September 9, 1894: Publicist Sam Mallison Born

This Week in West Virginia History is a co-production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Publicist Sam Mallison was born in North Carolina on September 9, 1894. He worked for several small newspapers in the Tar Heel State before becoming city editor of the Clarksburg Telegram in 1916.

He later covered the West Virginia Legislature for the paper and gave a young Salem College student named Jennings Randolph a job as a sportswriter.

In 1924, Mallison went to Washington to serve as private secretary to Clarksburg’s Howard Gore, who’d been appointed assistant secretary of Agriculture. After Gore was elected governor, he named Mallison state auditor. Mallison later served as capital correspondent for Wheeling-based Ogden Newspapers.

In 1937, he was hired as head of public relations for the Benedum-Trees Company—a worldwide collection of oil, pipeline, and refining companies. He worked for the company for 28 years, during which time he wrote The Great Wildcatter, a biography of company founder and Bridgeport native Michael Benedum.

In 1961, Mallison published Let’s Set a Spell, a collection of anecdotes covering subjects ranging from the governor’s office to death row at the penitentiary. Sam Mallison died in Texas in 1979 at age 84.