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This week in West Virginia history: June 17-23

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 www.wvencyclopedia.org.eWV_logo
June 17, 1813: General Thomas Maley Harris was born at present Harrisville. He rose to prominence after the Civil War, when he served on the military commission that tried conspirators who acted with John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Official Senate photo
Official Senate photo

June 17, 1916: The West Virginia High School Athletic Association was organized at Charleston with 11 charter members. The name of the organization was changed to the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission in 1955.

June 18, 1937: Jay Rockefeller was born in New York City. He became West Virginia’s 29th governor in 1977, and in 1984, he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

June 19, 1905: Senator Rush Dew Holt was born in Weston. At 29, Holt was the youngest person ever elected to the U.S. Senate, earning him the nickname ‘‘Boy Senator.’’ Since the Constitution sets 30 as the minimum age for senators, Holt had to wait until his birthday in June 1935 to take his seat, nearly six months into the 74th Congress.

Senator Rush D. Holt, West Virginia, frequently interrupted the testimony of John L. Lewis today to ask questions of the C.I.O Chief as he appeared before the Senate and House labor Committees. Lewis gave his flat endorsement of the Black-Connery bill which is aimed to curtail sweatshop conditions and setting of a wage and hour law for American industry, 6/7/37
Senator Rush D. Holt, West Virginia, frequently interrupted the testimony of John L. Lewis today to ask questions of the C.I.O Chief as he appeared before the Senate and House labor Committees. Lewis gave his flat endorsement of the Black-Connery bill which is aimed to curtail sweatshop conditions and setting of a wage and hour law for American industry, 6/7/37
June 19, 1909: Oak Park, an amusement park in Preston County, opened. The park was an easy ride from Morgantown, and helped to fill up trains on weekends and holidays. On one summer day in 1909, 14 trains brought more than 4,000 people to the park.

June 20, 1861: Francis Pierpont was unanimously elected as governor of the unionist Reorganized State of Virginia, which sat at Wheeling until West Virginia entered the Union two years later.

June 20, 1863: West Virginia became the 35th state. Arthur Boreman was the state’s first governor.

State Capitol Construction
West Virginia State Capitol construction
June 20, 1932: The West Virginia capitol was officially dedicated. Construction had begun in 1924.

June 21, 1920: Wheeling Steel Corporation was organized when La Belle Iron Works, Whitaker-Glessner Company, and Wheeling Steel & Iron Works combined. In the 1920s, Wheeling Steel employed more than 17,000 workers and ranked as the nation’s third-largest steelmaker.

2009 WV Music Hall of Fame induction
2009 WV Music Hall of Fame induction
June 21, 1959: Musician Kathy Mattea was born in South Charleston but grew up in nearby Cross Lanes. In junior high school she learned to play the guitar, and in high school she practiced her vocal skills singing classical music in choir class.

June 22, 1926: Earl Olgebay died in Cleveland. He was one of West Virginia’s most successful industrialists and a generous benefactor.

June 23, 1944: A tornado struck Shinnston and the surrounding area, killing 103 people and injuring hundreds more.

Shinnston Tornado wreckage
Shinnston Tornado wreckage
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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