Military Wiki
Matthew M. Neely
United States Senator
from West Virginia

In office
January 3, 1949 – January 18, 1958
Preceded by W. Chapman Revercomb
Succeeded by John D. Hoblitzell, Jr.

In office
March 4, 1931 – January 12, 1941
Preceded by Guy D. Goff
Succeeded by Joseph Rosier

In office
March 4, 1923 – March 3, 1929
Preceded by Howard Sutherland
Succeeded by Henry D. Hatfield
21st Governor of West Virginia

In office
January 13, 1941 – January 15, 1945
Preceded by Homer A. Holt
Succeeded by Clarence W. Meadows
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1945 – January 3, 1947
Preceded by A. C. Schiffler
Succeeded by Francis J. Love

In office
October 14, 1913 – March 3, 1921
Preceded by John W. Davis
Succeeded by Benjamin L. Rosenbloom
Mayor of Fairmont, West Virginia

In office
Personal details
Born (1874-11-09)November 9, 1874
Grove, West Virginia
Died January 18, 1958(1958-01-18) (aged 83)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Alberta Ramage Neely
Profession Politician
Religion Presbyterianism

Matthew Mansfield Neely (November 9, 1874 – January 18, 1958) was an American Democratic politician from West Virginia. He is the only West Virginian to serve in both houses of the United States Congress and as the Governor of West Virginia. He is also the only person to have held a full term in both Senate seats from the state.


He was born in Grove, West Virginia on November 9, 1874.[1] He attended Salem College of West Virginia (now Salem International University), but did not earn a degree. At the outbreak of the Spanish–American War he entered the United States Army as a private. Following the war, he earned a law degree from West Virginia University. In 1903, he married Alberta Ramage.[2]

He entered the practice of law in Fairmont, West Virginia and was elected its mayor in 1908. He was elected as a Congressman to an unexpired term in 1913 and was re-elected through 1918. In the 1920 election, he was defeated, due to his association with the policies of Woodrow Wilson. He then ran for, and was elected to, the United States Senate in 1922 as a Democrat. He was defeated for re-election in 1928. He then ran for the state's other Senate seat in 1930 and was elected. He was re-elected in 1936. In 1940 he ran for governor and resigned the remaining two years of his Senate term. He soon regretted his decision and strongly considered resigning to run for his old Senate seat in 1942. In later life he expressed strong regret for his term as governor. Upon the expiration of his term as governor in 1944, he ran for and was elected to his old House seat. He was, however defeated for re-election in 1946.

Neely during his later career

In 1948,he was again elected to the Senate, beginning his third non-consecutive term there. He continued to serve until his death in 1958, after which he was interred in Fairmont's Woodlawn Cemetery.

He was a New Deal Democrat and advocate for organized labor and civil rights. During his terms in the Senate in the 1930s he sponsored "anti-lynching" legislation, but such legislation never passed. When he returned to the Senate after a term as governor and another term in the House of representatives, he had lost his seniority, although he had many friends among the senior senators. He was assigned the Chairmanship of the U.S. Senate Committee on the District of Columbia, where he became the preeminent proponent of "home rule" for the District, effectively urging that the government of the District of Columbia be turned over to its majority of African-American citizens. He died in 1958, several years before the home rule he had sponsored finally passed both houses of Congress.

Neely was known through his political career as a master orator. In his honor, Fairmont State University sponsors an oratory contest in his name every year.

His grandson is Richard Neely, an author and politician who served as the chief justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.


Senator Neely introduced the first Department of Peace bill in 1935.[3] Neely reintroduced the bill in 1937 and 1939.[3] In 1937, along with senator Homer Bone and representative Warren Magnuson, Neely introduced the National Cancer Institute Act, which was signed into law by Franklin Roosevelt on August 5 of that year.[4] The Neely Anti-Block Booking Act gradually broke the control of the movie theaters by the studios.


  1.[dead link]
  2. "West Virginia's First Ladies," West Virginia Division of Culture and History, June 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Schuman, Frederick L. (1969). Why a Department of Peace. Beverly Hills: Another Mother for Peace. pp. 56. OCLC 339785. 
  4. Mukherjee, Siddhartha (16 November 2010). The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. Simon and Schuster. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-4391-0795-9. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John W. Davis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Benjamin L. Rosenbloom
Preceded by
A. C. Schiffler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Francis J. Love
United States Senate
Preceded by
Howard Sutherland
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from West Virginia
Served alongside: Davis Elkins, Guy D. Goff
Succeeded by
Henry D. Hatfield
Preceded by
Guy D. Goff
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from West Virginia
Served alongside: Henry D. Hatfield, Rush D. Holt, Sr., Harley M. Kilgore
Succeeded by
Joseph Rosier
Preceded by
W. Chapman Revercomb
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from West Virginia
Served alongside: Harley M. Kilgore, William R. Laird, III, W. Chapman Revercomb
Succeeded by
John D. Hoblitzell, Jr.
Political offices
Preceded by
Homer A. Holt
Governor of West Virginia
Succeeded by
Clarence W. Meadows

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