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History of West Virginia


1606

King James I granted to the Virginia Company of London a vast expanse of land

1607

The first English settlers arrived in Jamestown

1622

Clashes between English settlers and Indians erupted into bloody wars

1660

Exploration in Virginia continued with the restoration of the Stuart monarchs in England

1669

Surge of frontier exploration began

Other events that happened on or around 1669

1675

English expansion lagged due to troubles with the Susquehannock Indians, Bacon's Rebellion and death of Abraham Wood

1680

Abraham Wood, a leading promoter of expansion, died

Other events that happened on or around 1680

1706

Louis Michel and Baron Christopher de Graffenreid envisioned a settlement, the first known plans for settlement in present West Virginia; Michel and others established a temporary settlement at Harpers Ferry

Other events that happened on or around 1706

1716

Gov. Alexander Spotswood crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains by way of Swift Run Gap, claiming the Shenandoah Valley for England and awarding golden horseshoes to his companions

Other events that happened on or around 1716

1717

A settlement known as "Potomoke," possible Shepherdstown, is one of first possible settlements in West Virginia

1719

Thomas Lord Fairfax became sole proprietor of the Fairfax lands, one of the largest land grants in American history

1730

Virginia enacted a land law that encouraged movement westward

1731

Earliest recorded settlement by Morgan Morgan near Bunker Hill in present Berkeley County; Morgan Morgan is later credited as the first white settler in present West Virginia

Other events that happened on or around 1731

1742

First iron furnace in West Virginia was established by Thomas Mayberry at Bloomery near present Harpers Ferry; the Quaker William Vestal erected Vestal's Bloomery near the Shenandoah River in present Jefferson County; iron industry develops

Other events that happened on or around 1742

1749

French explorer Celoron de Blainville led Canadian militia and Indian guides down Allegheny and Ohio Rivers to strengthen French claims, burying lead plates along the way

1753

Governor Dinwiddie sent George Washington to upper Ohio to warn French out of Ohio Valley

Other events that happened on or around 1753

1754

George Washington and 150 militiamen set out to garrison the new fort at the Forks of Ohio

1755

General Edward Braddock arrived in Virginia with two regiments of British troops

1758

Fort Pitt named

Other events that happened on or around 1758

1759

England controlled key positions in North America

Other events that happened on or around 1759

Oct 07, 1763

A proclamation by King George III prohibited settlement west of the Alleghenies

Other events that happened on or around October 07, 1763

1763

The Treaty of Paris ended French & Indian War

Other events that happened on or around 1763

1769

Waves of pioneers began to sweep into the upper Ohio, Monongahela, Greenbrier and Kanawha valleys

Other events that happened on or around 1769

Oct 10, 1774

Virginia militia lead by Andrew Lewis defeated the Indians lead by the Shawnee Cornstalk at the Battle of Point Pleasant

1776

Virginia's original constitution went into effect, favoring east over west

Other events that happened on or around 1776

Sep 01, 1777

Indians and British attack Fort Henry

1779

General Assembly passed a land law that recognized the rights of original settlers

Other events that happened on or around 1779

Sep 10, 1782

Second siege of Fort Henry by Wyandot and Delaware Indians, British and Loyalists; Betty Zane fetches gunpowder

Aug 20, 1794

Mad Anthony Wayne's army defeats Blue Jacket's warriors at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in Ohio, ending Indian threat era in West Virginia

1794

The Peter Tarr Furnace was established in present Hancock County, the first iron furnace west of the mountains

Other events that happened on or around 1794

1812

Industrial development, especially salt and iron, was stimulated by the War of 1812

Other events that happened on or around 1812

1815

Reported 52 salt furnaces were operating along the Kanawha River for a distance of ten miles east of Charleston

Other events that happened on or around 1815

1816

Capt. Henry Shreve constructed his steamboat Washington from the timbers of Fort Henry, Wheeling

Other events that happened on or around 1816

Nov 10, 1817

Andrew Donnally and the Steeles created the Kanawha Salt Company

1818

The National Road, the first major highway in the region, was completed to Wheeling

Other events that happened on or around 1818

1825

The Staunton Convention failed to meet western demands

Other events that happened on or around 1825

1829

The Virginia Constitutional Convention failed to meet western demands

Other events that happened on or around 1829

1844

The Methodists split

Other events that happened on or around 1844

1846

Salt production in the Kanawha Valley peaked at 3,244,786 bushels

Other events that happened on or around 1846

1850

The Virginia Constitutional Convention made changes that addressed the political sources of western discontent

Other events that happened on or around 1850

Dec 24, 1852

The B&O Railroad completed from Baltimore to Wheeling

Other events that happened on or around December 24, 1852

1857

The town of Ceredo founded by Northern abolitionist, Eli Thayer

Other events that happened on or around 1857

Oct 16, 1859

John Brown attempted to seize federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry

Other events that happened on or around October 16, 1859

Nov 06, 1860

Abraham Lincoln elected president

Feb 13, 1861

Virginia held a convention to consider secession from the United States

Other events that happened on or around February 13, 1861

Jun 03, 1861

The Battle of Philippi occurred, sometimes referred to as the first land battle of the Civil War

Other events that happened on or around June 03, 1861

Jun 13, 1861

The Second Wheeling Convention began in the Wheeling Custom House

Sep 10, 1861

Battle of Carnifex Ferry occurred on the mountain above the juncture of Meadow River and Gauley River

Other events that happened on or around September 10, 1861

Oct 24, 1861

Voters of 41 counties approved the formation of a new state

Other events that happened on or around October 24, 1861

Sep 02, 1862

The Jenkins raiders arrived at Spencer

Apr 25, 1863

The Confederates continued with the James-Imboden Raid

Jun 20, 1863

West Virginia entered the Union as the 35th state

Other events that happened on or around June 20, 1863

Nov 06, 1863

The Battle of Droop Mountain occurred giving Union forces control over most of the territory in West Virginia

Other events that happened on or around November 06, 1863

1865

Arthur Boreman secured the passage of the voters' test oath law

Other events that happened on or around 1865

1866

The Radical-dominated legislature enacted the Voters' Registration Law

Other events that happened on or around 1866

1870

Henry Gassaway Davis helped lead the Democrats in for their control over the state

Other events that happened on or around 1870

1871

Democrats gained control of West Virginia's government

Other events that happened on or around 1871

Jan 16, 1872

The constitutional convention met in Charleston

Dec 26, 1872

New constitution expanded support of public education

Other events that happened on or around December 26, 1872

1877

The great railroad strike, the first nationwide industrial strike, began at Martinsburg

Other events that happened on or around 1877

1877

The Knights of Labor established a local organization at Paden City

Other events that happened on or around 1877

Jan 12, 1880

The Hawks Nest Coal Company strike was the first of many in which the state called in troops

1885

The move of the capital to Charleston occurred

Other events that happened on or around 1885

1894

Only about half of state miners participated in a nationwide strike by UMWA

Other events that happened on or around 1894

1897

The UMWA began enlisting the support of well-known labor leaders from across the nation

Other events that happened on or around 1897

1898

West Virginia was first in the nation in oil production

Other events that happened on or around 1898

1902

The UMWA organized about 7,000 miners in the Kanawha Valley

Other events that happened on or around 1902

1903

A compulsory attendance law was enacted

Other events that happened on or around 1903

1906

West Virginia's natural gas production exceed that of any other state

Other events that happened on or around 1906

Dec 06, 1907

Worst U.S. mine disaster killed 361 miners in Fairmont Coal Company's interconnected Nos. 6 and 8 at Monongah

1909

Timber production in West Virginia reached its long-time record of 1.5 billion board feet

Other events that happened on or around 1909

Jun 20, 1913

West Virginia celebrated its 50th year of statehood

Other events that happened on or around June 20, 1913

1913

Annual coal production exceeded 28 million tons

Other events that happened on or around 1913

1914

The West Virginia Federation of Labor reported 152 local craft unions with 31,315

Other events that happened on or around 1914

1919

The UMWA began efforts to unionize the mines of southern West Virginia

Other events that happened on or around 1919

1920

Chemical firms in the Kanawha Valley began expanding rapidly

Other events that happened on or around 1920

1924

The UMWA had lost half of its members in West Virginia and was nearly bankrupt

Other events that happened on or around 1924

1925

Reported 233 high school were open in the state

Other events that happened on or around 1925

1928

Reported 88 junior high schools were open in the state

Other events that happened on or around 1928

1929

The Great Depression began

Other events that happened on or around 1929

1932

Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigned, promising a "New Deal" in handling the nation's economic problems

Other events that happened on or around 1932

1932

The construction of the Hawks Nest Tunnel, diverting waters of the New River, showed the dangers of underground work outside the coal industry

Other events that happened on or around 1932

1933

County unit plan for school systems was adopted

Other events that happened on or around 1933

1935

The Wagner Act revived many parts of the NIRA relating to labor after the Supreme Court ruled the NIRA unconstitutional

Other events that happened on or around 1935

1940

Electric power production increased by 2,000 percent

Other events that happened on or around 1940

1944

The GI Bill of Rights provided generous educational benefits to WWII veterans

Other events that happened on or around 1944

1946

United Mine Workers of America established a Welfare and Retirement Fund

Other events that happened on or around 1946

1950

West Virginia population peaked at 2,005,552

Other events that happened on or around 1950

May 17, 1954

U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregated schools unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education

1960

The state population fell to 1,860,421

Other events that happened on or around 1960

1965

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) was established

Other events that happened on or around 1965

Nov 20, 1968

Gas and dust explosion occurred in Consolidation Coal Company's No. 9 mine at Farmington killing 78 miners

1968

The Modern Budget Amendment made the governor responsible for preparation of the state budget

Other events that happened on or around 1968

1969

The federal government recognized pneumoconiosis, black lung, as an occupational disease

Other events that happened on or around 1969

1970

Governor's Succession Amendment ratified, allowing two successive terms

Other events that happened on or around 1970

1970

Every Ohio River county except Jackson had at least one chemical plant

Other events that happened on or around 1970

1973

The Energy Crisis occurred

Other events that happened on or around 1973

1988

The state budget was $3.3 billion

Other events that happened on or around 1988

1994

Farm acreage was less than 35% of what it was in 1900

1997

The state budget rose to $7 billion

2000

The U.S. Census reported the state's population at 1,808,350

Other events that happened on or around 2000


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