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MATTHEW T. WHITTICO


The life and work of Matthew Thomas Whittico, Editor and publisher of the McDowell Times of Keystone, W. Va., is another illustration of what America owes the country boy. Like so many of the successful business and professional men of both races in West Virginia, he is a native of the Old Dominion, having been born at Martinsville in Henry County, Va., on September 25, 1866. His father, Hezekiah J. Whittico, was a farmer and was the son of Thomas and Catherine Whittico. Under a statute of that day the condition of the colored child followed that of the mother. Somewhere in Mr. Whittico's line of ancestry was a free mother, so that his parents and grandparents were "issue free." The mother of our subject was, before her marriage, Miss Letitia A. Pace, daughter of Matthew and Sarah Pace.

As a boy young Whittico went to the local public schools, but when he aspired to a higher education the way was not easy. He says, "My parents were poor, and I had to work, first on the railroad and later in a saloon and at hotels." Even at that early age, he had the wisdom to see the necessity for adequate preparation if he meant to render any large service in the world. Accordingly he made his way to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he won his A. B. degree in 1896. He began teaching in the public schools in Henry County, Va., and continued to far,. He taught for seven years.

In 1904 he came to Keystone and established the McDowell Times, a weekly newspaper, the success of which has been remarkable and unique. The writer knows of no other weekly colored newspaper which is as successful as the Times. In the seventeen years it has been running only three issues have been missed and two of these were given to the employees. The circulation of eleven thousand is unprecedented for a paper of its type. Perhaps most unique of all is the fact that a large part of the circulation and advertising support of the Times comes from white constituency. These facts speak for themselves and tell the type of men and character of service which have made the Times what it is.

In politics, Mr. Whittico is a Republican. From the beginning of his residence in McDowell County he has been active in the work of the party. His intelligence soon made him a leader. He was for years a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, and is now County Probation Officer and a member of the City Council.

Mr. Whittico belongs to the Presbyterian Church and is prominent and popular in the work of the secret and benevolent orders. He is a Mason, a Pythian, and Odd Fellow and an Elk. He also belongs to the I. O. of St. Luke and the Golden Rule B. and E. A. His standing in some of these may be inferred from the fact that he is President of the Odd Fellows' Investment Society, Advocate of the local Council St. Lukes and a member of the Board of Directors of the Pythian Mutual Investment Association.

Mr. Whittico has been twice married. His first marriage was October 29, 1899, to Miss Annie M. Lamkin of Henry County, Va. Of the four children born to them three are living. They are Altha C. Leonidas and John Whittico. The second marriage was on November 29, 1913, to Miss Eda E. Alexander, daughter of Joseph and Julia Alexander, of Point Pleasant, W. Va. She was educated at West Virginia Collegiate Institute and was before her marriage, an accomplished teacher.

Mr. Whittico's favorite books are the Bible, Pilgrims' Progress and the Life of Lincoln.

He knows of not short cuts to individual success or to race progress. He believes both may best be promoted by "buying homes, education, going into business, establishing a more kindly relation with white man and especially by learning to economize and stop aping the rich."


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