JAMES FLETCHER DATON, one of the brightest members of the Jefferson County bar, was born at New Alexandria in Cross Creek Township in 1842, his parents being Jerome D. and Rebecca Daton. He attended the village school until the age of fifteen years when he entered Madison College at Uniontown, Pa., where he remained one year. He then took the full classical course at Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa., and subsequently completed his education at the Cleveland Law College.
The Civil War breaking out about the time he had completed his law studies, he enlisted in the First West VIrginia Cavalry, serving several months, and was honorably discharged at Washington, D. C. He was admitted to the bar in 1863, soon after attaining his majority, and the same fall was elected prosecuting attorney, to which office he was re-elected in 1865, serving two terms with credit to himself and constituents. During 1864 he was First Lieutenant in Co. C, 157th Regiment, Ohio National Guard, and during the service of his regiment at Fort Delaware he acted as judge advocate for the Government in several important cases. He continued the practice of law in Steubenville until his death on September 11, 1895, making a specialty of criminal cases. His mind was quick to grasp and analyze a legal problem in all its bearings, and as an orator he had few equals either in court or on the rostrum. An ardent Republican in politics, his tongue and pen were always at the service of his party, and he was in constant demand for campaign work as well as for all kinds of public gatherings. His fund of humor and above all his well known integrity made him a universal favorite both with his legal associates and with the public, and his death was deeply regretted by the entire community.