John Scott McWHORTER

Source: West Virginia In History, Life, Literature and Industry Vol III by Morris Purdy Shawkey. Chicago and New York: The Lewis Publishing Co. 1928 pp. 373-374.

"John Scott McWhorter, of the eminent attorneys of West Virginia, has since 1897 been engaged in a general civil, criminal and corporation practice at Lewisburg.

John Scott McWhorter is a descendant of one of the first pioneers in the wilds of Northwestern Virginia, Henry McWhorter, who was born in Orange County, New York, November 13, 1760. His father, a linen weaver by trade, came from Northern Ireland. Henry McWhorter with his wife and children in 1784 settled on a branch of Hacker's Creek in Harrison County, erecting a cabin and clearing land, and three years later moving to the vicinity of West's Fork, where the town of Janelew now stands. There he built a house of hewn logs, which was his home for thirty-seven years, and which in recent years has been taken over by the state and removed to Jackson Park in Lewis County, where it is preserved as one of the oldest houses in existence. Henry McWhorter was a millwright, and on the banks of the creek erected the first mill in what are now Lewis and Upshur counties. This mill was patronized not only by those immediately around it, but by settlers as far away as the Buckhannon settlement. Henry McWhorter was a pastor in the Methodist Church for over forty years and in many ways he exerted his influence for good in the early history of that section of the state. Henry McWhorter at the age of seventeen entered the American army in the war for independence, and it was a few years after the close of the war that he came to West Virginia. Henry McWhorter was the great-great-grandfather of the Lewisburg attorney. The great-grandfather was Walter McWhorter, who was born at the old homestead near Janelew and remained there a farmer. His son, John Minyon McWhorter was born in the same locality, and was distinguished by his intellectual abilities, culture, and the splendid service he rendered both as a physician and minister. For many years he practiced medicine at Hackers Creek and in later years was a minister of the Universalist Church. He also did much to promote the establishment and maintenance of good schools. He was the grandfather of John Scott McWhorter.

John Scott McWhorter was born in Upshur County, West Virginia, February 8, 1873, son of Flavius and Catherine (Reger) McWhorter. His father was born at the old McWhorter place near Janelew, and spent his active life in the mercantile business, retiring many years before his death, which occurred in 1923. His wife, Catherine Reger, who died in 1880, was of Holland-Dutch ancestry, being a daughter of Goodman Reger, a life long resident and farmer of Upshur County, and granddaughter of Henry Reger, who also lived and died in Upshur County, being a farmer and a member of the Methodist Church.

John Scott McWhorter after his early schooling in Upshur county attended West Virginia University, and took his law course in the University of Wisconsin, from which he graduated with the LL.B. degree in 1895. For two years he took a post-graduate course in West Virginia University, and then engaged in private practice at Lewisburg.

For many years he has enjoyed a secure reputation as one of the ablest lawyers in his section of the state. Among other interests he represents, he is attorney for the Bank of Greenbrier, Bank of Renick, the Gauly Coal Land Company, Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company, and the Virginia Public Service Corporation.

Mr. McWhorter practically gave up his professional during the World War and accepted such a multitude of responsibilities as chairman of the committees for the Red Cross, bond, Y.M.C.A., War Stamps and public safety drives, and in the Four Minute Speaker's Bureau, that his health broke down before the end of the war. Mr. McWhorter served three terms by election as prosecuting attorney and twice by appointment. He has been chairman of the County Central Committee and for years a leader in the Democratic party in his section of the state. For one term he was mayor of Lewisburg, refusing to accept another term. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Masonic Lodge, Knghts of Pythias and Loyal Order of Moose.

He married, September 14, 1899, Miss Jennie Pearl McWhorter, whose father, Judge J.N. McWhorter, served a term as state auditor and then engaged in the practice of law at Lewisburg, and for two terms was judge of the Judical Circuit there. Mrs. McWhorter was educated in the Lewisburg Female Seminary, and was a very active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She died in 1908. Mr. McWhorter's children are by this marriage. On March 11, 1911, he married Miss Wapella Feamster, daughter of William J. Feamster, a farmer of Ruppert, West Virginia. Mrs. McWhorter was educated in the Alderson Academy and is a member of the Baptist Church. The children of Mr. McWhorter are: Joseph Reger, who attended public schools, the Greenbrier Military Institute, University of Wisconsin, Army and Navy Preparatoy School at Washington, West Virginia University, and is now a retail coal merchant at Lewisburg; Julian K. McWhorter, a student in Washington and Lee University; John Scott, Jr., who graduated from the Lewisburg High School, attended Greenbrier Military Institute, and is now in the automobile business at Renick, West Virginia. The daughter, Miss Catherine McWhorter, finisher her high school in the Lewisburg Female Seminary and the Southern Seminary in Virginia, and is now a teacher in the public schools of Greenbrier County."

Submitted by Nancy Jackson.
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