Local historian McKain recognized by WVU-P

PARKERSBURG – David McKain, local historian, author and director/curator of the Oil and Gas Museum and Henderson Hall Plantation, received an honorary degree from West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

The bachelor of arts degree was conferred on McKain during the school’s fall commencement in December.

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of such an honor as Dave,” said WVU Parkersburg professor emeritus Bernard Allen.

“His contributions to the preservation of the history of the region that the college serves are legendary and cannot be exceeded. They more than likely will not be exceeded in the future. The establishment of the Oil and Gas Museum, the authorship of significant historical literature, and his on-going work at Henderson Hall comprise some of the evidence of his positive impact,” Allen said.

McKain, with Allen, co-authored “Where it All Began,” which challenged Pennsylvania’s long-standing claim as the birthplace of the oil industry. The book chronicles the discovery of oil and gas and the development of the oil and gas industry in West Virginia and Southeastern Ohio from the mid-18th century.

The work looks at the political influence the industry leaders had on the creation of the state of West Virginia in the midst of the turmoil of the Civil War. The local historian also wrote “The Civil War and Northwestern Virginia.”

He is president and owner of Acme Fishing Tool Co. and chairman of the Civil War Roundtable, which was involved with planning for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

McKain has been credited with the addition of the museum annex and visitors’ center at the historic Rathbone Well at Burning Springs. He has spent time inventorying, documenting and verifying documents, furnishings and artwork at Henderson Hall Plantation in Williamstown.

McKain holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from WVU and did master’s degree coursework in management and economics at George Washington University.

He formerly was a civilian executive in the Office, Chief of Staff, U. S. Army, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., for 10 years before returning to his hometown of Parkersburg in 1970.

WVU Parkersburg’s Fall 2013 graduating class included 261 candidates for graduation receiving approximately 294 degrees and certificates. Commencement speaker was Mike King, Camden Clark president and chief executive officer.