This week in West Virginia history
The following events happened on these dates in West Virginia history. To read more, go to e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia at www.wvencyclopedia.org.
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, Pa., 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.
March 19, 1925: Basketball teams from 11 of West Virginia's 24 African-American high schools took the court at West Virginia State College (now University) in Institute for the first West Virginia Athletic Union (WVAU) state basketball tournament. Lincoln High School of Wheeling defeated Kimball, 25-24, in the final game to win the championship.
March 19, 1992: Four miners were killed at the Blacksville No. 1 mine in Monongalia County while the mine was being sealed. Drainage pipes were being welded together, and a spark fell into the shaft, igniting methane gas.
March 20, 1936: Recurring storms led to major flooding on the Ohio River. At Parkersburg, the river reached 48 feet, 10 feet above flood stage.
March 21, 1914: The West Virginia boys' high school basketball tournament began in Buckhannon. The event was first sponsored by West Virginia Wesleyan College, which at the time had West Virginia's largest and finest gymnasium.
March 22, 1922: Physician Mildred Mitchell-Bateman was born in Georgia. She became the first black woman in West Virginia to hold a high-level state administrative position when, in 1962, Governor William Wallace Barron appointed her as the director of the Department of Mental Health.
March 23, 2003: Private Jessica Lynch of Palestine, Wirt County, was serving as a supply clerk with the Army's 507th Maintenance Company when she was captured by Iraqi forces after her group was ambushed.