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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesWest Virginia

William Smith O’BRIEN

(1862-1948)

O’BRIEN, William Smith, a Representative from West Virginia; born in Audra, near Philippi, Barbour County, Va., (now West Virginia), January 8, 1862; attended the common schools, the Weston (W.Va.) Academy, and the University of West Virginia at Morgantown; worked on farms, in brick yards, and on public works; also taught school and was engaged as an editor; was graduated from the law school of the West Virginia University at Morgantown in 1891; was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Buckhannon, Upshur County, W.Va., in 1892; served as a captain in the West Virginia National Guard in 1894 and 1895; served as judge of the twelfth judicial circuit of West Virginia 1913-1919; elected as a Democrat to the Seventieth Congress (March 4, 1927-March 3, 1929); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1928 to the Seventy-first Congress; resumed the practice of law; elected secretary of state of West Virginia in 1932, 1936, 1940, and again in 1944, in which capacity he served until his death in Buckhannon, W.Va., on August 10, 1948; interment in Heavner Cemetery.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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