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Nicholas County, WV Biographies
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ALDERSON, John Duffy
(18541910)

ALDERSON, John Duffy, a Representative from West Virginia; born at Nicholas Court House (now Summersville), W.Va., November 29, 1854; attended the common schools; sergeant at arms of the State senate 1871-1873; doorkeeper in 1872 and 1873; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1876 and commenced practice at Nicholas Court House; appointed prosecuting attorney for the counties of Nicholas and Webster in 1876; elected prosecuting attorney for these counties, reelected in 1880 and 1884, and served until January 1, 1889; clerk of the State senate 1883-1887; elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-first, Fifty-second, and Fifty-third Congresses (March 4, 1889-March 3, 1895); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1894 to the Fifty-fourth Congress; resumed the practice of law in Nicholas, W.Va.; delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1900 and 1908; died in Richwood, Nicholas County, W.Va., December 5, 1910; interment in a private burial ground at Summersville, W.Va.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present
Submitted by Anna Newell


BLIZZARD, Judge Reese
Judge Blizzard, one of West Virginia's noted attorneys and jurists, who has been a resident of the city of Parkersburg for a great many years, engaged in active and successful practice, is a native of Nicholas County, West Virginia, where he was born October 17, 1865. His parents were James and Elizabeth Blizzard of that county, who subsequently moved to Gilmer County, where the subject of this sketch attended the public schools and was later graduated from the Glenville State Normal School. After graduation he engaged in teaching in the public schools of Gilmer and Calhoun counties in which he was quite successful. After following this profession for several years he took up the study of law in the office of Linn and Withers at Glenville and was admitted to the Bar of that county. He subsequently located at Grantsville, Calhoun County, where he opened an office and began what soon turned out to be a very lucrative practice. He possessed, in a large degree, energy, force of will and tenacity of purpose to win. He was found in his law office early and late, went to the bedrocks of his cases, and when he appeared in court he knew the law and tried them successfully, in most instances; consequently, in a remarkably short time he made a reputation as an unusually successful young lawyer. In the meantime his business kept on expanding.
The Republican party, to which he belongs, nominated him for Judge of the Circuit Court in a Democratic district and he was elected, after a heated contest, and filled the position creditably and ably. At the end of four years he resigned andopened an office in the city ofParkersburg, where he, in a short time, built up a large practice. Shortly after he located at Parkersburg he was appointed United States District Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia,which office he ably filled for ten years.
His force ofwill, self-reliance andcourage are more than common. From the beginning he had no assistance and really wanted none. In whatever duty he entered he threw his strong personality. He likes everybody andis owned by none. If there is such a personage as a "self-made man" Judge Blizzard is that one. He mapped out his own career andwon out grandly. He is not only an able lawyer, but he is a leader in civic matters. He is a farmer andstock raiser, speciallyof fine bred horses, andfor a number>ofyears he has been president ofa successful banking institution in the city ofParkersburg. He has been twice married andhas seven children. He has always been a Republican in politics. He helps every one who needs help andseeks for himself the help ofnone. Hs is one man who "paddles his own canoe."
[ Bench And Bar of West Virginia byGeorge Wesley Atkinson, 1919 Transcribed by Therman Kellar]


CALLAGHAN, John R. 
     John R. Callaghan was born in West Virginia, the son of slave-holding parents with large plantation interests. The fortunes of war, however, left them impoverished, but he remained on the home plantation until 1885, at which time he migrated with his family to Kansas, and the next five years he spent in farming in Kansas, at Kiowa, Barber County, and from farming he turned his attention to railroading. He came to Texas, in 1890, as an employee of the Santa Fe Railroad Company, and established his home at Panhandle, where he spent the rest of his life. After coming here he continued in railroad work for two years, as superintendent of construction. Carson County was at that time but sparsely settled, but the railroad brought in more people, and soon Mr. Callaghan saw the need of a hotel at Panhandle. Accordingly he erected the Callaghan Hotel, the first hostelry opened to the traveling public in the town. This hotel he conducted for a period of thirteen years. In the meantime, in 1892, he established the J. R. Callaghan Mercantile Co., which he conducted, in connection with operating the hotel, until his death. He died August 26, 1903, at the age of fifty-one years. As a business man he was successful. He accumulated a comfortable fortune, his possessions including both farming and town property. Politically, he was a Democrat, but he never sought or filled office. He had no time for office holding; his own business affairs occupied his whole attention. His religious creed was that of the M. E. Church South.
     Bettie J. (Morton) Callaghan, Mr. Callaghan's wife, also a native of West Virginia, died at Panhandle in 1908, at the age of fifty-six years. She had accompanied him to Texas, and shared with him the privations of frontier life and the later success he achieved through his efforts here. They were the parents of twochildren: Canterbery F. and Asbery A.
     Canterbery F. Callaghan was born in 1872, and died in 1890, shortly after the removal of the family to Panhandle. He had been educated at Kiowa, Kansas, and was a railroad man, in the employ of the Santa Fe. He met with accidental death while in train service, at Wellington, Kansas, and is buried at Kiowa, that State.
     Asbery A. Callaghan, the only survivor of the family, was born at Craigsville, West Virginia, November 16, 1878. He was educated in the Polytechnic College at Fort Worth, Texas, where he graduated in 1897 from the Commercial Department; and he took a four years' course in the Literary Department of Fort Worth University. On his return home from the university he became associated in business with his father, and at his father's death succeeded him in the interests above outlined. On first entering the mercantile business, young Callaghan assumed the responsibility of its management, and has conducted it ever since, for a period of twenty-one years. The Callaghan general store is the oldest mercantile establishment in the town. Mr. Callaghan is a stockholder and director in the Panhandle Bank, he owns about two-thirds of the city's business property, and he has two farms, four hundred and eighty acres in extent.
     During his college days, Mr. Callaghan was corporal and afterward captain of the College Guards Infantry Co., and throughout his business life as well as in college work he has taken the initiative. He helped to organize the Panhandle Commercial Club and was its first secretary, serving one term. He served four terms, eight years in all, as County Treasurer of Carson County, and at the end of his last term openly declined to be a candidate for re-election, announcing the fact through the columns of the Panhandle Herald. This announcement was received with much regret by the people of the county. Mr. Callaghan has always harmonized with the Democratic party and has taken an active part in politics ever since he became a voter. He helped to organize the Carson County Democratic Committee, and since its organization has been its secretary. As the representative of this committee, he met Governor Colquitt on the train en route to Snyder from Post City, Texas, on May 2, 1912, and gave him an invitation to deliver an address at Panhandle. May 13, the Governor addressed at Panhandle the largest assembly ever gathered in the entire Panhandle section.
     Mr. Callaghan is associated with the church in which he was reared, and is one of its trustees, and he has membership in the fraternal organizations of the I. O. O. F. and W. O. W.
     Mr. Callaghan's favorite playmate in the primary school days is now his wife. This was Miss Louie A. Henson, daughter of Col. A. L. Henson of Jacksboro, Texas, Sergeant of the Texas Rangers, Sheriff of Carson County, and for many years a prominent stock man in the Panhandle. They were married June 5, 1901, in the M. E. church at Panhandle, by the Rev. Henry R. Coleman, and are the parents of two children: Lillian, born October 30, 1903, and Pauline, May 23, 1906, both natives of Panhandle.
[A History of Texas and Texans, Volume 4 by Francis White Johnson, 1914- Transcribed by AFOFG]


CAMDEN, Johnson Newton, lawyer, founder. United States senator was born March 6, 1828, in Lewis County, W.Va. He was elected prosecuting attorney for Nicholas County in 1852. He was engaged in the banking business in 1854-58, when he entered into the development of petroleum and manufacturing interests at Button; and was made president of the First national bank of that city in 1862. He was the nominee of the Democratic Party for governor in 1868 and again in 1872; and was a delegate to the democratic national conventions of 1868, 1872 and 1876. In 1881-85 and 1893-95 he was United States senator. He organized and built the railroad from Fairmont to Clarksburg, opening up a coal field which is now marketing over a million tons of coal and coke annually. He was president of the Monongahela river road; and the West Virginia and Pittsburg road. He died in 1908.
[Herringshaws National Library of American Biography: Contains Thirty-five Thousand Biographies of the Acknowledged Leaders of Life and Thought of the United States, by William Herringshaw, 1909 Transcribed by AFOFG]


THOMAS B. HAMILTON FAMILY
Thomas B. Hamilton, a native ofBath County, Virginia, was a farmer for several years prior to his admission to the bar of Virginia. Fayette County, Virginia, was formed in 1832, and B. B. Woodson, step-father of Stonewall Jackson, was appointed first clerk of the circuit court of this county, court being then held at Miles Mansers' store, located three miles east of the present town of Ansted. About 1834 Mr. Woodson died and he was succeeded in office by Thomas B. Hamilton, who held the office as clerk of the circuit court until the county seat was permanently established at Vandalia, now Fayetteville. Mr. Hamilton was a very prominent lawyer in his day and his public-spirited interest in all matters affecting the good of the general welfare made him one of the foremost citizens of Fayette County.

(II) James B., son of Thomas B. Hamilton, was born in Nicholas county, now West Virginia, in 1831, and came with his parents to Fayette county when he was a mere baby. He grew up on the old Hamilton farm in the vicinity of Ansted, and after reaching man's estate became a civil engineer. He served as engineer in the Union army during the civil war and died as a prisoner of war in October, 1864. He was deputy surveyor of Fayette County prior to the inception of the war. He married Matilda I. Wood, born in Fayette county, now West Virginia, 1835, now living on the old Hamilton homestead, daughter of Amos Wood, likewise a native of Fayette county and a descendant of early pioneers here. There were three children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton: Alexander Wetzel, mentioned below; William T., born June 11, 1860, a farmer and trader at Hawks Nest; Elizabeth S., wife of James E. Bailey, of Gauley Bridge, West Virginia.

(III) Alexander Wetzel, son of James B. and Matilda I. (Wood) Hamilton, was born June 2, 1856, at Hawks Nest, Fayette County, West Virginia . He was reared on his father's farm, and was educated in the public schools of this county. The old Hamilton farm has been in the family since 1831 and is now owned by Alexander W. and William T. Hamilton. Alexander W. Hamilton worked on the farm until he had reached his sixteenth year, when he secured a position as clerk in a general store at Ansted. Subsequently he entered the employ of a coal company at Ansted and was identified with the coal business until 1884, when he was elected clerk of the circuit court of Fayette County . He then established his home at Fayetteville and here has resided during the long intervening years to the present time. He was incumbent of the office of clerk of the circuit court for a period of twelve years, in fact, from January 1, 1885, until January 1, 1897, and during that time discharged the responsible duties devolving upon him with the utmost efficiency. In the latter year he was admitted to the bar of West Virginia and he has since been a legal practitioner at Fayetteville , where he controls a large and lucrative clientage. He is a Republican in politics and has long been an active factor in the local councils of his party. In Masonic circles he has reached the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite branch, Knights Templar, and is likewise affiliated with the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.

Mr. Hamilton married, January 11, 1882, at Fayetteville, Rachel M. Jones, a native of Fayette county, daughter of Levi and Letha Jones, both of whom are deceased. Levi Jones was born in Kanawha county, West Virginia, and for many years was a successful farmer and stockman in Fayette county. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton have six children: Grace V., born September 1, 1883, lives at the parental home; James C., born July 31, 1885, is a practicing attorney at Fayetteville; Edward S., born August 8, 1888, is a physician and surgeon at Oak Hill, West Virginia; Bernard A., born August 18, 1891, at home; Nell M., born July 30, 1896, is a pupil in the public schools of Fayetteville; Elizabeth, born April 7, 1898, is likewise attending school here.

[WV and its people; Volume 3; By Thomas Condit Miller and Hu Maxwell; Publ. 1913; Pgs. 883-884; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]


MURPHY, O. J., Farmer, Secs. 22 and 23; Woodstock P. O.; born in Nicholas Co., Va., December 22, 1814 ; came to McHenry Co., IL, November 20, 1838 ; owns a farm of 232 acres of land; value of property, $14,500; was elected School Director, the first, in District No. 4, over thirty years ago. Married Emma Chenoweth, of Randolph Co., West Va., August 11, 1842; she was born October 24, 1819; had seven children - six living. [1877 McHenry County, Illinois Directory - Transcribed by K. Torp]


MURPHY, A. W., Farmer, Fruit Grower and Dealer, Sec. 23; Woodstock P.O.; born in Nicholas Co., West Va., April 3, 1816; left Braxton Co., Va., and came to McHenry Co. IL, November 20, 1838; owns 266 acres of land ; valuation of property, $35,500; Constable two years, School Director twelve years. Married Caroline M. Squairs October 10, 1839; she was born in West Va., June 16, 1822; came to McHenry Co., May 29, 1840; had ten children- eight living; always lived on Sec 23. [ 1877 McHenry County, Illinois Directory - Transcribed by K. Torp]






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