Bob Powell Published

April 7, 1927: A. James Manchin Born in Farmington


A. James Manchin was born in Farmington on April 7, 1927. He’d become perhaps the most colorful politician in West Virginia history.

During his one term in the House of Delegates in the late ’40s, he fought for civil rights issues, which possibly led to his re-election defeat. After stepping away from government for a decade, he returned as state director of the Farm Home Administration in the ’60s.

In 1973, Governor Arch Moore named Manchin head of the Rehabilitation Environmental Action Program, known as REAP. With great fanfare, Manchin helped remove thousands of cars, appliances, and old tires from the countryside.

And he coined one of the great quotes in state history: “We must purge these proud peaks of their jumbled jungles of junkery.”

After serving two terms as secretary of state, he was elected state treasurer in 1984. After the 1987 stock market crash cost the state more than $300 million in investments, A. James Manchin was impeached and then resigned in 1989. But he made a surprise political comeback at age 71, winning three elections to the House of Delegates before his death in 2003.