Abram Penn Staples

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Abram Penn Staples
Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia
In office
October 7, 1947 – January 15, 1951
Preceded by George L. Browning
Succeeded by Lemuel F. Smith
24th Attorney General of Virginia
In office
March 22, 1934 – October 7, 1947
Preceded by John R. Saunders
Succeeded by Harvey B. Apperson
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 21st district
In office
January 11, 1928 – March 22, 1934
Preceded by R. Holman Willis
Succeeded by Harvey B. Apperson
Personal details
Born Abram Penn Staples
(1885-09-18)September 18, 1885
Martinsville, Virginia, U.S.
Died March 21, 1951(1951-03-21) (aged 65)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jean Duncan Watts
Alma mater Washington & Lee University
Religion Episcopalian

Abram Penn Staples (September 18, 1885 – March 21, 1951) was a Virginia lawyer, legislator and jurist.

Early and family life[edit]

Staples was born at Martinsville, Virginia in 1885 to Abram Penn Staples (1858-1913), a prominent Virginia lawyer and his wife. His grandfather, Samuel Granville Staples, was the elected clerk of the Circuit Court of Patrick County, Virginia and had signed the Articles of Secession in 1861. His uncle, Waller Redd Staples sat of the Virginia Court of Appeals from 1870-1881 and for three of those years also on the faculty of the Washington and Lee University School of Law. When young Abram was a child, his family moved to Roanoke, where he attended Roanoke High School. In 1904, because of poor health (and to facilitate his children's education), Abram Staples Sr. joined the Washington and Lee University law faculty, where he became a beloved law professor until his death in a Roanoke hospital in 1913.[1] Meanwhile, this Abram Staples studied as an undergraduate at Washington and Lee University, and received a Bachelor of Law degree in 1908.


Entering into practice at Roanoke in 1908, Staples soon made a name for himself as an exceptional lawyer. In 1924, he was elected President of the Roanoke Bar Association and, in 1927, was elected to the Virginia Senate (a part-time position), and was re-elected in 1931.[2]

He was appointed Attorney General of Virginia in March 1934 to fill out the term of John R. Saunders (who had died in office). He won election to that office in 1937 against Republican Gerould M. Rumble. He was reelected in 1941 and 1945.

In August 1947, the Virginia General Assembly elected Staples to the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia. He served on that court until he retired in January 1951, because of failing health. Staples was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Delta Phi, and Omicron Delta Kappa.


  1. ^ http://law2.wlu.edu/faculty/profiledetail.asp?id=363
  2. ^ Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Virginia: Session 1928. Richmond: Virginia State Library. 1920. 

External links[edit]

  • Abram Penn Staples at The Virginia Elections and State Elected Officials Database Project, 1776-2007