This week in the history of West Virginia Community. T

CHARLESTON – The following events took place on these dates in the history of West Virginia. To read more, go to e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia at

March 13, 2002: The botanist and folk doctor Catfish Gray died in Huntington. Gray was renowned for his vast knowledge of the tradition of traditional plants and his attractive personality. At the top of the folklore revival in the 1970s, Gray was frequently the subject of newspaper and television interviews.

14 March, 1931: In recognition of the annual reunification of Carnifex Ferry battle veterans, the legislature created the Carnifex Ferry Battlefield Commission.

15th March, 1882: Frank Keeney's Union leader was born on Cabin Creek. Keeney, who went to work in the mines as a boy, was a stage leader and file during the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Strike of 1912-13.

March 15, 1952: Governor Earl Ray Tomblin was born in Logan County. He was elected a Democracy from Logan County to the House of Delegates in 1974, when he was only 22 years of age and still a senior in the University of West Virginia.

March 16, 1906: Country musician Buddy Starcher Oby Edgar Starcher was born near Ripley. In 1946 Starcher cut his first recordings on Four Star, including his most famous composition, ‘‘ I Still Write Your Name in the Sand, '' 'which struck in 1949.

17 March, 1837: Mercer County was created from parts of Giles and Tazewell counties and was named for Hugh Mercer, a general man during the Revolutionary War.

March 17, 1858: William Edwin Chilton was born in Coalsmouth, now Scotland. He is a US lawyer, Senator and businessman. Chilton expanded Charleston's electrical street system and was published as publisher and editor of The Charleston Gazette.

17 March, 1891: West Virginia State University was established as a West Virginia Institute of Color at the West Virginia Legislature. It was one of 17 black earth grant colleges established under the Second Morrill Act 1890.

17 March, 1912: The athlete Joe Stydahar was born in Pennsylvania. He was a star in football and basketball at WVU, and the first draft of pro-players in 1936 was the first round of Chicago Bears.

March 18, 1820: William Stevenson was born in Warren, Pennsylvania, but moved to Wood County in west Virginia. In 1868, he was elected the third governor of West Virginia.

March 18, 1922: Frank's Athlete Born ‘ner Gunner 'Gatski in Farmington. Gatski played 11 years for the Browns (1946-56) and one for Detroit (1957). He played in 10 championship championships, eight on the winning side.

March 18, 1950: Actor Brad Dourif was born in Huntington. He is best known for his portrayal of non-existent characters, including Billy Bibbitt in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Wormtongue in the Lord of the Rings trilogy Peter Jackson.

March 19, 1925: Basketball teams from 11 of 24 high schools in the West-American West took the court at West Virginia State College (now University) in the Institute for the first state basketball competition in West Virginia Union (WVAU). High School of Wheeling met with Kimball, 25-24, in the final game to win the championship.

19 March, 1992: Four miners were killed at Blacksville Mine No. 1 in Monongalia and the mine was sealed. Drain pipes were being welded together, and a Wallet fell into the shaft, burning methane gas.

e-WV: Encyclopedia 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


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