This Week in West Virginia History: December 26
Charleston, W.Va. – The following events occurred on these dates in West Virginia history. To find out more, visit e-WV: The Encyclopedia of West Virginia at www.wvencyclopedia.org.
December 26, 1917: Instrument maker Harold M. Hayslett was born in Putnam County. Hayslett’s violins, violas and cellos have received awards for their sound and craftsmanship, and are loved by collectors and musicians.
December 27, 1797: The seat of Ohio County has been moved from West Liberty to Wheeling.
December 28, 1879: Brigadier General Billy Mitchell was born in France. As chief of the Army Air Force, Mitchell commanded planes of the 88e Squadron to reconnoiter the 1921 Miners’ March on Logan.
December 28, 1978: The last trains were on the Greenbrier Division, a branch of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. Unlike most C&O branches in West Virginia, the Greenbrier division was not a coal line but served the valley lumber industry.
December 29, 1861: Confederate soldiers burned most of downtown Sutton. The city slowly rebuilt but remained small until the local lumber industry exploded from 1890 to 1920.
December 29, 1970: John Denver and two friends completed the song “Take Me Home, Country Roads”. Denver has performed ‘Country Roads’ in West Virginia on several occasions, most notably for the opening of the new Mountaineer Stadium in Morgantown in 1980.
December 30, 1917: The temperature in Lewisburg has dropped to 37 degrees below zero. This is the coldest official temperature on record for the state.
December 31, 2007: Sara Jane Moore was released from prison after serving 32 years for trying to kill President Ford. Moore grew up in Charleston and then moved to California, where she joined leftist groups and became an FBI informant. She spent part of her incarceration at Alderson Federal Prison Camp.
January 1, 1790: Claudius Crozet was born in France. As a Virginia State Engineer, he was involved in numerous toll highway projects and made significant contributions to the West Virginia highway system.
January 01, 1859: Michael Joseph Owens was born in Point Pleasant. A skilled glassblower at the age of 15, Owens then mechanized the manufacture of industrial glass products and started a factory in Charleston which became the largest producer of window glass in the world.
January 1, 1888: Jim Vance, uncle of “Devil Anse” Hatfield, carried out an arson attack on the McCoy family cabin. Two of Randall McCoy’s children were killed and his wife was beaten.
January 1, 1936: Don Nehlen was born in Canton, Ohio. Nehlen, who had a 149-93-4 record at WVU, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
e-WV: The Encyclopedia of West Virginia 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.