John J. Cornwell

Submitted by
Valerie Crook
September 16, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 234-235
Hampshire County

HON. JOHN J. CORNWELL. Probably the great majority
of the people of West Virginia, regardless of party, would
fully endorse the words of the democratic state platform
of 1920 when it speaks of “the administration of our great
war governor as one of the most dignified, able and cour-
ageous in the history of the state. He has lifted the
governorship to a high plane, which is gratifying to the
people of the state.”

John J. Cornwell has for many years had the esteem
and confidence of his home people in Romney and Hamp-
shire County. He was born in Ritchie County, July 11,
1867, of Jacob H. and Mary E. (Taylor) Cornwell.

The future governor was educated in Shepherd College at
Shepherdstown, and soon after leaving that institution he
began a career as a publisher and editor, and has been
principal owner of the Hampshire Review since 1890. He
was active in its management as editor until 1917, when
he removed to Charleston. Mr. Cornwell has long been
a leader in the democratic party of the state, and was a
delegate to the national conventions of 1896 and 1912 and
gave a service for ten years, from 1896 to 1906, as a mem-
ber of the West Virginia Senate. He was democratic
nominee for governor in 1904, and in 1916 he had the
remarkable distinction of being the only democratic nominee
on the state ticket to be elected. He began his term aa
governor in 1917, and served until 1921, when he resumed
his home and the management of his business interests at

Mr. Cornwell financed and built the Hampshire Southern
Railroad, a line forty miles long, has been president of
the Bank of Romney, of the South Branch Development
Company, the South Branch Tie & Lumber Company, is
now a director in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Com-
pany, and has held the office of secretary and treasurer of
the Appalachian Orchard Company. He has been one of
the prominent editors of the state, has made a reputation
as a forceful writer, and aside from his routine contribu-
tions to the press is author of a book entitled “Knock
About Notes,” published in 1915. He is a Mason and Odd

June 30, 1891, Mr. Cornwell married Edna Brady, of