December 21, 1891: Senator Frank Hereford Dies in Monroe County

Dec 21, 2017

Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

Former U.S. Senator Frank Hereford died at Union in Monroe County on December 21, 1891, at age 66. The Virginia native had gone west in 1849, during the California Gold Rush, and practiced law in Sacramento. After the Civil War, he moved back east, settled in Union, and married Alice Caperton, who came from a prominent Monroe County family. 

Hereford, a Democrat, was a leader in the successful push to restore voting rights and other political privileges to West Virginia’s ex-Confederates. Shortly thereafter, he was elected to Congress.

Between 1871 and 1877, Hereford served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1877, the state legislature selected him to fill the unexpired U.S. Senate term of his fellow townsman and cousin by marriage Allen Caperton, who had died in office. In the Senate, he chaired the Committee on Mines and Mining. Hereford sought reelection in 1881, but instead, the legislature elected fellow Democrat Johnson Camden, who was one of the richest men in the state at the time. 

After leaving the Senate, Hereford returned to Union and practiced law for the last decade of his life.