August | Virginia Museum of History & Culture
"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
William Byrd II
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The Story of Virginia
#OnThisDay, 4/8 in 2019: The University of Virginia men’s basketball team won the NCAA Tournament Championship — th…


August 1, 1770
William Clark, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark expedition, is born in Caroline County.

August 1, 1920
Henrietta Lacks (born Loretta Pleasants) was born in Roanoke, Virginia. Henrietta's cervical cancer cells are the source of the HeLa cell line, the first immortalized cell line and a source of invaluable medical data.

August 10, 1610
George Percy and seventy English settlers raid the Powhatan town of Paspahegh, where they kill approximately two dozen people, including the chief's wife and her children. This incident marks a dramatic escalation in the first Anglo-Powhatan War.

August 13, 1878
An exploration party led by Andrew Campbell discovers Luray Caverns. Largely because railways make them accessible, the caverns become a booming tourist attraction within a few years.

August 15, 1895
The U.S. Navy commissions the nation's first battleship, the USS Texas, which is constructed at the Norfolk Navy Yard. It is the first of many steel ships to be manufactured in Virginia.

August 18, 1587
Virginia Dare is born at the Roanoke colony, becoming the first English child born in North America.

August 18, 1774
Meriwether Lewis, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark expedition, is born in Albemarle County.

August 19, 1969
After slamming into the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Camille moves into Virginia and causes massive flooding. Over the next twenty-four hours between twenty-five and thirty-six inches of rain fall in parts of Nelson County, where the storm and flooding result in 121 deaths.

August 20, 1619
Approximately "20. and odd" Africans are brought to Jamestown on a Dutch ship and traded for supplies. Most historians believe that these may be the first Africans to arrive in Virginia.

August 21, 1831
Nat Turner, a slave in Southampton County, leads more than fifty other slaves in a rebellion during which more than fifty whites are killed. After being hunted and captured by a 3,000-man militia force, Turner is executed, along with many of his followers and some innocent free African Americans.

August 23, 2011
At 1:51 p.m., a 5.8 earthquake occured in Louisa County. The earthquake was one of the largest in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains and was felt across more than a dozen states.

August 24, 1865
Former Confederate general Robert E. Lee accepts an offer to become the president of Washington College in Lexington. After Lee's death, the college is renamed Washington and Lee.

August 27, 1956
A special session of the General Assembly convenes to consider the "Stanley Plan." Named for Governor Thomas B. Stanley, the bill includes provisions that allow the governor to close any school under court order to integrate and to cut off state funds for schools that might try to reopen.

August 27, 2011
Nearly 1.2 million homes and businesses lose power after Hurricane Irene makes landfall as a Category 1 hurricane in the early morning hours.

August 28-30, 1862
Confederate generals Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and James Longstreet lead forces against Union general John Pope near Manassas, Virginia. This battle, which becomes known as Second Manassas or Second Bull Run results in a decisive Confederate victory.

August 30, 1781
A twenty-four-ship, 3,500-man French naval force, led by Admiral François Joseph Paul Comte de Grasse, arrives near the Chesapeake Bay. The French ships later defeat a British fleet at the battle of Virginia Capes and then blockade Lord Cornwallis's forces at Yorktown.

August 30, 1800
Gabriel, a slave in Henrico county, plots a rebellion for this date. Delayed by poor weather, the planned insurrection is betrayed by other slaves and fails. Around twenty-six slaves are executed for their involvement in the conspiracy. Gabriel is hanged on October 10, 1800.

August 31, 1939
Before a crowd of 30,000 at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Company, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt christens the America the nations' largest passenger ship.


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