Last Updated 15 Sep 2020

Famous People from West Virgina

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Jackson was born in Clarksburg, West Virginia. He was a Confederate general and won at the First Battle of Bull Run during the Civil War. He was accidentally killed by one of his men at Chancellorsville. Anna Jarvis (1864-1948) Jarvis was born in Grafton, West Virginia. She was a promoter who worked to make Mother's Day a nationally celebrated holiday. Morgan Morgan (1688-1766) Morgan was a pioneer and the first white settler in West Virginia. He built a log cabin near Bunker Hill. Mary Lou Retton (1968- )

Retton was born in Fairmont, West Virginia, and was a gymnast. She won a gold medal for the best all-around gymnast performance in the 1984 Olympics and was the first American gymnast to win a medal since 1948. Cyrus Vance (1917- ) Vance was born Clarksburg, West Virginia, and was a diplomat. He represented President Johnson in Panama, Cyprus and in urban riot centers. He negotiated the release of the USS Pueblo and its crew. Vance was the United States secretary of state from 1977-1981. Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) Washington grew up in Malden, West Virginia, and was and educator and reformer.

He thought that blacks should work for education and employment instead of fighting social equality with whites. He founded the National Negro Business League. He wrote a book called Up. West Virginia Fun Facts West Virginia is the only state in the Union to have acquired its sovereignty by proclamation of the President of the United States. West Virginia is considered the southernmost northern state and the northernmost southern state. Mother’s Day was first observed at Andrews Church in Grafton on May 10, 1908. West Virginia has the oldest population of any state.

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The median age is 40. Jackson’s Mill is the site of the first 4-H Camp in the United States. The first federal prison exclusively for women in the United States was opened in 1926 in West Virginia. The New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville is the second highest steel arch bridge in the United States. The bridge is also the longest steel arch bridge (1,700 feet) in the world. Every October on Bridge Day, the road is closed and individuals parachute and bungee cord jump 876 feet off the bridge. It is West Virginia’s largest single-day event and attracts about 100,000 people each year.

The first major land battle fought between Union and Confederate soldiers in the Civil War was the Battle of Philippi on June 3, 1861. One of the nation’s oldest and largest Indian burial grounds is located in Moundsville. It is 69 feet high, 900 feet in circumference, and 50 feet high. An inscribed stone was removed from the vault and is on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D. C. The first rural free mail delivery was started in Charles Town on October 6, 1896, and then spread throughout the United States.

A naval battle was fought in West Virginia waters during the Civil War. The United States armored steamers were actively engaged in the Battle of Buffington Island near Ravenswood on July 19, 1863. A variety of the yellow apple, the Golden Delicious, originated in Clay County. The original Grimes Golden Apple Tree was discovered in 1775 near Wellsburg. West Virginia has a mean altitude of 1,500 feet, giving it the highest average altitude east of the Mississippi. The first electric railroad in the world, built as a commercial enterprise, was constructed between Huntington and Guyandotte.

William Tompkins used natural gas to evaporate salt brine in 1841, thus becoming the first person in the United States to use natural gas for industrial purposes. Bailey Brown, the first Union soldier killed in the Civil War, died on May 22, 1861, at Fetterman, Taylor County. Chester Merriman of Romney was the youngest soldier of World War I, having enlisted at the age of 14. The first brick street in the world was laid in Charleston, on October 23, 1870, on Summers Street, between Kanawha and Virginia Streets.

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