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Apperson family


Biographical Note

In 1889, Elizabeth Black of Blacksburg, Virginia, married John Apperson of Marion, joining the Black and Kent families of Blacksburg with the Apperson family. Elizabeth Black's father Harvey Black and John S. Apperson served together in the 4th Virginia, 1st Brigade during the Civil War. Black was a regimental surgeon and Apperson was a hospital steward under his command.

John S. Apperson (1837-1908) was born in Locust Grove, Virginia, and moved to Smyth County in 1859. He took a job splitting rails and began to study medicine under local physician William Faris. In 1861, Apperson enlisted in the Smyth Blues, organized as Company D, 4th Virginia. After the Civil War, he studied medicine at the University of Virginia, earning a degree in 1867. He returned to Smyth County and married Victoria Hull in 1868. They lived in Chilhowie, and Apperson practiced medicine and farmed. They had seven children.

John Apperson's first wife died in 1887. The same year, he took a job as assistant physician under Harvey Black at the Southwestern Lunatic Asylum of Virginia in Marion. When Harvey Black died in 1888, Apperson resigned his position at the Southwestern Lunatic Asylum and established a medical practice in Marion. In 1889, he married Elizabeth, daughter of his friend and mentor Harvey Black. They had four children: Harvey, Alexander, Kent, and Mary.

After his second marriage, John Apperson pursued a career in business. He was one of eight founders of Staley's Creek Manganese and Iron Company. In 1906, he expanded the operations of the Marion Foundry and Milling Company into the Marion Foundry and Machine Works. He also promoted the building of the Marion and Rye Valley Railroad.

In 1892, the Virginia Board of World's Fair Managers employed Apperson to collect items and transport Virginia exhibits to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. John Apperson died in Marion in 1908. His wife Elizabeth died in Blacksburg in 1942.

Harvey Black Apperson (1890-1948), the oldest child of John Apperson and Elizabeth Black, lived in Salem, Virginia, and practiced law in Roanoke for thirty years. He became active in Democratic Party politics in the 1920s. In a special election in 1933, he was elected to represent Floyd, Franklin, Montgomery, and Roanoke counties and the cities of Radford and Roanoke in the State Senate. He served on the State Corporation Commission from 1944 to 1947 and was Chairman of the Commission from June 1944 to 1947. Governor William Tuck appointed him Attorney General in August 1947, and he took office October 7, 1947. He died suddenly of a heart attack at his home in Richmond on February 2, 1948. Alexander Apperson worked at the Marion Foundry and Machine Works for a period and later moved to Birmingham, Alabama.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Black, Kent, and Apperson Family Papers

Identifier: Ms-1974-003

This collection contains the papers and artifacts of an interrelated family prominent in Blacksburg's history. It includes the Civil War letters of Confederate surgeon Dr. Harvey Black, the Civil War diary of hospital steward John S. Apperson, cotton books and correspondence of Germanicus Kent, nineteenth-century account books of a Blacksburg general store, 1912 European travel diary, and the political scrapbooks of State Senator and Attorney General Harvey B. Apperson.

Dates: 1779 - 1984