HARRY FLOOD BYRD was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia. He attended Shenandoah Valley Academy in Winchester, Virginia, after which he became manager of the Winchester Evening Star in 1902 and later its owner and publisher. He also established the Martinsburg Evening Journal in 1907 and became publisher of the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record in 1923. And while involved in journalism, he became of the largest apple growers east of the Mississippi River. He served in the Virginia State Senate from 1916 to 1925 and as Virginia Fuel Commissioner in 1918. Prior to becoming governor, he was elected chairman of the Democratic State Committee in 1921, following the death of his uncle Hal Flood. During his gubernatorial administration, lynching was made a state crime, subjecting all participants to charges of murder. In addition, the “short ballot” was adopted, limiting the list of individually elected Virginia executive branch officials to governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. The executive branch was reorganized through the abolishment of more than thirty bureaus and the merger of all activities of state government under twelve departments. And counties were given the sole right to tax land while the state was given the sole right to tax intangible property. Byrd was appointed to a vacancy in the U.S. Senate in 1933, retaining the seat through election until 1965.
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. E. New York: James T. White & Company.
Bearss, Sara B. et al., eds. Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Vol. 2. Richmond: The Library of Virginia, 2001.
Heinemann, Ronald L. Harry Byrd of Virginia. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996.
Washington Post, October 21, 1966, pp. A1 and B9 (obituary).
Washington Post, October 24, 1966, A1 (obituary).
Younger, Edward and Moore, James Tice, eds. The Governors of Virginia, 1860-1978. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1982.