Marmaduke H. Dent (1849-1909)

Source: Bench and Bar of West Virginia
Author: Geo. W. Atkinson, LL.B., LL.D.
Virginia Law Book Company, Charleston, WV 1919
Pages 72-74, Judge Marmaduke H. Dent, A.M.

Photograph - Judge Marmaduke H. DentThe subject of this short memorial, son of Marshall M. and Mary C. Dent, was born in Monongalia County, Virginia, April 18, 1849. From both sides of his family he inherited strong qualities of mind. His grandfather, Dr. D. W. Roberts, was an original Republican, a man of prominence in his day, and a delegate to the Republican Convention at Chicago that nominated Abraham Lincoln for President of the United States in 1860. Judge Dent, however, was always a Democrat.

Judge Dent's life was spent in his native county. He graduated, in the classical course, at the West Virginia University in the class of 1870, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts. After his graduation he spent several years as a teacher in the public schools. Having decided in early life to become a lawyer, while teaching school, he began a systematic reading of legal text books, and in 1875 was admitted to the Taylor County Bar at Grafton, where he was engaged in active practice for nearly twenty years, up to 1892, when he was elected to membership of the Supreme Court of Appeals of the State.

He was a successful practitioner before he became a Judge of the Appellate Court. He was handsome and distinguished in appearance, dignified and peaceful and affable in manner, and withal he was modest and unassuming, with ready sympathies, a keen sense of humor, and a refined and cultivated taste in literature. He was solidly grounded in his profession, and showed legal ability in important cases. On the whole, as a practitioner he made a record worthy of emulation, and one to be envied. He was an eloquent and logical speaker, and had the capacity for hard, persistent work. In a large degree he possessed the judicial temperament, and gave to the causes submitted to him an intelligent mind carefully trained. His opinions, therefore, are marked by the most careful research and are supported by ample authorities. It was not unusual for him to support his judgments with a line of unanswerable citations of authorities on points deemed only secondary by counsel, and yet, after reading the opinions of Judge Dent, they readily observed their weight and correctness.

Judge Dent was always conscientious and of a profoundly religious character. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and never neglected his Christian duties. He was invariably found on the moral side of every question that arose in civic matters. In his judicial opinions, he was sometimes facetious and novel in his utterances, for example, I quote a paragraph from Atkinson v. Plumb, 50 W. Va. 104, which was a controversy between two members of the same church: "But while it was the hand of Esau, it was the voice of Jacob. His confidence was abused under the guise of friendship, which blinded his eyes and he was despoiled by those of his own household: and with the earnest plea for retribution he seeks justice against his despoilers. What we have we freely give unto him, — the suit appears to be a contest over a bag of wind."

Judge Dent was of a most genial disposition, agreeable and gentle in his bearing, positive in his convictions, fearless in their expression, all which amply fitted him for the judicial ermine. He was absolutely incorruptible. Whilst he was extremely affable, he was extremely candid. He was always essentially just. His ability was unusual. His life and achievements stamped him both as a lawyer and a jurist of the highest types. He loved the masses and they revere his memory. He was tender, affectionate and thoughtful of the wants of those in his home-life and in his associations with the people generally. There was no blot or stain on his private or public career. He will ever be regarded as a clean lawyer, a just judge, a true and faithful husband and father, and a man whose life and character were enriched with noble qualities of head and heart.

He died at the city of Grafton, September 11, 1909, honored, respected and highly revered by all the people who knew and loved him.

Find A Grave Memorial - Marmaduke H. Dent

Find A Grave Memorial - Mary Warder Dent

WV Alumni website - Marmaduke H. Dent

Additional Information:

According to the Taylor County Death Register of 1909, he died of Bright's Disease.

Marriage Register, Taylor County WV; Page 137
Marmaduke H. Dent (age 27) & Mary J. Warder (age 21) were married 11 Oct 1876 in Taylor County, WV

1850 Census, Monongalia County (W)Va
Page 301a; Dwelling 133; Family 134
DENT, Marshal M.; 22; Merchant; Virginia
", Mary C.; 20; New York
", Arthur M.; 2; Illinois
", Marmaduk M.; 1; Virginia

1860 Census, Monongalia County (W)Va
PO: Morgantown; Page No. 246
Dwelling 1815; Family 1764
DENT, Marshall M.; 32; Clk-City Court; $5000/7500; Va
", Louisa; 25; Canada W
", Arthur M.; 12; SC
", Marmaduke H.; 11, Va
", Anna J.F.; 9; Va
", William D.; 8; Va
ROBERTS, David W.; 67; Mass
SHARRER: Margaret; 37; Domestic; Pa

1870 Census, Monongalia County WV
Morgan Township; PO: Morgantown
Dwelling 1; Family 1
Marmaduke is a student residing in a Boarding House
DENT, M. H.; 21; College Student; W.Va

1900 Census, Taylor County WV
Grafton; Enumeration District 129; Sheet 16B
Lines 72-77; Dwelling261; Family 268
DENT, Marmaduke H. (Head) b. Apr 1849; age 51, mar-24-yrs; WV-WV-WV; lawyer
", Mary W. (wife) b. Feb 1855; age 45, 2-children / 2-living; WV-WV-Pa
", Carrie L. (dau) b. Oct 1877; age 22; single; WV-WV-WV
", Herbert W. (son) b. Apr 1880; age 20; single; WV-WV-WV
DENT, William R. (brother) b. Apr 1853; age 47; single; WV-WV-WV; lawyer
BELLE, Maria (servant) b. Aug 1878; age 22; single; Canada-Va-Va; house-keeper


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