This Week in West Virginia History
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.
Dec. 19, 1794: A 40-acre tract of George Clendenin’s land was selected as the site of Charlestown, later renamed Charleston. Clendenin, born in Augusta County, Virginia, in 1746, was one of the first settlers in the Kanawha Valley. Through Clendenin’s influence the Virginia Assembly authorized the formation of Kanawha County from parts of Greenbrier and Montgomery counties in 1789.
Dec. 20, 1949: The first class of 20 cadets graduated from the West Virginia State Police Academy. The State Police purchased property from Kanawha County for the academy on a hilltop overlooking Institute for a little more than $3,200. Construction began in 1948, and the building was completed the next year.
Dec. 21, 1798: Wood County was established by the Virginia General Assembly. It was named for James Wood, governor of Virginia from 1796 to 1800.
Dec. 22, 1928: Radio station WMMN of Fairmont began operations as one of West Virginia’s pioneer stations. For nearly two decades, beginning in 1935, WMMN was an important outlet for country and western music performers. The highlight of this era was the “Sagebrush Roundup,” a Saturday-night live-audience show which began in December 1938 and was broadcast weekly for nearly ten years
Dec. 23, 1987: Lynette ‘‘Squeaky’’ Fromme escaped from the Federal Prison Camp in Alderson. Fromme, who was serving a life sentence for trying to kill President Gerald Ford, was captured two days later near the prison.
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.