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This week in West Virginia History: Feb. 24-March 1

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

Jim Comstock
Jim Comstock

Feb. 24, 1918: Judge Kenneth Keller ‘‘K. K.’’ Hall was born at Greenview, Boone County. Hall spent 47 years on the state and federal benches.

Feb. 25, 1911: Newspaperman Jim Comstock was born in Richwood. In 1957, he founded the West Virginia Hillbilly, a weekly newspaper that circulated both inside and outside the state.

Feb. 26, 1869: The legislature approved a bill moving the state capital to Charleston.

Feb. 26, 1972: One of the country’s worst mining-related disasters occurred on this date on Buffalo Creek in Logan County. A coal waste dam collapsed, sending 132 million gallons of water, coal refuse and silt into the valley. In the end, 125 people, including entire families, were killed, and 1,000 people were injured.

Helicopter above the devastation on Buffalo Creek

Feb. 27, 1867: Marshall College was established as a normal school for the training of teachers. The first term began June 15, 1868, with 25 students enrolled in three departments.

Marshall University Huntington, WV Cabell Co. photo of Old Main photo by David E. Fattaleh
Marshall University, Old Main

Feb. 27, 1871: Summers County was established from segments of Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer, and Monroe counties. The county was named after George W. Summers, one of West Virginia’s founders.

Feb. 28, 1831: Fayette County was formed by the General Assembly of Virginia from parts of Kanawha, Nicholas, Greenbrier, and Logan counties. The county was named for the Marquis de Lafayette, the French military officer who served under George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

Feb. 28, 1858: McDowell County, the southernmost county in West Virginia, was created from part of Tazewell County, Virginia. The new county was named after James McDowell, a governor of Virginia.

Harley_Kilgore copy
U.S. Sen. Harley Kilgore

Feb. 28, 1956: Senator Harley Kilgore died while in office. In 1952, Kilgore was the first West Virginian elected to a third term in the U.S. Senate. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Feb. 29, 1888: Stephen B. Elkins gave his first political speech in West Virginia at a rally in Wheeling. He soon moved to West Virginia, was elected to the U.S. Senate, and built a summer mansion in the Randolph County town that would bear his name.

March 1, 1831: Jackson County was created from parts of Wood, Mason and Kanawha counties and named in honor of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States.

March 1, 1870: The legislature passed an act to create a branch normal school at West Liberty. For the next 61 years, the school was a teacher preparatory institution.

March 1, 1898: Homer Adams Holt was born in Lewisburg. He became West Virginia’s 20th governor.

The Honorable Stephen Benton Elkins of W.Va.
Stephen Benton Elkins

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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