Famous West Virginians (V)

Last revision: Sept. 2, 2007


Cyrus R. Vance (1917-2002), Secretary of State from 1977 to 1980 during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, was born in Clarksburg.

Abraham Vandal (1758-1848), a soldier of the Revolutionary War born in Duchess County, New York, is considered the founder of Fayetteville. He moved to a farm there in 1812. The place was known as Vandalia until 1837, when the name Fayetteville was adopted. More information is here and here. A son, Andrew L. (1827-1906), was the sheriff and a prominent citizen of Roane County.

Mike Vanderjagt (1970- ), a placekicker for the Indianapolis Colts, was a placekicker and punter for WVU in 1991 and 1992. He is from Canada.

Doug Van Gundy was one of the original contestants on ABC TV's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? He won $250,000 and his episode was later rebroadcast and advertised as "See how a southern fiddle instructor became a modern American folk hero."

Beverly Hennen Van Hook writes the popular "Supergranny" mystery series for children and the "Liza and Dutch Randolph" series for adults. She was born in Huntington and is a graduate of Huntington High School. She now lives in Virginia.

Jerome Van Meter (1900-2003), a member of the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, coached the Woodrow Wilson High School Flying Eagles of Beckley to six state basketball championships in 1946, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, and 1957, and three state football championships in 1947, 1948, and 1951. (In 1947, the first year the state Secondary School Activities Commission crowned champions in football, Stonewall Jackson and Woodrow Wilson were declared co-champions.) He earlier coached at Point Pleasant from 1922 through 1942; the 1926 team played in the national basketball championship tournament in Chicago, losing to Kansas. More on Van Meter is available here.

Philip Vannatter (1941- ), a detective involved in the O. J. Simpson case, was born in Billy's Creek, West Virginia (which is near the birthplace of Chuck Yeager). He was the son of a coal miner who had died of black lung disease in 1951. He helped his mother run the farm until he was fourteen, when they moved to Culver City, California, to join one of his older brothers who had settled there.

Alex Van Pelt (1970- ) is a quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. He played college football for the University of Pittsburgh and was drafted in the 8th round in 1993 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also played for the Kansas City Chiefs. He is from Grafton and attended Grafton High School for two years before moving to Texas. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Capt. James F. Van Pelt, Jr. was, at age 27, the navigator aboard the B-29 which dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, the second atomic bomb used against Japan in World War II. Van Pelt was born in Oak Hill, the son of former Oak Hill physician Dr. James F. Van Pelt. Van Pelt Jr. died on Dec. 17, 1994, at age 76.

Peter Van Winkle (1808-1872), of Parkersburg, was one of seven Radical Republican Senators who voted for acquittal in the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. The vote fell one short of conviction. Earlier, as an attorney and lobbyist for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Van Winkle wanted to plan the boundaries for the new state of West Virginia so that the B and O would operate only in Maryland and West Virginia. His efforts were successful, and resulted in the existence of the eastern panhandle of the state. He was born in New York City.

R. J. Vealey was the drummer for the Atlanta Rhythm Section from 1995 until his death. He studied music at West Virginia University and performed at the 1984 Presidential Inaugural Ball. He died in November 1999 at age 37. Vealey was a native of Charleston.

Leo Vecellio Sr. (1915-1996) in 1938 established, with his father Enrico and his brother-in-law Eugene Grogan, one of the country's largest highway construction firms. The company, Vecellio and Grogan, is located in Beckley. Vecellio was born at Amherstdale in Logan County and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley in 1933.

Dr. Charles M. Vest became president of MIT in 1990. He earned a B. S. M. E. degree from WVU in 1963. He is a native of Morgantown.

David Kent "Dave" Vineyard (1941- ) pitched for the Orioles in 1964. He was born in Clay.


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