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An attorney by profession, George Daugherty, popularly known as “The Earl of Elkview,” found wider fame as a comic actor, singer, and famously witty songwriter. Daugherty was also a recovered alcoholic who, throughout his recovery, aided countless other individuals similarly afflicted.

Daugherty was born December 12, 1931, in the upstairs area above a silent movie house at Mannington in Marion County. Four years later, his family moved to Elkview in Kanawha County. In 1970 Daugherty assumed the stage name by which he became popularly known, “The Earl of Elkview,” to separate his identity as an attorney from his performance persona.

After graduating from West Virginia University and the WVU College of Law, he practiced law for more than 50 years, specializing in medical liability cases. As Daugherty explained to one interviewer, he had planned on becoming a doctor but “damn near flunked out of school before I realized I had no business in pre-med. To be a doctor you have to understand chemistry and the sciences and all that’s like Latin to me.” After pausing for a moment, he added, “Actually, I do understand Latin. It’s like Greek to me.”

Though Daugherty enjoyed being a lawyer, he found an opportunity to ply his trade as an entertainer when he was offered a regular musical comedy spot on the Capitol City Jamboree musical showcase in Charleston. He went on to perform with the Charleston Light Opera Guild, the Kanawha Players and the Pipestem Players. He co-hosted West Virginia Public Radio’s Mountain Stage in its early years.

Throughout his career Daugherty traveled widely, singing and speaking about West Virginia and the values of Appalachian culture. He logged more than 3,000 performances, appearing in virtually every corner of West Virginia and many other states, as well as performing in Ireland, a country he loved.

In 2009, after Daugherty moved to Dunbar, the City Council there added a new honorific to his title, officially proclaiming him to be the Duke of Dunbar.

For many years, beginning in his college days, Daugherty had been a self-acknowledged heavy drinker. Eventually he stopped drinking, and as an Alcoholic Anonymous sponsor counseled many others to take the path to recovery. In 2013, when the West Virginia Supreme Court established a program to help attorneys and judges struggling with substance abuse issues, Daugherty was appointed to head the program.

Daugherty died February 3, 2019 in Charleston.

This Article was written by James E. Casto

Last Revised on January 25, 2022


Sources

Perkinson, J. Kendall. "Elkview's Earl". WV Living, Fall 2018.

Cite This Article

Casto, James E. "George Daugherty." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 25 January 2022. Web. 06 October 2022.

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