William W. Barron, Governor

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William Wallace "Wally" Barron

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Frederick H. Barron and Mary C. Butler

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Immediate Family

About William W. Barron, Governor


William Wallace "Wally" Barron (December 8, 1911 – November 12, 2002) was a Democratic machine politician in West Virginia. He was the state's 26th Governor from 1961 to 1965. He later served a prison term due to his corrupt actions.

He was born in Elkins, West Virginia. He attended Washington and Lee University and the West Virginia University Law School. During World War II, he served in the United States Army. In 1949, he was selected by the "machine" to be elected mayor of Elkins. He was then slated for the House of Delegates in 1950 and re-elected in 1952 . He resigned his seat when appointed as Liquor Control Commissioner, a position very valuable to the machine due to the opportunities to receive bribes and kickbacks, by Governor William C. Marland subsequent to the 1952 election. He was then slated as the machine's Attorney General candidate in the 1956 election, traditionally the last step before the governorship.

In 1960 he was elected governor and set about attempting to undo the clean government and civil rights reforms that had been instituted by his predecessor, Cecil H. Underwood, the only Republican to hold the governor's office between 1932 and 1968. He was, for the most part, unsuccessful in this, and the death of the "machine" followed.

Barron's governorship was largely corrupt and numerous officials were convicted of charges including bribery, falsification of records, conspiracy and tax evasion. In 1971 Barron was convicted of jury tampering in an earlier trial and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

He died on November 12, 2002 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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William W. Barron, Governor's Timeline

Age 91