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The Recollections of Fifty Years of West Virginia, a West Virginia classic, was written by William Alexander MacCorkle, West Virginia’s ninth governor (1893–97). Many of the 26 chapters detail the talents, quirks, and foibles of notable lawyers during a period of intense social, political, and industrial change. It was a time when basic issues of land ownership, land use, mineral rights, taxes, and transportation were carved out in the state’s courtrooms, and MacCorkle knew the principal players.

MacCorkle came to West Virginia in 1876 to teach in Pocahontas County, later studied law at Washington and Lee University, then opened a law practice in Charleston. His reminiscences of fellow lawyers and the judges before whom they practiced fill most of the pages of his Recollections. He sketches in the state’s history and his own early life and ancestry in the early chapters. A local color chapter describes the people and customs of the mountains. MacCorkle discusses his experience as governor in four chapters near the end of the book. The Recollections of Fifty Years was published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons Publishing Company in 1928, two years before MacCorkle’s death. There is a foreword by John W. Davis of Clarksburg, presidential candidate and U.S. ambassador to Great Britain.

This Article was written by Phyllis Wilson Moore

Last Revised on October 22, 2010

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MacCorkle, William A. The Recollections of Fifty Years of West Virginia. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1928.

Cite This Article

Moore, Phyllis Wilson "The Recollections of Fifty Years." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 22 October 2010. Web. 01 March 2024.


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