This Week in West Virginia History
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 12, 1850: Wheeling Hospital was chartered. During the Civil War, the institution was used as a general military hospital. The Sisters of Saint Joseph were hired as army nurses, treating wounded Union and Confederate soldiers side by side.
March 13, 2002: Herbalist and folk doctor Catfish Gray died in Huntington. Gray was known for his vast knowledge of traditional plant lore and for his quaint and engaging personality. At the height of the folklore revival of the 1970s, Gray was a frequent newspaper and television interview subject.
March 15, 1882: March 15, 1882: Unionist Frank Keeney was born on Cabin Creek. Keeney was a rank-and-file leader during the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Strike of 1912–13 when he led the opposition to efforts by United Mine Workers officials and Governor Hatfield to end the dispute. In 1917, Keeney became president of UMW District 17.
March 15, 1952: Governor Earl Ray Tomblin was born in Logan County. He was elected as a Democrat from Logan County to the House of Delegates in 1974, when he was only 22 years old and still a senior at West Virginia University.
March 16, 1906: Country musician Buddy Starcher was born Oby Edgar Starcher near Ripley. In 1946, Starcher cut his first recordings on Four Star, including his best-known composition, “I’ll Still Write Your Name in the Sand,” which became a hit in 1949.
March 17, 1837: Mercer County was created from parts of Giles and Tazewell counties and named for Hugh Mercer, a general during the Revolutionary War.
March 17, 1891: West Virginia State University was founded as the West Virginia Colored Institute by the West Virginia Legislature. It was one of 17 black land-grant colleges established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890.
March 18, 1883: William Stevenson was born in Warren, Pennsylvania, but he later moved to Wood County in western Virginia. In 1868, he was elected the third governor of West Virginia.
March 18, 1922: Athlete Frank ‘‘Gunner’’ Gatski was born in Farmington. Gatski played 11 years for the Browns (1946–56) and one for Detroit (1957). He played in 10 championship games, eight on the winning side.
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.