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Romeo Freer


Congressman Romeo H. Freer (November 9, 1845-May 9, 1913) was born in Trumbull County, Ohio. He served in two infantry regiments of the Union army during the Civil War.

Following the war, Freer moved to Charleston where he taught school and studied law. After being admitted to the bar in 1868, he served as prosecuting attorney for Fayette and Boone counties. He was elected prosecuting attorney for Kanawha County in 1870. President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him consul to Nicaragua in 1872. He returned to Charleston in January 1877 but without his wife, Lilly, who had died in Nicaragua in 1873. In 1877, he joined John E. Kenna in traveling through West Virginia urging voters to cast their votes for Charleston to be the state capitol. While practicing law in Charleston, Freer befriended Booker T. Washington, loaning him books to prepare for a possible career in law.

After divorcing his second wife, he moved to Ritchie County in 1881 where he married for the third time. Freer, a Republican, was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1890 and then circuit court judge in 1892. He won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1898. After one term in Congress, he was elected attorney general of West Virginia. In 1904 he returned to Ritchie County where he was appointed postmaster of Harrisville, a position he held until his death. He was survived by his wife, Mary Iams Freer, and son, Romeo H. Freer Jr.

Written by Kenneth R. Bailey


  1. George W. Atkinson. . Charleston: Virginian Law Company, 1919.