Member Biography

Valentine Best 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1847       13 Democrat
1848       13 Democrat
1849     Speaker 13 Democrat

COUNTIES: Luzerne, Columbia  


03/08/1801 - 10/28/1857

Valentine Best (D13) Columbia and Luzerne Counties, 1848-1850

Early Life:

Valentine Best, born March 8, 1801, Mahoning Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania (afterward Columbia County, now, near Danville, Montour County); son of Thomas Eleanor Bryan; common school education; printer apprenticeship1816-1820; married, Eleanor (Ellen) Woodside, 1825, children, Anna M. Best Robinson; Alexander Best; publisher, Danville Intelligencer (Danville, Pennsylvania) 1828-1850, Harrisburg Argus (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) 1843-1848; appointed, Columbia County prothonotary, 1839-1845; captain, lieutenant colonel, Columbia Guards; elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1848-1850, Speaker, Senate, 1850; died, October 28, 1857 (aged 56) Danville, Montour County, Pennsylvania; interment, Fairview Cemetery, Danville, Montour County, Pennsylvania.

Early Career:

Newspaper publisher; captain, then later lieutenant colonel, Columbia Guards.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Appointment, David Rittenhouse Porter, Columbia County prothonotary, 1839-1845

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 13th district, Columbia and Luzerne Counties, 1848-1850; elected, Speaker, Senate, 1850. 


Played an important and controversial role in the formation of Montour County, especially in the area including former parts of Columbia County and the retention of Danville as the new seat of Montour. Negotiated a deal with Senate Whigs, who voted for Montour bill, in trade for key committee seats, thus his political party blackballed from the party.


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members B"Wilkes University Election Statistics ProjectWilkes University.

Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania, vol. 1 (Chicago: J.H. Beers and Company, 1915), page 276. Marriage Records, Culpeper (Virginia) County Courthouse; Correspondence, Kimberly Sutherland Mills, Ontario Canada, June 7, 2003; “Best Family File,” Northumberland County Historical Society, Sunbury; also: Danville Intelligencer, October 30, 1857; also: 1850 Pennsylvania Census, Montour County, page 298; also,1840 Columbia County, United States Census; also: Emerson, 30.

Valentine Best (1801-1857) - Find a Grave Memorial