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Logan County WV
Biographies

Avis Family
The first member of this family to settle in America was AVIS George Avis, who was born about 1817 in England, and immigrated to this country when a youth of eighteen years. He immediately settled in Logan county, West Virginia, where he engaged in farming for several years. He later removed to the city of Logan, where he made his home until his death in April, 1860. After locating in Logan he worked for several years at the carpenter's trade. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Philip Ellis. She was born in Logan, died in 1860 in that city. Four daughters and three sons were born to this marriage. The surviving children are: Hugh Caperton, mentioned below; Ann, married J. E. Robinson; Thomas, resides in Logan; Elizabeth, married A. J. Perry, resides in Logan; Nerva, married Scott De Jernett, resides in Logan.
(II) Hugh 'Caperton, son of George and Elizabeth (Ellis) Avis, was born in Logan, now West Virginia. He attended the common schools of his native county, and at the age of nineteen years enlisted in Company D, Thirty-sixth Virginia Infantry, Confederate States army. His regiment was commanded by the gallant Colonel John McCouslin, and his company by Captain Lawson. He took part in the battles of Winchester, Cedar Creek, Harpers Ferry, Manassas Junction, and in several minor engagements. He was taken prisoner at Waynesburg. March 2, 1865, and was confined in Fort Delaware until June 22, 1865. When he was discharged he returned to his native state and soon began a mercantile business in Mann, West Virginia, which he continued until 1907, when he returned to the home of his boyhood. He purchased the old family place in Logan, where his father lived until his death. The first locust trees surrounding his house he planted when a boy. Here amid the scenes of his early days Mr. Avis is enjoying a well earned retirement from active business. He has met with marked success in his business ventures and has acquired a large property. He is a large stockholder and director in the Guyan Valley Bank. He is heavily interested in several hundred acres of valuable timber and undeveloped coal lands, and he also has extensive real estate holdings in Logan. In politics he is a Democrat, but has never aspired to office. He is a member of the Methodist church.
He married (first) Jane Dingiss. Four children were born to them: Ella A., married J. P. Burgess and now resides in Mann, West Virginia; John C., married Lillian Lawson, and is now a farmer in Ralph, West Virginia; Mary F., married William H. Johnston, who is at present engaged in farming in Cabell county, West Virginia; James, married and now resides in Ralph. Mr. Avis married (second) Amanda, daughter of John Buchannan, a retired farmer in Mingo county, West Virginia.
[Source: West Virginia and Its People, Volume 3 By Thomas Condit Miller and Hu Maxwell - Transcribed by AFOFG]



Lorenzo D. Chambers
L. D. CHAMBERS was born in Logan county, when it , was part of the Old Dominion, December 23,1827, where he has spent his entire life. His boyhood was spent on the farm with his father, enjoying his leisure time in hunting and fishing. He is still a farmer, but also engaged in the lumber business. He was Captain in the late Confederate army, serving throughout the war. He was Justice of the Peace in Logan county in 1876, and by that court made President to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Col. Morgan in 1877. The people elected him President of the County Court in 1880, but the amendment to the State Constitution abolished that office. In 1881 the Judge of the Circuit Court appointed him Commissioner of School Lands. In 1881 he was elected by the Democrats a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates.
[Prominent Men of West Virginia: Biographical Sketches, the Growth and Advancement of the State, a Compendium of Returns of Every State Officer by George Wesley Atkinson and Alvaro Franklin Gibbens, 1890 - Transcribed by AFOFG]


Farley Family
Of the many families prominent in the annals of Virginia and West Virginia is the one herein recorded. The family was long resident in Giles county, Virginia, and from there removed to Logan county, West Virginia. Their descendants have taken a prominent part in the civil, business and social affairs of the state. Dreury Farley, of Giles county, was one of the pioneer settlers in West Virginia. He was a soldier in the revolutionary war. His descendants are now residing in various sections of the state.
(I) William Farley, a descendant of the Farley family of Virginia, was born in that state and at an early date removed to Logan county, West Virginia, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits for many years. He was interested in various business enterprises, being one of the first in the state to manufacture salt. He died in Logan county in early manhood. He married Nancy Allen, of Boone county, West Virginia.
(II) Thomas Benton, son of William and Nancy (Allen) Farley, was born in Logan county, Virginia, in 1837. He engaged in farming for many years and was one of the most prominent citizens of the county. At the breaking out of the civil war he enlisted in the Second Regiment West Virginia Infantry, under Colonel McCouslin, and he was soon promoted first sergeant of his company. He took part in many battles and was slightly wounded. He was taken prisoner toward the close of the war and was confined at Point Lookout. He was a Democrat in politics and held several offices. He was assessor of Mingo county, West Virginia, for eight years, and a justice of the peace for the same length of time. He married Nancy, daughter of Allen Pinson, a prominent citizen of Pike county, Kentucky. Mrs. Farley now resides in Mingo county, West Virginia. Fifteen children were born of this marriage, among whom was Hiram Pinson.
(III) Dr. Hiram Pinson Farley, son of Thomas Benton and Nancy (Pinson) Farley, was born in Logan, Logan county, West Virginia, October 15, 1878. He prepared for college in the schools of his native county and was for two years, 1897-98, a student at Marshall College. During 1900-01 he was a student in the medical department of the University of Nashville, Tennessee. In 1902 he entered the Hospital College of Medicine at Louisville, Kentucky, and graduated with high standing in 1904. He began the practice of his profession in Man, West Virginia, where he remained two years. In 1906 he located in Holden, West Virginia, where he continued his practice for one and one-half years. He then removed to Logan, where he has since practiced his profession. He has gained a high standing in his profession and is considered one of the ablest physicians in the county. He has a large practice in the coal regions of the county. He was one of the organizers and is one third owner of the Logan Hospital Association with Drs. Steele and Lawson. Dr. Farley paid his way through school and college by teaching and by engaging in various lines of work. He is a prominent member of the Logan County Medical Association and the West Virginia Medical Society. In politics he is a Democrat. He is a member of the Masonic order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
He married, July 26, 1902, Myrtle May, daughter of James Pritchard. They have two children: Erman, born in Logan, May 6, 1903; Violet, July 21, 1906. Mrs. Farley was born in Logan county, West Virginia, June 30, 1885. Her father was a prominent merchant in Wayne, where he died in 1910.
[Source: West Virginia and Its People, Volume 3 By Thomas Condit Miller and Hu Maxwell - Transcribed by AFOFG]


Judge James H. Ferguson
The subject of this brief memoir was born in Montgomery County, Virginia, April 14, 1817; was entirely self-educated, and was self-made. He possessed a massive intellect, and was almost a giant in stature. By application and industry he became one of the great lawyers, jurists and legislators, the State of Virginia ever produced. He showed greatness in everything he undertook. He was learned in the law and towered above most men in knowledge as well as in physical stature. He left his impress upon the times in which he lived, and was recognized by the people who knew him personally as a man who possessed the elements of true greatness. He was regarded, not only as an erudite lawyer; but as a law-maker, in which, he had but few equals, and probably no superiors. He was admitted to the Bar in 1840, and settled in Logan County, now West Virginia, and in a very short period of time, became the leading lawyer of that entire section. In politics he was a Whig. He was elected Prosecuting Attorney of Logan County, which office he held and ably filled until 1848, when he was elected to the Virginia Legislature from the counties of Logan and Boone, and was re-elected to the same office each year until 1851. In 1850, he was elected a member of the Constitutional Convention of Virginia of 1850 and 51, while he was a member of the Legislature of the State, and was one of the leaders of both bodies. He was formidable in all of the debates on all of the important questions that arose. He opposed everything that pointed toward dissolution of the Union, and opposed the pernicious doctrine of secession from the commencement to the close of the Civil War.
In 1864, he became a citizen of Cabell County, and in the Fall of that year he was elected a member of the Legislature of the new State of West Virginia, and was re-elected to the same position every year to and including 1871. In all of these bodies he was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and was the controlling factor in practically all of the legislation that was enacted at those several sessions. In 1868 he was chairman of the Joint Commission on the revision of the West Virginia Code. He did most of the work, and by direction of the Legislature prepared and indexed the Code of 1868 for publication. During the autumn of that year, he was elected Judge of the Circuit Court of Cabell, Boone, Logan, Wayne and Lincoln Counties; and after about two years of pronouncedly able service on the Bench, he resigned, opened a law office in Charleston, and became chief counsel for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, where he remained until his death. He was elected to the Legislature from Kanawha County in 1876. He was able in all branches of the law, but was perhaps strongest in land litigation. There were but few equals to him in all branches of the law pertaining to the adjustment of controverted land titles. Ho was also a specialist in corporation controversies. As a matter of fact, he was an all-around lawyer: and as a law maker, he had no superior in West Virginia.
He was twice married, and was a devout member of the Baptist Church. He died at his residence in Charleston at the advanced age of 86 years.
At the close of the Civil War, Judge Ferguson identified himself with the Democratic Party, but never was a pronounced partisan.
[Bench and bar of West Virginia edited by George Wesley Atkinson, 1919 Transcribed by AFOFG]


James H. Ferguson
James H. Ferguson was born April 14, 1817, in Montgomery county, Virginia. In 1835 he removed to Barboursville, Cabell county, where he studied law and was admitted to the Bar in 1840. In 1845 he removed to the county of Logan, and was elected Prosecuting Attorney of that county, which office he filled until the year 1848, when he was elected a member of the House of Delegates of Virginia from the counties of Logan and Boone. He was re-elected to the same office in each year until 1851, when a new Constitution of the State was adopted. In 1850, while a member of the House of Delegates, he was elected a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1850-'51, from the District composed of the counties of Mason, Putnam, Cabell, Wayne, Boone, Wyoming and Logan, and was consequently a member of both bodies at the same time. On his first appearance in the Legislature, he was made a member of the Judiciary Committeethe most important committee of the bodyand at each session thereafter, until the close of his service, he was chairman of that committee. During his service as a member of that Legislature, the country was in a state of great excitement over the question of slavery, and especially over the celebrated "Willmot Proviso," which had been offered to a bill in the Congress of the United States to prohibit slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico by a treaty of peace with that country. A protracted discussion was had in the Legislature over this proviso, in which he participated, taking the Southern view of the question. But his remedy for all such legislation by Congress was nullification, and not secession. He always opposed a dissolution of the Union, and long before the commencement of the late civil war, he gave up the doctrine of nullification, rightfully concluding that a State could not be practically both in and out of the Union at the same time. He supported the great compromise of 1850, of the slavery question in its relation to the territories of the United States, brought forward by Mr. Clay, of Kentucky, and adopted by Congress. Entertaining these views, he regarded it as his duty to support the Government in all its measures to defend, protect and perpetuate the Union of the States, against the misguided efforts of those who sought to destroy it, and he did so from the commencement to the end of the war.
In 1864 he settled again in the county of Cabell, and in the fall of that year was elected to the House of Delegates of West Virginia and served, by re-elections, through the sessions of 1867, 1868, (and extra session), and 1871. At all these sessions, except that of 1865, he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and at the sessions of 1868 he was chairman of the Joint Committee on the revision of the code of West Virginia, made by the revisora, which committee was charged with the duty of amending that revision and reporting it to the Legislature for action; and by appointment of the Legislature he prepared and indexed that Code (the Code of 1868) for publication. At the session of 1865 he introduced a bill abolishing slavery in West Virginia, and succeeded, after much opposition in securing its passage, after much opposition, in advance of the adoption, by any other State, of the amendment to the Constitution of the United States for that purpose.
In 1868 he was elected Judge of the Circuit Court for the Judicial district composed of the counties of Logan, Boone, Lincoln, Wayne and Cabell, for the term of six years, but resigned after a service of one year and seven months, and returned to his practice at the Bar, in which he is now actively engaged, principally as attorney for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company in West Virginia.
In 1875 he removed to the county of Kanawha, where he now resides. In 1876, he was, together with E. W. Wilson, now Governor of the State, and William A. Quarrier, elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates from Kanawha county; and in 1880 he was again elected, together with the same gentlemen, to the same office. At the time of their first election, the permanent location of the seat of Government for the State was the main question in which the county of Kanawha was interested, and they were elected with special reference to that matter. At the request of his distinguished colleagues, he took charge of the contest in reference to that question on behalf of the city of Charleston, prepared all the bills offered on the subject, including that which finally passed the Legislature, and which resulted in making Charleston the permanent seat of Government of the State.
Judge Ferguson's wife was formerly Miss Lizzie A. Creel, daughter of George A. and Prudence S. (nee Spencer) Cook, of Wood county, Virginia. Their home, appropriately called "Grand View," is situated on the crest of the hill south of the Kanawha river which flows at its base, and seems almost to hover over the city of Charleston beneath. From it, the eye looks out upon the magnificent panorama of hills and vales extending away for miles in the distance, as well as upon the limpid stream which pursues its sinuous way along the beautiful valley of the Kanawha. Their property includes the historic "Hale's Branch," where, a century ago, young Hale, on a trip to that spring for it pail of water for the use of his affianced wife, lying sick in the fort on the opposite side of the river, in compliance with a wish expressed by her, was shot and killed by an Indian, from the hill beyond. And now, although a hundred years have flown since the life-blood of this heroic youth crimsoned its waters, the spring, the scene of the tragedy, still flows gently on, reminding us of those beautiful lines:
Judge Ferguson, by common consent, is regarded the ablest legislator ever born in Virginia west of the Blue Ridge. His handiwork is seen in almost every line of the legislation of our State. He is also eminent as a lawyer. But few men in both Virginias can be justly ranked as his equal in that learned profession. Although above the allotted "three-score years and ten," he is in good health, and is actively engaged in the practice of his profession.
"Men may come, and men may go, But I flow on forever."
[Prominent Men of West Virginia: Biographical Sketches, the Growth and Advancement of the State, a Compendium of Returns of Every State Officer by George Wesley Atkinson and Alvaro Franklin Gibbens, 1890 - Transcribed by AFOFG]


John B. Floyd
The Floyd family of Virginia, has always been among its most eminent and honored men and statesmen. The father of the subject of this sketch and portrait, Col. George R. C. Floyd, is a brother of Gen. John B. Floydthan whom the "mother of statesmen" produced few greater. The present John B. Floyd was born in Logan county, Virginia, November 18, 1855, and has continuously resided there. His education began in the common schools his country home afforded before the war. He spent the years 1876-7 at Rock Hill College, in Maryland, and then went to the University of Virginia and took a course of history and literature, also studying international and constitutional law at the same term. Subsequent to this, at the same institution, he had taken two summer law courses under Prof.-Minor.
As a boy he worked on the farm; afterwards was engaged in the lumber business. He took out license to practice law soon after his return from the University, and has continued in the profession except when serving his people as a legislator. In 1881 Logan county sent him to the House of Delegates and two years afterward to the State Senate. He has been prominently urged by friends for Governor and for Congress.
[Prominent Men of West Virginia: Biographical Sketches, the Growth and Advancement of the State, a Compendium of Returns of Every State Officer by George Wesley Atkinson and Alvaro Franklin Gibbens, 1890 - Transcribed by AFOFG]


James Hereford McGinnis
Hon. J. H. McGinnis, contestant for a seat in the Fiftyfirst Congress, was born in Logan county, Virginia, on Pigeon, one of the tributaries of the historic Sandy river, July 30, 1830. He is, as the name indicates, and his twinkling eye and ready wit discover, of Irish ancestry. He was educated in the ordinary schools of the locality; taught school at the age of 17 years; studied law under Judge H. L. Gillespie, and was admitted to the Bar of Raleigh county in 1858. He was elected Prosecuting Attorney of that county shortly after his admission, serving in such capacity for three different terms. From 1867 to 1869 he was law partner with Lieutenant Governor Samuel Price.
He married Mary, daughter of Colonel William Williams, of Pike county, Kentucky.
He ran for Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in 1880, but was defeated. In 1888 he was nominated for Congress from the Third District, upon the Republican ticket, and so reduced the hitherto Democratic majority as to claim the election on the face of the returns, receiving 19,097 votes, against 19,070 votes for John D. Alderson, Democrat, who was awarded the certificate by Governor Wilson on the ground that the vote of Kanawha county, which gave a majority for Mr. McGinnis of 1,304 votes, was hung up under judicial writs and could not be counted for him.
He is genial, social in his nature, and has a vein of humor interwoven with all he says or does. His residence is at Raleigh Court House.
[Prominent Men of West Virginia: Biographical Sketches, the Growth and Advancement of the State, a Compendium of Returns of Every State Officer by George Wesley Atkinson and Alvaro Franklin Gibbens, 1890 - Transcribed by AFOFG]


James A. Nighbert
Major James A. Nighbert, was born in Montgomery county, Virginia, in 1832, and removed to Logan county in 1844, and attended school in Kanawha county at Taylors Academy. In 1856 he engaged in the mercantile business at Logan, C. H. Upon the breaking out of the war, he entered the Confederate service, and was promoted to major of the regiment. He represented his county in the House of Delegates of Virginia in 1863 and 1864. After the close of the war he returned to Logan county and resumed his mercantile business, to which he also added the lumber business, in both of which he has been quite successful. Before the war Maj. Nighbert was a Whig in politics, but since that time has been an uncompromising Democrat, and the fact that Logan county is the banner county of Democracy of the State, is largely due to his work and his influence. In 1874 the Democratic convention of the Seventh Senatorial district gave him a unanimous nomination for State Senator, which his business employments forced him to decline, although a nomination was equivalent to an election. He has never been an aspirant for political honors, and his selection as a delegate to St. Louis, was a voluntary tribute of the unterrified Democracy of the old third, to worth and ability. He stands by President Cleveland, and endorses the Mills bill. He is at present President of the County Court of Logan county, which position he has held since 1880.
[Source: Wheeling Register (Wheeling WV) Saturday June 21, 1888; Transcribed by: Richard Ramos.]




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