Old Malden Timeline From 1700's - 2000's


Old Malden Timeline


King Salt in the Kanawha Salines

By Larry L. Rowe

1700's Colonial Years of western Virginia

1754 French and Indian War begins. Native Americans are using western Virginia for hunting, burials, and salt licks for their animals.

1763 King George orders Colonists not to settle in western Virginia, as a way of placating Native Americans. His order is openly ignored by Protestant pioneers, mostly Scot-Irish and German.

1768 Native Americans give up all legal claims to hunting grounds in western Virginia.

1774 At Battle of Point Pleasant, General Andrew Lewis defeats Chief Cornstalk and the Shawnee, securing western Virginia from their attacks against settlers, and preventing the English from using native Americans against the Colonists in the Revolutionary War.

1775 Some 30,000 pioneer settlers are living throughout western Virginia, despite King George's order not to settle in area west of the Virginia Piedmont. Anti-English sentiment is high in western Virginia.

Independence from England

1776 Petitions from western Virginia are sent to the Continental Congress seeking a state government separate from colonial Williamsburg and Virginia.

1776 On July 4 the Declaration of Independence signed declaring political freedom from English. Democracy is born, but for white males only.

1780 George Washington and Andrew Lewis own a burning springs near present day DuPont Middle School. During the horror of slavery in America, African-Americans help settle the western frontier.

1785 Thomas Jefferson predicts that coal is abundant in the Kanawha Salines area east of the Ohio. (Cobin, Life, Work and Rebellion in the Coal Fields, p. 2)

1785 James River Company is chartered to create a water route west to the Ohio River.

George Washington Presidency.

1789 A federal constitution revolutionizes government organization and the concept of community and human dignity, but pragmatically it legalizes the horror of slavery in America. The National Capital is in Philadelphia.

1790 Colonel John Dickinson of Virginia obtains a land grant of 500 acres at the mouth of Campbells Creek, on the Kanawha River.

1790's Pioneer Daniel Boone represents Kanawha Salines area in the Virginia Assembly by walking to Richmond. He later leaves the area for Kentucky.

1793 Cotton gin is invented by Eli Whitney. It allows for a Southern States cotton industry based on slave labor. There are few African-Americans in the Kanawha Salines.

1793 French King Louis XVI and his Queen Maria Antoinette are executed.

Old Ruffner log cabin, near the Craik-Patton house on the Midland Trail, circa 1790's



1795 Joseph Ruffner buys Colonel Dickinson's 500 acres at the mouth of Campbells Creek.

1796 Irish nobleman, Harmon Blennerhasset, settles on an island in the Ohio River near present day Parkersburg. He constructs a fine European style mansion there, unlike any other on the western frontier.

John Adams Presidency.

1797 Elisha Brooks starts salt making in Kanawha Salines.

1798 First mass production in America begins with Eli Whitney's gun factory in Connecticut.

1798 In England, Samuel Coolridge publishes "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

1800 On open land near today's Belle DuPont Plant, the Old Stone House is built by 2 Shrewsbury brothers who married daughters of Colonel John Dickinson and settled on his land here.

Thomas Jefferson Presidency.

1801 Era of Good Feeling begins before the American debate over the evil of slavery becomes heated in the 1850s.

1803 In Kanawha Salines, the ambitious Ruffner family builds the first grist mill.

1803 The Louisiana Purchase from France is completed to secure western frontier. It starts the great migration to western Virginia and beyond. For $15 million, it tripled the size of the United States' original colonies. Fifteen states are created out of this territory. Spain had transferred the Louisiana Territory to France. President Jefferson warned France not to colonize the area. Napoleon sold it in preparation for his war with England.

1803-1806 Lewis and Clark explore the Louisiana Territory.

1804 In New York, Aaron Burr duels and kills Alexander Hamilton, who had been Washington's distinguished Secretary of the Treasury.

1806 Joseph and David Ruffner invent a drilling technique to pierce 75 feet of bed rock to drill salt brine, opening up the Kanawha Salines salt industry.

1807 In London, England manufactured gas is used in gaslights for the first time. Natural gas would be discovered in the Kanawha Salines in 1815.

1807 Aaron Burr and Harmon Blennerhasset are charged and separately tried for treason for a plot to set up a new nation in part of the new Louisiana Territory. They are acquitted but ruined, and the Blennerhasset Mansion is destroyed.

1807 In New York, Robert Fulton is credited with inventing the first American steamship. James Rumsey floats a steamship successfully on the Potomac River in western Virginia before Fulton's feat.

1808 The Ruffners begin large scale salt production in Kanawha Salines, and they become the region's richest and most influential family.

Location of Ruffner Salt Works, Port Amherst



1808 The importation of Africans for slavery is outlawed but the horror of slavery in America continues as a growing economic factor in the production of cotton, sugar and other products in the South.

1808 John Dalton theorizes that matter is made of atoms.

James Madison Presidency.

1809 David Ruffner is sued by Andrew Donnelly, Jr. for salt lands conveyed by Abraham Ruffner under complex terms of their father's will. Outside the Courthouse in Charleston, David Ruffner stabs Donnelly in the left hip with an anvil and assaults one of Donnelly's men. David is jailed and his brother Joseph is indicted for aiding and abetting David's assault. Fines and bonds for good behavior end the affair. (Stealey, The Antebellum Kanawha Salt Business and Western Markets, p. 13)

1810 Wheeling begins its steel industry and becomes a major city on the Ohio River.

1811 America's first federal road construction begins. The National Road goes through Wheeling from Washington to Illinois at a cost of $7 million.

1811 General William Henry Harrison defeats Tecumseh's brother at Battle of Tippecanoe. The General becomes a war hero and is later elected President of the United States.

1812 War with England begins. America is yet to be recognized as a legitimate nation in the western hemisphere.

1812 On Lake Michigan, Fort Dearborne is burned by Native Americans. Later the City of Chicago is founded here and becomes the center of the growing Midwest agricultural area.

1814 In Europe, the Treaty of Ghent is signed, acknowledging that the United States is a unified nation.

1815 Battle of New Orleans occurs a few weeks after the Treaty of Ghent is signed. American frontiersmen and pirates defeat the mighty English army before anyone knew of the Treaty of Ghent. This battle, more than the Treaty of Ghent, secures America's place as a nation.

1815 Napoleon returns but he is defeated at Waterloo by Wellington. He dies in 1821 on St. Helena.

1815 In Kanawha Salines, James Wilson discovers the first natural gas while drilling for water near today's Kanawha Boulevard across from the Columbia Gas building.

1815 On his farmland where today's State Capitol is located, D. Ruffner builds "Holly Grove." Here Andrew Jackson, while he was President, is an overnight guest. Also, Henry Clay and Sam Houston stay here, while traveling through the Kanawha Salines, along the James River and Kanawha Turnpike which passed in front of Holley Grove along the river.

James Monroe Presidency.

1817 In Charleston, a modest new Kanawha County Courthouse is built and is used until 1892, when the present-day Romanesque style structure was built. One critic noted that stone buildings of this style always rest 'heavily upon the Earth.'

1817 David Ruffner uses coal to fuel salt furnaces and thus he begins the use of coal as America's primary fuel source for industrial production continuing to the present.

1818 In Kanawha Salines, the world's first known Business Trust is signed by salt makers to create King Salt's first monopoly by fixing prices and limiting salt production. Such business trusts were outlawed about a hundred years later by the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. They are now used by the international oil cartel.

1818 Salt makers use wagons to ship "red salt" to eastern Virginia. Its color came from iron deposits in the salt brine and it distinguished the Kanawha Salines' high quality salt from others.

1818 The Christmas carol, "Silent Night," is written by Grueber.

1819 Cincinnati is chartered as a city.

1819 Washington Irving writes his uniquely American stories, "Rip Van Winkle" and "Sleepy Hollow."

1820 In Kanawha Salines, the first public school is established by this date. Also, the first steam boat comes to the Kanawha Salines.

1820 The Missouri Compromise allows the horror of slavery in Missouri but limits it above that new state in the remainder of the Louisiana Territory. Political battle lines for the Civil War are drawn by this compromise. This ends the Era of Good Feeling.

1821 Charleston's population reaches 300.

1821 In Boston, America's first public high school is established.

1821 The Santa Fe Trail begins a great migration of Americans southwest into the Territory of Mexico.

1824 Red Salt is sent by regular schedule on boats to the Ohio River, to supply much of the salt used all along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

John Quincy Adams Presidency.

1825 John Quincy Adams is very unpopular in the west where Andrew Jackson is the popular hero of the Battle of New Orleans.

1825 In England, the world's first railway opens and in New York, the Erie Canal opens. The Erie Canal created an inexpensive and reliable transportation system between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes. With the Erie Canal's completion, New York City becomes a commercial giant, surpassing Philadelphia and Boston. Kanawha Salines salt competition suffers with new competition from salt from New York and Ohio. The Erie Canal effectively ends Malden's monopoly on salt markets in the American west.

1825 The first steam locomotive is operated in the United States. Within 50 years the Great Railroad Era begins and transforms American transportation and all aspects of American life.

1826 The Last of the Mohicans is written by James Fenimore Cooper.

1826 Webster's Dictionary is published and becomes the standard for American English.

1827 In Kanawha Salines, the first steam engine is used to drill and pump salt wells owned by Lewis Ruffner and Frederick Brooks. (Kanawha Images, p. 35)

Andrew Jackson Presidency.

1829 The Eastern Seaboard States lose political control of America upon the election of Andrew Jackson as President.

1830 Kanawha Salines Presbyterian Church is established by Henry Ruffner, son of David Ruffner, the area's most predominant salt making industrialist.

1830 In western Virginia, there are some 20,000 African-Americans who work in the salt, coal and iron industries as slave laborers. Many are "leased" to the Kanawha Salines salt makers from old Virginia as part of the continuing horror or slavery.

1830 In South Carolina, passenger railway service begins in America.

1831 In Malden, the Ruffners layout a town subdivision they called "Saltborough" with streets and alleys on a New England pattern. The riverfront was dedicated to the common recreational use of the residents of Saltborough. The town is located west of the Dickinson property and east of the Ruffner salt works at the mouth of Campbell's Creek, where today's Port Amherst is located. The source of the name "Malden" is unknown. There are waterfront cities with that name in England and near Boston. (Call Larry with information on this. The whole world wants to know the source of our name!)

1831 In Britain, Michael Faraday produces electricity with magnetism.

1832 By this date, John Q. Dickinson and his brother-in-law Joel Shrewsbury start the Kanawha Salines' most successful salt partnership. They are major competitors of the Ruffners, and their families" competition will continue into the 20th Century.

1832 President Andrew Jackson visits D. Ruffner at Holly Grove, the Charleston mansion next to today's Governor Mansion on Kanawha Boulevard. (Kanawha Images, p. 43) Its exterior was greatly modified by a subsequent owner, to add the large portico on the front.

1833 Chicago has 350 inhabitants.

1833 In today's St. Albans, a fine antebellum house named "Ravenswood" is built by Francis Thompson.

1834 Augustus Ruffner, son of David Ruffner, builds a quaint frame home named "Cedar Grove" at today's 1506 Kanawha Boulevard. (Kanawha Images, pp. 42-43) Like his father's home "Holly Grove," it was on the St. James and Kanawha Turnpike toll route as it passed through Charleston along the riverbank.

1834 The Virginia Reaper is patented by Cyrus McCormick and helps open up large scale wheat production in the Midwest.

1834 In Charleston, James Craik builds the most beautiful home in the Kanawha Salines which was named "Elm Grove," and now is known as the "Craik-Patton House." He is a grandson of George Washington's famous physician, who used leeches to bleed him before his death. James Craik married a Shrewsbury heir and was the first priest of today's St. John's Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston. In 1971 the National Society of Colonial Dames in America in West Virginia moved this antebellum home to its present site west of Malden. The other famous resident of his home was Attorney George Patton, a Civil War hero whose grandson was a general in World War II.

Craik-Patton House, circa 1834 (repaired in 2000)



1835 New England writers begin the American Transcendentalism Period with Ralph Waldo Emerson and others.


1835 The James River and Kanawha Turnpike are completed to create a water and overland route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ohio River. A toll road, it was passed along the river bed in Malden, many years before an 1898 lock system raised the level of water in the Kanawha River. This route was made obsolete by the C & O Railroad which was completed near Hawks Nest in 1873. It passed on the south side of the Kanawha River. Twentieth Century automobile traffic followed the James River and Kanawha Turnpike along what is now known as the "Midland Trail."

1835 Dr. John P. Hale, a physician and entrepreneur, sets up a large new furnace, burning 1,200 bushels of coal per day, at Snow Hill Drive, east of Charleston, so named for the white mountain of salt produced there.

1835 Near Harper's Ferry, the first railroad tracks are laid in western Virginia.

1836 In the Ruffner's new subdivision "Saltborough," Richard Putney builds his fine brick home for his bride Ann Ruffner, daughter of David Ruffner. Dr. Putney practices medicine for over 50 years there. Now their home is preserved magnificently by James Coleman and James Jeter, as their law office. Dr. Putney helped found the land company which laid out "Saltborough."

1836 Texas becomes a nation independent of Mexico.

Martin Van Buren Presidency.

1837 In Illinois, John Deere invents the first steel plow, making mass commercial agriculture production possible in the Midwest.

1839 Photography is invented.

1839 At Coopers Town, New York, Abner Doubleday begins baseball which would become America's favorite sport.

1839 The Dickinson and Shrewsbury partnership buys Burning Springs, and the Ruffners' Kanawha Salines Presbyterian Church builds its present-day building.

1839 At Kanawha Falls, the Stockton Inn is opened by Colonel Aaron Stockton, a slave holder and coal entrepreneur. In 1829, he ran for a Kanawha County seat in the Virginia assembly, on a platform to create a better east-west highway.

1840 The telegraph is patented by Samuel Morris. "What hath God wrought" is his first message over the wire.

William Henry Harrison and John Tyler Presidencies.

1841 William Henry Harrison becomes ill at his Inauguration and dies. John Tyler becomes the first Vice President to succeed to the Presidency.

1841 In Rhode Island, Door's Rebellion helped establish the right to vote there for factory workers and city dwellers who were not landowners.

1841 In Kanawha Salines, William Tompkins first uses natural gas for an industrial fuel to fire salt furnaces, and to light them at night for round the clock production.

1843 Edgar Allen Poe publishes the "Goldbug," the world's first detective mystery story.

1843 In England, William Wordsworth is appointed Poet Laureate of England.

1844 Outside Boston, a recluse, odd bal genius goes to Walden Pond to live in a very small house. Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden in 1854.

1844 On Kelly Creek , William Tompkins builds "Cedar Grove," a mansion for his wife Rachel who is the sister of General Ulysses S. Grant's father. Today, the town which built up around the mansion during the boom coal era has taken its name, Cedar Grove. In 1999, the Tompkins' Mansion was privately restored and is open as a bed and breakfast. (For tours, call Ms. Robinson at 304 595-1184)

James K. Polk Presidency.

1845 The War with Mexico begins. A young Congressman from Illinois named Abraham Lincoln, opposes the War as a war of expansion intended to benefit slaveholders in the South.

1845 On Charleston's west side, Littlepage Stone Mansion is constructed.

1846 King Salt's greatest boom year occurs in the Kanawha Salines. 3.2 million bushels are produced. This area is western Virginia's most industrialized and wealthy.

1846 In Massachusetts, John Greenleaf Whittier writes a collection of abolitionist poems called Voices of Freedom.

1846 From Malden to Point Pleasant on the Ohio River, telegraph wire is strung. The famine in Ireland creates America's first mass migration. 1.8 million Irish come to America, few to the Kanawha Salines.

1846 In Congress, "The Wilmont Proviso" is offered to abolish slavery in any new territory received from Mexico. It was not enacted. It created a bitter dispute regarding the horror of slavery.

1847 Malden's Dr. Henry Ruffner, then President of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, publishes a controversial abolitionist pamphlet. Notably, he is the first to use the name "West Virginia" for the area then known as "Western Virginia." He dies before the Civil War ends the horror of slavery.

1847 In Malden, Norton House is constructed by bookkeepers for the salt makers. It was restored in 1994 Cabin Creek Quilts. (For tours call 304 925-9499) John P. Hale leaves the practice of medicine to make his fortune in the salt industry.

1847 Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is published as America's first great long poem. It is very popular into the middle of the 20th Century.

1847 At the Great Salt Lake, Brigham Young settles.

1848 The war with Mexico adds California and western territory to United States.

1848 Leaves of Grass is first published by Walt Whitman.

1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organize a women's suffrage rally.

Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore Presidencies.

1849 Millard Fillmore becomes the first of 3 weak Presidents leading up to the Civil War.

1849 The California Gold Rush begins.

1850 Nathaniel Hawthorne publishes The Scarlet Letter, and Alfred Lord Tennyson is appointed Poet Laureate of England.

1850 Cincinnati is the pork packing center of the United States; Chicago has 30,000 inhabitants most of whom are immigrants, including Irish, Germans and Poles.

1850's 3,000 people are working in the Kanawha Salines salt industry. Malden has 3 hotels, one bank and many saloons. (Kanawha Images, p. 37)

1851 The Whale (Moby Dick) is published by Herman Melville.

1852 Uncle Tom's Cabin is published by Harriett Beecher Stowe based on her life in Cincinnati. It is used as an indictment of slavery. It is hated in the South and touted in the North.

1852 In Charleston, "Glenwood" is built by Colonel James Laidley on the present day West Side near Stonewall Jackson Middle High School. The home is restored and used for special occasions.

Franklin Pierce Presidency.

1853 In today's Cedar Grove, Virginia's Chapel is built by William Tompkins for his daughter, as she requested in lieu of the usual debutante tour of Europe after graduation. In recent years, an unmarked cemetery for African-Americans was discovered here.

1854 Walden is published by Henry David Thoreau.

1854 Commodore Perry opens Japan to trade with the United States, and The Grand Old Party is established as an abolitionist national party in Michigan. It is named the Republican Party.

1854 Charleston has 1,500 residents.

1855 The Crimean War begins between Britain and Russia.

1856 A boy named Booker is born into slavery in Hales Ford, Virginia; he never knew the day of his birth. He chose for himself the name Booker T. Washington.

1856 Colonel George S. Patton organizes the Kanawha Riflemen which later fights for the Confederacy.

James Buckhannon Presidency.

1857 The House of Seven Gables is written by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

1859 Abolitionist John Brown aided by 5 brave African-Americans and others raid Harpers Ferry's federal armory. Robert E. Lee helps quell the rebellion after a few days. John Brown is hanged for treason, and becomes a hero of abolitionists because he is given credit for creating the armed conflict known in the North as the Great War. It later is called the War between the States and now the Civil War.

1859 Drillers from the Ruffner Salt Works are hired to drill the first oil well in the United States in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

Abraham Lincoln Presidency.

1861 Civil War begins after Abraham Lincoln is elected President. Kanawha Salines is divided. Its leaders are mostly confederates. Both armies control the area at times during the War.

1861 Kanawha County votes overwhelmingly to create a new state separate from Virginia. Old sentiments against Williamsburg and later Richmond produce this vote, despite strong confederate sympathies in the Kanawha Salines.

1861 Charleston becomes the largest town in the Kanawha Valley. The Kanawha River floods at its highest known level and destroys most of the Kanawha Salines' salt works which are on the river's banks in 47 locations. In Charleston, future Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley board during the early war years, while stationed on present day Fort Hill on the heights above the south side of the Kanawha River. (Kanawha Images, pp. 99-105)

1863 On June 20 West Virginia becomes a state. On the day before, President Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation to free African-Americans in the Confederate States. The celebration of this day on June 19th has become known as "Juneteenth," the day when freedom from slavery's horror begins in America.

1864 On the Kanawha River, Dr. John P. Hale builds his first steam packet boat.

1865 Little Booker T. Washington walks to Malden with his mother and family to join his stepfather in the salt industry. He starts working in the salt industry at age 9, for piece work wages. Because he can calculate his own wages, he is known to be a very special boy.

Andrew Johnson Presidency.

1865 Vice President Andrew Johnson becomes President after President Lincoln is assassinated at Ford's Theater, months after the Civil War ends. In a turbulent time, he is impeached by the "Radical Republicans" in the House of Representatives but he is acquitted by one vote in the Senate, saving a constitutional crisis.

Ulysses S. Grant Presidency.

1869 President Grant is the nephew of Mrs. William Tompkins of the prominent salt making family at Cedar Grove.

1869 America's Transcontinental Railroad is completed. In Egypt, the English open the Suez Canal.

1869 In Kanawha Salines, postwar salt production goes to its high of 1.8 million bushels and then falls to one million bushels by 1875.

1870 In Charleston, Dr. John P. Hale finances construction of the world's first brick street on Summers Street.

1870 West Virginia's State Capitol is moved to Charleston from Wheeling, due to the influence of John P. Hale and Congressman John E. Kenna.

1870's In Malden, Rev. Lewis Rice and Malden's leading African-American families, including the Waynes, Isaacs, Johnsons and Sullivans, build the present day African Zion Baptist Church.

1871 John P. Hale becomes mayor of Charleston on the sudden death of mayor Henry C. Dickinson, a Confederate war hero of the Malden salt making family. Most notably, he was a founder of Kanawha Valley Bank, with John Q. Dickinson.

1872 John P. Hale builds Hale House as Charleston's finest hotel, at Hale Street and Kanawha Boulevard.

1872 A new West Virginia Constitution moves the State Capitol from Wheeling to Charleston. Sadly, it specifies that children are to be educated in racially segregated schools.

1873 Collis B. Huntington completes his C & O Railroad and it passes on the south side of the Kanawha River on to the Ohio River, at Guyandotte, now the City of Huntington. On January 29 the last spike is driven at Hawks Nest. Colonel Joseph L. Beury opens the New River coalfield by the first shipment of coal from Quinmont some 25 years before King Coal booms in the Upper Kanawha Valley coalfields. Colonel Beury and his family also opened the first mine in the rich Pocahontas coalfield in southern West Virginia and western Virginia. His only daughter Daisy Nichol built the mansion which is now the UMWA office building on Kanawha Boulevard.

1874 The Great Railroad Era eliminates use of the James River and Kanawha Turnpike as a regional overland transportation route. It is reborn in the 1920s as an automobile route, U.S. Route 60, then and now called "The Midland Trail." (www.wvmidlandtrail.com)

1875 Booker T. Washington is paid as an orator to encourage votes for the State Capitol to move again from Wheeling to Charleston.

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidency.

1877 Charleston is voted as the permanent State Capitol over Clarksburg and Martinsburg.

1879 Local post office address is changed to "Charleston" from "Kanawha County Courthouse."

1880's J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, E. H. Harriman, Collis P. Huntington and John Camden and other railroad magnates began competing for coal lands and production in West Virginia. (Cobin, Life, Work and Rebellion in the Coal Fields, p. 2)

James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur Presidencies.

1883 Malden is incorporated as a town but it is dissolved 2 years later after its constable is murdered.

1883 Booker T. Washington begins to build Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, as the first deep south college for African-Americans. He uses a vocational education concept, which is new to higher education at the time.

1884 On the north side of the Kanawha River, passing through Charleston, construction of the Kanawha and Michigan Railroad begins. It is finished to Gauley Bridge by 1893. This is the track area which now goes through Malden.

Grover Cleveland Presidency.

1886 John P. Hale publishes Trans Allegheny Pioneers, about his grandmother Mary Ingles who was forced to make salt for Native Americans in Kanawha Salines. She escaped and went home to today's Blacksburg, Virginia by following the Ohio and Kanawha and New Rivers. Her journey is set out in the best seller, Follow the River.

Benjamin Harrison Presidency.

1890 UMWA starts organizing in West Virginia mines.

1890-1900 The racial troubles in most coal mine areas of the United States are absent in the southern West Virginia coalfields. West Virginia's industrial race relations are the best in America. (Cobin, Life, Work and Rebellion in the Coal Fields, p. 62)

1890-1910 West Virginia is the only state south of the Mason Dixon Line to see its African-American population increase. Up to 23 percent of all coal workers are African-Americans. Here they are paid piece work wages equal to white miners' wages. This is a carryover from the salt makers' approach to industrial wages: equal pay for equal work. The history of diversity in the West Virginia coal fields is remarkable for its harmony and good will.

1890-1912 West Virginia has highest coal mine death rate in the United States. (Cobin , Life, Work and Rebellion in the Coal Fields, p. 10)

1891 West Virginia State College is established as a land grant African-American college. It is recognized as a leading national college for African-Americans.


Grover Cleveland Presidency.

1895 Frederick Douglass dies after 50 years of outstanding leadership for African-Americans.

Booker T. Washington assumes that national leadership role following his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech. It is considered one of America's great oratories, marking the end of Reconstruction and the beginning of new and difficult race relations in the early 20th Century.

1896 The Supreme Court decides Plessy v. Ferguson and supports a vestige of the horror of slavery by finding that the Federal Constitution allows states to teach their children in racially segregated schools.

William McKinley Presidency.

1898 America's first complete river lock system is constructed on the Kanawha River. Coal production in the Kanawha Valley booms with this new inexpensive and reliable transportation system.

1900s Malden becomes just another small town, lost in the Kanawha Valley's coal, oil and natural gas boom of the early 20th Century. At this time Malden is notable only for its native son, the national statesman Booker T. Washington, who gets President McKinley to visit to his Tuskegee Institute. John Q. Dickinson continues to produce salt and his family ends industrial production in 1985.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidency.

1901 Theodore Roosevelt becomes President after William McKinley is assassinated by a man who had worked in a nail factory in Charleston.

1901 Up from Slavery is published by Booker T. Washington and remains in print today, recognized as the third best nonfiction work published in the American 20th Century.

1901 Booker T. Washington is the first African-American to have dinner with a president at the White House. For Theodore Roosevelt, it creates a political fire storm in the South. Many Southerners object to the symbolism that whites and blacks should eat and socialize together. It establishes Booker T. Washington as the leader of people of color, after the death of Frederick Douglass in 1895.

1902 Campbells Creek Railroad line is constructed to export coal.

1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright fly the first successful airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1903 Colonel Joseph L. Beury, the first and last great coal baron, dies at home in his own coal town of Beury, near Thurmond in the New River coalfields of Fayette County. He was the first to ship coal on the C & O Railroad and his death marked the end of the early paternalistic coal baron era in West Virginia, where men who mined coal became rich "coal barons" and continued to live near the miners who worked in their coal operations. Cleveland and New York entrepreneurs now take control over West Virginia's coal fields and operate them as colonial possessions. A monument to Colonel Beury stands at Quinmont where he shipped the first coal on the C & O Railroad in 1873.

1906 In Harper's Ferry, at Storer College, W.E.B. DuBois and other leading African-Americans hold the second conference of the Niagara Movement, leading to establishment of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

1907 In Marion County, the Monongah mine explosion kills 362 miners. Yes, 362 miners in one explosion.

William Howard Taft Presidency.

1909 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is formed as a counterforce to Booker T. Washington's national influence.

1911 John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil trust is "busted."

1912 Huntington's Carter G. Woodson graduates from Harvard University and later becomes dean of West Virginia State College. His black history journals are standard works of black history and he created the first Black History Week.

1912-1913 A major coal strike in Paint Creek and Cabin Creek results in 15 dead miners. The new fledgling American Air Force drops bombs on Paint Creek. Mine guards take a train at night through the coal miners' tent city and machine gun the tents. Mary "Mother" Jones is an elderly union organizer and she is imprisoned in a boardinghouse in Pratt by a rump martial law court. By passing notes to the press through a secret under staircase trap door (now saved and displayed at Cabin Creek Quilts 304 925-9499), Mother Jones creates an international issue over miner's rights and she causes a United States Senate Committee to convent in Charleston and investigate abuses before and during the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek Mine War.

Woodrow Wilson Presidency.

1913 Woodrow Wilson becomes President after former President Theodore Roosevelt runs with the Bull Moose Party against Republican William Howard Taft.

1913 Five West Virginia Legislators are arrested for taking bribes from coal operators. (Cobin, Life, Work and Rebellion in the Coal Fields, p. 13)

1914 Panama Canal opens. Current Malden resident, Julia Beury's grandfather, Everett C. Smith worked on the Panama Canal as an engineer.

1914-1918 Nine million people die in World War I.

1915 Booker T. Washington dies and he is eulogized by W.E.B. DuBois as the greatest man of any race to come out of the South between the Civil War and World War I.

1917 DuPont builds a nitroglycerine plant in the new Kanawha Valley town called appropriately "Nitro."

1917 America joins in World War I, and West Virginia's coal miners delay strikes in order to support the national war effort.

1918 A worldwide flu epidemic kills 20 million people.

1920 The Republican controlled Senate rejects Woodrow Wilson's pleas for the United States to become a member of the League of Nations.

1920 United States women win the right to vote, some 50 years after African-American men are granted the right to vote.

Warren G. Harding Presidency.

1921 In Logan County, at the Battle of Blair Mountain, West Virginia's deadliest coal mine war is fought. President Harding sends in 2,100 federal troops. After a 4 day battle, union miners are defeated. A great decline of union membership results in the southern West Virginia coalfields.

1921 Edwin M. Keatley of Kanawha County is elected Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates and the old Victorian State Capitol burns at Capitol and Lee Streets. Later, a new domed Capitol is planned by renowned architect Cass Gilbert, on the model of a beautiful building in Paris with an elevated dome. Les Invalides is where Napoleon's tomb is located. Cass Gilbert borrowed heavily on the design of Les Invalides for the West Virginia Capitol. He wanted a high dome and a grand style, both provided by Les Invalides. He borrowed the dome-in-a-dome structure of its dome in Paris, its ornamentation and floor design, creating an American masterpiece which works as well today as it did when designed in the 1920s.

1921-1924 Chemical industry booms in the Kanawha Valley. In this period, many Charleston storefronts are given new facades showing popular Art Deco designs.

1922 In Malden, a fire in the center of its old commercial district destroys 10 homes and 3 commercial buildings.

Calvin Coolidge Presidency.

1924 Calvin Coolidge becomes President on the sudden death of Warren G. Harding, whose Presidential term is considered the worst in history due to scandals involving his cabinet officers.

1928 Antibiotic penicillin is discovered.

Herbert Hoover Presidency.

1929 The New York Stock Market crashes on October 29. (This was a real crash.)

1932 DuPont builds the Belle Plant to supply all nylon used in the Western Hemisphere from 1939-1947, including parachute materials used to save democracy in World War II.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidency.

1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt transforms American Government and political life during the longest term of a single President. The Depression ends with World War II, just after his death. He is the only President who was unable to walk, a fact not disclosed in the American or world press.

1941 Japan bombs Pearl Harbor.

Harry S. Truman Presidency.

1945 United States drops the atomic bomb on 2 cities to cause Japan to surrender without an American land war in Japan. The Nazi mass murders of Jews, and other minority groups including Gypsies, Gays and Disabled persons are exposed to the world and later they are named "The Holocaust."

1948 Israel achieves statehood in aftermath of the Holocaust.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson Presidencies

1953 - 1970 Malden is a sleepy residential village in need of restoration.

1954 Brown v. Board of Education is decided by the United States Supreme Court to end segregation in public schools in the United States.

1955 Alabama bus boycott begins.

Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Regan, George Bush and Bill Clinton Presidencies.

1964 The Civil Rights Act bans segregation and prohibits employment discrimination.

1969 Men walk on the moon, the first time.

1970 In 1970, James Thibeault moved to Eskdale on Cabin Creek as a Vista worker from Massachusetts. He started Cabin Creek Quilts Cooperative that same year. It is America's only surviving quilt cooperative in the 21st Century.

1970's Malden's historic preservation begins with the visionary effort of James Thibeault. He first works to turn the ramshackle site of the home of Booker T. Washington's sister Amanda Johnson, into a community park. It is now known as The Women's Park, across from Cabin Creek Quilts' retail home (304 925-9499).

1980 Malden becomes a National Historic District, due to the work of James Thibeault, Martha Cole, Llewellyn Cole and Minnie Wayne Cooper.

1980 Malden resident and a graduate of the last class of Malden High School, Martha Cole is selected State Teacher of the Year in West Virginia. She is a local historian and descendent of the Shrewsbury salt making family.


Site of Dickinson Salt Works



1985 In Malden, the John Q. Dickinson family's bromide plant is closed, and with it ends forever Malden's great industrial era of salt making.

1991 West Virginia Poet Laureate Louise McNeil Pease publishes Hill Daughter while living in Malden at Good Living Retirement Homes (Call Karen Glazier 925-1608)

1991 James Thibeault and Cabin Creek Quilts Cooperative restore John P. Hale's home in Malden with grant funds from the Benedum Foundation and others. The Cooperative moves its retail office to this site from a storefront in Chelyan.

1994 In Malden, Norton House is renovated by Cabin Creek Quilts Cooperative and its Director James Thibeault, with federal and state highway grant funds.

1998 In Malden, James Thibeault and Cabin Creek Quilts Cooperative build Booker's Cabin and the Salt Village behind the African Zion Baptist Church, with federal and state highway funds. His early preservation of Old Malden and its industrial legacy has earned him the title of "Father of Historic Preservation and Tourism Development in West Virginia." He continues his work at Cabin Creek Quilts as the 21st Century begins.

Thus, King Salt extends its industrial legacy past King Coal, and King Chemical to West Virginia's next great industry "King Industrial Tourism."

1999 Ferry bell prototype is erected in Old Malden near old commercial dock area, at the corner of Fallam Drive and Wayne Drive.

2000 A salt derrick sculpture 20 feet high is erected in the center of Old Malden to remind all of the days when Salt became King, after brine was pumped out of the ground in 1808 and turned into America's first salt monopoly. (Rock Salt was mined in Europe, but never in Malden.)


Hard Work + Balanced Judgment = Good Government


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