Robert Landon Pemberton

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 9, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 464

ROBERT LANDON PEMBERTON was born in Pennington,
Lancashire, England, March 9, 1860, the son of Robert
and Abigail B. (Landon) Pemberton. His grandfather
was Joseph Pemberton and his great-grandfather, John
Ball Pemberton. In the spring of 1863 Robert Pember-
ton, at the age of fifty, came to America, locating near
Philadelphia, and enlisted in Company I of the Pennsyl-
vania Volunteers to repel the invasion of the state by the
Confederates under Lee. In the fall of the same year he
was joined by his wife and children-two daughters and
the son, Robert.

In 1865 the family removed to Alleghany; in 1870, to
Wellsburg, West Virginia; and in 1873, to New Martins-
ville, in the same state. In the last named town the boy,
Robert L., began learning the trade of printer in the
office of the Labor Vindicator, edited and published by
Daniel Long. It was the first paper printed in Wetzel
County. This was in the year 1875, and his connection
with the paper afforded him opportunity to publish verses
and other articles of his own composition.

In 1877 the Labor Vindicator ceased, and in that fall
he went to St. Marys as printer of The Watchword, the
first paper published in Pleasants County, Rev. F. M.
Yates being owner and editor. This paper suspending,
he taught the country school at Mount Olive, below St.
Marys, the following winter, having passed an examina-
tion which entitled him to a first-class certificate.

For several years after this he was employed in print-
ing establishments at various places. On November 24,
1886, he married Margaret C., daughter of Robert Alex-
ander and Annie Carroll Gallaher, and to them were born
two children, Margaret and Robert, the latter dying in

Mr. Pemberton taught one term as assistant principal of
the New Martinsville High School and six years was prin-
cipal of the St. Marys School. In 1890 he was employed
by the Census Bureau in Washington and New York, re-
signing in 1891, when he read law and was admitted to
the bar.

In 1894 he was elected superintendent of schools for
Pleasants County, serving four years. In 1910 he was
elected a member of the House of Delegates, in which he
was appointed chairman of the committee on printing,
of the committee of executive buildings, and was a mem-
ber of several other committees.

In 1902 he became part owner of the St. Marys Oracle,
and in 1911 became sole owner, improving the plant by
installing new presses and linotype machines.

He has contributed short stories and occassionally verse
to eastern newspapers and magazines. For several years
he conducted a column of verse and prose under the head
of “Random Remarks” in the Oracle, and has published
two volumes of verse, one entitled “Random Rhymes”
and the other “Songs in Merry Mood.” In the last five
years he has written several serial stories. During twenty-
five years he has been trustee and senior warden of the
Episcopal Church of St. Marys. He is a member of the
West Virginia Press Association, and also a member of
the American Press Humorists.