CHARLESTON – 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.

Jan. 3, 1856: Musician Lewis Johnson ‘‘Uncle Jack’’ McElwain was born. He was the most respected fiddler in central West Virginia during his lifetime. He took part in many fiddle contests, and no one can recall him ever being beaten.

Jan. 3, 1921: The state capitol building in Charleston was destroyed by fire. A temporary wood-frame building was erected in just 42 days and became known as the ‘‘pasteboard capitol.’’

Jan. 4, 1897: Classes began at Montgomery Preparatory School, a state institution that was established to prepare students for West Virginia University. The school evolved into West Virginia University Institute of Technology.

Jan. 5, 1810: The Virginia General Assembly recognized 20 acres of land owned by farmer and trader Thomas Buffington at the confluence of the Guyandotte and Ohio rivers as the new village of Guyandotte.

Jan. 5, 1887: Governor Emanuel W. Wilson hosted a ball and banquet to formally open the new capitol in Charleston. The so-called Victorian capitol, the second one in Charleston, incorporated the 1870 capitol.

Jan. 6, 1828: Ward Hill Lamon was born in Jefferson County. Lamon was friend, law partner and unofficial bodyguard to President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln sent Lamon to Richmond on business, and the President was assassinated while his bodyguard was away.

Jan. 6, 1921: Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield died. He was the patriarch of the Hatfield family and their leader during the Hatfield-McCoy feud.

Jan. 6, 1931: An underground gas explosion killed eight men at the Glen Rogers coal mine in Wyoming County.

Jan. 6, 1948: Bob Wise was born in Washington D.C. He served in Congress and was the state’s 33rd governor.

Jan. 7, 1955: The Cedar Lakes Conference Center officially opened, though it was not named until 1957. The name was chosen for its two lakes and an abundance of native cedar trees.

Jan. 8, 1866: William Gustavus Conley was born near Kingwood in Preston County. Conley was the 18th governor of West Virginia, serving from 1929 to 1933.

Jan. 8, 1919: The West Virginia legislature ratified the U.S. constitution’s 18th Amendment by a Senate vote of 26-0 and a House vote of 81-3. West Virginia became the 21st state to ratify the prohibition amendment. National prohibition became effective under the Volstead Act on January 16, 1920.

Jan. 8, 1926: Comedian Soupy Sales was born Milton Supman. Raised in Huntington and graduating from Marshall College (now Marshall University), he achieved fame as a wacky television personality.

Jan. 8, 1958: Passenger service on the Greenbrier Division ended. The Greenbrier Division, a branch line of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, served the Greenbrier Valley in Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties in West Virginia.

Jan. 9, 1911: Louise McNeill was born on the family farm in Pocahontas County. She was appointed poet laureate by Governor Jay Rockefeller in 1979, holding that title until her death in 1993.

Jan. 9, 1986: The first instant “scratch” lottery tickets were sold in West Virginia. Voters had approved the lottery amendment to the state constitution two years before.

Jan. 9, 2014: Hazardous chemicals were discovered leaking into the Elk River, contaminating the water supply for a nine-county region.

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia 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 www.wvencyclopedia.org.

 

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