John Benjamin Wyatt

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
March 18, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 342-343

JOHN BENJAMIN WYATT. Since his admission to the
bar in 1910, John Benjamin Wyatt has performed a useful
and effective service as a lawyer. He is well established
in his profession and in civic affairs at Shinnston, and is
a native of Harrison County.

He was born at the Village of Wyatt in Harrison County,
January 3, 1886, a son of Zechariah White and Florence
Augusta (Fortney) Wyatt, and grandson of Russell and
Sidney Ann (White) Wyatt. Russell Wyatt was a native
of old Virginia, and was of English ancestry. On leaving
Virginia he went to Athens County, Ohio, and while there
enlisted as a Union soldier in the Seventh Ohio Cavalry.
After the war he returned to Greene County, Pennsylvania,
and lived out his life as a farmer there.

Zechariah White Wyatt was born in Greene County,
Pennsylvania, December 25, 1846, was reared in his native
county and as a young man went to Marion County, West
Virginia, where he married Ellen Harvey. She was the
mother of four children. Florence Augusta Fortney was
his second wife. She was born in Harrison County, daugh-
ter of Jacob H. Fortney, a native of Preston County. By
the second marriage there were five children. Zechariah W.
Wyatt was a graduate of the College of Physicians and
Surgeons at Baltimore, and was one of the capable and
hard working physicians of Harrison County for many
years. The little community where he lived and from
which he extended his professional service came to be
known as Wyatt. He also lived at Shinnston, and his
residence was at that place when he died, January 31, 1907.
He was elected and served as a member of the Legislature
in 1898, was a republican, a Baptist, was affiliated with
the Masons, Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Knights
of Pythias, and his name and character commanded the
highest degree of general esteem.

John Benjamin Wyatt has lived at Shinnston since his
father located in that town in 1890. He acquired a com-
mon school education there, spent three years in the lit-
erary department of West Virginia University, and com-
pleted his university law course in 1910. After being
admitted to the bar Mr. Wyatt practiced three years at
Fairmont, and since then has had his office at Shinnston.

Besides looking after his general practice as a lawyer he
takes an active part in republican politics, was for one
term mayor of Shinnston, and in 1920 was elected to the
House of Delegates. Mr. Wyatt is a Master Mason and
Knight of Pythias and a member of the Methodist Church.

In 1914 he married Miss Jane Westfall, of Fairmont.
They have a son, John Benjamin, Jr.