Originally posted by: hillbillyangler on 3/20/2007 12:26:29 PM
Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (1824-1863) was one of the leading generals of the Confederacy during the Civil War and is considered among the most skillful tacticians in military history. He was born in Clarksburg (then in Virginia). His father died when he was two years old, and his mother died five years later. Jackson was raised by an uncle on a farm in Virginia. Leigh Ervine provides this information: "Your list mentions that Stonewall lived with his Uncle in Virginia. The Uncle, Cummings Jackson's house was located between Jane Lew and Westin (then Virginia, now West Virginia) on what is now the grounds of Jackson's Mill the State 4-H Camp. In the early eighties I worked on the archaeological dig at the site. We found the Uncle's house (which burned down around 1910 or 1911 and evidence of the house (cabin) Stonewall's father built. The dig was conducted by WVU."
Anna Jarvis (1864-1948) is generally considered the founder of Mother's Day. Following the death of her own mother in 1905, she began campaigning to have one day a year set aside to honor mothers. In 1914 President Wilson signed a proclamation declaring Mother's Day a holiday. Jarvis was the head of the Mother's Day International Association. She was born in Webster, near Grafton.
James Jett (1970- ), wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders, is the state record holder in track and field sprinting events and won a gold medal in the Barcelona Olympics in the 4X100 meter relay event. He was born in Charles Town, and played for Jefferson High School in Shenandoah Junction.
Sam "Sad Sam" Jones, a pitcher from 1951 to 1964, was born in Monongah. He played for the Indians, Cubs, Cards, Giants, Tigers, and Orioles.
Stanli K. (Mitchell) Becker (1942-1993) founded the Jesse Owens Youth Development Program at Cuyahoga Community College and was a guest at a White House reception along with members of Owens' family when the late Olympic star was honored. The program had begun as a purely recreational activity, but she developed it into a collegelike experience for young people between 16 and 21. Mrs. Becker, her husband and five children were the writers of All Blood is Red; All Shadows Are Dark!, a book in which they reject artificial racial classifications and share their experiences living in a multiracial household. She was born in West Virginia and graduated from Charleston High School, where she was the first black student admitted into the National Honor Society chapter. She is believed to be the first black student in West Virginia to be admitted to the NHS.
Terry Bowden is a college football analyst for ABC TV, working in ABC's studio show. He resigned as the head football coach at Auburn during the 1998 season. He played for his father, Bobby, at WVU in the 1970s. He has also been head football coach at Salem College. He is a graduate of Morgantown High School.
Tommy Bowden is the head football coach at Clemson. He led Tulane to an 11-0 regular season in 1998 before taking the head coaching job at Clemson. (Tulane went on to win its bowl game without Bowden.) He played for his father, Bobby, at WVU in the 1970s. He is a graduate of Morgantown High School.
George Howard Brett (1953- ) played for the Kansas City Royals from 1973 to 1993. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility and was inducted in July 1999. He was born in Glen Dale, although he grew up in southern California.
Selva Lewis "Lew" Burdette (1926- ), pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves, won three games against the powerful New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series. In October 1957, Lew Burdette shut out the New York Yankees twice in four days becoming the first pitcher in 37 years to win three complete games in a single World Series and the first since 1905 to throw two shutouts in a single Series. The wins gave Milwaukee its only world championship, and Lew Burdette earned Series MVP honors for his 3-0 record, 0.67 ERA, and 24 consecutive scoreless innings against the Yankees. He ended his 17-year career in 1967 with a total of 203 wins. He was the player noted by Fidel Castro in an interview not long after the Cuban revolution, in which he referred to Burdette as "Hombre el Saliva." Burdette was born in Nitro.
Robert Carlyle Byrd (1917- ) was elected to an eighth consecutive term in the U. S. Senate in 2000, carrying 1,963 of the 1,970 precincts in West Virginia. On June 12, 2006, he will become the longest-serving U. S. Senator in history. He was the majority leader of the Senate from 1977 to 1981 and from 1987 to 1989. He has cast more votes than any other Senator in U. S. history. He is from Sophia, although he was born in North Wilkesboro, N. C. Byrd's mother died on Armistice Day in 1918, during the influenza epidemic, when he was just short of one year old. His father sent him to live with his aunt and uncle, Vlurma (Sale) and Titus Dalton Byrd, in West Virginia. In a 1998 Mother's Day speech Byrd said that his mother knew that she might not recover and that she asked his father to give him to his sister Vlurma. Byrd learned his real name (Cornelius Calvin Sale Jr.) at the age of sixteen and his true birthday from an elder brother in 1971. Until that time, he believed his date of birth to be January 15, 1918. Byrd's education began in a two-room schoolhouse in Algonquin in Mercer County when he lived up a hollow in a house with no running water and no power. As his foster father, a miner, drifted from job to job, Byrd spent a rather bleak childhood in a succession of company towns. The family moved to Stotesbury. Byrd was the valedictorian of the 28-student 1934 class of Mark Twain High School in Stotesbury, but because of the Depression he could not afford to go to college. He worked briefly as a gas station attendant, then took a job as a produce boy at a local market. Eager to improve himself, he studied a meat cutter's manual in his spare time and, by the end of the 1930's, he was earning $85 a month as the head butcher at a grocery store in Crab Orchard. [He worked at the Carolina Super Market in Crab Orchard, probably the market referred to here.] On May 29, 1937, he married Erma Ora James (b. Floyd Co., Va.; died in 2006 at age 88) in a small ceremony attended only by their parents at the home of Rev. U. G. Nichols. According to her obituary, they met while both were students at Mark Twain Grade School in Raleigh County. Byrd moved to Baltimore in the early 1940's to work as a welder in the wartime shipyards, but returned to West Virginia after the war ended and opened his own grocery store in Sophia in 1948. In a recent interview, Byrd said that he was baptized in the church yard of Crab Orchard Baptist Church in Crab Orchard, W. Va., in 1946. Byrd taught a popular adult Bible class in the basement of Crab Orchard Baptist Church. A 1952 campaign ad reported, â€œAs a teacher of an adult Bible class he built its membership up from 6 to 636 in one year, making it the largest adult Sunday School class in the state of West Virginia. The pastor of Byrd's church, Rev. C. Shirley Donnelly, D. D., insisted that the class be named the Robert C. Byrd Bible Class, and the class lesson has for three years been broadcast over Beckley station WWNR.â€ In 1946 he ran for his first public office, winning election to the West Virginia House of Delegates. His slogan was, "Byrd by name, Byrd by nature, let's send Byrd to the Legislature." See also the Senator's official website
Vernell "Bimbo" Coles (1968- ) completed his twelfth season in the NBA in 2002, playing the last two years for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He previously played for the Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, and the Golden State Warriors. Coles was a member of the 1988 U. S. Olympic Mens Basketball team. He is the all-time leading scorer at Virginia Tech and holds over 50 Virginia Tech and Metro Conference records; he and one other Virginia Tech basketball player (Dell Curry) have had their numbers retired. He also was drafted twice by Major League Baseball teams, Philadelphia Phillies (26th round/1986) and California Angels (53rd round/1990). Coles was an athlete at Greenbrier East High School in Lewisburg, where his football number (8) and basketball number (24) have been retired.
John Corbett (1962- ) played Chris Stevens of KBHR Radio on Northern Exposure and subsequently played Adam MacArthur in the Fox series The Visitor. He also played Ian Miller, a high school teacher, in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He was born in Wheeling and graduated from high school there in 1979. He started his acting career after an injury put him out of the steel industry.
Little Jimmy Dickens (1920- ) has performed at the Grand Ole Opry since 1948 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1982. His hits include Pennies For Papa, Take An Old Cold Tater (And Wait), Country Boy, My Heart's Bouquet (all 1949), A-Sleepin' At The Foot Of The Bed (1950), Out Behind The Barn (1954), and May The Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose (1965). Dickens started his career singing on Sundays on WJLS radio station, hitchhiking to Beckley from his home at Bolt. He was born James Cecil Dickens at Bolt. According to imdb.com, he was born in 1925.
Bob Evans, the founder of Bob Evans Farms, one of the region's most popular restaurant chains, grew up on the Ohio-West Virginia border. Though raised on the western side of the Ohio River, he graduated from the Greenbrier Military School in West Virginia. Armed with marketing talent and vision, he went from peddler of sausage to breakfast food connoisseur. His father taught school in Bud, West Virginia (Wyoming County). Bob Evans today is not active in the restaurant business, but spends his time researching new grasses for raising livestock.
Robert Lee "Sam" Huff (1934- ), one of the best-known athletes to attend WVU, helped lead the team to a combined four-year mark of 31-7 and a berth in the 1954 Sugar Bowl. Huff played eight years with the New York Giants and his last four seasons with the Washington Redskins. In 1982, Huff became the only WVU player besides Joe Stydahar to be inducted into both the college and pro football Halls of Fame. He was born in Number 9, a small coal mining town near Farmington. He attended Farmington High School. In a 2003 Sports Illustrated article, Huff wrote:
I was raised in a West Virginia coal mining camp called Number Nine, near Farmington. My dad worked in the mines, and so did the dads of every kid I went to school with. In those camps you rented your house from the mining company and bought your food and clothes at company stores. You know that Tennessee Ernie Ford song: "You load 16 tons, what do you get/Another day older and deeper in debt"? That was my dad's life. We had to go to a community pump to get water. We didn't have any heat. Can you imagine? Miners would go on strike for weeks and weeks and still find a way to live. I think I did well in football because I was raised to be like them. If you were a boy, you played football. At my high school we played on a field cut into a valley and people sat on the hillside to watch. My hero, besides my dad, was Frank Gatski, who also came from Number Nine. He went to Marshall, played offensive line for the Cleveland Browns and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I never imagined I would play in the NFL, but I knew I didn't want to work in the mines. My father had gone to work there when he was 13, and my older brother, Don, did the same when he was 16. I imagined I could become a coach or a teacher.
Don Knotts (1924-2006), television and movie actor, was born in Morgantown, where his parents and relatives were farmers. He was the youngest of four boys in a family he described as "dirt poor." Knotts said, "It was the 1930s, and those were tough times for all of us, but we had such humor in our family -- except for my father. He was pretty sick. He had a nervous breakdown about the time I was born -- maybe I did it -- but all my brothers were very funny, and my mother loved to laugh." Jesse Donald Knotts graduated from Morgantown High School in 1942. The 1942 school yearbook lists him as Donald Jesse Knotts. He attended West Virginia University, where he majored in speech, hoping to become a teacher. A street in Morgantown has been renamed Don Knotts Boulevard. Knotts played the role of Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show. See also the Morgantown chapter of the Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club, which has photos of Don at Morgantown High School.
John Kruk (1961- ) played for the Chicago White Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the San Diego Padres. He later worked for the Philadelphia Phillies organization as hitting instructor for their Class AA affiliate, the Reading Phillies. In 2002 he was one of the hosts of Fox Sports Network's The Best Damn Sports Show, Period. Kruk was born in Charleston. He grew up in Keyser and was later living in Burlington, W. Va.
Kathy Mattea (1959- ), country music star, grew up in Cross Lanes and was born in South Charleston. She graduated from Nitro High School and attended West Virginia University.
William Stanley "Bill" Mazeroski (1936- ), second baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1956 to 1972, is best remembered for his solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. His was the first of only two home runs ever to end a World Series. Mazeroski was born in Wheeling.
Jamie Noble is a member of the World Wrestling Entertainment roster. The WWE web site reported in June 2002: "Introduced by Nidia as her new boyfriend, Jamie Noble made his presence felt when he attacked The Hurricane on the June 6, 2002, episode of SmackDown! Noble became a first-time WWE Cruiserweight Champion after defeating The Hurricane at King of the Ring 2002, thanks to help from his girlfriend, Nidia." His real name is James Gibson. His hometown is Hanover, West Virginia.
Alex Schoenbaum (1915-1996) was the founder of the Shoney's Restaurant chain, one of the largest businesses to originate in West Virginia. In 1947 Schoenbaum opened his first drive-in restaurant, Parkette, in Charleston. In 1952, it became the first restaurant in the Shoney's chain after Schoenbaum obtained the regional marketing rights to the Big Boy trademark. In 1971, Schoenbaum and restaurateur Ray Danner merged their companies to form Shoney's Big Boy Enterprises, Inc. In 1976 Big Boy was dropped from the name.
Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), an educator who was appointed organizer and principal of what is now Tuskegee University in 1881. Washington made the institution into a major center for industrial and agricultural training and in the process became a well-known public speaker. He was born on a plantation in Franklin Co., Va., the son of a slave. Following the Civil War, his family moved to Malden, W. Va., where he worked in a salt furnace and in coal mines. In his autobiography Up From Slavery, Washington wrote:
At that time salt-mining was the great industry in that part of West Virginia, and the little town of Malden was right in the midst of the salt-furnaces. My stepfather had already secured a job at a salt-furnace and he had also secured a little cabin for us to live in. Our new house was no better than the one we had left on the old plantation in Virginia. In fact, in one respect it was worse. Notwithstanding the poor condition of our plantation cabin, we were at all times sure of pure air. Our new home was in the midst of a cluster of cabins crowded closely together, and as there were no sanitary regulations, the filth about the cabins was often intolerable. Some of our neighbours were coloured people, and some were the poorest and most ignorant and degraded white people. It was a motley mixture. Drinking, gambling, quarrels, fights, and shockingly immoral practices were frequent. All who lived in the little town were in one way or another connected with the salt business. Though I was a mere child, my stepfather put me and my brother at work in one of the furnaces. Often I began work as early as four o'clock in the morning.
After working in the salt furnace and coal mines, Washington was hired to work as a servant for Mrs. Viola Ruffner, the wife of Gen. Lewis Ruffner, the owner of the salt furnace and coal mines.
Jerome Alan "Jerry" West (1938- ) was selected in 1996 as one of the 50 greatest NBA basketball players ever. He was an All-American at WVU for two years before playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. When he retired as an active player, West ranked third in the NBA in regular-season scoring. He later coached the Lakers and then became general manager of the team, retiring in 2000. In 2002, citing boredom and a chance to build another winning team, West joined the Memphis Grizzlies as president of basketball operations. West was a member of the 1960 USA Olympic Basketball team, which won the gold medal. In August 2000 West attended a ceremony naming a stretch of road which runs past the former WVU field house Jerry West Boulevard. "I think it's pretty cool, myself," West said. "It really is an honor. This state's been very very meaningful for me. I come back here every year. I love the people here. I almost wish my career hadn't taken me to Los Angeles because this is a place I truly love." Although he has been called "Zeke from Cabin Creek" (a name he does not like), Jerry West actually was born and grew up in Chelyan. He graduated from East Bank High School in 1956.
Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager (1923- ) became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound on October 14, 1947, flying the experimental Bell X-1. He also became the first person to fly more than twice the speed of sound, flying the Bell X-1A on December 12, 1953. Yeager was born at Myra in Lincoln County and later moved to West Hamlin. He graduated from Hamlin High School in 1941. In a 1991 interview, Yeager said:
I was born in Myra, West Virginia, which was actually just a post office on Mud River, very near Hamlin, West Virginia. My first recollection was when we moved to Hamlin when I was about four or five years old. And that's where I spent my life until I was eighteen years old. It was a rural town, population of about six hundred. It's in the middle of the hills. Primarily agriculture, timber, coal mines, and some natural gas; my father was a natural gas driller. I attended grade school and I did very well in the first grade, skipped second grade and went to the third grade. And by the time I got to the fifth grade, I spent two years there. It got kind of tough. And then, grade school was just nine months out of the year that I enjoyed either running the hills or fishing, and things like that. In high school, things got a little more serious as far as my education was concerned. And also there were sports -- football and basketball -- I played both. And I also played trombone in the high school band and chased gals, so I was a pretty busy kid. The subjects that I liked very much in school were mathematics, algebra and typing. I could type 60 words a minute easily. Anything that took hand-eye coordination I had a good time at it. History and English literature, my teachers had trouble passing me.