Dan Bias

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III, pg. 140-141

DAN BIAS. In the trying period of reconstruction after
any great war one of the most serious problems confronting
the officials is the enforcement of the laws, and the creation
and maintenance of a proper respect for them. In some
communities those in authority have lamentably fallen short
of living up to very high standards, but Lincoln County,
West Virginia, is fortunate in having as its high sheriff
Dan Bias, whose utter fearlessness, high personal integrity
and great popularity with all classes have given him a
prestige and secured for his section a remarkable record.
Mr. Bias belongs to one of the old and honored families of
the South, and he is very proud of it and his descent from
men and women of stainless honor and courageous deeds.

Dan Bias is a native son of the county, where he was
born July 5, 1855. His father, Anderson Bias, was born in
West Virginia, while his mother, Mrs. Nancy (Bias) Bias,
was born in Virginia, and they were farming people, and
for a number of years he was overseer of the poor of Lin-
coln County. The sheriff had two brothers to serve in the
war between the North and the South, Enos and Linvil, the
latter being a sergeant, and both were in the Third Vir-
ginia Cavalry, under Capt John Witcher. They were in all
of the campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley, and although
participating in all of the heavy fighting, escaped any
serious injury.

Completing his schooldays at sixteen, Dan Bias began
working on the farm, and later became seriously interested
in politics. He was appointed deputy sheriff under Sheriff
Adkins, and served under him from 1896 to 1900, and was
re-appointed under Sheriff H. H. Baker, and served until
1904. He then began farming on his own account, and
continued in this occupation until his election to the office of
high sheriff in November, 1920, and assumed the duties of
his office in January, 1921. During the late war he rendered
an appreciated service by operating his farm at full

On December 20, 1877, Mr. Bias married Emily Selvinas
Alford, a daughter of James and Mary Jane Alford, Lin-
coln County farming people who came here from Virginia.
Mr. and Mrs. Bias became the parents of nine children,
eight of whom survive, namely: S. C., who married Maggie
Powel, have four children and are living in Lincoln County,
but Miss Powel came from Kentucky; A. M., who married
Miss Polley, lives at Logan, Logan County, West Virginia;
E. W., who married Ersie Johnson, and they had one child,
and he was a brakeman on the Norfolk & Western Railroad
when he was run over by a train in 1920 and killed; Queen
Victoria, who married Frank Scites, of Lincoln County, and
has six children; E. R., who married first Emma Galloway,
had two children, and after her death he married Hattie
Johnson, they have three children, and both wives were of
Lincoln County; Crosby Ellis, who married Eva Johnson, of
Lincoln County, has five children; Chauncey M., who mar-
ried Essie Zigan, has two living children, their third one
having died; Charles H., who is unmarried; and Otis O.,
who married Addie Hazelett, and has one child. Mr. Bias
is not connected with any religious organization. He is a
zealous member of Hamlin Lodge, A. F. and A. M., lives up
to the highest ideals of his fraternity, and is a fine example
of the Christian gentleman of the old school. While he is
rigorous in his prosecution of a criminal, he is equally in-
sistent in securing for each man fair treatment, and will not
permit any persecution of anyone under his charge. Be-
cause of his well-known character and his stainless reputa-
tion the lawless element recognize that Lincoln County is
not a profitable field for their nefarious operations, and as
a rule give this region a wide berth. Such men as Sheriff
Bias not only secure results for their own communities, but
set an example which stimulates other officials to live up to
their oath of office, and in this way their influence is much
more than local.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook