Thayer Melvin


JUDGE THAYER MELVIN, a native of Hancock county, W. Va., was admitted to the practice of law in said county in 1835 some time before reaching his majority. He was elected prosecuting attorney in 1855 and was re-elected and served several terms very acceptably to the people. While serving in the capacity of prosecuting attorney for Hancock county, he removed to Wheeling and became the junior member of the law firm of Pendleton & Melvin, attending regularly, however, the courts of his native county. In 1861 Judge Melvin, in response to his country's call, exchanged his law books for the musket and entered the volunteer army as a private. He served until the close of the war, the greater portion of the time as adjutant general of the department of West Virginia, commanded by different general officers, viz: Kelley, Seigel, Hunter, Crook, Emory; and was on Gen. Sheridan's staff in the Shenandoah campaign of 1864. In 1866 he resumed the practice of law at Wellsburg, and in that same year was nominated and elected attorney general of West Virginia, and re-elected in 1868. Before the expiration of his second term he resigned the office of attorney general and was appointed jusdge of the first judicial district of West Virginia to fill vacancy caused by the death of Judge Caldwell, and by being twice re-elected he served on the bench until 1881, a period of twelve years. Sicne his retirement from the bench he has been actively engaged in the practice in the different courts, being a member of the firm of Ewing, Melvin & Riley. Judge Melvin did not have the advantage of a classical education that is vouchsafed to most young men entering the law, but by a course of reading which he has systematically pursued he is familiar with the best English writers of the day. To all the positions of honor to which he has been elevated, he has brought a well trained mind. He is safe and cautious in his practice, on the bench he was mnost painstaking, and his decisions were reached only after the most careful research. If he had a fault, it was that of over cautiousness. He is regarded as an able and erudite lawyer, an impartial and honest judge.

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