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Judge James Paull


-- from History of West Virginia, Old and New... Chicago: American Historical Society, 1923. (v. 2, p. 614)

JUDGE JAMES PAULL was one of the most prominent members of the old Wheeling bar and enjoyed a widespread reputation as one of the profound jurists and able public men of West Virginia. He was born in Belmont County, Ohio, in 1818, the son of George and Elizabeth Paull. George Paull was a member of the Twenty-seventh Regiment of the U. S. Infantry (Ohio troops) in the War of 1812 and served bravely under General Harrison in the Northwest Army. He was a son of Col. James Paull, who was a soldier of the Revolutionary war and who also served under William Crawford in his disastrous encounter of the 5th of June, 1872, on the plains of Sandusky, Ohio.

Judge James Paull was thoroughly educated in childhood and youth, and after completing preparatory studies in Cross Creek, Pennsylvania, he entered Washington College in that state, at which he was graduated in June, 1835. He then came to Wheeling and, choosing law as his profession, rented the office of Z. Jacob and finished his legal studies in the law department of the University of Virginia. Nearly the whole of his career as a lawyer and public man was spent at Wheeling, where he was locally esteemed as an estimable citizen. In 1872 he was elected a judge of Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, a high position which he filled with honor and credit, performing its laborious duties with an industry and application that fatally impaired his health. His decisions rank with the permanent and valuable contributions to the law of the state. Judge Paull also represented Ohio County during two terms in the State Legislature of Virginia. He died May 11, 1875, being at that time a resident of Wellsburg, Brooke County, to which place he had removed eighteen months before.

Judge Paull was twice married, first, to Jane A., daughter of the late Judge Joseph L. Fry, an eminent lawyer from 1831-1852 and Circuit Judge of the First Judicial District of Virginia. He great-grandfather was Col. Joshua Fry, an English gentleman of worth and education, who held many distinguished offices under the Colonial Government, was a civil engineer, professor at William and Mary College, commissioner of the Crown, one of the commissioners at the treaty of Logstown and was appointed commander of the Virginia forces by Governor Dinwiddie in 1754. The highest honors of the Colony were within the grasp of Col. Joshua Fry when his death at Willes Creek, en route to Fort Cumberland, closed his career and placed Lieutenant-Colonel George Washington in command. (See Sparks Life of Washington, page 104-126.) The three sons born to Judge James and Mrs. Paull are: Archibald W., Joseph F., and Alfred, all citizens of Wheeling. By his second wife, Eliza J. Ott, daughter of Samuel Ott, deceased, of Wheeling, Judge Paull had five children, as follows: James, Elizabeth, Harry W., Samuel O., and Margaret Susan, deceased.

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