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Sam Mallison

Publicist Sam Thomas Mallison (September 9, 1894-January 30, 1979) had a long career as a journalist, politician, and corporate executive. Born and educated in North Carolina, Mallison worked on several small newspapers there before becoming city editor of the Clarksburg Telegram in 1916. He later became the paper’s political correspondent, covering the state legislature. As editor, Mallison gave young Jennings Randolph a job as sports writer, while Randolph was a student at nearby Salem College.

While in Clarksburg, Mallison became friends with Howard M. Gore and went to Washington as Gore’s private secretary when Gore became assistant secretary of agriculture in 1924. After becoming governor, Gore appointed Mallison state auditor (1927–29). Mallison later served as capital correspondent for the Ogden newspapers.

In 1937, Mallison was hired as head of public relations for the Benedum-Trees Company, Michael Benedum’s worldwide collection of oil, pipeline, and refining companies. He worked for the company for 28 years. While there, Mallison wrote The Great Wildcatter, an uncritical but highly readable biography of Benedum, a Bridgeport native and successful oil man. A skilled raconteur, Mallison in 1961 published Let’s Set a Spell, a collection of personal anecdotes covering a range of subjects from the governor’s office to death row at the West Virginia Penitentiary. Sam Mallison died in San Angelo, Texas.

Written by H. John Rogers


  1. Mallison, Sam T. The Great Wildcatter. Charleston: Education Foundation, 1953.

  2. Mallison, Sam T. Let's Set a Spell. Charleston: Education Foundation of West Virginia, 1961.