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West Virginia

West Virginia History Timeline

  • (1863) West Virginia became 35th state; Confederate General William Jones attempted to burn suspension bridge over Monongahela River; blacks received same rights as whites for criminal trial, but not allowed to serve on juries
  • (1865) Slavery abolished; Civil War ends
  • (1866) Voters ratified constitutional amendment denying citizenship to all who had helped confederacy
  • (1870) First brick street in world laid in Charleston
  • (1871) Citizenship restored to residents who had aided confederacy
  • (1872) Voters ratified new state constitution
  • (1875) State capital moved to Wheeling
  • (1877) B & O Railroad workers stuck to protest wage cuts; federal troops sent in to stop strike
  • (1879) First oil pipeline in West Virginia completed; Bloch brothers began manufacturing Mail Pouch tobacco
  • (1880) Militia sent to Hawks Nest to stop first major coal strike
  • (1881) Bill approved allowing all eligible voting citizens, including blacks, to serve on juries
  • (1882) Hatfield-McCoy feud began
  • (1884) Huntington flooded
  • (1885) Charleston became permanent state capital
  • (1886) Mountain Brook mine accident killed 39
  • (1896) Christopher Payne state's first African-American elected to legislature; first rural free mail delivery in U.S. began in Charleston
  • (1897) Mary Harris "Mother" Jones sent to West Virginia to organize miners; "Great Lewisburg Fire" caused major damage in Greenbrier county; last public hanging in West Virginia occurred
  • (1898) Trial of Williams vs. Board of Education
  • (1902) Mother Jones campaigned for organization of 7,000 miners in Kanawha Valley
  • (1906) Mining accidents killed 22 at Coaldale Mine, 18 killed at Detroit Mine, 23 killed at Parral Mine, 23 killed at Century Mine
  • (1907) Mining accidents killed 84 at Stuart Mine, 25 killed at Thomas Mine, 362 killed at Monongah
  • (1909) Switchback Mine accident killed 67
  • (1910) Fires destroyed Mount Hope
  • (1912 - 1921) Conflicts occurred between miners and mine owners over labor unions
  • (1912) Paint Creek, Cabin Creek miners struck to gain recognition of United Mine Workers of America, martial law imposed; state prohibition became effective; mine accident at Jet killed 83; fire in Beckley damaged many businesses; Mother Jones led march of miners' children through Charleston's streets
  • (1913) Mother Jones led protest over conditions in West Virginia mines, was arrested; flooding in Huntington, Parkersburg left thousands homeless
  • (1914) Eccles mining accident killed 192
  • (1915) Supreme Court ruled West Virginia owed Virginia over $12.3 million for part of state's debt at time of separation; Layland mining accident killed 112
  • (1916) Voters rejected proposed constitutional amendment allowing suffrage for women
  • (1917) U. S. entered World War I; 45,000 West Virginians in active service; 624 killed; fire destroyed business district of Mullens; coldest temperature in state history recorded at minus 37 in Lewisburg
  • (1919) Miners marched on Logan County, federal military forces activated; nationwide coal strike occurred
  • (1920 - 1921) Efforts to unionize West Virginia coal miners caused coal wars
  • (1920) Police in Matewan attempted to arrest detectives hired by coal operators to evict fired mine workers from company housing, shooting occurred, ten people died (Matewan Massacre); federal troops sent to guard mines in southern West Virginia
  • (1921) Fights between mine guards, police, federal troops and miners occurred in disputes over unions; state capitol at Charleston destroyed by fire; Three Days Battle took place with strikers sniping at state police, coal company officials; raid by police and vigilantes on Lick Creek tent colony occurred, 47 strikers arrested; sales tax became effective; Matewan Police Chief, Sid Hatfield, killed in revenge of Matewan Massacre; Battle of Blair Mountain occurred, (largest organized armed uprising in labor history)
  • (1924) Benwood mining accident killed 119
  • (1927) Mining accident at Everettville killed 97
  • (1928) Minnie Buckingham Harper became first black woman in state legislature; 34 inches of snow fell in Grant County in 24 hours
  • (1930) New River power project began, over 476 workers died from silicosis
  • (1934) State prohibition law repealed
  • (1937) Flood in Huntington left 6,000 homeless
  • (1939) West Virginia made final payment to Virginia
  • (1940) Explosion at Bartley Mine killed 91
  • (1943) West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnett, U.S. Supreme Court ruled schools could not require students to recite Pledge of Allegiance; salt deposits discovered in northwestern West Virginia
  • (1944) Shinnston Tornado killed 152
  • (1949) Seven firemen trapped, burned to death, 15 injured in fire at Woolworth's store in Charleston
  • (1954) West Virginia Turnpike opened
  • (1956) Voters approved women to serve on juries
  • (1960) John F. Kennedy defeated Hubert Humphrey in West Virginia primary; fire at Holden Mine killed 18
  • (1965) Major gas field found near Charleston; capital punishment abolished
  • (1966) Explosion at Siltix Mine killed seven
  • (1968) Piedmont Airlines crash at Kanawha County Airport killed 35; Farmington Mine explosions and fire killed 78
  • (1969) Former governor, W.W. Barron, sentenced to five years in prison for jury tampering; Coal Mine Health and Safety Act law enacted
  • (1970) Southern Airways plane crashed, 75 Marshall University football team players, coaches, department personnel killed
  • (1971) 40,000 miners ended 44-day coal strike
  • (1972) Coal waste dam collapsed at Buffalo Creek, killed 125
  • (1976) Wildcat mine strike began in Logan, spread to eight states
  • (1977) World's longest steel-arch bridge opened near Fayetteville (New River Gorge Bridge)
  • (1981) Miners ended 72-day strike; WVU Mountaineers won Peach Bowl
  • (1984) Mary Lou Retton of Fairmont first woman to win gold medal in gymnastics in Olympics
  • (1985) State lottery established; heavy flooding killed 71, damages of $1.2 billion
  • (1988) Oil spill pollutes Monongahela and Ohio Rivers
  • (1993) Blizzard paralyzed West Virginia
  • (1996) Coal industry set production record with 174 million tons
  • (2000) Peace talks between Israel and Syria held at Shepherdstown
  • (2001) Flooding wiped out several communities, many left homeless
  • (2006) 13 miners trapped in mine, one survived
  • (2010) Explosion at Massey Energy Co. mine killed 29 miners; Sen. Robert Byrd died (longest-serving senator and longest-serving member in history of U.S. Congress)
  • (2010) Sen. Robert Byrd died (longest-serving senator and longest-serving member in history of U.S. Congress)
  • (2011) $209 million in restitution, civil and criminal penalites by mine owner agreed to for mine explosion - largest settlement in a government investigation of a mine disaster

West Virginia Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Philippi Barbour 304
Martinsburg Berkeley 304
Danville Boone 304
Sutton Braxton 304
Wellsburg Brooke 304
Huntington Cabell 304
Grantsville Calhoun 304
Duck Clay 304
West Union Doddridge 304
Oak Hill Fayette 304
Glenville Gilmer 304
Petersburg Grant 304
Lewisburg Greenbrier 304
Romney Hampshire 304
Weirton Hancock 304
Moorefield Hardy 304
Clarksburg Harrison 304
Ripley Jackson 304
Charles Town Jefferson 304
Charleston Kanawha 304
Weston Lewis 304
Branchland Lincoln 304
Chapmanville Logan 304
Fairmont Marion 304
Moundsville Marshall 304
Point Pleasant Mason 304
Welch McDowell 304
Princeton Mercer 304
Keyser Mineral 304
Williamson Mingo 304
Morgantown Monongalia 304
Peterstown Monroe 304
Berkeley Springs Morgan 304
Summersville Nicholas 304
Wheeling Ohio 304
Franklin Pendleton 304
Saint Marys Pleasants 304
Marlinton Pocahontas 304
Bruceton Mills Preston 304
Hurricane Putnam 304
Beckley Raleigh 304
Elkins Randolph 304
Pennsboro Ritchie 304
Spencer Roane 304
Hinton Summers 304
Grafton Taylor 304
Parsons Tucker 304
Sistersville Tyler 304
Buckhannon Upshur 304
Huntington Wayne 304
Webster Springs Webster 304
New Martinsville Wetzel 304
Elizabeth Wirt 304
Parkersburg Wood 304
Oceana Wyoming 304
This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.