Category Archives: Jackson

Uriah Barnes

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 9, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 446-447

HON. URIAH BARNES. While he has practiced law suc-
cessfully and has been an influential member of the Leg-
islature, Uriah Barnes is now and will be in the future
known permanently for his remarkable industry and his
mature scholarship as a legal writer and contributor to
the literature of the legal profession.

He was born in Jackson County, West Virginia, in 1883.
His father, Charles W. Barnes, was a native of Ohio,
and the Town of Barnesville, Ohio, was named for the
family. Charles W. Barnes about 1875 settled in Jackson
County, West Virginia, and is still living there. Uriah
Barnes was accustomed to farm labor when a boy, secured
his education in public schools, and also attended West
Virginia University. At the age of sixteen he began
teaching, and taught for two terms.

His home has been at Charleston since 1901. He finished
a business course in Elliott’s Business College, did clerical
work in several offices, and in the meantime was diligently
studying law and qualified for practice in 1908. The next
four years he was at the state capitol with the Supreme
Court of Appeals, briefing cases for the use of the judges
of that court. No law school could offer opportunities
for a more thorough training for a young lawyer, and
it was in this work that Mr. Barnes improved his talent
for a legal analysis and a clear statement that distin-
guished his own publications. For years he has been a
student of the best in standard and general literature as
well as in his own field. For years he was a law instructor
in the University College of Law and for one year was
secretary of the College of Agriculture and the Experiment
Station at Morgantown. His literary work has been done
both as an editor and author, and he has contributed a
number of articles to law encyclopedias. Recently he com-
piled and edited the ordinances of Charleston. His first
important achievement was editing the “West Virginia
Code” of 1916, making a careful and exhaustive study of
all state statutes. This was issued in a handy form, but
has recently been fully revised to include all the laws
down to 1922, with full annotations to the same date, and
has been published as “Barnes’ West Virginia Code of
1922, Annotated.” One or the other of these books is
probably known to every practicing attorney in West
Virginia and in many other states as well.

In 1919 his “Barnes’ Federal Code” appeared. This
book is now the standard and monumental work in its field.
The American Law Review said: “It marks an epoch
in law publishing.” The “Bench and Bar of West Vir-
ginia,” by Judge Atkinson, speaks of this work as fol-
lows: “He brought to bear in this work a comprehensive
knowledge, a sound and discriminating judgment, a genius
for editorial detail that have combined to bring him uni-
versal recognition as a master in his field. The remark
able sale of the Federal Code in every state in the Union
and abroad, and the unsolicited encomiums upon it, coming
from bench and bar and from eminent scholars and edu-
cators throughout the country, attest its rank as a master-
piece of compilation.”

Mr. Barnes was elected to the House of Delegates in
1920 as a member from Kanawha County. He served on
the judiciary committee and the committee on public build-
ings and humane institutions, and was sponsor for a law
creating the State Board of Childrens’ Guardians, and
the State Training School for Mental Defectives. He
introduced a minimum wage bill, which was killed in com-
mittee, and was author of a bill favored by many of the
ablest lawyers and judges of the state for the reform of
the judicial procedure.

Mr. Barnes has participated in a number of republican
campaigns and has attended three national conventions
of the party. He has a mind of remarkable power, and
has carried on his studies and investigations over a large
field involving sociology, economics, political science and
history, as well as the literature of his own profession.
He is a member of the Methodist Church.

Mr. Barnes married Lena Belle Ice, and they have two
children, Hugh and Margaret.

John Britton

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 9, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 473-474

JOHN BRITTON, chief of the Charleston Police Depart-
ment, is a marked proof of the value and necessity of
long practical training for the higher officials of the city
government. He has won advancement to the head of his
department because of his courage as an officer and his ex-
ecutive talents, and his courteous and pleasing personality.
Chief Britton was born at Warren, Pennsylvania, in 1883,
and is a son of Alfred and Sarah E. (Freeman) Britton.

Alfred Britton was born in Quebec, Canada, and as a
youth learned the painting trade, which he followed prin-
cipally in furniture factories as foreman of inside paint-
ing. For some years he was employed in furniture fac-
tories at Grand Rapids, Michigan, but in 1895 came to
Charleston to assume the management of the Ohio Valley
Furniture Company’s factory, owned by George Fullerton,
of Gallipolis, Ohio, at that time the leading industry of the
city, with from 300 to 400 employes. After managing this
enterprise for seventeen years Mr. Britton retired and lived
quietly until his death in May, 1918, when he was seventy-
one years of age. His first wife, Sarah Freeman, died when
her son John was but three years of age, and Mr. Britton
later married Mary E. Edwards, of Pennsylvania, who sur-
vives him, as a resident of Charleston.

John Britton secured a public school education and as a
young man learned the trade of inside painting with his
father, under whom he worked in various factories. Event-
ually he purchased the Great Southern Hotel, on Kanawha
Street, in 1912, and conducted it for two years, when he be-
came president of the Kanawha Taxicab Company, operating
a line of ten taxis. He remained in this capacity, and
then, under Mayor Breece, because assistant street commis-
sioner. Later he was a plain clothes man on the police force,
subsequently became a patrolman under Chief A. I. Mc-
Cown, and was later promoted captain of police, a capa-
city in which he served during the remainder of the ad-
ministration. When he left the force temporarily he be-
came chief for the Rollins Chemical Company of South
Charleston, with twenty-four men under his supervision, dur-
ing the war period. Leaving this concern, he went to Nitro,
about ten miles from Charleston, on the Kanawha River,
where the United States Government was operating an am-
munition plant, and under Major Baer, in charge of the
organization of the police department at that place, was
made a lieutenant on the force, which consisted of about
400 men. He was later transferred to Cabin Creek, where
he acted as captain until the signing of the armistice, and
then went back to the Rollins Chemical Company as chief.
In May, 1919, when Grant P. Hall became mayor of Charles-
ton, he was called back to this city as captain of police, and
continued in that capacity until February, 1920, when he
became chief of the Nitro Police Department, with a force
of eighty-men. On August 27, 1921, he was recalled to
Charleston to become chief of the police department, which
has sixty officers and thirty patrolmen. Chief Britton has
placed the department on a well-trained, efficient basis, and
has been tireless in his efforts to preserve law and order.
He has continually strengthened his reputation as a fine
disciplinarian, and upon the occasion of unusual disturbance
of the public peace and in the unraveling of several noto-
rious crime problems his coolness and bravery and his skill
as a detective have stood him in good stead. A man of
splendid physique, he possesses also a pleasing personality
that commands respect and holds warm friendships.

Chief Britton married Lillie B. Canterbury, and they have
two sons: Basil and Giles Polly.