Homer A. Holt

Homer A. Holt
20th Governor of West Virginia
In office
January 18, 1937  January 13, 1941
Preceded by H. Guy Kump
Succeeded by Matthew M. Neely
Personal details
Born (1898-03-01)March 1, 1898
Lewisburg, West Virginia
Died January 16, 1975(1975-01-16) (aged 76)
Charleston, West Virginia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Isabel Wood Holt
Profession Politician
Religion Presbyterian

Homer Adams Holt (March 1, 1898  January 16, 1975) was a West Virginia lawyer and politician who served as that state's 20th governor from 1937 to 1941. Born in Lewisburg, West Virginia, he attended the Greenbrier Military School there and then went on to graduate from Washington and Lee University in 1918, where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. After serving in the army during World War I, he returned to Washington and Lee in 1920 and studied law, receiving his degree in 1923. In 1924, he married Isabel Wood.[1]

Holt taught law at Washington and Lee University School of Law for two years, and then practiced law in Fayetteville, West Virginia from 1925–1933. He was elected state attorney general in 1932, and served until becoming governor in 1937. Holt had been attorney general of West Virginia during the time of the Hawks Nest Tunnel tragedy and “During his term as attorney general, Holt successfully defended Union Carbide in the Supreme Court Trial, United States V. State of West Virginia, 295 U.S. 463 (1935)” [2] Holt was governor during the time the Writers’ Project of the Works Project Administration (WPA) began work on West Virginia: A Guide to the Mountain State in 1939. Holt did not want the guide to be published, he believed that it would discredit the state and was "propaganda from start to finish"[3] After his term as governor he resumed his career as a lawyer by becoming general counsel for the Union Carbide Company in New York (same company behind the Hawks Nest Tunnel Tragedy).[4]

Holt was a trustee of Washington and Lee University from 1940 to 1969, when he became a trustee emeritus.

Holt's grandfather Homer A. Holt (1831–1898) was a lawyer and justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals; he died shortly before Holt's birth and Holt was presumably named in his honor.[5]


  1. http://law.wlu.edu/faculty/history/holt.asp bio of Holt on WLU site
  2. Spangler, Patricia. The Hawks Nest Tunnel An Unabridged History. N.p.: Wythe-North Publishing, 2008. 191. Print.
  3. Thomas, Jerry B. ""The Nearly Perfect State": Governor Homer Adams Holt,the WPA Writers' Project and the Making of West Virginia: A Guide to the Mountain State." West Virginia History 52 (1993): 91-108. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.
  4. Williams, West Virginia, 163; "Holt, Homer Adams," in Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, ed. by Robert Sobel and John Raine (Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978), 1706-07.
  5. http://files.usgwarchives.org/wv/greenbrier/history/160th33.txt Greenbrier County 160th anniversary booklet excerpt online
Legal offices
Preceded by
Howard B. Lee
Attorney General of West Virginia
Succeeded by
William S. Wysong
Political offices
Preceded by
H. Guy Kump
Governor of West Virginia
Succeeded by
Matthew M. Neely

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