This week in West Virginia history, Boone County celebrated its birthday on March 11. Boone County was formed from parts of Logan, Kanawha, and Cabell counties and named for Daniel Boone.
Other historical events this week include:
March 5, 1856: Calhoun County was created from neighboring Gilmer County and named for John C. Calhoun, who served as vice president under John Adams and Andrew Jackson.
March 5, 1963: Country musician Hawkshaw Hawkins was killed in a plane crash, along with Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, and Randy Hughes. Hawkins was born in Huntington.
March 6, 1828: Johnson Newlon Camden was born in Lewis County. He opened one of the first oil wells in West Virginia in January 1861. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1881.
March 6, 1900: Forty-six men were killed in a mine explosion at the Red Ash Mine in Fayette County. It was the state’s first major mine explosion of the 20th century. Five years later, another 24 men were killed in a disaster at the same mine.
March 7, 1856: Tucker County was formed from Randolph County and named for Henry St. George Tucker Sr., a Virginia soldier, statesman, and jurist.
March 7, 1929: The Legislature adopted the official state flag. The state’s coat of arms is emblazoned in color in the center of the flag. Above the seal is a red ribbon lettered ‘‘State of West Virginia,’’ and a wreath of rhododendron surrounds the lower part of the seal. The white field of the flag is bordered on four sides by a strip of blue.
March 7, 1990: West Virginia teachers went on strike after negotiations with the governor’s office and legislature failed to produce agreement on a pay package. Teachers in 47 of the 55 counties were involved in the 11-day strike.
March 8, 1926: An explosion killed 19 miners at Eccles in Raleigh County. Ten men saved themselves by barricading themselves in the mine.
March 8, 1963: The state colors of blue and ‘‘old gold’’ were adopted by the Legislature.
March 10, 1920: West Virginia became the 34th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guaranteed the right of women to vote.
March 11, 1847: Boone County was formed from parts of Logan, Kanawha, and Cabell counties and named for Daniel Boone.
March 11, 1848: Putnam County was formed from portions of Kanawha, Mason, and Cabell. The new county was named in honor of Gen. Israel Putnam, who commanded the Continental Army at Bunker Hill.
March 11, 1856: Roane County was created from parts of Kanawha, Jackson, and Gilmer counties. The new county was named for Judge Spencer Roane, a son-in-law of Patrick Henry.
March 12, 1835: Marshall County was created from part of Ohio County. The county was named for John Marshall, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
March 12, 1850: Wheeling Hospital was chartered. During the Civil War, the institution was used as a general military hospital. The Sisters of Saint Joseph were hired as army nurses, treating wounded Union and Confederate soldiers side by side.
March 13, 2002: Herbalist and folk doctor Catfish Gray died in Huntington. Gray was known for his vast knowledge of traditional plant lore and for his quaint and engaging personality. At the height of the folklore revival of the 1970s, Gray was a frequent newspaper and television interview subject.
March 15, 1882: Unionist Frank Keeney was born on Cabin Creek. Keeney was a rank-and-file leader during the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Strike of 1912–13 when he led the opposition to efforts by United Mine Workers officials and Governor Hatfield to end the dispute. In 1917, Keeney became president of UMW District 17.
March 15, 1952: Governor Earl Ray Tomblin was born in Logan County. He was elected as a Democrat from Logan County to the House of Delegates in 1974, when he was only 22 years old and still a senior at West Virginia University.
March 16, 1906: Country musician Buddy Starcher was born Oby Edgar Starcher near Ripley. In 1946, Starcher cut his first recordings on Four Star, including his best-known composition, “I’ll Still Write Your Name in the Sand,” which became a hit in 1949.
March 17, 1837: Mercer County was created from parts of Giles and Tazewell counties and named for Hugh Mercer, a general during the Revolutionary War.
March 17, 1891: West Virginia State University was founded as the West Virginia Colored Institute by the West Virginia Legislature. It was one of 17 black land-grant colleges established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890.
March 18, 1883: William Stevenson was born in Warren, Pennsylvania, but he later moved to Wood County in western Virginia. In 1868, he was elected the third governor of West Virginia.
March 18, 1922: Athlete Frank ‘‘Gunner’’ Gatski was born in Farmington. Gatski played 11 years for the Browns (1946–56) and one for Detroit (1957). He played in 10 championship games, eight on the winning side.