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

Aug. 18, 1885: Artemus Ward Cox was born on a farm at Red Knob, Roane County. In 1914, Cox bought the George Ort Department Store on Capitol Street in Charleston. That store became the first in a chain of 21 A.W. Cox stores in West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.

Aug. 19, 1863: Union cavalry under Brig. Gen. William Woods Averell destroyed the Confederate saltpeter works near Franklin.

Aug. 19, 1997: Fiddler Curly Ray Cline died. Born in Logan County, Cline was a member of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers and Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys.

Aug. 20, 1851: The oldest statue in West Virginia, a nine-foot wood carving of Patrick Henry, was dedicated at the county courthouse in Morgantown.

Aug. 21, 1861: Confederate troops under Gen. John B. Floyd crossed the Gauley River at Carnifex Ferry, Nicholas County, and began to entrench their position. It was the beginning of what became known as the Battle of Keslers Cross Lanes.

Aug. 22, 1872: Following the Constitutional Convention of 1872, the West Virginia electorate ratified a new state constitution by a vote of 42,344 to 37,777. In the same election, the voters rejected a controversial convention proposition that would have restricted office-holding to whites.

Aug. 23, 1970: The Mormon Church established its first ‘‘stake,’’ or congregation, in West Virginia. The stake was organized in Charleston with a membership of nearly 4,000 people.

Aug. 24, 1918: Louis Bennett Jr. died of injuries sustained when his plane was shot down by German anti-aircraft fire. Bennett, with 12 combat kills, was West Virginia’s only World War I fighter ace.

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

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