Masonic Temple.

Oct. 10, 1878: Blanche Lazzell was born in Maidsville, Monongalia County. She was one of West Virginia’s most notable artists and is recognized as one of America’s leading abstract painters and print makers.

Oct. 10, 1948: During a boat-racing event in Charleston, Chuck Yeager flew a Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star up the river and under the South Side Bridge, surprising boaters, audience and news media at the event.

Oct. 11, 1811: State founder and U.S. Senator Waitman Thomas Willey was born near Farmington. Willey proposed the West Virginia Statehood Bill in the Senate and saw to its passage and later signing by President Lincoln. He was then elected as one of West Virginia’s first two U.S. senators and served from 1863 to 1871.

Oct. 12, 1877: Howard Mason Gore was born in Harrison County. He served as U.S. secretary of agriculture and the 14th governor of West Virginia.

Oct. 12, 2020: Actress Conchata Ferrell died. Born in Loudendale, Kanawha County, Ferrell was best known as Berta the housekeeper on the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. She enjoyed a long career on stage, film and television.

Oct.13, 1863: The Battle of Bulltown took place. The location was valuable during the Civil War because the Weston & Gauley Bridge Turnpike crossed the Little Kanawha River on a covered bridge at this site. 

Oct. 14, 1947: In a Bell X-1 rocket airplane dropped from a B-29 bomber, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier by flying 700 miles per hour. He set another speed record on December 12, 1953, by flying two-and-a-half times the speed of sound in a Bell X-1A.

Oct. 14, 1949: WSAZ-TV went on the air on channel 5. Early shows included the first telecast of a Marshall College (now University) basketball game on December 3, 1949.

Oct. 14, 1985: Kanawha Airport was renamed Yeager Airport in honor of Chuck Yeager.

Oct. 15, 1839: Aretas Brooks Fleming was born in Fairmont. In 1888, Fleming won the Democratic nomination for governor and then won West Virginia’s most controversial gubernatorial election.

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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