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.
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: “Wally” Barron was born. Barron, West Virginia’s 26th governor, achieved a remarkable record of legislative success during his term (1961-65), but his accomplishments were overshadowed when he became 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.
Dec. 10, 1841: Logan County preacher “Uncle Dyke” Garrett was born on Big Creek. His greatest fame was for converting and baptizing Devil Anse Hatfield in Main Island Creek in 1911.
Dec. 10, 1949: The first class of 20 cadets graduated from the West Virginia State Police Academy in Institute. The State Police purchased property for the academy on a hilltop overlooking Institute in Kanawha County for about $3,200. Construction began in 1948, and the building was completed the next year.
Dec. 11, 1905: “Pare” Lorentz, known as “FDR’s filmmaker,” was born in Clarksburg. In 1933, Lorentz created The Roosevelt Year: 1933, a pictorial review of FDR’s first year in the White House.
Dec. 12, 1931: Attorney George Daugherty, better known as the comic singer, storyteller, and songwriter “The Earl of Elkview,” was born upstairs over a Mannington silent movie house.
Dec. 12, 1942: Internationally known jazz pianist and recording artist Bob Thompson was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York. He studied music at West Virginia State College (now University) and is the house pianist for the Mountain Stage radio program.
Dec. 12, 1953: Chuck Yeager set a speed record by flying two-and-a-half times the speed of sound in a Bell X-1A. Yeager, who grew up in Hamlin, had broken the sound barrier six years earlier on Oct. 14, 1947.
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