W. Bruce Talbott

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
November 26, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 337-338

W. BRUCE TALBOTT had to pay his way while preparing
himself for the bar, and that experience brought him to
the practice with considerable more than the qualifications
of the young law graduate, so that his subsequent advance-
ment was rapid. Most of the time since his admission to
the bar has been devoted to his duties as prosecuting at-
torney of Barbour County.

Mr. Talbott was born in Pleasant District, Barbour
County June 7, 1888. His people have lived in that sec-
tion of the county for several generations, and farming has
been their chief vocation. His grandparents were Silas and
Sarah (McKinney) Talbott. The father of the prosecuting
attorney was the youngest of the twelve children of his
parents and was born on a farm in Pleasant District in
1853. Farming has been the work of his life. He was
educated in the country schools, and his success on the
farm and elsewhere has shown him to be a man of good
business judgment. He helped organize the Citizens
National Bank of Philippi, and is a director of the People’s
Bank of that city. In politics he has been satisfied to
cast his vote as a democrat, and is a member of the Mis-
sionary Baptist Church, though his parents were old-school
Baptists. Mr. Talbott married Edith Bartlett, daughter of
Judson Bartlett. Their children are: Iva, wife of W. D.
Corder, of Philippi; W. Bruce; Hazel, who died in infancy;
Ruby, a teacher in Barbour County; E. Wayne, who grad-
uated A. B. from the University of West Virginia and is
now taking his law course there; and Ralph, a student
in the Philippi High School.

Mr. Bruce Talbott had the old home farm as his environ-
ment until he was about twenty years of age. He knows
more about the practical side of farming than perhaps
many other lawyers. The public schools near the old home
gave him the foundation of his education, and subsequently
he attended West Virginia Wesleyan College at Buckhan-
non, where he graduated in 1908. He taught two terms of
school before graduating and another term afterward, and
then for three years worked as office man for the Con-
solidation Coal Company. Through this employment he
earned the money to complete his law course. Mr. Talbott
graduated LL. B. from West Virginia University in 1915,
was admitted to the bar at Philippi the same year, and
began practice alone. He won his first case, though an
unimportant one, in the Circuit Court, and he was soon
in possession of a growing law practice. He had practiced
about a year before he was elected to the important duties
of prosecuting attorney.

His election to this office occurred in 1916. He had
to contest his nomination in the primaries, but in 1920 he
had no competition in the primaries. A distinction that
is something out of the ordinary is the fact that Mr. Talbott
is the first prosecuting attorney of Barbour County to be
elected for two consecutive terms during the past thirty
years. The basis of his hold upon the people at the time
of his second candidacy was his strong enforcement of the
law during his first term.

Mr. Talbott cast his first vote for president in 1912 for
Mr. Taft, and was a delegate from Barbour County to
the Judicial Convention at Huntington in 1916. He is a
member of the College Fraternity Beta Theta Pi and in
Masonry has taken both the York and Scottish Rite degrees
and is a member of Osiris Temple of the Mystic Shrine
at Wheeling. He is a member of the Baptist Church.

In Barbour County July 9, 1909, he married Miss Mabel
Right, who was born at Belington, March 13, 1893, daugh-
ter of James and Martha (Bennett) Right. She was one
of ten children. Mr. and Mrs. Talbott have a family of
four children, named Lucille, Rex, Robert and William.