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THOMAS G. NUTTER


Hon. Thomas Gillis Nutter, attorney at law, legislator, and business man, belongs to that constructive type of citizenship which is the best asset of any community. The record of American business and professional life is replete with the stories of men struggling up from places of poverty and obscurity to places of large usefulness and service and fortunately no race nor section has a monopoly here in this realm of individual struggle and achievement. So the young reader will not be surprised to learn that Mr. Nutter has made his way from the ground up. He is a native of the sister state of Maryland, having been born at Princess Anne, in Somerset County, on June 15, 1876. His father was the late William Nutter, his mother Emma (Henry) Nutter. His paternal grand parents were Virginia Nutter and Caleb Nutter, and on the maternal side the grand parents were Peter Henry and Julia Henry.

Young Nutter laid the foundation of his education in the public schools of Maryland. His parents were ambitious for him and he was also inspired by his teachers. At an early age he came to observe the local lawyers and to watch court procedure with interest, and these things aroused in him a desire to be a lawyer. He entered the law department of Howard University for his law course, winning the LL.B. degree in 1899. He was under the necessity of making his own way in school, but he never permitted that to discourage him or turn him from the course he had chosen. He taught for two years after the completion of his course and was principal of the school at Fairmount, Md. He was admitted to the bar in 1903 and located at Charleston, W. Va., where he has since resided and where he has built up a splendid practice, largely civil. He was for six years Assistant Land Clerk in the office of State Auditor of West Virginia. Mr. Nutter practices in all the courts, State and Federal. He is attorney for the Midland Brick and Cement Company, and the S. W. Starks Improvement Company. He also looks after much of the legal business of the Peoples Exchange Bank. He was the moving spirit in the organization of the Mutual Savings and Loan Company of Charleston, with a capital of $125,000, and is Secretary Treasurer of same. This is the only bank owned and operated by Colored people in West Virginia. Mr. Nutter is a member of the State Colored Bar Association of which he was at one time Secretary. In politics Mr. Nutter is a Republican and, as a good citizen, takes an active interest in the councils of his party. He is now (1921) serving his second term in the West Virginia Legislature. Here he has been assigned to the judiciary committee, which is one of the most important committees in American legislative bodies. He has done notable work on this committee. He is author of a number of important measures of a general nature as well as several bills affecting the race, among which might be named an Insane Asylum. Industrial School for Colored Boys and an Industrial Home for Colored Girls. He was also recognized as an authority on taxation and took a rather conspicuous part in helping to frame tax measures. He is a ready debater and is heard with unusual interest whenever he takes the floor. His standing as a citizen may be inferred from the fact that he was re-elected by a large majority by an electorate, not more than 10 per cent of which is colored. He was endorsed by the labor organization and had the support of many Democrats. He is, of course, a prominent figure in the party organization of the State and attended the National Convention which nominated President Taft.

Mr. Nutter is also well known in the work of secret orders. From 1913 to 1916 he was Grand Exalted Ruler of the Elks, and in that capacity he visited every part of the country. The order responded to his leadership and grew under his administration. In 1918 he was elected Grand Chancellor of the Pythians. At that time the order numbered 2,700, now there are 6,000. In 1918 the endowment fund amounted to fourteen thousand dollars. Under his administration it has grown to eighty-five thousand. The Pythian Mutual Investment Association holds property at Charleston for which $200,000 has been refused, and has valuable holdings in Keystone and Huntington. Of this association he is President. All this has not been done by sensational methods, but by the application of sound business principals. Mr. Nutter is also a Mason. He is a member of the M. E. Church.

He belongs to the N. A. A. C. P. and is President of the Charleston Branch, and Chairman of the legal committee of that organization. In fact, he may be counted on for cooperation in any movement looking to the progress and development of the race. He was put in charge of the committee to raise funds for the Mattie V. Lee Industrial Home for Colored Girls and raised $22,000.00. He is a good campaigner and his voice has been frequently heard in every part of the State. He has done a great amount of work in the interest of the Y. M. C. A.

On December 18, 1920, Mr. Nutter married Miss Sadie M. Meriwether of Washington, D. C. Mrs. Nutter was educated at Howard University and was before her marriage an accomplished teacher.

After his professional books Mr. Nutter's favorite reading is History.

He has had unusual opportunity to study conditions and is of the opinion that all that is needed to promote the progress of the race is equality of opportunity, and that is a fundamental word of Democracy.


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