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. 29, 1903: The great rhododendron was designated the official state flower of West Virginia, after being recommended by the governor and voted on by students in the public schools.
Jan. 30, 1818: Nicholas County was created by the Virginia legislature from parts of Greenbrier, Kanawha, and Randolph counties. The county was named for Wilson Cary Nicholas, a Virginia governor and U.S. senator who lived from 1761 to 1820.
Jan. 30, 1895: Mingo County was created from the southern part of Logan County. Mingo is the youngest county in West Virginia.
Jan. 31, 1878: Educator William Woodson Trent was born in rural Nicholas County. He served as state superintendent of schools from 1933 until 1957.
Jan. 31, 1922: Movie and television actress Joanne Dru was born Joan Letitia Lacock in Logan. Her movie career included more than 40 films.
Jan. 31, 1945: Sergeant Jonah Edward Kelley of Mineral County was killed in action while leading his squad against German positions during World War II. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his “superb courage.”
Feb. 1, 1832: Education reformer Alexander Luark Wade was born. Wade reorganized rural Monongalia County schools to require progress through eight prescribed levels with a graduating exercise and receipt of a diploma. Wade’s system worked so well, it was copied in other counties and states.
Feb. 1, 1901: Frank Buckles, the last known American veteran of World War I, was born in Missouri. Buckles purchased a farm in Charles Town in 1954 and continued to live there until his death in 2011.
Feb. 2, 1908: Justice Marion Chambers was born in Huntington. Chambers was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Iwo Jima campaign in February 1945.
Feb. 3, 1825: Confederate General William Lowther Jackson was born in Clarksburg. He was one of at least three Southern officers to bear the nickname, “Mudwall.”
Feb. 3, 1845: Gilmer County, located in the heart of West Virginia, was established from parts of Kanawha and Lewis counties. It was named for Thomas W. Gilmer, a governor of Virginia.
Feb. 3, 1923: Broadcast announcer Jack Fleming was born in Morgantown. He was the long-time ‘‘Voice of the Mountaineers.’’
Feb. 3, 1961: The West Virginia legislature passed a resolution to officially adopt “The West Virginia Hills” as an official state song. ‘‘The West Virginia Hills’’ is the best-known of four official state songs.
Feb. 4, 1845: Doddridge County was formed from parts of Harrison, Lewis, Ritchie and Tyler counties. It was named for Philip Doddridge, a Western Virginia congressman, state legislator, and member of the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829-30.
Feb. 4, 1945: The hotel at Minnehaha Springs was destroyed by fire. Built in 1914, it was the first facility in Pocahontas County built strictly for the tourist business and was a forerunner of today’s local tourism economy.
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.