ARETAS BROOKS FLEMING was born in Fairmont, Virginia (now West Virginia). He began the practice of law after attending the University of Virginia Law School. He served as Prosecuting Attorney of Marion County, as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, and as Judge of the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial District of West Virginia. He ran for Governor in 1888, and while the popular vote showed his Republican opponent to be the winner, he challenged the outcome on the ground that more votes had been cast than there were qualified voters based on poll-tax assessments. Fleming was ultimately declared the winner and inaugurated more than one year after the election had taken place. During the remainder of his term, a State Bureau of Labor was established with the power to regulate mining. After leaving office, Fleming resumed his law practice and later became a director of the West Virginia Board of Trade.
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, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.