This week in West Virginia history

The following events occurred on these dates in West Virginia history. For more information, visit e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia at

May 23, 1862: In what became known as the Battle of Lewisburg, Union troops repelled a Confederate advance, killing 38 and wounding 66, while losing only 13 men.

May 23, 1941: Rod Thorn was born in Princeton. Thorn attended the University of West Virginia, where he was an All-American guard. Thorn has had a long and distinguished career with the National Basketball Association.

May 24, 1896: Confederate General John Echols dies in Staunton, Virginia. Echols served in the Kanawha Valley in 1862 and commanded the Confederate forces when they were defeated at the Battle of Droop Mountain in November 1863.

May 25, 1903: Industrialist and philanthropist Bernard Patrick McDonough Jr. was born in Texas to a family of Irish railway workers. Starting with a Parkersburg construction company in the 1930s, McDonough built a Fortune 500 business with operations in hand tools, building materials, and barge construction. The Bernard P. McDonough Foundation remains one of West Virginia’s largest private foundations

May 25, 1937: William H. “Teepi” Kendrick dies in Morgantown. Kendrick was a pioneer of the West Virginia 4-H program. He expanded the program to focus on more than just farming, and he was primarily responsible for establishing the 4-H State Camp at Jackson’s Mill.

May 26, 1895; Athlete Ira Errett “Rat” Rodgers was born in Bethany. He was among the greatest mountaineer football players, lettering in 1915–17 and 1919.

May 27, 1912: Legendary golfer Sam Snead was born in Ashwood, Virginia. When the Greenbrier reopened as a resort after World War II, Snead returned as a golf pro.

May 27, 1922: Labor leader Bill Blizzard is acquitted of treason charges. He was indicted following the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921.

May 28, 1863: Arthur Boreman is elected first governor of the new state of West Virginia.

May 28, 1938: Basketball player Jerry West was born in Cabin Creek, Kanawha County. West led East Bank High School to the State Basketball Championship in 1956, then rewrote the record books at the University of West Virginia.

May 28, 1998: The Robert C. Byrd American courthouse in downtown Charleston was opened. The 440,000 square foot building incorporated Neoclassical, Egyptian and Art Deco designs.

May 29, 1778: Dick Pointer, a slave, helped save some 60 settlers who were attacked by Indians at Fort Donnally, near Lewisburg.

May 29, 1961: Elderson Muncie, in McDowell County, received the country’s first food stamps. After observing malnutrition and poverty during his campaign, President John Kennedy called on the government to set up a pilot food stamp program.

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

May 28, 1938: Basketball player Jerry West was born in Cabin Creek, Kanawha County.

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