The following events happened on these dates in West Virginia history.

Dec. 5, 1892: Daniel D.T. Farnsworth died at the age of 73 in Buckhannon. As state senate president, Farnsworth succeeded Governor Boreman, who resigned in the last days of his term after being elected as a U.S. senator by the state legislature.

Dec. 6, 1814: Tyler County was formed. The county was named for John Tyler, governor of Virginia (1808-11) and father of President John Tyler.

Dec. 6, 1865: Artist Annie Virginia Latham Bartlett was born in Grafton. Her clay sculptures included conventional busts as well as figurines interpreting West Virginia’s historic and cultural past, with such titles as “The Moonshiner.’’

Dec. 7, 1940: Radio station WAJR-AM in Morgantown began broadcasting. In 1949, it became the flagship station for a statewide network (now the Mountaineer Sports Network) distributing broadcasts of West Virginia University football and basketball games.

Dec. 7, 1941: The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The USS West Virginia suffered massive damage from torpedoes and bombs. Two officers and 103 crew members died.

Dec. 8, 1911: “Wally” Barron was born. Barron, West Virginia’s 26th governor, achieved a remarkable record of legislative success during his term, but his accomplishments were overshadowed by the fact that he was the first governor in state history to be indicted or convicted of a major crime.

Dec. 9, 1829: West Virginia’s fourth governor, John Jeremiah Jacob, was born in Hampshire County. He was the first governor born within the area that became West Virginia and the first Democratic governor of the state.

Dec. 11, 1905: ‘Pare’’ Lorentz, known as “FDR’s filmmaker,” was born in Clarksburg. In 1933, Lorentz created “The Roosevelt Year: 1933,” a pictorial review of FDR’s first year in the White House.

Dec. 12, 1953: Chuck Yeager set a speed record by flying two-and-a-half times the speed of sound in a Bell X-1A. Yeager, who grew up in Hamlin, had broken the sound barrier six years earlier on Oct. 14, 1947.

Dec. 13, 1861: One of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War’s first year took place on Allegheny Mountain in Pocahontas County. More than 260 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed or wounded.

Dec. 13, 1926: Wheeling radio station WWVA-AM began broadcasting. The 50-watt station operated from the basement of John Stroebel’s house for the most of its first year. Stroebel was a physics teacher and wireless pioneer.

Dec. 15, 1879: Roman Catholic Bishop John Joseph Swint was born in Pickens. He was responsible for the building of many religious institutions in the Diocese of Wheeling (now the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston).

Dec. 15, 1967: The Silver Bridge at Point Pleasant collapsed, killing 46 people. The Silver Bridge was built by the American Bridge Company of Pittsburgh and opened to traffic on May 19, 1928. The accident led to the passage of legislation for a national bridge inspection and safety program.

Dec.  15, 1972: An explosion at a Weirton Steel coke plant on Browns Island killed 19 men and injured 10 others. It was the worst industrial accident in Weirton’s history.

Dec. 16, 1893: Alexander Martin died at the aged of 71 in Greencastle, Indiana. Martin was the first president of the Agricultural College of West Virginia, which was renamed West Virginia University at his recommendation in 1868.

To read more about West Virginia’s people, places, history, arts, science and culture, go to “e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia” at Developed by the West Virginia Humanities Council, it is an interactive reference site showcasing West Virginia’s history, culture, and people. e-WV is free of charge and available to anyone with access to a computer and Internet connection.

For more,, contact the West Virginia Humanities Council, 1310 Kanawha Blvd. E., Charleston, WV 25301, or at 304-346-8500.


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