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.
Jan. 25, 1814: Francis Harrison Pierpont was born near Morgantown. On June 20, 1861, Pierpont was unanimously elected as governor of the unionist Reorganized State of Virginia, which sat at Wheeling until West Virginia entered the Union two years later.
Jan. 25, 1878: Activist Lenna Lowe Yost was born in Basnettville in Marion County. She held key leadership roles in the woman’s suffrage movement and the temperance movement.
Jan. 25, 1889: Anna Johnson Gates was born in Kanawha County. The state’s first female state legislator, Gates was elected to the House of Delegates in 1922 and served a single term.
Jan. 26, 1850: Wyoming County was formed by the Virginia General Assembly from part of Logan County.
Jan. 26, 1960: Burnsville High School basketball player Danny Heater scored 135 points in a varsity game against Widen, setting a national record. Heater went on to receive an academic scholarship to attend the University of Richmond.
Jan. 27, 1925: Bernard L. Coffindaffer was born in Nicholas County. In the 1980s and 1990s, Coffindaffer erected clusters of crosses along the highways of West Virginia and much of the Southeast.
Jan. 27., 1933: Folk artist George Connard Wolfe was born in Standard, Kanawha County. A self-trained sculptor, he made his own tools from automobile leaf springs and engine valves and worked in stone and wood.
Jan. 27-28, 1998: Flat Top on the Mercer-Raleigh county line received a record snowfall of 35 inches in a 24-hour period.
Jan. 28, 1902: Miners Hospital No. One opened at Welch, with a young Dr. Henry Hatfield as president. The legislature had passed a law requiring the building of state hospitals for those engaged in dangerous occupations, and eventually three hospitals were built in different sections of the state.
Jan. 28, 1937: In a flood that drove a million Ohio Valley residents from their homes, the Ohio River crested at Huntington at 69.45 feet, more than 19 feet above flood stage. By the time the water receded, five people were dead, and the city was in ruins. Parkersburg, Ravenswood, and Point Pleasant also were badly damaged.
Jan. 29, 1903: The great rhododendron was designated the official state flower of West Virginia, after being recommended by the governor and voted on by students in the public schools.
Jan. 30, 1818: Nicholas County was created by the Virginia legislature from parts of Greenbrier, Kanawha, and Randolph counties. The county was named for Wilson Cary Nicholas, a Virginia governor and U.S. senator who lived from 1761 to 1820.
Jan. 30, 1895: Mingo County was created from the southern part of Logan County. Mingo is the youngest county in West Virginia.
Jan. 31, 1878: Educator William Woodson Trent was born in rural Nicholas County. He served as state superintendent of schools from 1933 until 1957.
Jan. 31, 1922: Movie and television actress Joanne Dru was born Joan Letitia Lacock in Logan. Her movie career included more than 40 films. Her brother, singer and TV host Peter Marshall, is also a West Virginia native.
Jan. 31, 1945: Sergeant Jonah Edward Kelley of Mineral County was killed in action while leading his squad against German positions during World War II. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his “superb courage.”