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Irby Turnbull. State and national service has been the privilege of the members of the Turnbull family to which Irby Turnbull, of Boydton, Virginia, belongs, his father, Robert Turnbull, and his grandfather, Edward Randolph Turnbull, having both occupied seats in the Virginia senate, Robert Turnbull a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1910 to 1913. Robert Turnbull was first elected to the Sixty-first Congress to fill out the unexpired term of Francis Rives Lassiter, and was subsequently returned through election to the Sixty-second Congress. He and his son, Irby, maintain an extensive legal practice in Boydton, Virginia, as R. Turnbull & Son, an association that had its beginning in 1909.
Edward Randolph Turnbull, grandfather of Irby Turnbull, was for many years clerk of Brunswick county, Virginia, and passed much of his life in close relation with public affairs. He was a member of the Virginia Constitutional Convention, and for two terms held place in the Virginia state senate. He married Elizabeth Harrison, and had children: Robert, of whom further; Nathaniel Harrison, died aged twenty-one years; Edward Randolph, a physician of Lawrenceville, Virginia; and four daughters, Mary, Frances, Sarah and Annie, the latter deceased.
Robert Turnbull, son of Edward Randolph and Elizabeth (Harrison) Turnbull, was born in Brunswick county, Virginia, January 11, 1850. After preparatory instruction under private teachers in that locality he entered the University of Virginia, whence he was graduated LL. B. in the class of 1871. He at once began practice in Lawrenceville, Virginia, from his establishment in his profession meeting with a favorable reception, and from 1885 to 1893 was clerk of Brunswick county, a position his father had previously held. Aside from his professional activity he took a part in financial and political affairs, in 1896 becoming president of the Bank of Lawrenceville, and in that year an in 1904 being elected a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, from 1894 to 1898 having occupied a seat in the Virginia state senate, and on March 8, 1910, was elected to the Sixty-first Congress of the United States to fill out the unexpired term of Francis Rives Lassiter. He assumed his place in Congress on March 16, 1910, and was re-elected to the following Congress without opposition, having in that time held membership on the committees on the election of the president, vice-president, and representative in Congress, on industrial arts and expositions, and on naval affairs. Mr. Turnbull's career as a legislator has been filled with busy employment, his value as a public servant resting in his strict devotion to duty and the excellent direction he gives his many talents. He is a member of the Masonic order, and is identified with the Protestant Episcopal church. He is president of the board of trustees of the State Female Normal School, located at Farmville, Prince Edward county, Virginia.
He married Mary Louise Harrison, born in Brunswick county, Virginia, in 1856, daughter of Colonel Harrison, and has children: 1. Edward Randolph, educated in the Danville Military Academy and the law department of the University of Virginia; married Mary Martin, of Chicago, Illinois. 2. Robert, West Virginia, educated at the Danville Military Academy and at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, engaged in a Kentucky mining enterprise. 4. Walter, attended the Virginia Military Institute and the New Bedford (Massachusetts) Textile Institute; married Matilda Powell. 5. Nathaniel, took law course at the University of Virginia, a practitioner of Lawrenceville, Virginia, in partnership with his brother Edward R. Turnbull; married Marguerite Massie. 6. Charles D., a farmer. 7. Benjamin Harrison, deputy clerk of corporation court at Norfolk, Virginia; married Madge Bucher. 8. William Burrell, died in infancy. 9. Irby, of whom further.
Irby Turnbull, son of Robert and Mary Louise (Harrison) Turnbull, was born at Lawrenceville, Brunswick county, Virginia, December 14, 1887. He attended the public schools in his youth, completing the high school course in 1903. In that year he became deputy clerk of Brunswick county and for four years was the incumbent of that office, in the fall of 1907 entering the law department of the University of Virginia, whence he was graduated in June, two years later, with the degree LL. B. He successfully passed the examinations of the Virginia State Board of Legal Examiners in the year of his graduation, and was admitted to the Virginia bar, beginning active work in his profession in Boydton, Virginia. Here he has since remained, he and his father forming the firm of R. Turnbull & Son. Greater good fortune could not have befallen Mr. Turnbull that the opportunity of making his entry into professional life under the preceptorship of his latter's years of experience in the law and the valuable advice he is able to give. the firm of R. Turnbull & Son enjoys a wide patronage, and is held in universal high reputation. Mr. Turnbull is a member of the council of Boydton, and is a member of the State Bar Association, and of Boydton Lodge, No. 189, Free and Accepted Masons. Politically he is a loyal supporter of Democratic principles.
He married, November 16, 1910, Nancy Macklin, born in Brunswick county, Virginia, June 20, 1890, daughter of Richard T. and Ophelia E. (Lucy) Short, and has one son, Irby Jr., born at Lawrenceville, Virginia, August 23, 1911.
Colonel Thomas Tabb. Despite the thirteen years that have passed since Colonel Thomas Tabb was removed from his accustomed walks, honor to his memory and tribute to this virtues is as meet and proper as were the general outpourings of sympathy and regret that came from all sources at his death, for he was of those whose spirits outlive their bodies on earth and whose influence survives their mortal parts. Colonel Tabb today lives in the hearts of those whose privilege it was to stand to him as friend, and in many a generous act, in deeds of courtesy, and in lives of usefulness and uprightness is the ripened fruit of seeds planted by his exemplary life. By those whose intimacy with him was less close he is remembered as a gentleman of distinguished mentality and legal ability, a leader of his profession, a business man wise and sagacious, a conscientious citizen, and a consistent, duty-observing churchman.
Colonel Thomas Tabb was born in Hampton, Virginia, and passed his entire life in that place, his widow, Virginia (Jones) Tabb, now residing in the home that was Colonel Tabb's birthplace. He belonged to an ancient Virginia family, son of John and Malvina (Keaton) Tabb, and left a record well worthy to be placed by the side of the most renowned of his sires.
His family was founded in Virginia by Humphrey Tabb, who in 1637 patented fifty acres of land on Harris' creek, Elizabeth City county, property to which he afterward added largely. He was burgess of Elizabeth City county in 1652, and among the children of his first wife, Joanna, was Thomas. Thomas Tabb and his wife, Martha, were the parent s of John Tabb, who married Martha Hand, great-granddaughter of Captain Thomas Purefy, justice of Elizabeth City county, 1628-29, burgess, 1629-30, and councillor, 1631-32. John and Martha (Hand) Tabb were the parents of William, born February 25, 1702. William Tabb lived in Gloucester county, his home in that part known at this time as Mathews county, and he was a vestryman of Kingston parish. He married Susannah Gould and had ten children. William (2) Tabb, son of William (1) and Susannah (Gould) Tabb, married Joanna Tompkins, and died in early manhood, after the birth of four children. His widow married a second time, Kempe P. Elliott. William (3) Tabb, son of William (2) and Joanna (Tompkins) Tabb, was born in Gloucester county, Virginia, and, his father dying when he was but a youth, he was reared by his uncle and guardian, Edward Tabb, at "Rural Hill," in Berkeley county. IN manhood he made his home in York county and there died, the father of six children.
John Tabb, son of William (3) Tabb and father of Colonel Thomas Tabb, was born February 3, 1810, and died in November, 1861. He was well-known in Hampton, his home "Afton House," and he owned much valuable property in that locality. He was the father of four children, William, Colonel Thomas, Clara and Gertrude. His wife, Malvina (Keaton) Tabb, married a second time after her husband's death, George Elliott, and officer of the United States navy.
Colonel Thomas Tabb was born October 7, 1835, and died in Philadelphia, Mo 16, 1902. In the schools of the vicinity and under private tutors he prepared for entrance at Princeton University, whence he was graduated in 1856 with high honors, having attained the unusual scholarship average of ninety-seven and one-half per cent. He early elected the law as his profession, his first work as a practitioner interrupted by his service in the war between the states. In the army of the Confederacy he rose to the rank of colonel, holding among other important trusts, a place on the staff of General Kemper, who was afterwards governor of Virginia. His patriotism was fired by the purest devotion and was founded on the firmest sense of right, and to the Confederate cause he gave the best within his power during the four years of conflict.
At the close of the war he entered with full vigor upon professional labors, and from that time until his death went rapidly from attainment to attainment, from success to success, until he occupied a position in the legal profession of Virginia above which there was none. His practice extended to all state and Federal courts within his district, and his legal victories were many and important. He was a lawyer of power and brilliance, a matchless mind forming effective legal weapons that were launched in an easily masterful delivery. In his arguments and pleas he could employ the keenest satire, the most scathing sarcasm, and in the same moment stir the emotions of his auditors with an impassioned appeal for justice. It was written of him shortly after his death that "he entered no courtroom that he did not illumine with his splendid attainments as a lawyer, and he engaged no society that he did not adorn with the courtliness of his person." With his immense legal activity he likewise acquired other interests of a business nature, and was connected with several financial institutions, also dealing extensively in real estate. He was ever the loyal and interested friend of the Hampton Normal School and Agricultural Institute, serving both as legal adviser without remuneration of any kind. The gracious hospitality of his home was ever extended in the reception of his friends and those of his wife, and under his own roof he enjoyed serenity and peace, the loving respect and close companionship of wife and children.
Colonel Tabb was a trustee of the Baptist church, and took part in the work of that denomination throughout Virginia. For twenty-five years he served his church as superintendent of the Sunday school, and in this important branch of church work was as efficient and faithful as in his discharge of secular duties. His pastor, Dr. Woodfin, of the First Baptist Church of Hampton, after an association of eighteen years, wrote of Colonel Tabb in a most intimately appreciative manner, saying, in part:
He was modest well nigh to the point of timidity. His fellow citizens, admiring his sterling character and proud of his splendid abilities were ready to bestow upon him any political honors to which he might have aspired, but he shrank from honors * * * * I believe that my friend and brother was a sincerely pious man. The extreme modesty to which I have referred forbade his speaking much of his religious experience, but his deep interest in the Sunday school, of which he was the honored superintendent for a period of twenty-five (25) years; his regular and constant attendance upon the worship of the sanctuary; his keen relish for the preached word, manifested in the eager eye and, not infrequently, in the tear bedewed face; his affection for Christ's poor, shown in kindly courtesy and generous gifts; his interest in missions; his humble and unctuous public prayers; all shoed that he was in loving touch with Jesus.
Colonel Tabb married, January 31, 1867, Virginia Jones, born November 29, 1840, daughter of Thomas and Eliza (Simkins) Jones, granddaughter of Thomas Jones and John Simkins, her line one of the noted families of the state. Children: 1. Lucy, born March 26, 1870; married, January 2, 1895, Robert I. Mason, of Kentucky, and has Horatio P., born September 27, 1895, Virginia, born December 2, 1896, Samuel, born July 23, 1899, and Eliza Simkins Tabb, born May 10,1903. 2. Eliza Simkins, born July 17, 1872, died November 13, 1900. 3. Malvina, born November 29, 1880, died July 3, 1908. 4. Paul, born April 20, 1883; married, April 15, 1908, Nan Morgan, of Maryland, and has Effie Malvina, born October 11, 1910, and Thomas (2), born July 18, 1912; Paul Tabb was educated in the Virginia Military Academy, and is now the proprietor of a large dairy farm.
Henry Clement Tyler. Tyler, an honored name everywhere, is one that has been borne by a president of the United States, three governors of Virginia, by congressmen, by presidents of colleges, men high in the literary and professional world and by men eminent in the business world. A twentieth century representative, Henry Clement Tyler, of East Radford, Virginia, son of ex-Governor James Hoge Tyler, is the present commonwealth attorney of the city of Radford, Virginia, and descends through a long line of eminent forbears, intimately connected with the military and civil history of Virginia.
(I) Henry Clement Tyler descends from Richard Tyler, who came from London, England, in 1675, setting in Essex county, Virginia, later was in Caroline county, which was the principal family seat for several generations.
(II) William Tyler, son of Richard Tyler, had three sons, who during the revolution organized and equipped a company of colonials and led the company as captain, first and second lieutenants.
(III) Captain George Tyler, son of William Tyler, while ranking as captain, commanded a regiment at Yorktown, although not commissioned as such.
(IV) Henry Tyler, son of Captain George Tyler, of the revolution, married Lucinda Coleman.
(V) George Tyler, son of Henry and Lucinda (Coleman) Tyler, was born in 1817, died 1889. He was for many years a member of the Virginia house of delegates, from Caroline county, that county for several generations the seat of that branch of the Tyler family. He married Eliza, daughter of Colonel James Hoge, a planter of Pulaski county, Virginia, from whom his grandson, Governor J. H. Tyler, inherited "Belle Hampton."
(VI) James Hoge Tyler, fortieth governor of Virginia (1897-1902), was born in Caroline county, Virginia, August 11, 1846, son of George and Eliza (Hoge) Tyler. His mother dying soon after his birth, he was reared by his maternal grandparents, General James Hoge and wife, at their Pulaski county farm, and later inherited the Hoge homestead, later known as "Belle Hampton." He attended the old field schools during the winter months and was also a student at the celebrated "Minor's School" in Albemarle county. He enlisted in the Confederate army when sixteen years of age and served as a private until the war ended. He then began the management and cultivation of his farm, entered public life and became prominent as a progressive, public-spirited citizen, devoted to the interests and advancement of his state. He was elected state senator in 1877 and took prominent position in the senate as an advocate of retrenchment and reform. He was a member of the building committee that erected the Southwestern State Hospital at Marion, which in completeness is unsurpassed, considering the amount expended. He was for years a member of the board of visitors and rector of the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and also for a long period was connected with nearly all of the agricultural societies of the state. He was a member of the state debt commission and was firm in his stand to secure an extension of the two per cent. interest period from five to ten years. In 1889 he was the Democratic candidate of Southwest Virginia for the governorship, but P. W. McKinney securing the nomination, Mr. Tyler gave him his loyal support and accepted the second place on the ticket. In 1893 he was again defeated for the nomination by Charles T. O. Ferrall, but he strongly supported the ticket and campaigned many of the counties of the state. In 1897 he was the party candidate and was elected governor by the largest plurality ever given a gubernatorial candidate in the state, making the third Tyler to hold the high office of governor of Virginia. Governor Tyler's administration was marked by the settlement of the long vexed oyster question, for it was largely through his efforts that the Cato bill was made effective and the oyster beds of the state made to yield an income to the state instead of an annual deficit. He was a wise and capable executive and retired from office full of honors. He retired to his Virginia estate after the expiration of his term and resumed its management.
Governor Tyler married, November 16, 1868, Sue, daughter of Colonel Edward Hammett, of Montgomery county, Virginia. Children: Edward Hammett, James Hoge, Stockton Heth, Bell Norwood, Sue Hampton, Henry (Hal) Clement, of further mention, and Eliza. Colonel Edward Hammett married Clementine Craig, of Craig county. Their daughter Sue was born on the old homestead "Norwood," in Montgomery county, in 1846.
(VII) Henry Clement Tyler, son of Governor James Hoge and Sue (Hammett) Tyler, was born in Pulaski county, at the Hoge homestead, "Belle Hampton," December 10, 1878, the old homestead so named in honor of the two daughters of Governor Tyler, Belle and Sue Hampton, parts of the names of each. He was educated in private schools, St. Albans Academy (Colonel Miles principal) and the law department of the University of Virginia, entering the latter in 1899. He was admitted to the bar in July, 1901, and the same year located in Radford, an independent city of Virginia, in Montgomery county, on the Norfolk & Western Railroad. He is well established in general practice and has risen to positions of professional trust and honor. He was appointed in 1906 commonwealth attorney of the city of Radford, to fill out an unexpired term, and in 1908 was elected by the people to fill the same office for a term of four years. In 1912 he was given another evidence of the high esteem in which he is held by a re-election for another four years. In 1909 he was elected city attorney of Radford by the city council, has been twice re-elected and is now serving his third term of two years each. In 1904 he was elected a member of the school board. He practices in all state and Federal courts of the district, is a member of the Bar Association, a communicant of the Presbyterian church, and is a Democrat in politics. His college fraternities are Phi Delta Phi and Kappa Sig.
Nathaniel Thomas Ennett, M. D. A North Carolinian by birth, Dr. Ennett, professionally educated in Richmond, Virginia, has made that city his home since his admission as a student in pharmacy in 1899. He descends from old colonial families, his mother being a descendant of Richard Borden, who came from England to New England in 1636, settling in Rhode Island. The Ennetts are an early family of Onslow county, North Carolina, Dr. Ennett, of Richmond, being a great-grandson of William Ennett, a farmer of that county, and a grandson of Nathaniel Thomas Ennett.
(II) Nathaniel Thomas Ennett, son of William Ennett, was born in Golden Place, North Carolina, April 22, 1816, died May 22, 1844. He married Elizabeth Wilder, born December 18, 1817, died January 3, 1839, leaving an only child, George Noble Ennett.
(III) George Noble Ennett, M. D., son of Nathaniel Thomas Ennett, was born at Golden Place, Onslow county, North Carolina, December 20, 1838, died August 4, 1897, at Cedar Point, North Carolina. He was educated under private teachers, acquiring his professional education in the medical department of the University of New York City, obtaining his degree of M. D. in 1859, being then just twenty-one years of age. He spent the year following in Bellevue Hospital, New York City, also receiving a diploma from that famous institution. He then returned to North Carolina, beginning practice at Snead's Ferry in that state. When war broke out between the states he entered the Confederate army as surgeon, continuing as such in active service for three years, when his own poor physical condition compelled his return home. He was a Democrat in politics, serving as county superintendent. He married Lucretia Ann Borden, born at Cedar Point, North Carolina, in 1848, now residing at the old plantation homestead at Cedar Point with her son, Lee Borden Ennett. She is a daughter of Colonel Barclay DuLaney and Margaret (Chadwick) Borden, and a descendant of Richard Borden, of Rhode Island, 1636. Children of Dr. George Noble and Lucretia Ann (Borden) Ennett: George Noble (2), William F., Lee Borden, Julia J., Nathaniel Thomas, of whom further; Margaret Ann, Elizabeth Wilder, died at Cedar Point, January 24, 1911; Andrew DuLaney, Barclay L., who died in infancy.
(IV) Dr. Nathaniel Thomas Ennett, fifth child of Dr. George Noble and Lucretia Ann (Borden) Ennett, was born at Cedar Point, North Carolina, January 5, 1877. Until ten years of age he was taught privately at home, later attended a private school, and then entered high school at Beaufort, North Carolina, where he spent four years in earnest study and was graduated in 1895. The following year he spent at the plantation, developing a strong body, gratifying his love for hunting and horseback riding, and further developing his intellectual powers. For the next two or three years he taught in the public schools of his state. In 1899 he entered the Virginia School of Pharmacy at Richmond, and in 1901 was graduated, being president of his class. He was soon afterward elected professor of pharmacy at his alma mater, retaining that connection for eight years. In 1903 he began the study of medicine at the Medical College of Virginia, continuing his studies until 1907, when he received his degree, M. D. During this period he continued his duties as professor of the School of Pharmacy. In 1907 and 1908 he was connected with the medical staff of the Memorial Hospital of Richmond. He began private practice in Richmond soon after completing his hospital service in 1908 and so continues, specializing on diseases of children, giving a great deal of time to the study of feeble minded children, their treatment and development. In pursuit of this branch of knowledge, he visited the institutions for the feeble minded at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Vineland, New Jersey, and Toronto, Canada, where the greatest improvement in modern educational methods of treating such children has been made. In 1911 Dr. Ennett was elected medical director of the Richmond public schools, and has there wrought important progress in obtaining better and more healthful conditions for the children as well as giving attention to the correction of their physical defects. Dr. Ennett has also made a special study of tuberculosis, having written much on the subject, as the result of his special study in New York City. His work in behalf of feeble minded or backward children has been recognized by the Medical College of Virginia, several lectures having been given before the faculty and students of that institution on the modern treatment of such cases. During his years as professor of Pharmacy he wrote several books on subjects of value to that profession that are in general use. He is editor-in-chief of the "Cerebrum," general secretary of the Pi Mu medical fraternity, and a member of Chi Zeta Chi. He is a Democrat in politics, a member of the Methodist church since 1898, and is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, Virginia Medical Society, Richmond Academy of Medicine and Surgery, Tri-State Medical Society, Southern Medical Association, Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis, International Association for the Study of School Hygiene.
Dr. Ennett married, in Richmond, October 6, 1909, Rev. J. Calvin Stewart officiating, Amy Conyers Tutwiler, of Palmyra, Virginia, born October 16, 1879. She is the fourth child of Colonel Thomas Harrison and Caroline (Sloan) Tutwiler, who had other children, Thomas Harrison (2), Eleanor Sloan, Martin, Caroline, John Cooke Tutwiler.
John Lewis Thomas. The line of Thomas of which John Lewis Thomas, attorney and police justice of Portsmouth, Virginia, is a member, dates in Virginia to the emigrations from Wales of George Thomas, who located in Gloucester county, Virginia, about 1725. He gained title to a vast tract of land, upon which he maintained many slaves, and was one of the most influential planters of the locality. George Thomas served in the French and Indian war and was with Washington at Braddock's defeat. He fitted out ships in the revolution and sent them to sea after the English. Through his marriage with Ann Lewis he was the father of two sons, Lewis and William, the former of whom served with Virginia troops in the war for independence, gaining the rank of captain.
(II) William Thomas, son of George Thomas, was born in Gloucester county, Virginia, in 1772. He inherited a large share of the homestead and a goodly number of slaves from his father. He became the owner of several ships and was interested in numerous business and commercial enterprises, a busy man of affairs. To politics and public life he gave little of his time, but he was a keen observer and deep thinker, his opinions holding weight and influence among his fellows. He and his wife, Leah, were the parents of: Lewis, of whom further; John, William (2), George, Elizabeth, Nancy, Ellen.
(III) Lewis Thomas, son of William and Leah Thomas, was born in Mathews county, Virginia, in 1802, and died in 1861. He learned the trade of ship carpenter but never followed that business. He engaged in agricultural pursuits, and soon afterward became an inspector of timber at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, at the same time running the farm. He married Elizabeth White, and had issue: George, Keturah, Elizabeth Frances, Mary Susan, Lewis Waller, Julia, John William, of whom further.
(IV) John William Thomas, son of Lewis and Elizabeth (White) Thomas, was born in 1845, died in January, 1909. He was educated under the instruction of private tutors and in private schools, and upon attaining man's estate inherited a small part of the original homestead. He began the study of engineering when his general education was finished, and during the first year of the war enlisted in the Sixty-first Regiment of Virginia Militia under John D. Bohannan, being stationed at Gloucester Point. He was discharged on account of youthfulness and then went to the Tredegar Works, where he remained until the close of the struggle. He was but a youth of twenty years when the war was over, and his first professional connection was with the Seaboard and Roanoke railroad. He later went with the Old Dominion Steamship Company as a marine engineer ans was with that company on its steamers for a number of years. On leaving the Old Dominion Steamship Company he went with the county ferries and remained there until a few years before his death. Mr. Thomas married, April 26, 1876, Sallie Elizabeth, daughter of John L. and Mary F. (Brownley_ Thomas, of Mathews county, Virginia, the two families unrelated. Children: John Lewis, of whom further, and Sallie Elizabeth, died in infancy.
(V) John Lewis Thomas, son of John William and Sallie Elizabeth (Thomas) Thomas, was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, April 2, 1877. The public schools, the Randolph-Macon Institute, and the University of Virginia are the institutions in which he received his education, and he finished his course at the last-named university in 1902. In January, 1903, he was admitted to the bar and established in independent practice, contracting several business connections to insure an income until his practice attained dimensions that warranted his giving it his entire time and attention. This growth was forthcoming in a short time, and Mr. Thomas gained honorable position at the bar and excellent reputation among an influential clientele. In December, 1912, he was elected to the office of police justice of the city of Portsmouth, Virginia, and assumed the reins of authority, January 1, 1913, on this date entering upon a four-year term. The two years that he has passed in this position have fully shown his fitness and ability. Confronted from day to day by all types of humanity, from the hardened criminal to the novice in wrong-doing, in all ages from tottering seniles to unbearded youths, women frequently interspersed, Mr. Thomas has no easy task in distributing justice and in discerning the right. Rigidly strict in dealing with those who choose their course, he goes to the same degree of kindness in redeeming to society those unfortunates whom circumstance has made outcasts. Although his time in office has been short, it has been ample for him to perform many good works, and it has been his privilege to intercept several youths upon the threshold of a life of crime and to establish them at the beginning of careers of usefulness. Through him can be made the final effort of rescue and redemption, and with his duty clear he has not shirked his responsibility, coöperating with the societies engaged in such work with good results, the promise certain that his efforts will be continued. He has always adhered to the Democratic party. He is a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal church (Trinity). His fraternal order is the Masonic, and he is a member of Portsmouth Navel Lodge, No. 100, Free and Accepted Masons, and Mt. Horeb Chapter, No. 11, Royal Arch Masons.
Mr. Thomas married, June 21, 1911, Eleanor, born in 1884, daughter of Charles Arthur and Chassie Belle (Martin) Abbitt, and has one daughter, Sallie Eleanor, born 13, 1913.
Frank Talbott. The title "native son" may surely be applied to Frank Talbott, secretary and treasurer, of Danville, Virginia, as his breath was first drawn in that city and his entire business life has been spent in the public service of the city. His work in public office, church, Sunday school and Young Men's Christian Association has been continuous, valuable and well appreciated. He is a son of Thomas Jefferson Talbott, who, when little more than a boy, ran the first engine over the Richmond and Danville railroad, and grandson of James Talbott, of Talbott & Sons, the early locomotive builders of Richmond, Virginia. The Talbotts are one of the old and prominent families of Virginia, distinguished in public and civil life.
Thomas Jefferson Talbott was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1832, died in Danville, September 18, 1894. He grew up in the city of his birth and was associated from boyhood with his father, the early locomotive builder. He was an expert in machinery of that description, and was at the throttle of the first locomotive that ran over the Richmond and Danville railroad, Talbott & Sons being the builders of that engine. During the war 1861-1865, he served as engineer and in 1874 located in Danville, being then twenty=five years of age. From that date until his death he was a manufacturer of tobacco, as member of the firm Pace, Talbott & Company, one of the first firms of that city. He was prominent in official and business life of Danville, president of the Tobacco Board of Trade, president of the city council and helpful in many ways in the development of Danville. He married Mary M. Pace, born in Danville in 1841, died there May 21, 1891, daughter of Greenville T. Pace, born in Henry county, Virginia, 1810, died 1876, a woolen goods manufacturer and later a tobacco manufacturer. Greenville T. Pace was three times married and had three children: John R., of Danville, now deceased; James B., now living in Richmond, Virginia; Mary M., married Thomas Jefferson Talbott. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Talbott: Carrie, died aged six years; Nannie Hughes, married Charles H. Dorsey, of Galveston, Texas, bore him five children, died in 1900; Greenville Pace, now living in Augusta, Georgia, aged fifty years, married in 1912; Lucy Hall, married Harry W. Thomas, of Danville; Sarah G., died in infancy; Thomas Stokes, died July 1, 1891, aged twenty-three years; Frank, of further mention; Mary Pace, married Barclay A. Hamlin and died in 1894, aged twenty-two; Watts, died aged four years.
Frank Talbott, son of Thomas Jefferson and Mary
M. (Pace) Talbott, was born in Danville, November 10, 1870. He prepared in private schools of
Danville, then entered Randolph-Macon College in 1885 and remained until 1889. He was then for a
few months employed in the Danville postoffice, resigning to accept his present position,
secretary and treasurer of the city's water, gas and electric departments, to which he was
appointed by the city council in 1890. To the duties of that office there was added in 1903,
those of superintendent, all of which Mr. Talbott most satisfactorily performs.
Reared from childhood in the Methodist Episcopal Church South, he early became a member of Mount Vernon congregation of that church, served as teacher and superintendent of Sunday school and active in the work of his church. He was one of the founders and active in the work of raising funds for the Young Men's Christian Association, has served continuously on the board of directors since its organization and was the second president of the board, serving two years. He is also president of the Union Mutual Building and Loan Association and president of the Danville Confederate Memorial Association. He is a member of the Masonic order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, is also a charter member of the Tuscarora Club, and in political faith is a Democrat.
Mr. Talbott married (first) December 8, 1891, Grace Lindsey, of Danville; he married (second) at Newport News, Virginia, November 15, 1898, Ida Wright Lipscomb, daughter of Rev. B. F. Lipscomb, a member of the Virginia Conference Methodist Episcopal Church South, and his wife, Sarah A. Wright, of Smithfield, Virginia, both now residing in Petersburg, Virginia. Children: Olivia Lindsey, born April 21, 1893, a graduate of Randolph-Macon Women's College, class of 1914; Mary Pace, born March 17, 1895, student at the same college, class of 1916; Frank (2), born June 24, 1900, a student at Danville School for Boys.
Harrison Phoebus. Thirty years ago there was carried from the little church within the fort at Hampton to the burying ground of St. John's Church all that was mortal of Harrison Phoebus. A great concourse of mourners a strange assemblage with representatives of almost every class and rank, gathered to do honor to one whom they called "friend," and nothing but the personality of the man whose death brought them thus together could have bridged the gap that separated them in wealth, in tastes, and in standards of life. If the following pages, as they review with all too brief mention the life of Harrison Phoebus, give even an imperfect picture of his character, they shall not have been penned in vain.
Harrison Phoebus was a son of the Rev. Lewis and Sally (Ross) Phoebus, youngest of sixteen children, his mother the third wife of Lewis Phoebus. Lewis Phoebus was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, brother of Rev. Dr. William Phoebus, and died when Harrison Phoebus, his youngest son, was but an infant. Harrison Phoebus was born near Princess Anne, Somerset county, Maryland, November 1, 1840. His mother a widow with ten children, he had little opportunity to secure the scholastic training that would have been to his best interests, for his share of the work upon his mother's farm filled a large part of his time. Beyond the rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic, acquired during short and unsatisfactory winter courses at the public school, he had no teaching, but supplemented this with the contents of his father's small library, consisting of religious works and a few volumes of history and travel. His determination to secure all the learning within his reach was evidenced by his purchasing a copy of Pitman's text-book on"Phonography" and his mastering of this subject by solitary study, the Sunday sermons of the minister serving as dictation as he became more advanced. With a natural mechanical taste, he practiced the use of tools, occasionally obtaining employment as a carpenter, and at the age of eighteen years he began contracting in the hauling of lumber. At nineteen, he was a master builder with a small business, and at twenty he was a self-supporting man, with the victories of the first skirmishes of life's battle upon his side.
His plans, although but imperfectly formed, were disarranged by the beginning of hostilities in the civil war. In 1861 he received a governor's appointment as recruiting officer, and in the latter part of 1863 himself enlisted in a Union Maryland regiment. He was honorably discharged from the service, and in Baltimore entered upon a new chapter in his life. Deciding against returning to his Eastern Shore home, he applied for a position at the office of the Adams Express Company, and, there being no other vacancy, accepted work as a wagon boy at wages of three dollars a week, his discharge papers his references. Ten days after accepting this place he was ordered to report for work in the office, and before six weeks had passed he was detailed as special messenger on the way train to Martinsburg, West Virginia, and for four months ran as special messenger to Martinsburg, during which time he was twice captured by Moseby's band. He was next engaged in running cars through Baltimore and tracing lost cars and freight; was again on the Martinsburg route; and then as special agent to the important post of Point Lookout, Maryland, where nearly thirty thousand Confederate prisoners were confined. His duties here were principally conducted with the provost-marshal and other United States officers, but his m any kindnesses to prisoners are attested by a formal resolution of thanks.
At the close of the war and the discontinuance of the station at Point Lookout, the Adams Company, in July, 1865, sent a special messenger to Richmond by way of Gordonsville to report upon the condition of the roads and to arrange for the reopening of express routes. Mr. Phoebus was entrusted with this mission, journeyed with the first overland party after the close of the war, and his suggestions were acknowledged by their adoption. After the reopening of the Orange & Alexandria railroad between Baltimore and Richmond in May, 1866, he was appointed agent at Fort Monroe, Richmond.
Through the influence of Samuel M. Shoemaker, vice-president of the Adams Express Company, between whom and Mr. Phoebus mutual love and admiration had been born, he was appointed to a pleasant and profitable post in the Adams Express Company, and immediately after permanent settlement at Old Point Comfort, Mr. Phoebus sought fresh fields for labor, confident, as ever, in his abilities, anxious for greater usefulness. Mr. Shoemaker again aiding him, he was appointed to the vacant postmastership by President Johnson, and he then acquired several important agencies. The Anna Messix northern route, via Crisfield, Maryland, made him its agent, and he accepted like responsibility from the Old Dominion Line between New York and Virginia ports and the Baltimore Steam Packet Company, between Baltimore and Norfolk. He became a United States commissioner and a notary public. Representing several large insurance companies, he thoroughly canvassed the outlying region in their interests, and did a volume of business that made that department of his activities a well paying one. Occasional investments in real estate were successfully concluded, the cause of his success in all lines his absolute determination, his unflagging perseverance. He was one of the founders of the Norfolk National Bank, Norfolk, Virginia.
There is no part of Mr. Phoebus' life that reflects more abundant honor upon him nor which better shows his sterling quality as a shrewd man of business than his connection with the Hygeia Hotel. For years the many natural attractions of Old Point Comfort had made the place celebrated as a fashionable seaside resort. Before the war the old Hygeia Hotel was crowded season after season with a throng of beauty and fashion unexcelled at any watering place in the country. But with the war this splendor passed, the hotel was torn down, as interfering with the gun range of Fortress Monroe, and as late as 1872 the once famous Hygeia was represented by a low, two-story building, with scant accommodations for a score of two of guests. The operations that brought Mr. Phoebus into reflation with this hotel are here worthy of exact reproduction. In 1872 Messrs. Clark and Wilson secured possession of the property and added to, repaired, and rebuilt the hotel. Their limited capital being insufficient to cover the expenses of building and furbishing, they were compelled to seek assistance, and borrowed considerable sums, Samuel M. Shoemaker and Mr. Phoebus becoming of the number of their creditors. The management of the hotel was unsuccessful and in the spring of 1874 the firm became bankrupt, and the Hygeia was announced for sale at public auction. Now it was that Mr. Phoebus' business training and established reputation stood him in good stead. He had kept a wary eye upon the affairs of the hotel, noting the errors of management, and had estimated with keen foresight the possibilities of the business. He saw that the elements of a gigantic success were there, and that only proper management was wanted. He had no experience in hotelkeeping, but he had had successful experience in other branches of business; and having carefully formulated his plans he visited Baltimore, unfolded his ideas to his friend, Mr. Shoemaker, and requested his financial aid in their consummation. After his conversation with Mr. Shoemaker he returned to Old Point with the assurance of the capital required, and in April, 1874, he became the proprietor of the Hygeia Hotel, retaining still his express and other agencies. He set out at once upon an investigating tour of the United States, to learn all there was to know about his business. He visited large and small hotels in all portions of the Union. He studied domestic economy in every department. It was a well known fact to his employes that every minutia of that huge establishment, the Hygeia Hotel, was familiar to him. Theoretically, he knew nothing of architecture, but it was he who built that enormous hotel. His sole training had been a six months' course under a house carpenter, but all the internal machinery of the house was of his device and even the drainage, gas, and water pipes were installed under his direction.
The result of his labors was another unqualified success credited to his business judgment. Constant improvements kept the Hygeia Hotel in the position of leader among the hotels of the seashore resorts, and the great caravansary, extending for a quarter of a mile along the beach, offered every obtainable device and invention for the convenience, comfort and pleasure of its patrons. The Hygeia was conducted upon the highest plane, for indeed no other would have been tolerated under Mr. Phoebus' direction. Said he, "I can not make a paradise of the Hygeia, but I will make it as nearly a home for good men and women as I can," and this he did, satisfactorily and successfully catering to those who came from the fairest walks of life. The day of the Hygeia is past. New names stand for the highest attainment in hotelkeeping, and, as in other lines, a new era has come to that business, bringing magnificence and splendor almost undreamed. But Harrison Phoebus rose to the heights of his calling in his day, more, he reared the heights of his calling in his day, more, he reared the heights that he ascended, and did he live at this time, naught but the same result would attend his restless ambition, his unwearying perseverance, his tireless industry, and his strong self-confidence.
Public honors were easy of access had he but heeded the expressed desires of his fellow citizens. In the summer of 1884 his name was widely proposed by the people as a candidate for Congress, and the nomination for that body was tendered him by acclamation by the Republican convention which met in Hampton on the twenty-eighth of August. He was favored by Republicans and Democrats alike, but he made his choice against a public career, announcing to his friends: "I can not be a good Congressman if I am a good hotelkeeper, and I can not be a good hotelkeeper if I am a good Congressman." He was a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal church, but in his beneficences, which were large and numerous, considered only need and worth, regardless of denominational lines.
Such are the facts one can write of Harrison Phoebus' life. The story they tell is one of honest endeavor well and richly rewarded, yet it would require a much more detailed narrative to properly depict the sweetness and beauty of his nature. His memory recalls a gentleman who lived in peace and friendship with his fellows, whose sympathy and aid were ever extended to the needy, a man in whose word the utmost dependence could be placed. There is recalled the habit of punctuality that ruled his life, his reverence for knowledge, his natural courtliness and chivalry, his delightful recitation of homely poems, and the number of his kindnesses and charities, although the greater part of the latter was done without public knowledge. His religion was one of brightness and faith, epitomized in his expression, "Let us do the best we can and leave the rest to God," and he made friends and kept peace with those with those with whom he would fain have disagreed solely because he thought it wrong to be at enmity. Right and justice were in all that he did, and the recognition of the purity of his motives and the correct manner of his life gave him place in the love and affection of all who knew him, a place that could never have been occupied only by the successful man of affairs, but which was gladly opened to him who diffused the true spirit of brotherhood. His death occurred February 25, 1886, and it was to do honor to one who had realized the fullness of manhood that there gathered the throng of whom early mention was made. True are the words inscribed upon the marble shaft which rises above his grave: "Taken in his maturity, his spotless life, hallowed by the charms of exalted virtue, lives in the hearts of all who knew him, and leaves to his descendants the rich inheritance of an honored name." He was a thirty-second degree Mason.
Harrison Phoebus married, May 11, 1864, Annie J. Stevens, born January 31, 1839, died August 7, 1906, and he was the father of seven children: 1. Charles M., married Sarah Sweeney, and resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 2. Samuel S., married Ida Peddicord, and resides in Dansville, New York. 3. Harrison Cooper, deceased; married Catherine Yoder. 4. Frank M., married, as his second wife, Mabel Wilson, and lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania. 5. Annie R., married George K. Vanderslice, and resides in Phoebus, Virginia; their children are: Dorothea, Harrison Phoebus, Annie, George K., Jr., deceased, James, Emily, Ellis, Helen. 6. Mary, married Robert Van Ness Davis, and lives in Rutland, Vermont. 7. Elsie Ray, lives in New York.