Tags: US State Facts | West Virginia History | Mineral Coal | The Hatfield-McCoy Feud

West Virginia History: 6 Events That Shaped the State

By    |   Monday, 23 Feb 2015 11:32 PM

West Virginia history includes being the home to the New River Gorge Bridge, the largest steel arch bridge in the world, as well as being the birth place of test pilot Chuck Yeager, Gold Medal winning gymnast Mary Lou Retton and late comedian Don Knotts.

Located in the Appalachian region of the Southern United States, it is nestled among Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. One of the country's smaller and least populous states, West Virginia is nonetheless woven into the fabric of American history.

Here are six events that shaped the state:

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1. American pioneer Morgan Morgan is credited with founding the first permanent settlement on Mill Creek in what is now West Virginia. The mineral coal was discovered in 1742, and would significantly sustain the local economy.

2. Citizens of the western, mountainous area of Virginia didn't agree with their state's decision to secede from the Union in 1861. This well-organized resistance resulted in the formation of West Virginia two years later, and support for President Abraham Lincoln, says History.com. West Virginia became the 35th state on June 20, 1863.

3. John Brown's raid. On Oct. 17, 1859, white abolitionist John Brown led a group of supporters on a raid of a federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Brown hoped the local slave population would join the fight, but it never materialized. The local militia forced Brown into the arsenal's engine house, where he was eventually captured by US Marines Col. Robert E. Lee. According to Civil War Trust, Brown was found guilty of treason, and hanged on Dec. 2, 1859.

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4. After years without a permanent state capital, citizens vote on Charleston as the permanent home, over Clarksburg and Martinsburg. The first capital building was opened eight years later, in 1885.

5. The Hatfield-McCoy feud. Arguably the greatest family feud between the Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky, the deadly conflict lasted nearly 28 years, from 1863-1891. The families lived in the area along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River. Their feud, in which several members on either side were killed, has become a term used to describe any violent or bitterly contested battle between two parties, according to History.com.

6. On Nov. 14, 1970, a chartered plane carrying 36 members of the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team crashed at Huntington Tri-State Airport/Milton J. Ferguson Field in Ceredo, West Virginia. According to The Herald-Dispatch, all 75 people on board perished.

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West Virginia is home to the New River Gorge Bridge, the largest steel arch bridge in the world, as well as being the birth place of test pilot Chuck Yeager, Gold Medal winning gymnast Mary Lou Retton and late comedian Don Knotts.
West Virginia History, Mineral Coal, The Hatfield-McCoy Feud
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2015-32-23
Monday, 23 Feb 2015 11:32 PM
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