• July 12, 1749 — The Executive Council of Virginia gave the Loyal Company permission to “take up and survey” 800,000 acres of land in western Virginia. Doctor Thomas Walker, along with several other gentlemen, were employed to go westward in order to discover a proper place for another settlement in western Virginia. He left his house on March 6, along with Ambrose Powell, William Tomlinson, Colby Chew, Henry Lawless and John Hughs. Each man had a horse and two to carry baggage. Disputes over land in the Ohio Valley in the 1740s led to armed conflict by 1754. Treaties between the British, French, and Native Americans in the 1740s failed to clear title to the property in question. This exploration began on the bounds between Virginia colony and North Carolina, and running to the Westward and to the North The Loyal Company was allowed four years to complete the survey and pay for the rights.

• July 12, 1900 — The Honorable W.M. O. Dawson, chairman of the WV Republican committee, called the state convention to order, where after what was called a “rousing keynote speech” Mr. A.B. White of Parkersburg was nominated for Governor. Albert Blakeslee ‘‘A. B.’’ White, soundly defeated the Democratic nominee John Homer Holt of Huntington, and served as governor from 1901 to 1905. He was the fourth governor of the state. Although known as a very partisan politician and an active member of the Elkins machine, he is remembered as a reform governor. During his administration he fought for changes in the election process. One law required lobbyists to register with the state. Governor White is most remembered for sweeping reforms in property assessment and tax laws. White worked for other progressive reforms, as well, including a food and drug act. He spoke forcefully against industrial pollution of West Virginia streams. During his term, the legislature organized the state tax commissioner’s office.

• July 13, 1965 — Former congressman Cleveland Monroe Bailey died. He was of the Matthew Mansfield Neely era, a colorful and flamboyant period in West Virginia politics. He made his first bid for public office in 1910, when he was defeated for superintendent of Harrison County schools. But he was to lose only two other elections, in 1946 when he failed to win re-election to Congress and in 1962 when he lost to Republican Arch Moore after Bailey’s old Third Congressional District had been joined with Moore’s First District. Bailey’s introduction to state politics came in 1933 when he came to Charleston as assistant to state Auditor Edgar B. Sims. The tall, lanky, tobacco chewing Sims, and the short, muscular, pipe smoking Bailey made a natural team. He was the leader of the fight for federal aid for school construction in 1956. Although the congressional bill was defeated he was quoted as saying to Congress, The Holy Scriptures are replete with exhortations that we care for and properly train our children. “We members of Congress, have for the past several weeks and even months been devoting time, energy and the taxpayers money to material things. Back of this effort has been the profit angle and the desire to boost business and to stabilize our own and international economy. “Today we are faced with a more basic problem, and I refer to your youth who will be the citizens of tomorrow. “Our America, if it is to survive in this trouble world must get back to the fundamentals on which the Republic stands. No nation is greater than the people who compose it. Democracy cannot thrive on ignorance. Its citizenry must be an educated citizenry. “Good schools are good business - as an investment there is no better than our young people.” First as assistant state auditor and later as director of the state budget, Bailey had an opportunity to really study government with a microscope. He knew where the money was coming from and, more important in knowing the workings of the government, he had to know where each dollar was going. And where the dollars go - that’s what makes up the government.

• July 14, 1862 — The United States Senate approved statehood for West Virginia by a vote of 23-17. Disputes over the borders of Virginia began in the early 17th century with conflicting royal charters that granted overlapping territory to multiple entities. However, even after the borders solidified in 1776, regional tensions still plagued the state. Voting rights in Virginia were based on property holdings and many residents of western Virginia felt underrepresented as most did not own enough property to vote. In 1861 the tensions between eastern and western Virginians came to an impasse following the secession of many southern states from the Union. The Virginia state legislature passed the Order of Secession on April 17, and Virginians voted to ratify secession on May 23. Less than a month later, Pro-Union Virginians voted to form a second government, the Restored Government of Virginia, on June 17.

• July 15, 1763 — Native Americans led by Cornstalk launched an attack on settlers in the Greenbrier Valley. According to an account by A. E. Ewing in 1936, “These settlers, be it remembered, had no business in those parts at that time. Virginia lands west of the “front” were not then open to settlement and could not be purchased at any price. The Indians, particularly the Algonquin tribes of Ohio, had never ceased to claim them. The vast region constituted their prize “game preserve.” They even regarded Virginia hunters as trespassers, and permanent settlers as outlaws to be shot down at sight. Moreover, all this was well known to Virginians. By 1760, however, the French and Indian War was practically over. Frontiersmen east of the “front,” anticipating that the Indian border would be pushed back to the Ohio, lost no time in heading their wagon trains for new pastures on the Greenbrier and by 1763 were raising fields pf wheat and corn, wholly ignorant of Pontiac’s diabolical designs. Two or three years of quiet and safety had led them to regard Indian troubles as things of the past. The Indians well knew of these growing settlements, having visited them as hunters, while the palefaces had come to regard the redskins as harmless nuisances. The business of scalping the Greenbrier settlements fell to Cornstalk, the Shawnee chieftain, who, with his warriors, resided on the Scioto, in Ohio, some sixty miles from the Virginia border. The two white settlements which gained historical fame were the Muddy Creek settlement lying north of the Greenbrier and west of Muddy Creek Mountain, and the Clendenin settlement on the Big Levels near Lewisburg. They were about twenty miles apart, and the people comprising them have been variously estimated at from one to two hundred. Both settlements probably took root in 1760 and 1761. Cornstalk did not strike the Greenbrier settlements when blood was on the May moon. Apparently he waited for the June or July moon.“

• July 16, 1877 — B&O Railroad workers began a labor strike in Martinsburg. The incidents that began the trouble with the Baltimore & Ohio Railway began about the 16th of April, 1877; when along the line tramps, communists and turbulent organizations had given rise to much dissension among the railroad employees. The President of the company, John W. Garrett, informed the employees that a preamble and resolutions had been adopted to the effect that all officers and operatives of the road receiving sums in excess of one dollar per diem would be reduced ten per cent. It was stated in the notice that action in this direction would be postponed until after their competitors had made similar retrenchments, hoping that business would revive in a short while and a decrease of expenses be avoided. However, several days before the rule was to be enforced a number of the firemen at once decided to strike. They declared their intention that they could not and would not stand any reduction from their wages. The Trainmen’s Union was in full blast all along the line, which had been effectively instituted previously by a traveling delegation from the Pennsylvania road, and taking advantage of affairs, a real strike began. According to local reports, there had been among the employees of the B. & O. railroad a feeling of bitterness against the company, growing out of the suspicion that the numerous reductions in their wages within the past year or two have been the result of mere greediness and selfishness on the part of the management of the road, having no reference whatever to diminutions in its earnings. That Monday night around twenty cars loaded with live stock had been stopped by striking firemen to allow them to pass, telegrams were sent to Baltimore giving the railroad company’s officials notification of the situation. Maj. A. P. Shutt, was appealed to and he used every endeavor to quiet the outbreak and relieve the embargo, but was overpowered and obliged to give it up. Gov. Mathews, of West Virginia was then appealed to, and he, at about midnight, sent the necessary orders for the intervention by the local militia of Martinsburg. The militia company was deployed on both sides of a train , aand as the train reached the switch one of the strikers, William Vandergriff, seized the switch ball to run the train on the side of the track. John Poisal, a member of the militia company, jumped from the pilot of the engine and attempted to replace the switch so that the train should go on. Vandergriff fired two shots at Poisal, one causing a slight flesh wound in the side of the head. Poisal returned the fire, shooting Vandergriff through the hip. Several other shots were fired at Vandergriff, striking him in the hand and arm. When the firing was heard a very large crowd of railroaders and citizens collected, and the feeling became intense. The volunteering engineer and fireman ran off as soon as the shooting began.

• July 17, 1922 — Striking miners launched an attack on the Brooke County community of Cliftonville. The fight occurred near a tent colony about midnight after Brooke County Sheriff Duval had been notified that men were marching on the mine. Two hours later there was an explosion near the colony followed at irregular intervals by skyrockets. At 5:15 o’clock, as the miners were on their way to the mine opening to begin the day’s work, a shot was fired from the hill above the opening and almost immediately after, Edwards said, the firing became general from the other hills around the town. It was heaviest from the height above the tipple. A man carrying an American flag rushed the hill followed by what to Edwards seemed to be 200 or more men. They reached the tipple and the leader with a companion climbed to the top where, Edwards declared, he saw the man stand, wave the flag and shout: “Come on boys, she’s ours!” The attacking miners were from a union mine in Pennsylvania whereas the West Virginia mine was non-union. John Kaminski, of Avella, Pa. was arrested an tried in the state for the murder of the sheriff. The state announced that it intended to prove that Kaminski was a “lieutenant” in command of a force of the union miners, who marched across the state line from Pennsylvania and that he, personally set fire to the mine tipple. It was asserted by the defense that Kaminski knew nothing about the conspiracy of striking miners to destroy the non-union property; that he was forced at the point of a pistol, to join the marchers at Avella, and he made unsuccessful attempts to escape. Records from the time tells how the men, knowing that the WV mine had recently changed hands and was now an open shop, conspired to march upon the mine and wipe it out.

• July 18, 1911 — A train carrying Bluefield and Huntington National Guard troops ran into a freight train in Charleston causing the freight train to break in two and sending three troop members to the hospital. According to reports, the passenger train was running at a terrific speed and was rounding a curve between Spring Hill and Charleston. Although the train did not derail, the engine caught fire causing significant burning. Quartermaster Sgt. James H. Gollehon of Company L in Bluefield was hurt the worst with cuts on his right knee and wrist and severe bruising along his breast and arms. According to his recollection of the account, he attributed his life being saved by a gentleman named Bryce, who was assisting him with the cooking. Gollehon noticed right before the accident that Bryce jumped from the baggage car; when it became apparent that a collision was imminent, Gollehon also jumped landing on Bryce who broke his fall against the rails. “Had I not landed on Bryce my breast and chin would have stopped the fall which would have meant instant death.” Two Huntington troopers were not so fortunate. Corp. R. E. Hurbst and Pvt. Lee Thompson of Company H were injured in the crash, receiving crushed breasts, and in the case of Thompson, three broken ribs. The C&O railway received harsh criticism for their actions after the crash, insisting that the injured men be transported to the hospital instead of sending physicians to them and for the high rate of speed that the train was travelling in the first place. When a railroad claims adjuster arrived at Camp Kanawha to settle with the injured, he was treated to “the choicest roast that those present had ever heard.” and was assured that no settlement would be made until the extent of the injuries was determined.

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