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Bringing West Virginia to your fingertips!

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia is the comprehensive reference resource for the Mountain State of West Virginia. Based on the best-selling West Virginia Encyclopedia, e-WV offers thousands of articles on West Virginia’s people and places, history, arts, science and culture.

e-WV is a project of the West Virginia Humanities Council.

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  • Death of a legend Country singer Hank Williams was to perform in Charleston on New Year’s Eve, but he never made it. He died in Oak Hill the next day. Read More »

  • Capitol burns On January 3, 1921, West Virginia’s capitol building in downtown Charleston was destroyed by a fire. The cause of the blaze was never known. Read More »

  • Prohibition On January 8, 1919, West Virginia became the 21st state to ratify the prohibition amendment. National prohibition became effective on January 16, 1920. Read More »

  • Elk River Chemical Spill On January 9, 2014, a leak from a chemical storage facility on the Elk River, just upstream from West Virginia American Water's treatment plant, contaminated the drinking water for residents in nine counties. Read More »

  • Bartley Mine Disaster On January 10, 1940, the Pond Creek No. 1 mine, at Bartley, McDowell County, exploded. The blast killed 91 miners, with another 47 escaping. Read More »

  • Minister’s mission During the 1980s and 1990s, the Reverend Bernard Coffindaffer erected clusters of crosses in West Virginia and much of the Southeast. Many of those crosses can still be seen along roadways. Read More »

  • Nitro January 17, 1918: The War Department hired an engineering firm to build the DuPont munitions plant in Nitro. Within 11 months, the plant and an entire town were completed Read More »

  • The rhododendron On January 29, 1903, after a vote by schoolchildren, the rhododendron was designated West Virginia's official state flower . Read More »

This Date in History

January 23, 1865: Alexander Scott Withers died in Parkersburg

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Historian Alexander Scott Withers (October 12, 1792-January 23, 1865) was born at Green Meadows, Fauquier County, Virginia. He attended Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) and graduated from the law department of William and Mary College. Withers practiced law at Warrenton, Fauquier County, but was hindered by a timidity in public speaking. After his father’s death in 1813, he took over the management of his mother’s plantation. In August 1815, he married Melinda Fisher,...

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