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5 Fun Facts About May 22 In West Virginia History

---Learn Every Day: WV Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history wv To: 618-270-4005---

1. Birth of Mary Lou Retton: Mary Lou Retton, the Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics, was born on May 22, 1968, in Fairmont, West Virginia. She became the first female gymnast outside Eastern Europe to win the all-around gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1984.

2. John Wilburn murder trial: On May 22, 1928, a jury found John Wilburn guilty of the murder of his wife Bessie and their five children in their cabin in Webster County, West Virginia. The case became known as the Wilburn family murders and was one of the most gruesome crimes in the state's history.

3. The first gold discovery in the USA: The first recorded discovery of gold in what is now the United States occurred on May 22, 1730, in what is now the state of West Virginia. A small quantity of gold was found in the area around the present-day town of Greenbrier.

4. West Virginia Official State Fossil: On May 22, 1990, the state legislature designated the Megalonyx jeffersonii (Jefferson's ground sloth) as the official state fossil of West Virginia. The fossils of this extinct sloth species have been found in the state.

5. Ostenaco's visit to Williamsburg: On May 22, 1757, Ostenaco, a Cherokee chief, and three other Native Americans began a journey from their home in the Cherokee Nation to Williamsburg, Virginia, to seek help from the British against the French during the French and Indian War. Their visit was significant in the history of Native American relations with the British Empire.
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