HENRY DRURY HATFIELD was born in Logan County, West Virginia. He received an A.B. degree from Franklin College in New Athens, Ohio, following which he studied medicine at a number of institutions, receiving medical degrees from the University of Louisville and from New York University, Bellevue Hospital Medical College. He went on to serve as Commissioner of Health of Mingo County, West Virginia and helped establish the Miners’ Hospital in Welch, West Virginia, serving as its chief surgeon. He was also Commissioner of District Roads of McDowell County, West Virginia and a member of the County Court. Prior to running for governor, he was a member of the West Virginia State Senate for four years while also serving as surgeon for the Norfolk and Western Railway Company. During his term as governor, he helped settle a strike over the right of miners to join the United Mine Workers. In addition, a mine explosion in Eccles, West Virginia that killed 180 miners led to his request for workers compensation, which became a model for other states. After leaving office, Hatfield went on to serve as a Major in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1917 to 1919 and was appointed a Lieutenant Colonel in the Medical Officers Reserve Corps. In 1928, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, serving one term.

Sources:

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vols. 53 and C. New York: James T. White & Company.

West Virginia Archives and History