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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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 23, 1903, after a vote by schoolchildren, the rhododendron was designated West Virginia's official state flower . 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 »

This Date in History

January 26, 1921: Sid Hatfield and 17 others were tried on murder charges arising from the Matewan Massacre


Sidney ‘‘Sid’’ Hatfield (May 15, 1893-August 1, 1921) was the controversial police chief of Matewan and martyred hero to union coal miners. He was born near Matewan but on the Kentucky side of Tug Fork. He worked in area coal mines until Mayor C. C. Testerman named him Matewan’s police chief in 1919.

In that position, Hatfield in early 1920 assisted a United Mine Workers campaign to organize Tug Fork miners. On May 19, when

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