Most of this site concerns physical things - buildings, boats, statues, etc. This page is an index of important and minor events in Wheeling's history. Some of these entries are links to pages illustrating the events so click any blue underlined words to find out more. Please add entries!
1749: Celeron de Bienville visit, lead plate buried near Wheeling Creek claiming land for France
1752, March 7: Christopher Gist camped at Wheeling Creek, while exploring Ohio River
1769: Zanesburg - first white settlement at Wheeling location
1770, Oct 23: George Washington passes Wheeling location on Ohio River
1774, Jun: Fort Fincastle (later Fort Henry) built by Major William Crawford; demolished in 1784
1777, Sept 1-3: First Battle of Ft. Henry and McColloch's leap
1781: Jonathan Link and two companions killed by Indians
1782: New York cedes large territory (Michigan thru Kentucky, including WV northern panhandle) to the federal government.
1782, Sept 11-13: Second Battle of Ft Henry; Betty Zane's run. Overview, History
1788: Fort Randolph at Wheeling Creek mouth built by this date - its wood probably used to build steamship Washington in 1815
1794, Jun 7: First post office established at Wheeling with mail brought from Pittsburgh by Post Riders and transferred to boats for downstream deliveries.
1795, Dec 25: Virginia General Assembly established Wheeling as a town
1796: French military officer Victor Collot mapped Wheeling as part of his study (spying?) of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
1802: Schooner Dorcas and Sally built
1803, Sept 7 -9: Meriwether Lewis provisioned at Wheeling including buying two red pirogues (large canoes)
1806, Jan 16: Wheeling incorporated
1812-3: Wooden bridge across Wheeling Creek near mouth
1815: Two keelboat building yards opened by James Pemberton and Adkins.
1816, May 12: Washington, the first steamboat built in Wheeling launched
1819: Ohio River virtually dries up
1832: A.M. Phillips steam engine business opens
1834, Aug 16: City water works founded
1834, Oct 14: Four people charged with illegally teaching African-Americans to read
1840: Marsh Stogie Company founded
1848, Apr 3: Wheeling Atheneum founded to promote science and literature, built 1854, used as a prison during Civil War; burned down 1868.
1849: Construction of Wheeling Suspension Bridge
1852: Great flood that covered Wheeling Island
1852, Aug 24: Wheeling Intelligencer newspaper founded
1852, Dec 24: Last spike driven to complete B&O track at Roseby's Rock, 18 miles east of Wheeling
1853, Jan 1: first B&O train from Atlantic Ocean reaches Wheeling
1853, Feb 1: US Supreme Court orders that Wheeling Bridge be modified to not interfere with Ohio River boat traffic (but Congress reverses this ruling).
1853: Anti-Catholic mob threatened Bishop Whelan and visiting archbishop; armed Irish men surrounded the Cathedral and prevented violence. Pyne, 2000
1861: Wheeling Convention, votes to break from the state of Virginia
1863: Streetcar service started in Wheeling
1863, June 20: West Virginia becomes the 35th state with Wheeling as its capital
1865, Mar 2: Free schools authorized by governor for Wheeling
1865, Sept 1: St. Joseph's Academy opened
1866: 12 oil companies founded in Wheeling
1866: Major flood in Wheeling.
1880, May 15: First telephone exchange (one of earliest in US) - Subscribers. History. 1881 directory
1884, Feb 7: Major flood destroyed 100s of houses in Wheeling
1885: Wheeling Roller Rink Association and Alhambra Palace Rink Company incorporated to build roller rinks
1888, July 19: Disastrous flood in Wheeling, about 25 people killed.
1891, Feb 19: Flood
1896, winter: Very thick river ice. Boats routinely crushed by ice in 1890s - pre-global warming!
1901, April 20: flood
1907, Sep 1: Walter Reuther born
1908, October: Lowest stage of Ohio River - 7 inches.
1913: Flood, again
1924, April 28: Benwood Mine disaster - 119 men killed in explosion. Funeral
1925, Apr 19: Wheeling tornado
1936, Mar 19: Flood House Flood
1950, Feb 9: Sen. Joseph McCarthy gave speech at McClure Hotel denouncing communists in the US government, beginning his witch hunt.
1953, Oct 24: WTRF went on the air, the first TV station in Wheeling
1954, Nov 21: Cornerstone laid for Wheeling College (later Wheeling Jesuit University)
1961, Dec 14: Wheeling first target of Federal anti-racketeering legislation
1978, Jan 20: Snowstorm - 18" in Wheeling
1999, Aug: Regional drought
Sources: Carney and Carney (2003), Bowman (2009), West Virginia Timeline. and others.
The WV Division of Culture and History maintains a timeline for all of WV, here are the Wheeling entries.