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

Dec. 4, 1901: Construction of the present Cabell County courthouse was completed. An extensive remodeling was completed in 1940.

Dec. 4, 1883: Social reformer Stella Fuller was born Stella Lawrence Cremeans in Point Pleasant. In the 1940s, Fuller opened a relief operation on Huntington’s Washington Avenue. Eventually, the Stella Fuller Settlement expanded into the area’s largest haven for the disadvantaged and homeless.

Dec. 5, 1892: Daniel D. T. Farnsworth died at the age of 73 in Buckhannon. As state senate president, Farnsworth succeeded Governor Boreman, who resigned in the last days of his term after being elected as a U.S. senator by the state legislature.

Dec. 6, 1814: Tyler County was formed. The county was named for John Tyler, governor of Virginia (1808–11) and father of President John Tyler.

Dec. 6, 1865: Artist Annie Virginia Latham Bartlett was born in Grafton. Her clay sculptures included conventional busts as well as figurines interpreting West Virginia’s historic and cultural past, with such titles as ‘The Moonshiner.’’

Dec. 7, 1940: Radio station WAJR-AM in Morgantown began broadcasting. In 1949, it became the flagship station for a statewide network (now the Mountaineer Sports Network) distributing broadcasts of West Virginia University football and basketball games.

Dec. 7, 1941: The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The USS West Virginia suffered massive damage from torpedoes and bombs. Two officers, including the captain, and 103 crew members died.

Dec. 8, 1911: William Wallace Barron, West Virginia’s 26th governor, was born in Elkins. Known statewide as “Wally,” he achieved a remarkable record of legislative success during his term, but his accomplishments were overshadowed by the fact that he was the first governor in state history to be indicted or convicted of a major crime.

Dec. 9, 1829: West Virginia’s fourth governor, John Jeremiah Jacob, was born in Hampshire County. He was the first governor born within the area that became West Virginia and the first Democratic governor of the state.

Dec. 9, 1932: Songwriter, musician, playwright, humorist, and poet Billy Edd Wheeler was born in Whitesville.

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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