Some Mayors of Beckley

This list is taken from Raleigh County West Virginia by Jim Wood, with a few corrections I found by looking at old newspapers. Wood used the title “Some Beckley Mayors 1872-1992,” implying that he did not believe the list was complete, and it does appear that information from the 1870s and 1880s is lacking.

Name Dates Notes
John Beckley1872,
Was elected Beckley’s first Mayor in July 1872. Neither the obituary in the Messenger nor the obituary in the Raleigh Herald mentions that he was mayor, although they do mention his higher offices, such as county commissioner. In his autobiography he wrote, “Since living in Town of Beckley I have been elected and served as Mayor of the town for a number of years, as the early records will show.” He was Alfred’s oldest son. b. Mar. 26, 1833, d. June 8, 1910.
Thaddeus K. Scott1891The obituary of Thaddeus K. Scott (1856-1922) says he never held elective office.
Robert T. Willis1893The obituary of Robert T. Willis (1849-1932) says that he was elected mayor “more than a score of years ago.” He operated the Willis Hotel.
Thaddeus K. Scott1894See above.
John Beckley1896See above.
Capt. John W. (Jack) Anderson1897Ballots dated Jan. 7, 1897, indicate he was elected Mayor, “defeating incumbent Mayor John W. McCreery.” (However, Wood shows John Beckley as the preceding mayor.)
John Wallace McCreery1898-99b. July 31, 1845; d. May 22, 1917. His obituary in the Beckley Messenger does not mention that he was Mayor, but does mention other offices he held, including prosecuting attorney and state senator.
J. E. Summerfield1900
George A. Cook1901Resigned May 1901 to take a council seat, succeeded by John W. McCreery.
John Wallace McCreery1901see above
A. D. Preston1902
John H. Hatcher1903
Ashton File1904The obituary of Ashton File, who died in 1943, does not mention him being Mayor of Beckley and in fact says that he never held public office.
Joe L. Smith1906On July 5, 1906, and Dec. 20, 1906, newspapers referred to Joe L. Smith as mayor.
Hugh A. Dunn1907On Jan. 10, 1907, the Raleigh Herald reported that Hugh A. Dunn was elected Mayor of Beckley, defeating L. H. Davis, 109-89.
Joe L. Smith1908,
On Jan. 9, 1908, the Raleigh Herald reported that Joe L. Smith was elected mayor, defeating Robert B. Robertson 130-100.
Lucien Hereford Davis1910-11On Jan. 6, 1910, the Raleigh Register reported, “At a special meeting of the city council held Tuesday afternoon, Lucien H. Davis was elected Mayor to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Hon. R. B. Robertson, who was elected at the October election.” He was elected on the seventh ballot. On Apr. 15, 1910, the Beckley Messenger reported, “Mayor Davis has announced that the law against permitting stock to run at large within the city limits is to be enforced to the letter....” Davis resigned in Aug. 1911, and was succeeded by Thomas Wickham. Lucien Davis was b. Dec. 24, 1880, d. May 25, 1966.
Thomas H. Wickham1911On Aug. 31, 1911, the Raleigh Herald reported that Mayor Davis announced his resignation at the council meeting and that Thomas H. Wickham was elected by acclamation and immediately sworn in as the new Mayor.
M. L. Painter1912-13
Dr. W. W. Watts1914-15
Hugh A. Davis1916-17
Herbert A. Stansbury1918-19
Dr. J. A. Campbell1920-21
C. V. Cottle1922-23
Herbert A. Stansbury1924-25
J. Hugh Miller1926-27
Joe L. Smith1928-29Resigned 7 May 1929, succeeded by George W. Bair Jr..
George W. Bair Jr.1929
Cyrus H. Meador1930-31
Grover C. Hedrick1932-33
A. Z. Lilly1934-35
Dr. Robert Wriston1936-37
A. K. Minter1938-39,
Robert Wriston1944-45
Walter A. E. Burke1946-47
Grover C. Hedrick1948-49
Walter A. E. Burke1950-51
George Chambers1952-53
Elmer L. Davis1954-55
A. K. Minter1956-59
Cecil Miller1959-63
John Wesley Smith1963-70Died before finishing term, succeeded by John Howard McCulloch.
John Howard McCulloch1970-82
Charles F. Shoemaker1983-87
Emmett S. Pugh III1988-13Longest-serving Mayor in Beckley history.
William A. O’Brien2014-16Associated with radio station WJLS, named for Joe L. Smith, an earlier mayor. (The station was founded by son Joe L. Smith Jr.)
Robert Rappold2016-


Robert B. Robertson (b. June 30, 1877) died in December 1909 after having been elected mayor but before taking office. He was 32 years old.

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