Edwin Maxwell

Attorney General.

The Wheeling Daily Register., April 09 1866

Sketch of Edwin Maxwell

We see that Edwin Maxwell, of this place, has been appointed Attorney General of West Virginia. Considering the base uses to which this office was prostituted by its last incumbent, and remembering that legal knowledge is not considered a requisite for the post, we would say that Mr. Maxwell was “the right man in the right place.”

In some stations familiarity with legal principles is regarded as a kind of hindrance to the official’s usefulness, and this seems to be one of them, for we certainly endorse Col. B. H. Smith’s opinion that “he don’t know law enough to hurt him”

We hear from various sources the complaint that the State is conferring his favors upon rebels who stayed at home, while it disables those who had the nerve to fight.

This appointment may be urged as one of them. If Mr. Maxwell did not endorse secession, as many assert he did, he should take an early opportunity to vindicate himself, since some men with retentive memories are under the opinion that such was the fact.
Clarksburg Conservative

The Wheeling Daily Register., March 22, 1872

HON. EDWIN MAXWELL, one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals, is in the city.

Judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Blind Scales of Justice

The Wheeling Daily Register., November 25, 1872

The following proclamation appeared as an advertisement in the Baptist Record of October 18. It escaped our attention until a few days ago, and, having heard frequent inquiries upon the subject, we do not believe it has been generally seen by the people of the State.


WHEREAS: It appears by the certificates returned to me by the Supervisors of the several counties of the State, (except the county of McDowell, from which no certificate has been received,) that at the election held on the fourth Thursday in August last for the purpose of choosing four Judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals, for the office of Judge of Supreme Court of Appeals;
A. F. Haymond received fifty thousand seven hundred and eighty votes; James Paull received fifty thousand five hundred and ninety-eight votes; John S. Hoffman received forty-eight thousand six hundred and thirty-five votes ;
C. P. T. Moore received seventy-eight thousand six hundred and forty-seven votes;
Matthew Edmiston received thirty thousand three hundred and one votes; R. L. Berkshire received twenty-eight thousand five hundred and thirty-five votes ;
Edwin Maxwell received twenty-nine thousand one hundred and ninety-three votes ;
James F. Hoffman received seven hundred and six votes;
Robert L. Berkshire received three hundred and forty votes ;
R. L. Burk received one hundred and thirty-eight votes;
Edward Berkshire received fifty-two votes;
R. L. Rathbone received eighty-seven votes;
—-Burk received two votes;
and W. H. Travers received one vote; and,


It thus appears that A. F. Haymond, James Paull, John S. Hoffman and C. P. T. Moore are the four persons who respectively received the highest number of votes cast for any person for the office of Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals;

State seal of West Virginia

Therefore, I, John J. Jacob, Governor of the State of West Virginia, do, by this my proclamation, declare that A. F. Haymond, James Paull, John S. Hoffman, and C. P. T. Moore, have each been elected to the office of Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the State to be affixed at Charleston, this twelfth day of October, in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-two, and of the State the ninth.

By the Governor:
JOHN M. PHELPS, Secretary of State.


The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer., May 08, 1880

Col. James D. Davis, of Greenbrier, and Judge Edwin Maxwell, of Clarksburg, are said to be among the applicants for the place on the Court of Spanish Claims made vacant by Judge Legar’s death. The place is worth about $3,000 a year, but Secretary Evarts is said to have fixed upon Legar’s successor some time since, and unfortunately it is neither Maxwell of Davis.



The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer., August 16, 1884

Cartoon Elephant emblem of the Republican Party which Edwin Maxwell was a member of

Now, surely we are getting along comfortably with the “heated term” and with the campaign of the politicians. The thermometer he’s not aspired, we have not perspired more than is healthful, and I understand that at a little dinner party in Clarksburg the other day Judge Maxwell and Mr. E. Willis Wilson walked into the dining room arm in arm. Why not? Because one of these gentlemen is to be the next Governor of West Virginia I don’t see why the other should avoid him as “an agueemitten pariah.”


Can it be that we are about to come upon an “era of good feeling” in West Virginia? Perhaps our campaigning is to assume a different aspect. Maybe rival nominees instead of denouncing each other with partisan fury and bitterness of invective will quite change their method’s, so that we shall begin to read in our daily papers something like this:



Thousands of Republicans and Democrats march arm in arm to the Democratic-Republican Wigwam to listen to the Joint Discussion between Judge Maxwell and Hon. E. Wilson. Mr. Wilson gets the better of the argument.

At an early hour last night crowds began to pour into the Democratic-Republican wigwam. When the marching clubs began to arrive, composed of Democrats and Republicans walking arm in arm.

The first speaker was Judge Edwin Maxwell, Republican and people’s nominee for Governor. Judge Maxwell said that against his desire he had been put forward for the high and responsible position of Governor.

Modesty obliged him to say that his opponent, Mr. Wilson, was better fitted for the place than himself. If he had not yet shown the necessary qualifications it was because his development had not been in that direction. Some persons feared that if made Governor Mr. Wilson would obstruct the progress of the State.

This fear was based on the reports of Mr. Wilson’s speeches, in which he was reputed to have spoken with great feeling against the late Alexander Hamilton and against all corporations, railroads in particular. For his own part he much doubted whether Mr. Wilson had made such speeches, if he had it was only charitable to believe that if he became Governor he would not pursue the policy outlined in those speeches.

[A voice–”How about his railroad bill?”]

Judge Maxwell said that with regard to that he was quite sure that Mr. Wilson could make an explanation if he thought it necessary. Judge Maxwell spoke at length, arguing that there was outcome in Mr. Wilson; he was a pushing young man; and he ought not to be defeated because he opposed the Flick amendment, that having been a long time ago. Judge Maxwell was listened to with respect, but without enthusiasm.

Donkey the political logo for the Democratic Party

Hon. E. Willis Wilson was the next speaker. He said that in deference to the judgement of friends he had allowed himself to be pushed into this campaign. And might have some fitness for the place for which he had been named–that was not for him to say–but he submitted that the gentleman who had just addressed them was by all odds the better man for the place. [Cries of Maxwell! Maxwell!] He has had long experience as a lawyer, legislator and judge. Though a man of modest, even diffident manner, you have only to know him to find him cordial and genial. He is one of the ablest men in this or any other State. His record is without a blemish. The friend of labor, capital would have perfect confidence in his administration. The mere election of such a man will open for this State a career of splendid progress. Mr. Wilson hoped that the people might not put upon him the burden of an office for which Judge Maxwell was in every way better fitted.

Mr. Wilson’s speech aroused the greatest enthusiasm, and the meeting adjourned with hearty and prolonged cheers for Maxwell.


It seems to me that something of this kind would give a new though placid zest to our political campaigns, take from them all tendency to coarseness and infuse into speakers the proverbial politeness of French dancing masters.


Sketch of the Career of the People’s Candidate for Governor.

The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer., September 19,1884

1884 Campaign Picture Edwin Maxwell for Governor

Edwin Maxwell, the People’s candidate for Governor of West Virginia, is something more than fifty years of age, having been born at Weston, Lewis county.

His father was a house carpenter, and in his trade he brought up his son. While still in boyhood he removed with his parents to a farm in Lewis county, where he remained till after he attained his majority, diversifying his work as a carpenter by performing duties incident to a residence upon a farm.

Lewis Maxwell, Esq., his father, still lives on the farm, having reached the ripe old age of 96 years, and is respected and honored by all who know him.

After young Maxwell came of age he began the study of law– prepared for it only by such promiscuous, and we may say meager reading as he had been able to accomplish in a thinly settled rural district in a slave State. Receiving his license in 1852 he located in West Union, Doddridge county, and began the practice of law.


In 1857 he removed to Clarksburg and formed a new law co-partnership with Colonel Burton Despard, which last until 1865, when General N. Goff, Jr., the present member of Congress from this district, was added to the firm, and it was continued until 1867, under the firm name of Despard, Maxwell & Goff, when Maxwell was elected to the bench of the Supreme Court of Appeals, and since his retirement from that position he has continued the practice of law at Clarksburg.

Legal Ad for Despard & Maxwell

Ever since the formation of West Virginia Judge Maxwell has been a central figure in its politics. Always active in the interested of his native State its citizens here stood ready to testify their appreciation of his activity.


In 1863 he was elected State Senator from the Clarksburg district. In 1864 he was returned to that body serving through both terms as Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary. Early in 1866 Senator Maxwell was appointed to the vacant Attorney-Generalship and filled that position with distinction till his elevation to the Supreme Bench the same year. Judge Maxwell remained upon the Supreme bench until 1876 when by the operation of the new constitution he was replaced by a Democrat. Retiring to Clarksburg he has since continued in the practice of his profession. At the earnest request of a large majority of his party in 1880 he consented to again make the run for a position on the Supreme bench but this time he, as well as others on the ticket, was defeated.

As a justice of the Supreme Court Judge Maxwell became very popular with members of the bar irrespective of politics on account of the conciseness and perspicuity of his opinions and the great industry he showed in their preparation.

Judge Maxwell has always manifested a repugnance to holding office, and this repugnance was always overcome with great difficulty.


Judge Maxwell has always maintained that the exemption law is constitutional both in letter and spirit. He also insists that the power of taxation resides only in the Legislature and that the supplemental assessment order by the Governor is in the face of the exemption law and in flagrant violation of the Constitution, and is the only exercise of the Executive power of taxation known since the Declaration of Independence. Judge Maxwell also holds that the ruling of the Supreme Court sanctioning the power of the Executive to issue such an order and holding that subalterns must obey it, whether constitutional or not is a long step toward imperialism.

Flag commemorating WV statehood

Both as a citizen and an efficient Judge, Maxwell has shown himself to be thoroughly in sympathy with the people. Coming from them he has always believed that the masses are instinctively right. He can be safely trusted in all the issues effecting the State involved in this campaign. He is now, and always has been, intensely hostile to running the State institutions, the Insane Asylum, the University, the Asylum for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind, in the interest of any party, which will ultimate in their destruction.


Judge Maxwell’s letter of acceptance is a very able document and has been generally admired. Referring to the sins of omission of the Democratic party in this State he says : “One other thing, is the running of the Hospital for the Insane at Weston, in the interest of party, when it ought to be run solely for the benefit of the unfortunate humanity within it.

Another thing is the failure to enact a sufficient law to protect mines and miners.”

Judge Maxwell in this connection also holds that when the same court, at least two of whose judges were commissioned by the same Executive in a proceeding against a newspaper editor for daring to comment on the action of the court in sustaining the Executive, overrode and declared null and void as to them a statute which had existed for more than fifty years, providing for trial by jury in like cases and declared that : “This court then, has the unrestricted power, uncontrolled and unregulated by statue, to punish by fine or imprisonment, or both, direct and constructive contempt,” and fined that editor and imprisoned him in the custody of the Sheriff until the fine was paid, it consummated an act of despotism unparalleled in any free community.


Referring to the tariff, the vital issue in this State, Judge Maxwell, in his letter of acceptance, says:

“I favor a protective tariff that will protect everything grown, produced, or manufactured within this State, as well as protect the labor that grows, produces or manufactures it, and favor a restoration of the tariff on wool.”

Sketch of Court

Judge Maxwell’s career on the bench and off it has always been in favor of the interests of labor. During his legislative career he neglected no opportunity to advocate liberal laws concerning the interests of labor. This was noticeable in his vigorous and strong attack upon a bill that was introduced into the Legislature when he was a member, intended to place labor more thoroughly in the power of capital. The Bill was entitled a “Bill declaring certain combinations unlawful.” The effect of the bill was to render all strikes of laborers a criminal offense. The bill had passed the House unanimously and came into the Senate, where Judge Maxwell was a member.


He attacked it vigorously, showed up its iniquitous features, and by his eloquent and vehement attack obtained its unanimous rejection by the Senate. Let it be remembered that this was at a time when the labor interests had a weak hold in the State, and when its interests were overshadowed by the tumultuous interests incident to the war. But the Judge, alive to the interest of labor, took prompt measures to suppress what he considered a malicious attack upon labor and an act of injustice to workingmen. He was successful, and this day and generation will honor him for the act.


It has been charged that in the days succeeding the war, while the work of reorganization and reconstruction were going on, he hampered that work and materially retarded it. No such thing ever took place.

In 1864 Senator J. M. Phelps, then a Union Senator from Mason county and since a Democratic Secretary of State under Governor Jacob, introduced a resolution into the Senate to “prevent rebels in arms or those who have given material aid or comfort to the enemy from holding any office or exercising the right of suffrage in this State.”

The resolution was referred to the Judiciary Committee, of which Judge Maxwell was chairman, war reported adversely by that committee, and after a sharp and acrimonious debate, was defeated. A bitter debate sprang up between Mr. Phelps and Judge Maxwell which at one time threatened an open rupture, but was finally quelled. It was on this occasion that Mr. Phelps gave utterance to the following extreme sentiment:

Harrison County Map Image

“For my part, I recognize but two rights belonging to rebels–the right to be hanged and the right to be damned.” The second effort to pass a registration law, which was successful, was made at a subsequent session of the legislature when Mr. Maxwell was not a member. His position on these questions was a conservative one, and at that time of great excitement required a high degree of courage to maintain. The farthest he would go on this this question was to favor the submission of a constitutional amendment to the people, in answer to their petitions, believing that the people had a sovereign right upon the question.


The Wheeling Register now calls Judge Maxwell a proscriptionist. In 1869 that same paper thanked the Supreme Court of which Judge Maxwell was a member, “for thwarting the villainous purposes” of the Registrars. In referring tot the famous “Greenbrier cases” and Judge Maxwell’s opinion in the case of the State vs. Joel McPherson the Register of September 4, 1869, said:

The famous “Greenbrier cases,” as they are termed, were on yesterday, decided by the Supreme Court of Appeals for this State. We invite particular attention to the opinion of the Court elsewhere printed, as delivered by Judge Maxwell.

The question involved was a plain one. It was whether a registrar could vacate an office by striking the name of the office holder from his list. As the Constitution provides that none but voters can be elected to office in this State some of the registrars have assumed that an office holder who was registered when elected, loses his place if his name be struck off. This would place the officers of the State at the mercy of registrars. In those Greenbrier cases, one of the plaintiffs was disenfranchised because he ran against Nat. Harrison for Judge, and the other because Doctor Caldwell, President of the Registration Board, and, his friend wanted their places. The court has very properly decided that the law is not to be perverted any such villainous purpose.


Map of Virginia and West Virginia

And how about those registrars. A great many of them were selected, some two or three years ago, for their general meanness and their willingness to perpetrate indiscriminate rascality. They ought to have been removed, but they have not been. The reason may appear hereafter. In the meantime it may suffice to say that their continuance in office is a scandal and a disgrace and that the Supreme Court is to be thanked for thwarting their villainous purposes, especially as the proper remedy cannot be found elsewhere.”

Referring to Judge Maxwell’s record in this direction the Greenbacker says:

“The Bourbon papers of this State are persistently charging that Judge Maxwell was the author of and voted for the registration laws once in force in the State. We have refrained from more than casually mentioning the matter for the reason that we wished to see if any of the class of papers referred to would be honest enough to tell the truth about the matter without any aid. Thus far they have failed to so, and now we will assist them by asserting positively that Judge Maxwell never wrote a line of the law, known as the registration law, and never voted for it, although he was a member of the State Senate when it was enacted.

This latter fact can be seen by an inspection of the Senate Journal of 1866. Now will you Bourbons shut up your mouths, or if you open them let the truth come out.”


Such in brief is a sketch of the life and public service of Judge Edwin Maxwell. Calm and dignified in the treatment of all public questions, he has recommended himself to the citizens of this State as no other man ever has. His character is unassailable, his record is straight and his hands pure. His appearance upon the stump will not be anticipated with that feeling of curiosity and wonder that characterizes that of his opponent. Billingsgate, vitnperaton and profanity for no parts of his speeches. Temperate attacks upon individuals and corporations that have done so much for the development of his State will not be looked for and will not be heard. Gentlemanly, able, pure, he is the fit representative of the people who have chosen him as their leader.



The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer., January 16, 1885

Wilson’s Majority Over Maxwell Over 5,000. Some Kicking on the Result–Majorities for the Different State Officials and the Vote for Governor.

Following is the result of the State election last October, as officially promulgated by the Legislature yesterday:

For Governor–

E. Willis Wilson, Dem……………………………………71,438
Edwin Maxwell, Rep.…………………………………….66,149

Wilson’s majority………………………………………… 5,289

Gubernatorial Election results by county 1884

The result created general surprise. All estimates of the majority before published gave Wilson from 4,900 to 4,985, and there was a singular similarity in the unofficial returns from Randolph county, Wilson being credited with about 500 majority in that county by all reports, whereas the official returns give him 856. This variance alone is sufficient to make the majority over 5,000. The official returns from Randolph were delayed until repeatedly sent for by Governor Jackson. The large amount of money bet on 5,000 majority for Wilson makes this difference important, and there were those about town last evening who declared their belief that the Randolph returns had been “fixed,” while nearly everybody agreed that the agreement in different unofficial returns and the variance between them and the official returns need explanation.

The State election in Ritchie county in November was ignored by the Legislature, Judge Haymond raising the point of order that they could not be considered, as the resolution under which the joint session sat recited that it was for the purpose of counting the vote cast in October.


Wheeling Register., September 18, 1886

As the Republicans of the Third Senatorial Districts have nominated Ex-Judge Maxwell of Clarksburg to make the race for the State Senate, the following published in the Register in September 1884 when Mr. Maxwell was the fusion candidate for Governor, will apply equally well at present, as showing his record in securing the odious test oath and the disfranchisement of West Virginia citizens.

As chairman of the judiciary  committee of the Senate of West Virginia, Mr. Maxwell reported to that body the disfranchising amendment, February 8th, 1865, See Senate Journal 66, page 54. It was recommended and promptly reported back by Mr. Maxwell; see page 76, Senate Journal. Its phraseology was amended on his motion; see page 77, Senate Journal. It was passed February 17, Mr. Maxwell voting aye; see Senate Journal, page 69.

The House of Delegates passed a substitute to which the Senate disagreed, and Mr. Maxwell, as patron of the measure, was appointed to announce the Senate’s action to the House. See page 107, Senate Journal, 1865.

Motion Prevailed

The House adhered to its substitute. Mr. Maxwell, as the patron of the measure, moved that the Senate insist on its disagreement. The motion prevailed. See page 111 Senate Journal. A committee of conference was appointed. Mr. Maxwell as the patron of the measure was appointed first of the conferences with Mr. Atkinson second, on the part of the Senate. The Committee report was disagreed to; a second Conference Committee was appointed. Mr. Maxwell as the patron of the measure, was appointed first of the conference on the part of the Senate, with Mr. Farnsworth second. This committee reported an amendment so as to fix the first day of June, 1861, as the date from which the amendment should operate.–

It was then passed, Mr. Maxwell, of course, voting aye. See page 114-124, Senate Journal. Under the Constitution as it then stood an amendment had to be passed upon by two succeeding Legislatures.

The resolution providing for the second ratification was reported to the Senate from the Judiciary Committee, February 10, 1866. See page 69 of the Journal. It was passed February 13, Mr. Maxwell voting aye. See page 77.

Charleston WV Capitol Building

Now, in order to secure the ratification by the people in May following, it was necessary to disfranchise in advance a large number of those who would vote against it. So the Registration Law, House Bill No. 58 was prepared for that purpose. When it came from the House it was referred to Mr. Maxwell’s committee in the Senate. He reported it from the Judiciary Committee with the recommendation that it pass. See Senate Journal 1886, page 115.

When it came upon its passage Mr. Maxwell dodged. See page 125. When the law imposing a test of oath for votes came up in the Senate, Mr. Maxwell voted aye. See Senate Journal 1865, page 105. His friends have tried to build for him a record of liberality on the facts that his name does not appear among those who voted for the Registration Law. They have overlooked the fact that while it does not appear against the Registration Law, and that it does appear in favor of the voters test oath on which the Registration law rested.


The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer., June 15, 1892

Suggested as a Candidate for Governor by a Correspondent.

To the Editor of the Intelligencer.

SIR:– In looking over the little mountain state of West Virginia for a gubernatorial candidate, I observe no fairer example, no better presentment of all those qualifications essential to a strong and winning man than that presented in the person of Judge Edwin Maxwell.

No grander, nobler, manlier character adorns the state, no citizen, perhaps, has done more to promote the interest of this little, though mighty, commonwealth. Active, energetic and efficient, he is one of those grand and noble heroes who stood uncompromisingly for the principles of the Republican party at a time when the party stood alone upon the principles of right and justice without the hope of being so soon called into recognition, and at a time when to espouse the cause of Republicanism required the purest faith and the deepest convictions.

When clouds of war grew thick and dark upon the national horizon, portentous of the rising storm which drenched our country in fraternal blood, destroyed the joy and tranquility of home and country and threatened its very existence.

Defense of the Union
1872 WV convention delegates

Instead of covering under the threatening aspect and succumbing to the sentiment of secession then prevalent in the great commonwealth, his voice was raised in defense of the union, his might and energy spent in the advocacy of justice and right and while the lightning of destruction was playing havoc in the political atmosphere and in its impetuosity rushing us headlong into a southern confederacy, he conceived the idea of separation from the old dominion and by its prevalence through this awful emergency was called into existence this grand and glorious little mountain state of West Virginia, purged of the sin of disloyalty, free from the stain and infamy of civil rebellion the most destructive and shameful, perhaps, ever chronicled in the annals of time.

Being one of the great founders of our state, he has also been one of its greatest guardians and watched with deepest interest the wonderful developments of her natural resources.

After Goff had been fairly elected governor in 1888 and through the instrumentality of a Democratic legislature prevented from taking his seat, the eyes, minds and hearts of all honest people turned with anxiety toward him for the gubernatorial contest of 1892, confiding in the justness of their claim, trusting to the prevalence of the right. Yet receiving the judgeship, a position far more trustworthy and honorable, puts him practically out of the minds of the people, to be replaced by one whose personal characteristics and and personal worth will lead to victory and crown our efforts with success.

Cause of 1892

In the presence of past history the index of to-day points unerringly to the person of Judge Maxwell as the champion of the great cause of 1892. Filling various positions of honor and trust, his fidelity has never been questioned, his ability doubted, or his judgement found defective, and performing his duties faithfully and fearlessly, he has ever enjoyed the full confidence and esteem of his constituents, and has gained the admiration of those who differ from him politically.

In perusing the history of our elections of the past two or three elections, we come in contact with some unwholesome truths, some astonishing facts which lead us to the honest convictions that Judge Maxwell is not only an able and distinguished citizen from the standpoint of statesmanship, scholastic attainments and legal ability, but is one of the most, if not the most popular men of the State, Goff, himself, not excepted.

In 1880 Sturgis received for governor 44,855 votes, while Maxwell, in 1884, received 66,149 and Goff, in 1888, received 78,904. Thus Sturgiss received a net Republican gain of 1,378; Maxwell received 21,295 and Goff only 12,755; thus showing a net Republican gain for Maxwell over Sturgiss of 19,917 and over Goff of 8,540 votes, proving with unerring accuracy the great popularity of Judge Maxwell and the political sagacity of the Republican party, should it nominate him for our standard bearer in 1892. Past results are always indications of what may be accomplished in the future by using the same or similar means and powers, and from the above figures it is easily discernible that the strongest and most available man for governor for 1892 is Judge Maxwell. 

Great Popularity
Military Veteran Parade

His great popularity and personal worth is easily accounted for when we consider that he is a man in whom all classes have a common interest. Starting in humble life himself, he has risen step by step from the carpenter’s bench to the highest position in his honored profession and the honesty of his purposes and personal fidelity has elevated him to a position in the minds and hearts of the people.

Thus his judgment and opinion are generally accepted by them as conclusive–identified with all the interest and shades of development of our state from its infancy, with his whole character spread out before us upon the pages of our state history without a stain to disfigure, an implication to darken it, or to precipitate an evil omen of the future.

Should the Republican party show true wisdom in his nomination, the people with one accord would rally around the great standard bearer again as they did in 1884 when we achieved the greatest Republican gain that has ever been accomplished in the history of this state, so signal, so decisive that no investigating committee would be required to devise means, concoct schemes or invent political chicanery, disgraceful to the state, disloyal to honor, disreputable and criminal to the participants and beneficiaries, such indeed as to make it possible for his inauguration.

Judge Maxwell is and has always been a West Virginian by residence, by interest, and by birth, and his nomination for governor in 1892 assures a Republican victory such as none other can guarantee. 


Clarksburg, W. Va., June 13, 1892.


The Clarksburg Telegram., January 26, 1900

Would Hon Edwin Maxwell Make, as every one knows.

In the absence of Judge J. M. Hagans, the Harrison County bar selected almost unanimously Hon. Edwin Maxwell special judge, a distinction frequently conferred upon Mr. Maxwell not only in this county but in adjacent counties as well.

His eminent ability as a presiding officer, his profound knowledge of the law and his unquestioned fairness especially fit him for the position and lawyer and client alike are ever confident justice will be done them in Judge Maxwell’s honesty of purpose plays an important part in the universal respect he enjoys among his fellowmen, a respect that reaches and endures wherever he is known either personally or by reputation, and the place in this State where he is not known is quite remote.

Splendid judge that he is, considering the man, his qualifications and wide acquaintanceship, how much more splendid governor he would make. Indeed, it can not be gain said that no better man can be found in the State to whom to entrust the ship of State.


The Daily Telegram., January 10, 1903

Should be Chosen as Speaker of House of Delegates
Party Services and Eminent Fitness Commend Him.
State Will be Pleased, If He Is Thus Honored.

Image of WV 1830's

Harrison County very wisely elected Judge Edwin Maxwell to the Legislature. He will not only look after the best interests of the county, but also the entire State. The papers of West Virginia have spoken in highest terms of this distinguished gentleman and several of them have suggested him as the proper person to send to the United States Senate next time.

Among these complimentry notices has been quite a number, suggesting that he be chosen Speaker of the House of Delegates. They have not only suggested it but they have earnestly urged it.

Worthily Bestowed

The Telegram would be pleased to see him thus honored and so would the people of Harrison County. The trust would be most worthily bestowed. In all probability he is the best qualified of the members of that body to preside over it. His legislative experience is a strong argument in his favor. The splendid knowledge of the law and legislative affairs he possesses make him an indispensable member of the legislative body. His eminence in the party councils strengthens the campaign his friends may make for him. 

The splendid work he has done for the Republican Party ever since it was organized commends him, in fact, appeals strongly to all the members of the Legislature.

If he should be chosen, and he should be, the State will not have cause to regret the action of its legislators. The Legislature itself will congratulate itself at the end of the term upon the wisdom it made in choosing Judge Maxwell speaker.


The Daily Telegram., February 02, 1903

Distinguished Jurist and Citizen has Pneumonia in Charleston.

A message was received here Sunday summoning Haymond Maxwell to the bedside of Judge Edwin Maxwell in Charleston. Judge Maxwell has been sick a week and has pneumonia. His condition is serious and alarm is felt that he may not recover. Upon receipt of the telegram, Haymond left for Charleston.


The Daily Telegram., February 06, 1903

Distinguished Jurist, Statesman and Gentleman Ends This Mortal Career at Post of Duty in Charleston.

Remains are En-route Home Accompanied by an Escort of His Colleagues in House and Senate—Legislature Pays Tribute to His Memory.

Family Grave Marker of Edwin Maxwell

Charleston, W. Va., Feb. 6.–When the House and Senate convened this morning, Mr. Kyle of Harrison County announced in the House the death of Judge Maxwell, in touching language, and offered a resolution reciting his long service to the state, as citizen and public official, and moved that out of respect to the memory of the deceased the Legislature adjourn until Monday.

The resolution was adopted and reported to the Senate,  where, upon motion of Senator Harmer, it was taken up for immediate consideration and passed.

After the appointment of nine members from the House and six from the Senate to accompany the remains home, both house adjourned.

The remains and escort left here at noon via Point Pleasant and should arrive home on No. 4 at 9:40 this evening. Almost the entire Legislature accompanied the remains to the train.


Judge Edwin Maxwell, of this city, died at 8 o’clock Thursday night, February 5, 1903, in Charleston at the home of Col. B. W. Byrne after an illness of ten days of pneumonia. Judge Maxwell contracted the disease shortly after arriving there to discharge his duties as a member of the House of Delegates from this county, and for several days his condition had been serious but not alarming until the Sunday prior to his death, when his son, Haymond, was summoned by telegraph to his bedside. Toward the last he grew rapidly worse and at the hour above stated he passed earth. 

Edwin Maxwell was born and reared in Lewis County. His father was a carpenter in the town of Weston. The subject of this sketch was born there about the year 1830. The exact date cannot be fixed. If born in that year he was in his 73rd year at the time of his death, but it is stated that his age was about 77 years. 

On a farm he resided until he was about 21 years of age, when he began the study of law. He was admitted to the bar here June 1, 1848, with Judge George H. Lee on the bench.

In 1852 he opened a law office in West Union and continued to practice there until 1857, when he removed to Clarksburg and formed a law partnership with Col. Burton Despard, an eminent lawyer of his day. This law firm built up a large business and in 1865 Nathan Goff Jr., was admitted to membership in the firm. The business of the firm continued to increase until 1867, when Mr. Maxwell was elected Judge of the State Supreme Court, serving with distinction until December 31, 1872, when the operation of the new Constitution of the state ended his term of office.

Professional Devotion

After this Judge Maxwell refrained from political and public life quite a number of years and devoted his energies and talent to his profession to the extent of soon winning the reputation of being among the leading lawyers of the state. He became known far and wide as an able attorney and his decisions and opinions were sought by even the most brilliant and talented lawyers, of his day. This reputation clung to him to his dying moments.

His first public service was in the years 1863-’66, when he was a member of the State Senate, a period of difficulty and uncertainty, the state having just been formed and being the child of the Civil War. As chairman of the Judiciary committee he had a great deal to do with preparing, shaping and enacting the many laws, found in the Code of the state today.

During the year 1866 he served as Attorney General of the state and in 1880 he was again nominated by the Republican party for the Supreme bench but was defeated at the polls.

In 1884 he was the standard bearer of the Republican and Greenback Labor element for Governor and the results showed him to be very popular among the masses. While he went down to defeat, yet it was he who turned the political tide in the state by largely reducing the Democratic majority. Since then he has been known as the Father of the Republican party in West Virginia.

Political Life

In 1888 he was again elected to the State Senate and served on the joint committee of the Legislature in the celebrated contest case between Nathan Goff and A. Brooks Fleming over the governorship. He also served as chairman of the Judiciary committee.

In 1892 he was elected a member of the House of Delegates and served with distinction. He was again elected to that position in 1902 and was at his post of duty, when the summons came. He died in the service of his state.

Many of the best laws of the state bear the imprint of his fine judgement and good common sense. Only such laws as were beneficial did he ever advise to be enacted. One of the greatest of his works in the free school system of this state. He was very much interested in that measure and did much to overcome the prejudices against it.

Although not a politician by nature and never seeking political preferment yet he was often called upon by the people to serve them and their wishes he never refused to comply with. He was ever ready to do what his party thought best and did it cheerfully and well, however much the personal inconvenience.

Judge Maxwell married rather late in life, not until 1872, when Miss Laura Shuttleworth, deceased, became his bride. Two sons were the result of the Union, Edwin, of Seattle, Washington; and Haymond, of this city. Mrs. Maxwell died some years ago. 

The deceased has been a member of the Clarksburg Telegram Company since in December, 1890, and for several years and at the time of his death was president of the company.

In Memory of Judge Maxwell.

The Daily Telegram, February 06, 1903

Judge Edwin Maxwell is dead! The State of West Virginia has lost and honored citizen, a useful man, a patriot. Harrison County has lost one of its best men and a most highly esteemed member of its social fabric. An upright citizens gone. An honest man has left us. A just person has gone from us forever. A patriot has fought his last battle, finished the fight and entered into his reward. A proud career has ended on earth. A life well lived has come to a close.

The cherished memory by the present generation has been grandly won. The pages of history are ready to contain the biography of a grand man. The people of the state mourn for one near and dear to them. They are sad that he is gone but point with pride the good he has done and revere him for the long life spent in work for the best interests of the state and the highest welfare of the people.

Picture of The Honorable Judge Edwin Maxwell

Words utterly fail to render an encomium that measures up to the real greatness of his character. Plain and every-day in his habits but always circumspect, he was a man of the people. Lofty in mind, his deeds were noble. Just at heart, his counsels and decisions were fair. Honest in purpose, his dealings were unquestioned.

Devoted to and experienced in his profession, his constructions of law were confided in. Patriotic to the point of enthusiasm, his citizenship and loyalty to state and nation were unquestioned. Justice between man and man was the great inspiration of his life. Such was the grand character of the man that all felt satisfied to have him the arbiter of their disputes and controversies and his decisions were relied upon as the conclusions of one who desired only the right and not biased in mind.

It is well that such a man has lived among us. The example he set is worthy of emulation and has led others to the noblest, highest and best of life. Future generations will feel the elevating influence of his a life, so nobly spent. He did not live in vain and in this instance life was not vanity. The state mourns its dead; but one has passed to the Great Beyond, where there is rich reward for such grand characters as Judge Maxwell.

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