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This week in W.Va. history

Feb. 18, 2013 @ 12:15 AM

The following events happened on these dates in West Virginia history. To read more, go to e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia, a project of the West Virginia Humanities Council, at www.wvencyclopedia.org.

Feb. 17, 1735: Morgan Morgan was commissioned a captain of militia in the 201st Field Artillery, which is considered the oldest military unit in the United States.

Feb. 18, 1843: Ritchie County was created from portions of Wood, Lewis, and Harrison counties. The county was named for Virginia journalist and politician Thomas Ritchie.

Feb. 18, 1969: Hundreds of miners in Raleigh County went on strike over the issue of black lung. Within days, the walkout spread throughout southern West Virginia.

Feb. 19, 1872: The Glenville Branch of the State Normal School was established by an act of the Legislature. The first session of the college opened on January 14, 1873, in the old Gilmer County courthouse.

Feb. 19, 1908: Orval Elijah Brown was born near Lizemores in Clay County. Brown, a free-spirited individual, gained notoriety as the ''Clay County Wild Man'' during the Great Depression.

Feb. 19, 1943: Author Homer Hickam was born in Coalwood, McDowell County. Hickam's second book, "Rocket Boys: A Memoir," was published in 1998 and became a runaway bestseller.

Feb. 20, 1875: The Legislature approved a bill to move the state capital back to Wheeling.

Feb. 20, 1995: The Legislature voted to make the Golden Delicious apple the official state fruit.

Feb. 21, 1940: Former Gov. Gaston Caperton was born in Charleston. Caperton defeated Arch Moore to become the state's 31st governor.

Feb. 22, 1927: Longtime Agriculture Commissioner Gus R. Douglass was born in Mason County. Douglass, a Democrat, was first elected commissioner of agriculture in 1964.

Feb. 23, 1867: Lincoln County was formed from Boone, Cabell, Kanawha, and Putnam counties. The county was named for Abraham Lincoln.

Feb. 23, 1905: The first USS West Virginia was commissioned. The armored cruiser was renamed the USS Huntington in 1916 to allow the transfer of the original name to a newly authorized battleship.

Feb. 23, 1945: Fairmont native "Woody" Williams distinguished himself during the Battle of Iwo Jima by neutralizing seven concrete pillboxes. This act of heroism earned Williams the Medal of Honor.

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