This Week in West Virginia History July 3-9

Charleston WV (WVDN) – The following events occurred on these dates in West Virginia history. For more information, see e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia at

July 3, 1863: At Gettysburg, Union soldiers of the 1st West Virginia Cavalry took part in an unsuccessful cavalry charge against Confederate infantry during the closing moments of this great battle.

July 4, 1882: The steamers Scioto and John Lomas collided on the Ohio River while returning from vacation excursions. The Scioto sank almost instantly and 70 people drowned.

July 4, 1918: Poet Muriel Miller Dressler was born in Kanawha County. His poem ”Appalachia”, published in 1970, was his signature piece.

July 4, 1938: Musician Bill Withers Jr. was born into a mining family of 13 children in Slab Fork, Raleigh County. In 1971, Withers released his debut album, Just As I Am, including his first Grammy-winning song, “Ain’t No Sunshine”. In 2015 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

July 5, 1896: Birth of cartoonist Kendall Vintroux in Fraziers Bottom. He began his career with the Charleston Gazette when he submitted a cartoon on the first paved road in the town of Poca. Many of his drawings are now part of the collection of the University of Charleston.

July 5, 1950: Army Private Kenneth Shadrick of Wyoming County is the first American serviceman killed in action during the Korean War.

July 6, 1806: Birth in Martinsburg of the statesman Charles James Faulkner. Faulkner served in the West Virginia legislature, the U.S. Congress (1851-1859), and as a U.S. minister to France.

July 6, 1848: Historian Virgil A. Lewis was born in Mason County. In 1905, Governor Dawson appointed Lewis as the first director of the Office of Records and History.

July 6, 1883: Judge ”RD” Bailey was born in Baileysville, Wyoming County. Bailey rose to prominence as a judge in the 1921 Matewan Massacre trial.

July 7, 1928: The monument of the Madonna of the Sentier is inaugurated in Wheeling. It is one of 12 such statues erected along the highway to honor America’s pioneering women.

July 8, 1894: Walter Aegerter was born in Switzerland. An amateur photographer, Aegerter built both a studio and a darkroom on his farm and photographed portraits, families, celebrations, and everyday scenes of the Swiss German colony. The glass plate negatives survive today in several archived collections.

July 8, 1924: Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Johnnie Johnson was born in Fairmont. Johnson collaborated with Chuck Berry on songs such as ”Roll Over, Beethoven”. Berry’s hit ”Johnny B. Goode” was written as a tribute to Johnson.

July 8, 1961: The Sutton Dam is inaugurated by Governor Wally Barron. The Army Corps of Engineers operates the dam for flood control, low flow augmentation, and recreational purposes.

July 9, 1942: An explosion at No. 2 Pursglove mine at Scotts Run near Morgantown kills 20 men. This is one of three fatal mining accidents over an eight-month period.

July 9, 1989: Treasurer A. James Manchin resigns after being impeached. With a stock market downturn in 1987, Manchin bore much of the blame when the state lost nearly $300 million in investments for which it was responsible.

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

Poet Muriel Miller Dressler
Sutton Dam Steve Shaluta
Rock’n’roll pianist Johnnie Johnson

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