This Week in West Virginia History: July 6-12

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

July 6, 1806: Statesman Charles James Faulkner was born in Martinsburg. Faulkner served in the West Virginia legislature, U.S. Congress (1851–59), and as U.S. minister to France.

July 6, 1848: Historian Virgil A. Lewis was born in Mason County. In 1905, Governor Dawson appointed Lewis as the first director of the Bureau of Archives and History.

July 6, 1883: Judge ‘‘R. D.’’ Bailey was born at Baileysville, Wyoming County. Bailey came into wide prominence as the judge of the Matewan Massacre trial in 1921.

July 7, 1928: The Madonna of the Trail monument was dedicated in Wheeling. It is one of the 12 such statues erected along the National Road to honor America’s pioneering women.

July 8, 1894: Walter Aegerter was born in Helvetia. An amateur photographer, Aegerter built both a studio and darkroom on his farm and photographed portraits, families, celebrations and everyday scenes of the German Swiss settlement. The glass plate negatives survive today in several archived collections.

July 8, 1924: Rock ’n’ roll pioneer Johnnie Johnson was born in Fairmont. Johnson collaborated with Chuck Berry on songs such as ‘‘Roll Over, Beethoven.’’ Berry’s hit ‘‘Johnny B. Goode’’ was written as a tribute to Johnson.

July 9, 1942: An explosion at the Pursglove No. 2 Mine at Scotts Run near Morgantown killed 20 men. It was one of three fatal accidents at the mining operation in an eight-month period.

July 9, 1989: Treasurer A. James Manchin resigned after being impeached. With a stock market downturn in 1987, Manchin bore much of the blame when the state lost nearly $300 million in investments for which he was responsible.

July 10, 1769: Physician Jesse Bennet was born. He performed the first successful caesarian section in America in 1794, on his own wife and without proper equipment and with no antiseptics. He later established a large practice in Mason County and served as an Army surgeon in the War of 1812.

July 10, 1936: The temperature in Martinsburg reached 112 degrees. It tied the record for hottest temperature on record, which had been set August 4, 1930, at Moorefield.

July 11, 1867: John Jacob Cornwell was born on a farm in Ritchie County. He served as the 15th governor of West Virginia.

July 11, 1976: Gov. Arch Moore dedicated the West Virginia Culture Center. The structure was built to showcase the Mountain State’s artistic, cultural, and historic heritage.

July 12, 2003: The Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in downtown Charleston opened to the public. More than 50,000 schoolchildren from 50 West Virginia counties and 21 counties in surrounding states visit the center each year.

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




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