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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Clark McGrew
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1869 – March 3, 1873
Preceded byBethuel Kitchen
Succeeded byJohn Hagans
Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates
In office
Personal details
Born(1813-09-14)September 14, 1813
Brandonville, Virginia, United States
DiedSeptember 18, 1910(1910-09-18) (aged 97)
Kingwood, West Virginia, United States
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Persis Hagans McGrew
ProfessionMerchant, Banker, Hospital director

James Clark McGrew (September 14, 1813 – September 18, 1910) was an American politician, merchant, banker and hospital director from Virginia and West Virginia.[1]

Early and family life

Born near Brandonville, Virginia (now West Virginia), to James McGrew (1779 - 1873) and his wife Isabella Clark McGrew (1779 - 1867), young James McGrew attended common schools as a child. His ancestors had lived in Preston County since the American Revolutionary war, and his father fought in the War of 1812.[2]

He married Persis Hagans (1831-1892). Their children who survived to adulthood included William Clark McGrew (1842 - 1919) (who became a banker, railroad executive, state delegate and senator and 5-time mayor of Morgantown), Sarah Martha McGrew Heermans (1844 - 1930) and Rev. George Harrison McGrew (1846 - 1917).


As an adult, McGrew was a merchant and banker in Kingwood, Virginia.

Preston County, Virginia voters elected McGrew and Congressman William Gay Brown, Sr. as their delegates to the Virginia Secession Convention in 1861, where both were Unconditional Unionists and voted against secession on both April 4 (when the ordinance was defeated) and April 17 (when it passed). The Wheeling Convention was held on May 13–15, led by Preston County's William B. Zinn. On June 29, 1861, after Virginia voters approved secession, other delegates expelled them from the convention, and replaced them with secessionist Preston County lawyers Robert E. Cowen and Charles J. P. Cresap.[3]

Nonetheless, Kingwood voters elected McGrew as their mayor, and voters of Preston and surrounding counties elected him to represent them in the newly created West Virginia House of Delegates alongside Zinn after West Virginia was admitted to the Union. McGrew served in both positions from 1863 to 1865. McGrew also was managing director of the West Virginia Insane Hospital for four years during and after the American Civil War.

In 1868, voters elected McGrew as a Republican to the United States House of Representatives, where he served from 1869 to 1873. He was again mayor of Kingwood, West Virginia in 1879 and 1880 and afterwards resumed banking in Kingwood from 1886 until his death.

Death and legacy

McGrew survived his wife by nearly two decades and lived to see his sons begin their careers in public service. He died in Kingwood on September 18, 1910, and was interred in Maplewood Cemetery.

In 1989, the James Clark McGrew Society was formed to foster understanding of this founder of West Virginia. The house which he built in 1841 (and which others later expanded) was restored and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.[4] Now owned by Preston County, the James Clark McGrew House hosts various activities.[5]


  1. ^
    • United States Congress. "James McGrew (id: M000461)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  2. ^ Bernard L. Butcher,Genealogical and Personal History of the Upper Monongahela Valley, West Virginia, (Genealogical Publishing Co. 1999) p. 717 available at
  3. ^[bare URL PDF]
  4. ^
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 2nd congressional district

March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1873
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 7 July 2022, at 03:53
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