Drewrys In Government

Commonwealth of Virginia

Patrick Henry Drewry, lawyer and congressman, was born in Petersburg, VA, May 24, 1875, son of Emmett Arrington, a physician, and Alta Laughton (Booth) Drewry. After receiving his preliminary education at public schools and at McCabe's University School in Petersburg, Patrick H. Drewry, graduated from Randolph-Macon College, 1896. Patrick continued to study law at the University of Virginia and was admitted to the bar of Virginia in 1901. Patrick established his law practice in Petersburg and was very successful. Always active politically, Patrick Henry Drewry served as a state senator for eight years. He was chairman of a commission on economy and efficiency and was instrumental in the passage of the budget act which formed the basis for organizing and controlling the state's fiscal affairs. He was patron of bills for maintenance of roads and sociological measures affecting the Virginia Health Department and the board of Charities and Corrections and was instrumental in formulating the Vital Statistics Bill for recording of births and deaths in Virginia. In 1920 he was elected as a member of the 66th U.S. Congress, filling an unexpired term, and in the same year was elected to the 67th Congress for the full term and re-elected in 1922. In Congress he was a member of the House naval affairs committee and by seniority rose to ranking Democratic member of that body during years of great naval expansion. He also served frequently as a member of the board of visitors to the United States Naval Academy. He was a member of the Democratic Committee of Petersburg and was a delegate to the National Convention in St. Louis, 1916, Philadelphia, 1936, and Chicago, 1940. In 1923 he was named a member of the Democratic National Committee and in 1935 its chairman. Drewry was a director of the Petersburg Savings & American Trust Co. He was the author of several monographs and a book "The Story of a Church." An honorary LL.D. degree was conferred on him by Randolph-Macon in 1946. He was a member of the American and Virginia State Bar Association, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Alumni Association of Randolph-Macon College, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Chi, BPOE, the Petersburg and Country clubs of Petersburg, and the Westmoreland and University clubs of Richmond, VA. His religious affiliation was with the Washington Street Methodist Church, Petersburg. Drewry was married in Palmyra, MO, April 18, 1906, to Mary Elizabeth, daughter of John Quincy Adams Metcalf, a judge, and had three sons: Patrick Henry; John Metcalf; and William Emmett. He died in Petersburg on December 21, 1947.

Judge Stafford Gorman Whittle (picture) was born December 5, 1849 at Woodstock, the Mechlenburg County; he was the son of Captain W. C. Whittle, an officer in the United States Navy and later the Confederate States Navy, the grandson of Commodore Arthur Sinclair of the United States Navy, and the grandson of General Richard Kennon, prominent Virginian, who became the first military governor of Louisiana after the territory was purchased from France. Judge Whittle was educated in the schools of Norfolk and Mechlenburg County, Virginia and briefly attended Chatham Military Institute in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The family left Norfolk following the outbreak of yellow fever plague in 1856 and the death of Judge Whittle's mother and moved to Bedford County. Judge Whittle attended Washington College, now Washington and Lee University, during the time General Robert E. Lee was president of the university, graduating in law and being admitted to the bar in 1871. Judge Whittle began established his law practice in Martinsville, Virginia and married Ruth Staples Drewry on November 4, 1880. In law practice ten years Judge Whittle was then appointed to fill the unexpired term of Judge Berryman Green of the fourth judicial circuit. He was nominated to succeed himself but was defeated by the readjuster element in 1882, however, in 1888 he was elected for an eight year term. Declining to become the dean of the law school at Washington and Lee, following the death of Judge Randolph Tucker, Judge Whittle was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia in 1901. He was subsequently reelected to additional terms and served until December 29, 1919 when he retired. Judge Whittle died September 11, 1931.

Kennon Caithness Whittle (picture), son of Judge Stafford Gorman Whittle and Ruth Stapes Drewry Whittle, was born October 12, 1891 in Martinsville, Virginia. Judge Whittle was appointed an Associate Justice of Appeals on March 15, 1951, exactly 50 years from the date his father was appointed to the same bench. Judge Whittle practiced law for many years with his brother, Stafford Gorman Whittle, II, until his death in 1942 and then entered practice until he was elected to be a judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court, December 14, 1944. During his tenure as a Judge of the Seventh Circuit Court he tried many controversial cases, some attracting national and international attention. Many of these cases were appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and some to the United States Supreme Court, however, not one verdict was reversed by these higher courts. Judge Kennon Caithness Whittle served the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals for 11 years and resigned due to illness. His death occurred on November 10, 1967 in Martinsville, Virginia.

Judge Joseph Brown Prince, son of Joseph H. Prince and Elizabeth Brown Prince, was born August 18th, 1844, at Green Plain, in Southampton County, Virginia. He attended Virginia Military Institute, graduating with honors in 1863, and then entered military service with the Confederate States Army for the duration of the Civil War. He was paroled on May 2, 1865 and returned to Southampton County and, in 1866, entered the University of Virginia to study law and graduated in 1867. He began his law practice at Jerusalem, now Courtland, Virginia, and several years later was elected Commonwealth Attorney. He held this office for 13 years and was then Clerk of the County and Circuit Court for eight years. In 1876 he was elected as a delegate to the National Convention. On April 18, 1876 he married Martha Francis Prince, daughter of John Drewry, and widow of William Prince, Joseph's brother. In 1891 Judge Prince was appointed a Judge of the County Court and served in that position until a few months before his death in 1903.

Walker Crump Cottrell, 1878 - 1943, clerk of the city circuit court at Richmond figured prominently in municipal and public affairs of that city. He was elected to the city school board from 1913 to 1922 and served as its vice chairman the last five years. During the World War he was adviser to the national fuel administrator and also to the Virginia state fuel administrator. He served on the staff of Governor E. Lee Trinkle with the rank of colonel. In 1926 he was appointed a member of a legislative commission investigating fire casualty and liability rates in Virginia, serving as secretary of the commission. In 1926 he was appointed a member of the state prison board. He managed the campaign of Governor Claude A. Swanson for United States senator and had charge locally of the Roosevelt campaign in 1932. Walker acted as a delegate to numerous state conventions and on the 11th of January, 1933, he was appointed clerk of the city circuit court at Richmond.

Dr William Francis Drewry, 1860 - 1934, was the second city manager of Petersburg, Va.

State of North Carolina

John Colin Drewry (picture) was born at Drewryville, Southampton County, Virginia, July 26, 1860; was educated at Bethel Military Academy and at the University of Virginia, where he received his law degree. However, preferring business over a law profession John entered the business world. Following brief periods in Georgia and Tennessee John settled in North Carolina in 1887 where he was appointed State Agent for North Carolina of the Mutual Life Insurance Company of Newark, NJ, and later he was also appointed State Agent for the State of Virginia. An excellent manager, John managed to grow the business tremendously and was very successful.
In addition to his successful insurance business John was President of the Raleigh Furniture Company; The Visitor-Press Company, and the Mechanics and Investors Union and a Director of the Citizens National Bank and the Raleigh Savings Bank. A Mason, John served as Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Masons, and as Right Eminent Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of North Carolina and Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of North Carolina.
John, considered a progressive and Democrat in politics, was prominent in the municipal affairs of Raleigh having served as a member of the Board of Alderman for years, a part of that time he was Mayor pro-tem. He is entitled to the credit for the marked improvement, especially the street paving and macadamizing the city of Raleigh.
As a member of the House of the General Assembly of 1903 from Wake County, he fathered a bill extending the city limits, creating Greater Raleigh. He was chairman of the Committee on Insurance, and served on the following committees: Banks and Currency, Finance, Expenditures of the House, Education, Propositions and Grievances, Counties, Cities and Towns. He did much to improve and modernize the city of Raleigh much to the appreciation of the citizens of Raleigh and Wake county.
John Colin Drewry was married twice. First to Miss Emmie Mangum who died in 1894; he then married Miss Kittie Holt Wharton. John died October 2, 1916 following a lengthy bout with cancer.

State of Alabama

Braxton Bragg Comer, the son of John Fletcher Comer and Catherine Lucinda Drewry, was a United States senator and Governor of Alabama. Born November 7, 1848, at Spring Hill, Barbour County, Alabama Braxton Bragg Comer was a successful planter, merchant, banker, manufacturer, and president of the Alabama Railroad commission. Braxton spent his childhood and boyhood years on his father's plantation then attended the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, beginning in the winter term 1864. His college career was cut short when the University was burned by the Union Army. Little did he realize that, years later, as Governor of Alabama he would direct the rebuilding of much of the University and have a complex of buildings, Comer Hall, named in his honor. Following the burning of the University Braxton returned to Barbour County where he remained a year then entered the University of Georgia. On January 1, 1868, he entered Emory and Henry College, Virginia, where he graduated in 1869. After graduating he returned to Spring Hill to manage his mother's plantation during the difficult reconstruction period.
In 1872 he married Eva Harris and moved to Comer Station where he developed a large farming and country store interests. He served as a member of the Commissioners Court of Barbour County from 1874 to 1878, and in 1885 he moved to Anniston. There he conducted a wholesale grocery and commission business before moving to Birmingham five years later. In Birmingham Braxton was the president of the City National Bank and of Birmingham corn and flour mills. Through his experience as merchant-planter-manufacturer-shipper, he realized the need for remedial railroad legislation. He unified the shippers of Alabama and began actions to regulate the railroads which led to him being elected the president of the Railroad Commission in 1904. Two years later he entered the Alabama gubernatorial race with his campaign theme being railroad regulation and on November 6, 1906, he was elected Governor of Alabama.
As Governor, Braxton, enjoyed the full support of the legislature and in his first official message to the legislature he made it clear that the mandates embraced in the Democratic platform adopted in 1906, and all pre-election pledges made by him and by the legislators, were to be honored and enacted into law. He enacted a liberal policy in regards to education and would be later referred to as Alabama's great "educational governor." With railroad regulation being the theme he was elected on he proceeded to enact legislation that regulated the large railroads of his day so that the producers and shippers were more fairly treated against the giant railroad corporations. In 1911, at the end of his four year term, he reported to the legislature that many laws were enacted regulating the railroads thus providing for more fair and just treatments for all concerned; an increase in the state's tax income by enacting a franchise tax; large sums were appropriated to the benefit of the state's educational system, and during his administration the state wide prohibition law was enacted.
At the death of State Senator Bankhead, Governor Comer was appointed on March 5, 1920, to fill his remaining term. The next day, March 6, 1920, Governor Comer's wife, Eva, passed away and, for that reason, Governor Comer declined the candidacy in the impending Senatorial election for Bankhead's remaining five year term.
Senator Comer was among the first cotton planters to manufacture cotton on a large scale within Alabama. As president and treasurer of Avondale Mills of Birmingham, which owned and operated the Eva Jane, the Central, the Sally B. and the Catherine Mills of Sylacauga; the Alexander City Cotton Mills; the Sycamore Mills, and the Pell City Manufacturing Company, constituting one of the largest cotton milling interests in the state which, at one time, had relied heavily on the large rural and illiterate population to staff such mills. During his tenure Governor Braxton did much to educate these families and provide an ever increasing population of educated and skilled workers. He also enacted a child labor law restricting the age that these mills could hire child labor to 12 years old and also mandating that children between the ages of 12 and 16 attend school at least eight consecutive weeks during the school term.
Braxton Bragg Comer died on August 15, 1927.

State of New York

John Joseph Kindred, the son of Caroline Antoinette "Nettie" Drewry and John Junius Kindred, graduated from the Suffolk Military Academy, Suffolk, VA. He then attended Randolph-Macon College, the University of Virginia and received his medical degree in 1889 from the Hospital College of Medicine, Louisville, KY. He later received an honorary graduate department of mental diseases, University of Edinburgh, 1892, and LL.B., Stetson University, 1919.
John served in various capacities at numerous hospitals and asylums including the Royal Edinburgh Ayslum for the Insane, New York City Asylum for the Insane, Hudson River State Hospital, Pennsylvania State Hospital for the Insane, Maryland General Hospital, Baltimore, MD, and Bloomindale Hospital for the Insane, New York. In 1895 he established a sanitarium at Stamford, Connecticut, and in 1897 established and owned the River Crest Sanitarium, Astoria, Long Island, NY, for mental and nervous diseases. A noted physician and nerve specialists John was also interested in commercial real estate and was a professor of law and medical jurisprudence at the John B. Stetson University, DeLand, Florida. John served as an elected member 62nd and 67th to 70th Congresses, 1911 - 1913, and 1921 - 1929, representing the 2nd New York District.

State of West Virginia

Senator William Chapman Revercomb was born July 20, 1895 at Covington, Virginia and married Sara Venable Hughes, a Drewry descendant, of Ashland, Virginia. He was elected to the United States Senate twice, in 1942, in one of the most memorable upsets in that state's political history, and again in 1956. A staunch Republican, Senator Revercomb, was nominated five times for the Senate. In 1960 he unsuccessfully sought the gubernatorial nomination. His greatest successes in his long political career were against controversial Democratic governors. He beat one both times he was elected to the United States Senate. During the long democratic reign of the Roosevelt-Truman years, Senator Revercomb was the only Republican to enjoy any statewide success for 25 years in West Virginia. Senator Revercomb died October 6, 1979.

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