Milton J. Ferguson


A legendary trial attorney and political figure, Milton J. Ferguson
was the elder statesman of Wayne County’s Ferguson clan.

 File photo | The Herald-Dispatch

Wayne County political patriarch Milton J. Ferguson, who died in 1995 at age 92,
 was a skilled trial attorney, a powerful politician, a knowledgeable historian
 and, as his family and friends would gladly attest, a heckuva storyteller.

Born into a family whose history was rich in politics and the law, he became the
elder statesman of the Ferguson clan. After attending Marshall College and
 Morris Harvey University, he followed family tradition by graduating
 from the West Virginia University College of Law
and embarked on a 45-year legal career.

Over the years, he tried more than 100 murder cases. “Luckily,
 none of my clients was hanged,” he joked.

After an unsuccessful bid to become West Virginia governor in 1956,
 Ferguson was nominated to be a U.S. Attorney by his longtime
friend U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va. President
Lyndon Johnson then appointed him to the position.

In 1968, as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, he
 prosecuted former Gov. W.W. Barron and several members of his
administration on bribery and corruption charges. Barron was
acquitted but in 1971 pleaded guilty to an indictment
 charging him in connection with a bribe paid to the
foreman of the jury that had acquitted him.
Barron then spent nearly
four years in prison.

At various times in his long career, Ferguson served as state tax
commissioner, mayor of Wayne, a delegate in the West
Virginia Legislature and Wayne County prosecuting
 attorney. He served for 32 years on the Tri-State
 Airport Authority, which named its Milton J.
Ferguson Field in his honor.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Feb. 1, 2022.


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