• June 1, 1880 — at Collier’s Station in Brooke County, Paddy Ryan defeated Joe Goss to win the heavyweight bare-knuckle championship of the United States. Known as the original form of boxing, this type of event is done without gloves or padding on the participants hands. Dating from about 1681 in England, and continues to this day. The bout in questions was between Paddy Ryan, an Irish-American boxer from New York and defending champion Joe Goss. According to newspaper reports of the day, “The place fixed upon for the ring was a level plat of grassy meadow near the head of a ravine through which meandered a small brook. The hillside first mentioned soon swarmed with those who desired to view the fight. Shortly after, the Sheriff of Brooke county and his deputies approached the ring that was beginning to take shape and warned the crowd that the laws of the State of West Virginia forbade such assemblages, and of the consequences if there should be any unlawful proceedings or disturbances of the peace. The officers were listened to respectfully, but there was no stoppage in the ring-making. Seeing that they would be powerless in case they undertook to enforce submission to the laws, the officers withdrew and were seen no more. About five o’clock a crowd was seen approaching the ring, which was now completed, and a hearty cheer greeted the arrival of Ryan and his friends. Twenty minutes later another party appeared, coming up the road from the station, which proved to be Goss and his friends. The two began their preparations to commence the fight. At about six o’clock, everything being ready, the principals and seconds met in the centre of the ring, and after a formal shaking of hands the seconds retired, leaving Ryan and Goss, who toed the mark, put up their hands, the referee called “Time,” and the battle commenced.” Lasting an hour and twenty minutes and 88 rounds, the bout finally ended when Goss could no longer participate having been knocked out at the end of the 87th round.

• June 2, 1898 — A quarantine to contain the spread of small pox was instituted on the town of Welch by the McDowell County Board of Health. According to newspaper accounts, “Whereas, Small pox now exists at Pocahontas, Va. and at Maybeury, Lick Branch, Ennis Morgan and other plaes in McDowell County, WV. [The Board of Health directors] do hereby declare quarantine of said town against all places so infected in order to prevent the futher introcuction of the contagion; and we request that the Norfolk and Western Railway Company not to sell tickets or further transportation from Bluestone Junction in Mercer County or from any other point between Blueston Junction and the town of Norwood to Welch.” It was further declared that all persons, except those assisting the Health Department and those that could prove that they were not contagious or not liable to spread the small pox contagion, were subject to prosecution if they attempted to evade the quarantine.

• June 3, 1861 — The first land battle of the Civil War was fought at Philippi. A small, sleepy town in Barbour County along the eastern side of the Tygarts River, the town’s main claim to fame was a massive two lane covered bridge that crossed the river that was built in 1852 to accommodate livestock travel and ease of transport that wasn’t available through the local ferry. Suddenly in the spring of 1861 everything was changed. Colonel George A. Porterfield, assigned to Confederate command of state forces in northwestern Virginia. , was ordered to Grafton, twenty miles north of Philippi, to take charge of enlistments and troops in that area. However, he found that the people of western Virginia were not enthusiastic to take up arms for the Confederacy -- volunteers were few and equipment insufficient. Major General George B. McClellan, newly appointed to Federal Command of the Department of the Ohio and a portion of western Virginia, had dispatched troops to Grafton from various directions summoned Colonel B. F. Kelley from his recruiting post in Wheeling, General Morris ordered him to Grafton to take command of an attacking party to pursue Porterfield and, if possible, capture him. Unaware of the weakness of Porterfield’s forces, and his inability to conduct any sort of offensive action, or to make even a creditable defense, Colonel Kelley had a carefully prepared plan of attack relying on the element of surprise, and a pincer movement from north and south, the plan was to pocket Porterfield between two converging columns.. Porterfield’s force, numbering less than a thousand, with one hundred eight cavalry, was entirely inadequate to meet the situation. His men, even his field officers, were the rawest and most inexperience of recruits, while such arms as they had consisted of an assortment of pistols, shotguns, and old flintlock muskets for which there were no cartridges, but only loose powder and shot. The official reports of the engagement, which is credited with being the first land battle of the Civil War, estimated from fifteen to forty Confederates killed, many arms, wagons, horses, and medical supplies captured, and some prisoners taken. The Federals lost no men killed, and Colonel Kelley was the most seriously wounded.

• June 5, 1915— The Old Mill at Rock Springs Park in Chester burned, killing four young people. The park was a favorite entertainment venue in Chester almost from its inception in the late 1800s . Pavillions, midways, carnival rides and swimming pools attracted hundreds to this pretty spot along the Ohio River. The fire occurred during a celebration of the annual outing of the public and parochial schools of East Liverpool, Wellsville, Chester and Newell, at an hour in the evening when approximately 10,000 people were in the park grounds. Mr. John Hughes, master motorman of the East Liverpool Traction & Light company and Andrew Blaschak manager of the Postal Telegraph office, were among the first to discover the fire. Without warning, the flames sprang out of the entrance to the “Old Mill.” The cause of the fire was thought to be a cigarette tossed at the entrance, or perhaps the workings of the dynamo that ran the boats next to the Mill. Albert Rayner, aged 12, Eva Dales, aged 14, of Newell, Miss Glenna Stout, aged 17, of Newell , and Hyacinth Mackey, aged 15, of Newell, died of burns and shock.

• June 6, 1944 — Allied forces launched the Normandy invasion of World War II. 38 West Virginians lost their lives: Feathers, Curtis C of Preston Co.; lexander, Winston Lodge of McDowell Co. Boggess, James O of Kanawha Co.; Casto, David E of Nicholas Co.; Colangelo, Donald G of Mingo Co. ; Crites, Darius W of Upsur Co.; DiCiuccio, Joe of Raleigh Co.; Elswick, Jasper N of Roane Co.; Greene, Silbert P of Boone Co. Hawkins, Jesse M (no county given); Heck, Elsworth M of Cabell Co.; Hughes, Martin V of Kanawha Co.; Jones, Edward L of Wood Co.; Knight, Alva Jackson of Braxton Co.; Kuhn, Eston C of Barbour Co.; Lake, James D of Braxton Co.; Lipscomb, Bernard H of Doddridge Co.; Manfredi, John of Barbour Co.; Manning, Charles H of Hancock Co.; Mason, Conrad Cecil of Ohio Co.; Mathews, John Hobert of Pocahontas Co.; McCalvin, Charles G of Logan Co.; McComb, Jamie Edgar of Monongalia Co.; McDaniel, Vernon C of Berkley Co.; Miller, Norman G of Harrison Co.; Mollohan, William L Jr. of Kanawha Co.; Nesci, Louis F of Mineral Co.; Phillips, Shirley J of Randolph Co.; Shreves, John Henry of Harrison Co.; Smith, William H of Raleigh Co.; Spiker, Floyd of Preston Co.; Stemple, Max L of Preston Co.; Stonebraker, Robert Charles of Harrison Co.; Winebrener, Raymond L of Mason Co.; Winn, Benjamin F of McDowell Co.; Wirtz, Benjamin H of Mercer Co.; Wolverton, Robert L of Randolph Co. According to survivor and Tucker Co. resident Vincent DiBacco, “It was like a scene from Hell,” Di Bacco said. “There was complete disarray. The Germans set up beach obstacles and land mines...the mortar fire was terrific. The saturation firing was incessant.”

• June 7, 1895 — Elizabeth Kee, the first woman to be elected to the United States Congress from West Virginia, was born. Four years after WWII, she married John Kee, awyer and state senator from Bluefield. John Kee was elected to Congress in the 1932 Democratic landslide and advocated the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He quickly advanced up the ladder to chair the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee. Elizabeth worked as his secretary and served as a congressional liaison with the constituents in West Virginia. As John Kee’s health declined in the 1940s, Elizabeth became more involved with congressional affairs. When John Kee died on May 8, 1951, an election was authorized to choose a replacement. Although she originally was not a candidate, Elizabeth Kee decided to run to carry out the programs initiated by her late husband. State United Mine Workers (UMW) leaders William Blizzard and George Titler shifted their support from Ross to Kee. In West Virginia in the 1950s, labor and the entire Democratic party generally followed the lead of the UMW. As a Congresswoman, Kee focused on the growing unemployment in southern West Virginia. She brought attention to the effect of unemployment on women and families. Throughout the late 1950s, Kee expressed frustration that Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower blocked important programs supported by Democrats. In the 1960 election, she actively campaigned for Democrat John F. Kennedy. Under President Kennedy’s administration in the early 1960s, she was able to push through significant legislation, including the Accelerated Public Works Act. Through Kee’s influence, the federal government invested millions of dollars in public works and jobs programs for southern West Virginia. One outgrowth of her efforts was the development of the New River Gorge, which later sparked a boom in the state’s tourism industry. She also used her service on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee to improve veterans’ benefits and establish veterans’ hospitals. Elizabeth Kee retired from Congress for health reasons following the 1964 session and was succeeded by her son, Jim Kee. Between John, Elizabeth, and Jim, the Kee family controlled West Virginia’s Fifth Congressional seat for forty years. The Kee Federal Building on Federal St. in Bluefield is named after her.