A. Jay Valentine

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 23, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 529-530

A. JAY VALENTINE, judge of the Twenty-first Judicial
Circuit and a resident of Parsons, Tucker County, has been
a business lawyer in that county for more than a third of a
century, having tried his first case before reaching his
majority. His is an unusual record for a West Virginia
lawyer and judge, since he has never represented the defense
in a criminal trial and has never appeared in a contested
separation case between husband and wife. The civil and
business branches of the law have been his special field, and
it is also noteworthy that he was never a candidate for
public office until he made the race for circuit judge.

Judge Valentine was born near Valley Furnace in Bar-
hour County, March 8, 1866, son of Andrew and Rachel
(Digman) Valentine, also natives of Barbour County, his
mother being a daughter of George Digman. Andrew Valen-
tine was a lieutenant in the Confederate army under General
Imboden, and was never wounded in service, but for the last
eleven months of the war was a prisoner at Camp Chase,
Columbus, Ohio. He manifested the interest of a good
citizen in politics and was a democrat. He died in 1887 and
is buried near Montrose, West Virginia. The mother died
in 1891. They had three children: Judge Valentine; Sarah
E., wife of Stephen Murphy, of Montrose; and Carrie B.,
wife of Thomas Gross, of Levels, West Virginia.

A. Jay Valentine spent the first fifteen years of his life
near the hamlet of Meadowville in Barbour County, on his
father’s farm. In 1882 the family moved to .Randolph
County, and another five years of his life were spent in the
environment of a farm near Montrose. It was immediately
after leaving this community that Judge Valentine began
his professional work at St. George, then the county seat of
Tucker County. His early education was acquired in the
common schools and summer normal schools, and for four
years he taught in the rural districts of Randolph County.
As he looks back upon it Judge Valentine regards teaching
as the hardest work he ever did. While teaching he became
interested in the law, made some progress in his reading,
and his two principal preceptors were the late A. C. Bow-
man of Barbour County and W. B. Maxwell, still practicing
in Randolph County and a former member of the Tucker
County bar. Mr. Valentine was admitted to the bar at
Beverly, then the county seat of Randolph County, in 1887,
taking his several examinations for admission, one under
Judge A. B. Fleming, another under Judge Henry Brannon
and another under Judge W. T. Ice. In his first year or
practice he was associated with W. B. Maxwell, of St.
George, West Virginia, but after a year he relied upon
himself to handle all his law business. That business was
principally in the commercial and corporation law, and
before many years he had a very extensive clientele.

Judge Valentine is a republican without being a strict
partisan, and increasing years and experience has made him
less and less interested in partisan politics. He east his
first vote for Benjamin Harrison. In 1920 he was urged to
make the race for judge of the Twenty-first Judicial Circuit.
There were three competitors for the republican nomination,
one of them being the presiding judge and the other two
able lawyers. The judicial convention at Keyser which
decided the matter held a session all night until 11 o’clock
the following morning, before the conflicting partisans of
the different candidates were harmonized in the nomination
of Mr. Valentine, who was nominated on the 207th ballot.
In the following election he led his ticket by several hun-
dred votes and had a majority of 4,697 over his democratic
opponent. Judge Valentine held his first term of court in
Keyser in January, 1921, succeeding Judge Francis M. Rey-
nolds on the bench.

At St. George, West Virginia, December 2, 1891, Judge
Valentine married Lummie Kalar, a native of Tucker
County, where her parents settled from old Virginia. Her
father was Samuel D. Kalar, who married a Miss Mary Lee
Gray. He was a farmer and died soon after the close of the
Civil war, while Mrs. Valentine’s mother lived until 1921,
passing away at the age of eighty-four. In the Kalar
family were the following children: Solomon W., of Par-
sons; Elam B., of Santa Cruz, California; Mrs. Valentine,
who was born May 23, 1868, and was educated in the public
schools; Mrs. Hoy Ferguson, of Randolph County; Mrs.
Lloyd Collett, of Wheeling; Spencer Kalar, of Porterwood,
West Virginia; and Lloyd Kalar of Parsons.

Judge and Mrs. Valentine had six children, two of whom
died in infancy, and have one grandchild. Their daughter
Zillah is the wife of Rev. A. B. Withers, of Louisville, Ken-
tucky, and has a daughter Zillah Evelyn. Arthur, Jr., who
was in the student army training corps during the World
war, is now an automobile salesman at Parsons. Mark T.
graduated in 1922 from the law school of West Virginia
University. Paul, the youngest, is attending grammar
school at Parsons.

Judge Valentine is a member of the Masonic Lodge and
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. During the war he
was a member of the Legal Advisory Board of Tucker