Thomas Willoughby Harrison


Of Judge T. W. Harrison Will Be Held Wednesday Afternoon.

The Daily Telegram., November 08, 1910, page five

Headstone Inscription of Thomas W. Harrison

The funeral of Judge T. W. Harrison will be held Wednesday afternoon at 3 o’clock. Services will be conducted at the residence by the Rev. H. T. McClelland, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church.

Burial will be in the Odd Fellows’ Cemetery. Immediate relatives will act as a pallbearers.


The Fairmont West Virginia., November 08, 1910, page six

CLARKSBURG, Nov. 8 — Judge Thomas W. Harrison, father of U. S. Circuit Court Clerk S. R. Harrison, is dead. Judge Harrison passed away at his home in Clarksburg Sunday morning. He was about eighty-two years of age, and had been noticeably failing of late, with the weakness of extreme age. He was for years judge of the circuit court and was one of the ablest and most highly esteemed jurists of the State. The deceased was an uncle of Mrs. Hal Rapp, wife of the deputy marshal of this city. Mr. and Mrs. Rapp will leave for Clarksburg to-morrow to remain till after the funeral.

Image of Thomas Willoughby Harrison


In Reference to the Death of Judge Harrison and Will Attend Funeral.

The Daily Telegram., November 08, 1910, page eight

At a meeting of the bar of Harrison County, held at the Court House, Monday evening, November 7, to take suitable action in regard to the death of ex-Judge Thomas W. Harrison, the Hon. John J. Davis was called to the chair, Mr. Philip Steptoe being chosen as secretary.

After appropriate addresses in honor of the deceased, on motion, Judge Charles W. Lynch, Hon. John Bassel, Phillip P. Steptoe, Esq., Edward G. Smith, Esq., Capt. Melville G. Sperry, Dabney C. Lee, Esq., and the chairman Hon. John J. Davis, were appointed a committee on resolutions. The following, offered by Mr. Lee, and referred to the committee, was by it, favorably reported to the meeting, and unanimously adopted:

It is with profound sorrow that we, the members of the bar of Harrison County, have learned of the death of ex-Judge Thomas W. Harrison at his late residence near Clarksburg, during the forenoon of Sunday the 6th inst.

We desire to express our deep and heartfelt sympathy to the family and relatives of the deceased, in this the hour of their great bereavement; and to voice our deep sense of the loss that has been sustained by the community, the legal profession, and society at large, in the death of this distinguished jurist.

Blind Scales of Justice

As part of a long, useful, and honorable life in his profession, Thomas Willoughby Harrison was the first judge of the circuit court of Harrison County, West Virginia, after the formation of the new state.

As lawyer, citizen, and judge, he attained a distinction achieved by but few. Of him it can be truly said, that he was an able lawyer, an upright man and a just judge. Indeed, the quality for which he was most peculiarly respected and honored, was his exalted moral rectitude–his unbending integrity.

Judge Harrison brought to the discharge of every duty, private and official, energy, ability, sound judgment, and the deepest conscientiousness.

He was the worthy representative of a distinguished ancestry, and an honored name in Virginia and West Virginia.

Therefore, be it resolved, that this minute be presented to the circuit court of Harrison County, and to the supreme court of appeals of this state, with the request that the same be spread upon their respective records and that a copy also be delivered to the family of the deceased; and that as a further mark of respect we attend the funeral of the deceased in a body.


Of Ex-Judge T. W. Harrison Is Held at His Home in Broad Oaks

The Daily Telegram., November 09, 1910
The Clarksburg Telegram., November 10, 1910

Undertaking Sketch

The funeral of ex-Judge Thomas Willoughby Harrison, who died Sunday morning at his home in Broad Oaks following a stroke of paralysis was held Wednesday afternoon at 3 o’clock. Services were conducted at the residence by the Rv. H. T. McClelland, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, after which interment was made in the Odd Fellows’ Cemetery. A large number of relatives and friends among them members of the local bar, attended the funeral.


Are Adopted by Merchants Bank in Memory of Judge Harrison

The Daily Telegram., November 09, 1910, page five

At a meeting of the board of directors of the Merchants National Bank of West Virginia, at Clarksburg, held on the 7th day of November, 1910 at 10 o’clock, the following resolution was adopted:

In Memoriam.
Sketch depicting court room in the late 19th and early 20th century

Honorable Thomas W. Harrison departed this life Sunday, November the sixth, nineteen hundred and ten, at eleven o’clock in the forenoon.

Judge Harrison was elected a director of this bank October the thirteenth, eighteen hundred and seventy-nine, serving in both capacities continuously until the time of his death. During all his long official connection with this bank his mature judgement and his conscientious attendance upon the duties have been of the greatest assistance to his associates and of lasting benefit to the institution.

In the death of Judge Harrison this bank has lost a valued official, the bar has lost an able lawyer and jurist, the community has lost an honest, patriotic citizen whose long life free, from stain, furnishes an example of right living well worthy of emulation. He lived a simple life and leaves a noble record.

Be it resolved that the foregoing commemoration of our deceased associate be spread upon the minutes and that copies of the same be furnished to the family of the deceased and to the press.


The Clarksburg Telegram., November 10, 1910, page 6

Beloved Resident, Who Was a Founder of the State, is Taken Away.


Served for Years on Circuit Court Bench and Was a Prominent Lawyer.

Map of Virginia and West Virginia

Ex-Judge Thomas Willoughby Harrison, an aged and beloved resident of this community and one of the founders of the State of West Virginia, died suddenly Sunday morning at his home in Broad Oaks following a stroke of paralysis.

As Judge Harrison was well known among many of the people of this state by reason of a long, active and useful life, many years of which were spent in a public capacity, and as he was a man of splendid character, he was held in the highest esteem and veneration by all who knew him and his death causes sorroow among thousands of people. He was a man of remarkable health, being of a large frame and possessing a vigorous constitution, and continued to be well and hearty until his eightieth year when he began to fail slightly. He had no serious illness, however, and was able to go around and his mind remained clear until the end. Sunday morning about 8 o’clock he had a stroke of paralysis and died peacefully and without pain a few hours afterward, surrounded by all his family.


Judge Harrison was born October 28, 1824, on West Main Street, in this city. He attended the public schools until he was about 14 years old when he entered the Jefferson Academy in Virginia. After returning home he read law in his father’s office and was admitted to the bar of Harrison County in 1845, practicing law until 1863. He was a member of the first constitutional convention, which provided for the formation of the new State of West Virginia and which was held in Wheeling in November, 1861.

In 1863, Mr. Harrison was elected judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit, composed of the counties of Harrison, Marion and Barbour, and served as such for two terms, or twelve years in all. He presided over this circuit, to which Randolph county was subsequently added until December 31, 1872, when, by operation of the constitution, he was legislated out of office. He was a candidate for the judgeship of the new Second Circuit against the Hon. Charles S. Lewis, and the election resulted in such a close vote that a contest resulted and Mr. Lewis was declared the nominee, although thousands of Judge Harrison’s friends believed he had been elected and that the contest was against him because the legislature was largely of the same political faith as his opponent.

After retiring from the judgeship, Judge Harrison practiced law here and he was engaged as counsel in many of important cases tried in this section. He also engaged in the banking business and was vice-president and director of the Merchants National Bank. He was elected a director of that institution October 13, 1874, and continued in that capacity until his death, a period of more than thirty six years.

Presbytery Image

Judge Harrison was a son of Judge William A. Harrison, who served on the Supreme Court bench of West Virginia and who died forty years ago.

In 1848 he married Miss Mary A. Robertson, a daughter of the Rev. Samuel Robertson, of Albany, N. Y., and they passed their sixty-second wedding anniversary together October 30. He is survived by his wife and all their children. The latter are Willoughby, Mathew, Frederick, Samuel Robertson, Ellen Mayburry, and Anna Dorcas Harrison, all of the county. The following brothers and sisters survive him: Mathew W. Harrison, of Weston; Charles Tyler Harrison, of Sistersville; and Mrs. Rebecca Patton of this city.

The deceased man was affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, led always a Christian life and in his last years was a devoted student of the Bible.

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