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Mortimer Frame of Clay County WV

Mortimer Frame

Mortimer Frame

HON. MORTIMER W. FRAME, Nestor of the Clay County bar, served as prosecuting attorney of the county for a period of 16 years, and is classed among the foremost lawyers of the State of West Virginia. He was born on a farm along the Kanawha River, near Bulltown, Braxton County, Virginia, now West Virginia, and is a son of James and Elizabeth (Wilson) Frame.

The first of our subject’s paternal ancestors to locate in this country was David Frame, who came from Ireland and located in Virginia prior to the Revolutionary War. He served throughout the struggle for independence, and lived near Huntersville, Pocahontas County, where he died. His sons moved to Braxton County, among them James Frame, the grandfather of our subject. The latter was a farmer and also followed the trade of a millwright throughout life.

James Frame, the father of our subject, lived at Frametown, Braxton County, from 1809 to the spring of 1844, when he removed to what is now Clay County, West Virginia, but which was then a part of Braxton County. This removal took place when the subject of this sketch was 18 months old. Under the law of Virginia, he was nominated for the position of justice of the peace by the County Court and received his appointment from the governor. He served in this office for 18 years in his new home. He practiced law in Clay County from the erection of the county in 1859 up to 1861, when the war between the States put an end, for the time being, to peaceful occupations. He and his three sons took the side of the South in that great conflict, and all were disfranchised by the “test oath,” until that impediment was removed in 1872. As he was prevented from practicing his profession on account of this, he abandoned his law practice and took up farming as his sole occupation.

His wife, the mother of our subject, was Elizabeth Wilson. She was born in Lewis County, Virginia, now West Virginia, and was a daughter of Andrew Wilson, who was of Irish birth and ancestry, having been born in County Meath, Ireland. Andrew Wilson married a woman of English descent of the same name, and many of the Wilsons of Virginia and West Virginia are their descendants. Andrew Wilson came to this country from Ireland at a very early date. He lived in Lewis County, Virginia, for a great many years and was noted for his activity and intelligence. He died at the age of 122 years, and is said to have been the oldest person that ever lived in the States of Virginia or West Virginia. With increasing years, his activity and vigor did not diminish to an appreciable extent, for only two years before his death he walked eight miles in order to cast his vote for James K. Polk as president.

Mortimer W. Frame has a distinct recollection of some of the incidents of the journey of the family to Clay County in 1844, although he was only 18 months old at the time. He remembers seeing his father tie the flatboat in which the journey was made to a tree on the Elk River. His remarkable memory has characterized his entire life. He is able to accurately detail every day’s march during the Civil War, in which he participated for four years. This faculty has also been shown in his law work and has proved of invaluable help to him in the trial of cases, for no matter how complicated the case, he depends solely upon his memory. At the outbreak of the Civil War. Mr. Frame enlisted in the 22nd Regiment, Virginia Infantry, C. S. A., and served throughout the war, except during such periods when he was physically disabled. He served under General Floyd and others, and participated, in all, in over a hundred battles of the war. On August 26, 1863, he was seriously wounded in the leg, at Dry Creek, near White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier County, but would not permit Dr. Patrick, the surgeon, to amputate it. After obtaining a furlough of 60 days, he went to Richmond, joined his infantry command, fought out the 6o-day furlough, and then joined the cavalry, in which he served until the war closed, participating in a dozen of the largest battles in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864. At the end of his furlough, when he went to Richmond, he paid $25 for a breakfast, the large price being due to the depreciated Confederate currency. He was a gallant soldier and was content to serve the cause as a private without seeking promotion.

Mr. Frame’s education was very limited, and up to the time of his admission to the bar he had been to school not to exceed three months. He had learned to read, write and count, but had no education to speak of until shortly before he was made prosecuting attorney. He then attended public school at Clay Court House, along with his three oldest sons, learning English grammar. He studied law by himself, and after a rigid examination before Judge Henry Gillespie and Judge Robert Irvin, was admitted to the bar. He was at once elected prosecuting attorney, and served continuously for a period of 12 years, later being elected for a subsequent term of four years. He was the nominee of the Democratic party for the off1ce of prosecuting attorney for 28 years. Lately, he declined to accept another nomination of his party for this office on account of his intention of removing to Oklahoma, where two of his sons are practicing attorneys. Mr. Frame is a stalwart Democrat, as was his father before him. He is a man of excellent qualities, places a high standard on manhood and lives up to his ideals. He is a good judge of human nature and has many intimate friends who esteem him highly for his excellent traits of character.

Mortimer W. Frame was married November 21, 1867 to Nancy Triplett, who was born July 27, 1842 and is a daughter of Sinnett and Elizabeth Triplett. The father of Mrs. Frame was a soldier in the war of 1812, under General Harrison, and received a pension, which is now paid to Mrs. Triplett, who is past 90 years of age. Sinnett Triplett was a physician during the latter years of his life, practicing in Clay County until his death, in 1855.

To Mr and Mrs. Frame have been born seven children, namely: James M., a lawyer of El Reno, Oklahoma; Baines, a lawyer of Taloga, Oklahoma ; Marshall T.; Minnie Alberta; Homer, who died April 17, 1898, at the age of 24 years; Charles C, who died at the age of 12 years; and Ella, who died at the age of 10 years. Mr. Frame owns a very pretty little home at Clay Court House, with most beautiful surroundings of trees, vines, shrubbery, flowers, etc. He has a farm of 50 acres adjoining the town, which property is underlaid with valuable coal deposits.

Men of West Virginia, Vol 2, Illustrated, Biographical Publishing Co, George Richmond, Pres.; C. R. Arnold, Sec’y and Treas., Chicago, Illinois, 1903. p 464-466

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