Class Of 1902 -- Biographical Sketches (K-Y)
[NOTE: Names with a bar indicate that the person was deceased at the time this was published in 1955.]
James Francis (Scribe) Key
He entered the freshman class in September, 1898, registering from Leonardtown, St., Mary’s County, Maryland, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course. He completed four sessions through 1902.
He is well remembered for his inventive talent and for his knack of developing gadgets. Neither the college nor the Alumni Association has any direct record of his career after leaving V.P.I. Son George Miller reports that he saw him once or twice; first, in 1905 in or near New York City, when Frank told Son George, that he had taken a laboratory course at Stevens Institute which had been of great benefit to him. After leaving Stevens Institute he went with G. E. Co. or Westinghouse at Quincy, Mass. and worked on installation of switchboards and a large steam turbine. He told Son George of his experience with a motor on a condenser circulation pump, which had developed a hot box and the motor shaft had heated to a cherry red, but Frank kept it going and cooled it down gradually without stopping the pump. At that time he was associated in the development of a hydraulic brake for a turbine that was very successful. Son George had some correspondence with him in 1906. After that Frank worked his way westward across the country and one job he had was in an iron foundry in California.
Son George, in endeavoring to get more information about Frank for this history, was informed by the postmaster at Leonardtown that he had died many years ago.
James Isaac Lee, Jr.
Jim, as he is familiarly known to his many friends, sent in his complete biographical sketch, so we will let him tell us about it in his own words.
“I was born April 16, 1879 at Lynchburg, Virginia, the eldest of five children of James I. Lee and Nannie Branch Anthony. On both my parental and maternal sides, my ancestry is traced to the earliest settlers of Virginia.
“Upon completion of my education in the public schools of Lynchburg, I entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in the fall of 1898.
“After two years at V.P.I. I entered service with the engineering department of Southern Railway Company on August 10, 1900, and continued in the service of that organization until I retired on my seventieth birthday in 1949. During service with Southern Railway, I was advanced through the positions of rodman, draftsman, assistant engineer, field engineer and office engineer. At the time of my retirement, I was located in the office of chief engineer at Washington, D. C.
“During World War I, I was appointed captain of the Southern Railway unit of the Home Defense League, a local military organization formed to assist the government in an emergency.
“During World War II, at the request of the Secretary of Commerce, I was loaned for about four and a half years to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and placed in charge of contracts entered into by that corporation during the construction of defense plants incidental to the development of the synthetic rubber program. On completion of that assignment, the R. F. C. awarded me a certificate for outstanding services.
“I was married December 9, 1903, to Clara Lucie Brown, a native of North Carolina, and a descendant of Governor Bacon, one of the colonial governors of Virginia. Of that union there were two sons, and we also have three grandchildren, “teen-agers”, two boys and a girl.
“Our elder son, James Richard Lee, entered the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated at the head of his class in 1928. During World War II, he was stationed on the carrier “Enterprise” where, as scout plane leader during the battle of Santa Cruz Islands, October 26, 1942, he won the Distinguished Fying Cross. A short time thereafter, as Commander Lee during the action at Guadalcanal, he won the Navy Cross. Subsequently he was cited for other outstanding services and later promoted to Captain in the U.S. Navy. More recently he has been commanding officer of the large carrier, U.S.S. Randolph in the Mediterranean. He has lately been honored by election to membership in the exclusive “Society Of The Cincinnati”.
“Our younger son, Stephen Bacon Lee, graduated from Washington and Lee University with distinction in 1938. He entered the U. S. Navy at the beginning of World War II and was assigned to the battleship “Alabama” where he saw action in both the north Atlantic and the south Pacific areas. He was also cited for outstanding service and has since been promoted to the rank of commander. Recently he has been assigned as Admiral’s Aid, located in Washington.
“After retirement, Mrs. Lee and I resided in Arlington, Virginia. I maintained a desk in the retired official’s room of Southern Railway Building, Washington, D. C., where I met almost daily with other retired officials of Southern Railway. In the summer of 1953, we moved to my home city and are now residing at 1924 Rivermont Avenue, Lynchburg, Virginia. Since moving here, I have been appointed a member of the Lynchburg Planning Commission, which has kept me quite busy. I have been a member of the Court Street M.E. Church at Lynchburg for more than sixty years. Have also been interested in youth development programs and served for several years as deputy commissioner of Boy Scouts of America in the Washington area.
“For many years, Mrs. Lee and I have been ardent collectors of antiques, principally early American glass specimens. Our collection of the colonial pattern, “Ashburton” is considered one of the outstanding collections of this glass in America.”
Louis C. Linkous
The college and alumni records regarding this classmate are very meager. It is presumed that he was a freshman at V.P.I. in the session, 98-99. There is no further record of his career.
It is believed that he is living at Williamson, West Virginia, address — P.O. Box 1145. A history questionnaire was mailed to him at that address, and a follow-up was sent him, but so far no reply has been received. It is regretted that we have no further information to include in this history.
William Norman (Billy) McAnge, Jr.
Born August 1, 1882 at Suffolk, Virginia, son of William N. and Aline Riddick McAnge. He had one sister. He received his primary and high school education in Suffolk.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Suffolk and enrolled in the electrical engineering course. He completed the four year course and graduated with the class in June, 1902. It may be that he changed his course after the freshman year as according to college records he received the degree of B.S. in general science.
While at V.P.I. he was known informally to his associates and many friends as “Billy”, and sometimes as “Mac.”. He was greatly interested in class social activities and was a member of the German club.
After graduation he joined the Atlantic Coast Line Telephone Company and rose to the position of vice president. He resigned from this company to take the position of sales engineer with the Electric Heating and Manufacturing Company of Los Angeles, California.
About this time he became interested in the independent telephone utilities operating systems. In 1908, he joined the Jackson Home Telephone Company, Jackson, Tenn., and as general manager directed the affairs of this fast growing property for two or three years.
In 1911 he joined the Allen properties, with operating headquarters at Corinth, Miss., and in 1919 became operating vice-president, and soon thereafter was elected president and treasurer.
He remained with the Allen organization until 1925, at which time he acquired the controlling interest in the Inter-Mountain Telephone Company, with headquarters in Bristol, Tenn. He immediately became president and treasurer of this company. During the period of his controlling ownership and management, this company expanded rapidly and operated about thirty telephone exchanges in eleven counties in southwestern Virginia and eastern Tennessee.
His career as a prominent and successful executive and manager of independent telephone operating properties was cut short by death on August 30, 1940 at his home in Bristol, Tenn., when he was only fifty-eight years of age.
In addition to his successful operation of telephone properties, he was always deeply interested in civic and business affairs in the state and nation as well as locally. He was first vice-president and a director of the Dominion National Bank, Bristol; president and director of the Bristol Theater Corporation; and held directorships in the First National Bank, Bristol, Southwest Virginia, Inc., a regional chamber of commerce at Wytheville, Virginia, and the United States Independent Telephone Association, Chicago. Also he was a trustee of Milligan College, Milligan, Tenn., and a member of the national council of Boy Scouts of America.
He retained active interest in V.P.I. up to the time of his death, and was past president of the Alumni Association, and vice-president of the V.P.I. Alumni Fund at the time of his death.
His club affiliations included: Bankers Club of New York City; University Club, Washington, D. C.; Commonwealth Club, Richmond, Virginia; Hampton Yacht Club, Hampton, Virginia; Bristol Rotary Club and Bristol Country Club, having served as president of these latter two clubs. Also, he was a member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, The Society of Military Engineers, the ODK Honor Society, and the Phi Beta Kappa honor Society.
For hobbies, he was greatly interested in fishing and boats. Yachting was a major interest from boyhood on, and in later years he spent much time in the summers fishing and cruising on Chesapeake Bay waters in the cruiser, Matoaka III.
He had been a life long member of the Protestant Episcopal Church and was a vestryman of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Bristol.
He was married October 19, 1907 to Penelope Smith, of Suffolk, Virginia.
Of this union there is one son, Thomas Riddick McAnge, born April 25, 1921. There are two grandchildren, Mary Louise McAnge, born December 3, 1944, and Thomas Riddick McAnge, Jr., born March 27, 1947.
Note: The history committee is indebted to Mrs. McAnge, who resides at 1110 Holston Avenue, Bristol, Tenn., for most of the information in this sketch.
Herbert Gilmore (Hub) McCormick
Born August 16, 1878 at Fairfield, Rockbridge County, Virginia, son of Mr. and Mrs. James R. McCormick. He received his primary school education at Fairfield, and for his high school education he attended Augusta Military Academy, near Staunton, Virginia, from 1896 to 1898.
In September, 1898 he entered the freshman class at V.P.I., registering from Fairfield, and enrolled in the civil engineering course. He graduated in June, 1902 with the degree of B.S. in C.E. In his senior year he was second lieutenant, Battery (field artillery) E of the battalion. His extra-collegiate activities included: member of the football team for the four seasons 98 through 01, and in his last season was tackle on the All-Southern Team; baseball team, 00-01; secretary Athletic Association, 00-01 and president, 01-02; president Rockbridge and Augusta Club, 00-01; German Club, assistant leader 00-01 and leader 01-02; president Final Ball, 02; vice president of our class, 99-00 and president, 01-02, which office he still holds.
After graduating at V.P.I. he was employed by the Norfolk and Western Railway, as civil engineer on surveys and construction, until 1908.
He then returned to V.P.I. for a year of post-graduate study and in 1909 he received the degree of C.E. at V.P.I. During that post-graduate year he also was an instructor in civil engineering at V.P.I.
In 1909 he went with the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, as junior engineer (civilian status) and assigned to work on improvement of the Ohio River and its tributaries until 1917.
In 1917-18 he was assigned to the job of setting coast defense artillery on the Atlantic Coast.
From 1919 to 1930 his assignment was on construction of locks and dams on the Ohio River.
From 1930 to 1946 he was engaged in the same kind of work on the upper Mississippi from St. Louis to Minneapolis. This project consisted of twenty-six locks and dams costing approximately two hundred million dollars.
From here on let Mac. tell us about the remainder of his career in his own words:
“During the war years, 1942-45, our office handled much heavy military construction on which I was supervising engineer. This work included — two shell and bomb loading plants; one small arms ammunition manufacturing plant; one fifteen hundred bed hospital; the camp for the WAC training center at Des Moines, Iowa, to accommodate twelve thousand trainees; and the expansion of storage facilities at the Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Ill.
“I retired from the U.S. Government service in 1946 and took a position as consultant with one of the large contracting outfits of the country.
“But a year later a surgical operation cost me my voice. I then gave up all work and my wife and I moved to Clearwater, Florida, where we now reside at 8 Supplee Place. We are affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.”
Mac. was married in 1912 at Georgetown, Ky., to Carrie Lyon. They have one daughter, Carolyn Ann, born 1919, who was a Powers photographic model, and from 1942 to 1945 was WAC First Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Corps. She is now married and living in New York City.
Note: As the history goes to press, a letter has been received from Mac containing the sad news that his wife passed away June 29, 1955 at their home in Clearwater. He is at present visiting his daughter and her husband (an official of Standard Oil Co. of N. Y.) who are temporarily located in Venezuela. His address is—c/o Mr. David Anderson, Creole Petroleum Company, Apartado 889, Caracas, Venezuela.
Charles Purcell McCue
Born August 15, 1880 at Greenwood, Albermarle County, Virginia, the only child of Dr. Massie L. McCue and Emma F. Purcell.
He attended the public schools of Albermarle County for nine years, and then was at Pantops Academy during the period 1896 to 1898.
He entered the sophomore class at V.P.I. in September, 1899, registering from Greenwood, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course, and was assigned to the Battery. In his junior year he was sergeant in the Battery. He did not return for his senior year but went into the orchard business in June 1901 with his father who began planting apple and peach orchards in 1894.
From 1904 to 1907 he was associated with the firm of Langhorne & Langhorne, railroad contractors, on a variety of jobs.
In 1907 he returned to his orchard business in which he has continued to date. It is now operated under the firm name, McCue & Son, Greenwood, Virginia.
For thirty-eight years, Purcell has served Albermarle County in elective offices. From 1912 to 1916 he was justice of the peace. For the past thirty-four years he has been a member of the Board of Supervisors of the County, and during much of that time he was chairman of the finance committee. He is now chairman of the Board of Supervisors. He was chairman of the Citizens League which helped set up the county executive form of government in Albemarle in 1933.
In 1936, when the apple producers of Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia joined forces to promote the apples of this area and formed the Appalachian Apple Service, he was elected president of that organization and continued to serve in that capacity until 1953.
For several years he was president of the Agricultural Conference Board of Virginia, and in 1931 was awarded a certificate by V.P.I. for “meritorious service in promoting the development of agriculture and interests dependent thereon”.
For six years he served as vice president of the Virginia State Horticultural Society, and subsequently served as president during four terms, and was a director of the Society for twelve years. In 1950, he was elected an honorary member of the Virginia State Horticultural Society—one of four such members—in recognition, as stated in the Society’s monthly magazine, Virginia Fruit, of his “tremendous contribution of his effort and time in building the Society and in conduct of its affairs for the benefit of all Virginia Fruit growers”.
Purcell was married November 22, 1916 to Mary Ellen Allen. They have two children: C. Purcell McCue, Jr., born November 11, 1918, and now in charge of the orchard at Greenwood after three years service in the U.S. Army; and Margaret Persis, born in 1921, and now wife of Lt. Col. W. R. Washington.
Purcell is affiliated with the Protestant Episcopal Church. His principal hobbies are hunting and fishing.
Born February 14, 1879, at Greenville, South Carolina, one of seven children, three boys and four girls, of Dr. W. S. Miller and Keziah Walker Miller. He attended primary and high schools at Greenville from 1887 to 1896; and in 1897-98, he attended Furman University at Greenville.
He entered the sophomore class at V.P.I. in September, 1899, registering from Greenville, and enrolled in the electrical engineering course. He was assigned to Company B, and later was transferred to the Band. He was a sergeant in his junior year and second lieutenant in his senior year. Also, he was editor-in-chief, Gray Jacket, in 1901. He graduated and in 1903 received the degree of B.S. in E.E.
His business and professional career began in 1904 when he was employed by the General Electric Company in the testing department, which job he held until 1906.
From 1906 to 1909 he was associated with H. Eckstein Company, Ltd., of Johannesburg, South Africa, in their engineering department, installing and operating electrical apparatus.
From 1909 to 1917 he was engaged in electrical work at the Panama Canal. In 1918 he returned to Greenville, S. C., where he remained until 1922 and again went to the Panama Canal to undertake electrical work.
In 1925 he returned to Greenville, and is now engaged in farming. His address is: Route 2, Greenville, S. C. He is affiliated with the Baptist Church.
Boyce was married September 14, 1910, to Mary Richardson Pack of Blacksburg, Virginia. They have three children—Mary Pack Miller (Mrs. S. H. Thomason), born in 1912; Boyce Miller, Jr., born 1914; and Hariet Kathryn Miller (single), born 1919.
George Coleman (Son George) Miller
Born January 29, 1879, at Garland Hill, Lynchburg, Virginia, the son of Thomas Cecil Miller and Mary Hunt Coleman Miller. He has one brother, also three sisters, one of whom is living.
George, in reply to the history questionnaire, sent in such a complete record of his career with many interesting side lights that, from here on, most of it is given in his own words.
“Entered Lynchburg public schools in 1886 in lowest grade. System was made up of eight primary grades, six grammar grades and six high school grades. Had to repeat one primary grade on account of severe case of scarlet fever and one high school grade on account of typhoid fever.
“Quit high school in April, 1896 when about two-thirds through. Worked two years in retail store; firm sold books and stationery, also newspapers, weekly and monthly magazines, wall paper, window shades and pictures, framed and unframed. Firm also employed three men for printing, paper hanging, making window shades and framing pictures.
“Went back to high school in September, 1898 for special one year course in math. and English.
“Entered sophomore class at V.P.I. in September, 1899, registering from Lynchburg, and enrolled in electrical engineering course. Was assigned to Company A, Infantry, and remained a front rank private all three years. First year roomed with W. B. Gibbs, 08, in Fifth Division, No.1 Barracks; junior year roomed with R. H. Buchanan, Jr., (02) in same barracks First Division, second floor back, inside corner room. Senior year roomed with Bryant Heard, 04, in No. 3 Barracks, second floor, middle front room on side next to Y.M.C.A. building. Fourth (post-senior) year roomed in Y.M.C.A., top floor, middle room, with “Reuben” Stiles and A. S. Frazier, Jr., 96.
To digress at this point, he brought with him to V.P.I. the nick name, “Son George”. How did he get it? Well, it seems that when he was a boy there were two other Georges in school, and one day our George’s father wanted to send him a message so he said “tell my Son George . . . . .”, and the name has stayed with him ever since.
In his senior year he was in the Signal Corps. Also, he was end on the 1901 football team, and was secretary-treasurer of the Lynchburg Club.
Like some others, he did not graduate with the class in June, 1902, and returned for the 02-03 session to get his degree, B.S. in E.E., June, 1903. Now let Son George resume his own story.
“Attended some post-graduate lectures under Professors Patton and Randolph. Taught a section of the 06 class in mechanical technology for half a session. Also, under Professor Claudius Lee, did some bookeeping and collecting for the Lighting Dept. and the Telephone Co., and operating the electric water-pump motors mostly from 7:00 to 11:00 P.M.
“Substituted for Sally Miles, 01, a few times as Dr. Henderson’s secretary at sick call. Also spent a few nights as nurse’s assistant at the hospital on a pneumonia case; this was when a member of the 05 class, B. C. Tynes, went seven days and six nights without sleep; there were only two nurses at the hospital and there were other patients with pink-eye and mumps.
“During the 02-03 session, operated a post-graduate mess hall (Waldorf-Astoria) over Murrill’s store. Among my clients, twelve in all, were — Arvin; Proctor; Miller, B.; Talcott; Boogie Walsh, 03; Frazier, 06. Have forgotten whom I succeeded but sold out the equipment to Ritchie Sale, 03, in June 1903.
“Climbed the water tank a few times. Walked to Mountain Lake one night by moonlight (six hours, 8:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M.) with Frank Key; slept on a pile of lumber for a few hours and took breakfast at the hotel, Sunday, June 1, 1902. Looked for rattlesnakes but could not find any so went back to V.P.I. (Son Geo. don’t tell us how long it took them to get back. —Ed). Also walked to Yellow Sulphur Springs one Sunday. And went swimming in Roanoke River one Sunday, April 1, 1900 or 1901, with one or both of the Tams boys.”
That’s all Son George tells us about his side-line activities at V.P.I. He did not say if he was involved in the acts of the Haircutites the night of Feb. 18, 1902. He now relates his professional and business career, and he certainly did get around a bit—almost as much as did Windy Ayre.
“I started work for General Electric Company at Lynn, Mass., about July 7, 1903, on the Testing Course. Factories were at West Lynn in two bunches about three-quarters of a mile apart. The lower group was known as the River Works and it was only a few feet above sea level. Concrete foundations of the buildings probably cost as much as the buildings. Each group had its independent steam plant but the two were electrically connected so that a transformer at the River Works could be connected to a variable number of lamps at the West Lynn (older group) factory.
“At the West Lynn plant I was on the testing of motors, generators, arc lamps and meters, and on shop operation (motor-generator sub-station). At the River Works I was on the testing of transformers, commercial and special, and on steam turbine tests (15 to 1500 KW). Had five months on turbines, thirteen hours per night. Was also on a few outside assignments such as — Lynn Gas & Electric Co., Rumford Falls, Me. (transformer repairs and all night operation of arc lamps), and Brockton, Mass., overhauling street lighting arc lamps. This job, about six weeks, ending July 6, 1906, was my last work for G. E. Company. Three years very satisfactorily spent. Also got a good definition of an engineer—a man who can get for $2.50 what a dam fool pays $5.00 for.
“Returned to Virginia, by rail to Fall River, Mass., and then by boat to Norfolk. About middle of August, 1906 I went to Sweet Briar to represent Wiley & Wilson, and observe the completion of the steam-electric plant preparatory to its operation. I was designated superintendent of Department of Machinery and Lighting and operated the plant for three years. The lighting system was extended to St. Angelo and the dairy barn. The second year a two-ton refrigeration and cold storage plant was added to the system, and electric service extended to the pump house to operate pump motor replacing steam pump. This necessitated a change from 2-phase, 2200 volts, to 3-phase, 440 volts, and included two more transformers and lightning arresters along with motor and starter. In my third year another dormitory was built which necessitated more water, steam heating and lights. I lived at the farm superintendent’s residence for two years, and at the faculty apartment house the third year. I learned a good deal by listening to the educators’ out-of-class room conversation and miscellaneous reading in the library. In my first year we lost one transformer due to lightning, and during the Christmas holiday a short section of small water pipe in an unoccupied residence, due to freezing. Also did some civil engineering instrument work in laying out orchard for one thousand apple trees, and running over old property lines. Had three telephone systems, an electric clock and bell ringing apparatus to keep up. Altogether three years operations with very home like surroundings, and one week off-premises vacation during Jamestown Exposition in 1907.
“In October, 1909 I went to work with Glamorgan Pipe & Foundry Company, Lynchburg, Virginia, as electrician. Had about twenty three meters and lighting to look after. This company makes cast iron water pipe and hydrants, mostly, but also some brass castings and special cast iron articles.
“In February, 1910, went to work for Virginia Electrolytic Company, at Holcombs Rock, Virginia. Due to sale of metallic sodium patents and stoppage of development and experimental work, my job was discontinued in September, 1910. The following month I went back to electric service work with Roanoke Railway & Electric Company, mostly meter testing. On January 1, 1913 I started engineering and operating in the coal fields of Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. Left the coal fields in September, 1915 and returned to Holcombs Rock.
“In August, 1918 I went to the Pennamon shell loading plant, near Yorktown, Virginia, where I worked until February, 1919. In 1919 I was working with an electrical contractor in Richmond, Virginia, for a short time, and then with the Street Railway & Electric Company at Girardville, Penn. From November, 1919 to January, 1920, I was with the Chevrolet Company at Flint, Mich.
“It seems that 1919 was a bad year for labor troubles. When I stopped by Richmond, most of the electricians had gone on strike. Later in the year when I was line foreman on the job in Pennsylvania, the whole gang quit me one Saturday morning in July. I finished the month mostly painting cross arms, while the line work and pole painting was let out to contract. Then in the fall while I was at Flint, Mich., the bricklayers struck and the du Pont company gave up brick construction and turned to concrete for foundations and porches for a large number of houses for the Chevrolet company. The coal strike cut down factory operation, and before the power shortage was remedied I was called home in January, 1920 because of illness.
“Since returning in 1920 to Bedford County, Virginia, for the last time, I have been more or less busy with postoffice operations and reading, along with taking care of some livestock, chickens and gardening. In all these things I have found the Adam Haskell instructions for lubricating a steam turbine very helpful and generally applicable, i.e., ‘Use just enough and not too much’. I have been very lucky in some ways, never having been in a serious accident nor seen one. On the other hand, I have been close enough to prevent a possible homicide, help extinguish a few small fires, and pull a boy out of deep water by his hair.
“My postmaster’s commission is dated February, 1926, and I was retired January 31, 1949. That service, together with mail-messenger service, totals about thirty years.
“My wife and I now live at Riverview, Holcombs Rock, Bedford, County, Virginia. I am a Contract Mail Messenger, making twelve round trips a week, holidays included. Among my hobbies is a small collection of old smoking-pipes and razors; one of the latter is over a hundred and fifty years old and is hand forged and hollow-ground. I am a member of the Ruritans and Parent Teachers Association, and also a member of the National League of District Postmasters. I am a Baptist but have been attending Methodist and Episcopal services more often and regularly on account of location.”
George was married June 25, 1913 to Mary Elizabeth Steptoe. They had two sons. The younger, George Thomas Miller, was born January 14, 1926. In World War II, he was with the U.S. Marine Corps, 4th Division, and was killed in action March 2, 1945 during the fight on Iwo Jima.
The elder son, Macon Steptoe Miller, born September 1, 1916, is Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, at Tacoma, Wash. He is a graduate of the Air Corps photographic course and also has served as gunner. He is a Mason and member of Order of Eastern Star. There are three grandchildren, two sons and one daughter.
Harry Bell (Smish) Mish
He is the son of Mrs. Charles B. McClure, Route 1, Staunton, Virginia.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registered from Middlebrook, Augusta County, Virginia, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course. He completed the four year course and graduated in June, 1902 with the degree of B.S. in M. E. During his senior year he was second lieutenant, ordnance, on the Battalion Staff. He was secretary, Lee Literary Society, 99-00; and vice-president, Augusta and Rockbridge Club, 01-02.
The college records show that he was under guardianship of Mr. and Mrs. Bosserman, Middlebrook, Virginia. There is little record of his career after leaving V.P.I. The alumni records show that he was at one time, vice-president, Bridgeweld Engineering Corporation, New York City. Other members of our class have reported seeing him in New York in the 1930’s. His present address is unknown to us.
Edgar Stark Moore
Born February 5, 1879 at Edgewood Farm, Stafford County, Virginia, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Smith Moore. He had one brother.
His primary education was received in small, one-room, public schools at Chappawaumsic and Mt. Airy, in Stafford County, during the period 1886 to 1894. He attended high school at Warrenton, Virginia from 1894 to June, 1898. During this period he worked with his father on a large farm, and at that time became a member of the Odd Fellows and the P.O.S. of America Organizations.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, and registered from Onville, Stafford County. He did not complete the course at V.P.I. because of the death of his father in October, 1900, which necessitated his returning home to take care of his mother and assume charge of the farm. While at V.P.I. he roomed with Jim Lee whose sketch appears elsewhere in this history.
In 1901 he taught a six-months public school at Concord, Stafford County. In 1902 he took a short course at Massey Business College, Richmond, Virginia. Upon returning home he was appointed Deputy Clerk of Stafford County, which position he held until 1910. During that period he also engaged in the fire and life insurance business, which he continued to handle until 1946.
After his marriage in 1903, the home place and farm was sold and he and Mrs. Moore moved into the town of Stafford.
In 1917 he began operation of the first garage and service station, including sale of Ford Motor Cars, on Highway No.1, between Fredericksburg and Alexandria, and continued that business until 1926 when, because of illness, he sold it and gave up active business for nearly a year.
In 1918 he was appointed postmaster at Stafford, Virginia, and held that office for twenty-eight years until his retirement in 1946, at the age of sixty-seven, because of disability.
After his retirement as postmaster, his health gradually became worse and he died June 1, 1954.
During his career he was active in many civic and church affairs in the community. He was affiliated with the Methodist Church at Stafford, and was steward and charge lay leader.
He was married June 10, 1903 to Clara M Chewning. They had no children.
Note: The committee is indebted to Mrs. Moore, who continues to reside at Stafford, Virginia, for most of the foregoing information.
Pitt Samuel (Shorty) Murrill
Born February 9, 1881, at R.F.D, Roanoke, Virginia, son of Samuel Leroy Murrill and Virginia D. Woodruff. He had three brothers and three sisters. He attended primary school at Blacksburg, Virginia, from 1887 to 1895; and high school at Blacksburg from 1895 to 1898. He then attended Randolph-Macon Academy for his high school senior year.
Pitt, as he was usually addressed informally, entered the sophomore class at V P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Blacksburg, and enrolled in the chemistry course. He was assigned to Company B, and in his junior and senior years was in the Band, being second lieutenant in his senior year. He graduated with the class in June, 1902 and received the degree of B.S. He took post-graduate study at V.P.I. and obtained his M.S. degree in 1904. During his post-graduate period he was instructor in Spanish and English.
At some time after his professional career began, Pitt obtained his B.A. and M.A (in school administration) degrees at Columbia University, New York. For three years he was principal in North Carolina public schools. He was head of religious schools in Kentucky for two years. Following that, he was engaged in teaching in Virginia public schools for five years.
About 1922 he was appointed a high school teacher in the public school system of Richmond, Virginia, and about a year and a half later he was appointed an elementary school principal. He held this position for twenty-six years until he retired in 1950 because of ill health.
During World War I, he served with the Y.M.C.A. at Camp Lee and in Richmond. During World War II he served as head of various activities, such as, Bond and Red Cross drives, and USO for soldiers from nearby camps. His four sons served in the U.S. armed forces, and his daughter served in the USO.
Pitt and his wife and their five children were all interested in music. After Pitt retired in 1950 he took up painting, principally of landscapes in oils. He tells us that he has done upwards of sixty paintings of places in the United States and Canada that he and his wife visited, and has sold quite a large number of them.
He continued his church activities and was a member of the Highland Park Methodist Church in Richmond, and of the Boggs Bible Class of one hundred twenty adult men; he taught the class for a year.
After his retirement his health gradually failed and he died at his home in Richmond, January 19, 1954. Mrs. Murrill continues to reside at their home, 3111 4th Avenue, Richmond 22, Virginia.
Pitt was married September 5, 1911 to Edith Branson Simmons. Of this union there were five children—George Howard, 42, who played clarinet in the Yale University orchestra while taking his B.A. degree; Malcolm Lee, 39, played piano and pipe organ while taking his B.A. at Yale; Robert Douglas, 37, was first flutist while taking his B.S. at Richmond College and his M.S. at V.P.I.; Donald Pitt, 35, took his B.S. at Richmond and B.A. in music at R.P.I.; Anna Lilian, 30, took voice and piano and is now married and lives with her family in California. There are seven grandchildren.
Pitt evidently lived a full and happy life. The following excerpts from his letter of November, 1952 to a member of the class history committee certainly indicates that:
“It was thoughtful and kind of you to send me a picture of the old boys of Class ’02 (a snap-shot of the group at our fiftieth anniversary reunion at V.P.I. in October, 1952) . . . Life has been exceedingly good to me. I married in 1911 . . . was on my way to receive an M A. at Columbia and we made that our wedding trip.
My wife took voice there and later at New England Conservatory as she had a diploma in voice and piano. This fact colored our entire life; our five children followed in piano, voice, flute, violin and pipe organ . . . After forty-one years of school work I retired and turned to painting. I have sold many canvasses and have a picture of Long’s Peak in Colorado to deliver today. It is a great hobby and I enjoy it to the fullest. My wife is still singing in a sixty-voice choir and is happy in church work as also am I . . . I played first violin in a sizable orchestra here for a good many years . . . our home group of clarinet, piano, two flutes and two violins was a preventive of boredom for the boys and greatly in demand at church gatherings and city club meetings . . . Now I am semi-invalid and see the rich blessings I have been enjoying and do now appreciate greater than ever. During the summers, my wife and I, and sometimes two of the boys, went traveling. We visited every state in the Union, Mexico, and five provinces in Canada You can imagine how rich are my memories of scenes from Seattle to Nova Scotia, and from Ottawa to Mexico. Thank you again for your kind letter on the back of the appreciated snap-shot of the “boys” of our old class—a great class.”
William Wirt Neale
We have little family information about Neale other than he was a son of Mr. and Mrs. R. G. Neale of Bowler’s Wharf, Essex County, Virginia.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Bowler’s Wharf, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course. In his senior year he was second lieutenant in the signal corps. He completed the four year course and graduated in June 1902 with the degree of B.S. in M.E. He was secretary and treasurer of the Rappahannock Valley Club in 01-02.
His last known address was R F.D. 1, Owings Mills, Maryland. He died April 23, 1931.
Clarence Dearborn (Scribe) Newman
The only family information we have about Clarence is that he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Newman, Magruder, Virginia.
He entered V.P.I. in September, 1898 in the freshman class, registering from Magruder, York County, Virginia, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course. In his senior year he was captain of Company B. He graduated with the class in June, 1902 with the degree of B S. in M.E. He was assistant business manager of Gray Jacket, 00-01, and business manager, 01-02; vice-president Lee Literary Society, 01-02; vice-president of our class, 00-01; and president of Final Celebration, 02.
At some time after leaving V.P.I. he was with Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, at Newport News, Virginia. Also, it is thought that he worked on the Panama Canal construction. His last known address was 27 South King Street, Hampton, Virginia. He died October 3, 1929.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Newnham, Columbia, South Carolina. He entered V.P.I. as a sophomore in September, 1899, and enrolled in the electrical engineering course after registering from Columbia, S. C. He completed his course in three years, graduating in June, 1902 with the degree of B.S in E.E.
During his career after leaving V.P.I. he was associated with Knapp-Monarch Company, St. Louis, Mo., as electrical engineer. Also, at some time he resided at 1017 East Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, Cal. He died March 29,1940
Julian Ivanhoe (Turkey) Palmore
Born January 14, 1882, at Cartersville, Virginia, the son of Callydonia and Bennett W. Palmore. He had one brother and one sister. His pre-college education was received in the schools at Cartersville.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Cartersville, and enrolled in the chemistry course. He graduated with the class in June, 1902 and received the degree of B.S. in Applied Chemistry. In his senior year he was first lieutenant, and adjutant of the battalion of cadets. His other activities included: treasurer Lee Literary Society, 00-01, and vice-president of that society, 01-02; local editor of Gray Jacket, 01-02. He returned during the next two sessions, 02-03 and 03-04, for post-graduate study and obtained his M.S. degree in 1904.
After leaving V.P.I., he taught for some time in a military school in the South, the name and location of which we have not been able to learn.
Then he went to the University of Maryland as assistant chemist and remained about three years.
His next position was with the U. S. Department of Agriculture at Washington, D. C., as analytical and research chemist in the Food and Drug Administration. This position he held until his retirement in May, 1948.
In December, 1949, he became seriously ill, requiring hospitalization, and has not yet recovered sufficiently to permit his returning to his home.
Julian was married on December 5, 1908 to Nora G. Justice. They have one son, Julian I. Palmore, Jr., born October 24, 1909. There is one grandson, Julian I. Palmore III, born September 26, 1938.
His principal hobby before his illness was raising flowers; he was evidently quite proficient at this as he has won many prizes.
He is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. He has been active in civic and fraternal organizations and is a member of the Maryland State Grange, and for twelve years was lecturer for his local chapter. He is a Thirty-Second Degree Mason; also a member of Almas A.A.O.N.M.S of Washington, D. C.
Note: The history committee is indebted for most of the foregoing information to Julian’s wife, Mrs. Nora G. Palmore, who resides at 4905 Calvert Road, College Park, Maryland. Julian is a patient in the Spring Grove Hospital, Catonsville 28, Md., and Mrs. Palmore writes that he would enjoy very much hearing from any of his classmates.
Charles Stephens Patterson
Born May 13, 1878, in Wythe County, Virginia, one of nine children, six sons and three daughters, of Charles Crockett and Eliza Patterson. Before going to V.P.I., he attended Baker Boys’ School, Dr. McDonald’s school in Wytheville, Virginia, and the Wytheville Public School.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Wytheville, Wythe County, and remained for only one session.
After leaving V.P.I. he was employed by the Virginia Iron, Coal & Coke Company as a mechanic.
He was married in March, 1905 to Ruth Dickens. They had no children. After his marriage, he engaged in farming and continued that activity up to the time of his death, December 1, 1951, at which time he was living in the Crockett’s Cove section of Wythe County, Virginia.
Among his survivors is his brother, E. B. Patterson, whose address is: Route 2, Crockett’s Cove, Wytheville, Virginia, and to whom the history committee is indebted for most of the foregoing information.
William Jeter Phillips
Born December 23, 1879 at Nandua, Accomac County, Virginia, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Jesse Phillips. He had two brothers.
He attended primary schools at Pungoteague, Onancock and New Church in Accomac County. For his high school education he attended the Pungoteague Academy in 1896-97, and Margaret Academy at Onancock in 1897-98.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in 1898, registering from Miona, Accomac County, and enrolled in the horticulture course. He was in the cadet military corps only one year, but he completed the four year academic course.
In June, 1902 he graduated with the class and received the degree of B.S. He returned the following session for post-graduate study and received his M.S. degree. At some time later during his professional career, he attended the University of Illinois for seven months. And in 1925 he received his Ph. D. degree from the University of Virginia.
His professional career began in August, 1904 when he was employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Bureau of Entomology. He was in charge of the department's Field Laboratory at Richmond, Indiana from 1905 to 1909. From that time until 1913 he was located at Purdue University, Indiana. In 1913 he was assigned to the Department of Agriculture Field Laboratory at Charlottesville, Virginia, where he remained until his retirement from the department in 1935.
In the course of his career he has published thirty bulletins and professional papers through the Bureau of Entomology of the Department of Agriculture. After retirement, he has served the Virginia State Entomologist in a professional capacity during the spring and summer of the ten years since 1944.
He was married April 28, 1909 to Hazel M. Lough. They have no children. He resides at 718 Cargil Lane, Charlottesville, Virginia and has been treasurer of Christ Protestant Episcopal Church in that city for the past fifteen years.
Nelson Carter (Pruitt) Poe, Jr.
Born May 14, 1881, at Greenville, South Carolina, son of Nelson Carter Poe and Nancy Crawford Poe. He had two brothers and two sisters. He received his primary education in the schools at Greenville, attending primary school till 1890, and high school from then on to 1895.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Greenville, and enrolled in the electrical engineering course. He was assigned to Battery E, and in his senior year was second lieutenant in the Signal Corps. He was vice-president of the German Club in 00-01, and president in 01-02. He graduated with the class in June, 1902 and received the degree B.S. in E.E.
His business career began in August, 1902 when he was employed by Wilkins, Poe and Company as machinery salesman. In 1907 he bought a one-third ownership in that company.
He has continued in business in Greenville and is now president and treasurer, Poe Hardware and Supply Company; and president and treasurer, Poe Piping and Heating Company. Also, he is a director of the First National Bank in Greenville, and is affiliated with the Presbyterian and Protestant Episcopal churches.
He resides at 44 West Avondale Drive, Greenville, S. C., and his business address is P.O. Drawer 1940.
Nelson was married, first, in 1907 to Sallie Beattie; and second, in 1929 to Florence Trussell. There are four children—Mary, born 1916; Nelson Poe, III, born 1935; Nancy, born 1938; and Patricia, born 1943.
He had expected to attend our fiftieth anniversary reunion at V.P.I. in October, 1952, but unforseen circumstances prevented his coming.
Carroll Leigh Proctor
Born February 1, 1880 in Charlotte County, Virginia, one of ten children, seven boys and three girls, of Dr. Thomas A. and Margaret S. Proctor. His pre-college education was received at country schools in Charlotte County from 1886 to 1898. Also he worked on his father’s farm during those years.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. September 22, 1898, registering from Drakes Branch, Charlotte County, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course. He was first assigned to Company A and later in the session was transferred to the field artillery, Battery E. During his four years term he was successively promoted to corporal, first sergeant and, in his senior year, to captain of the Battery. His other activities included: vice-president Lee Literary Society, 00-01, and president, 01-02; secretary and treasurer of our class, 00-01; local editor Gray Jacket, 00-01; vice-president Athletic Association, 01-02; business manager The Bugle, 02; treasurer Final Ball, 02; and manager 03, base ball team.
He graduated with the class in June, 1902 and received the degree of B.S. in M.E. He returned for the 02-03 session for post-graduate study, and in June, 1903 received his M.E. degree. During his junior, senior and post-graduate sessions he was an instructor in Spanish.
After leaving V.P.I. he was employed in August, 1903 by General Electric Company at Schenectady, New York, where he remained until 1908 working in the Testing, Foreign and Railway Commercial departments.
In 1908, his career as an executive began, and we will let him tell us about it in his own words; if Carroll were not so modest he probably could have recited some specific accomplishments during that career:
“After five years with General Electric Company, I spent seven years as general superintendent of the Athens (Georgia) Railway & Electric Company. In 1915, I went to the Empire District Electric Company in Joplin, Missouri, as sales manager. In 1918, I was elected vice-president and general manager of the Danbury & Bethel Gas & Electric Company, at Danbury, Conn. In 1919, I returned to Joplin as vice-president and general manager of the Empire District Electric Company. In 1925, I was elected vice-president and general manager of The Toledo Edison Company, Toledo, Ohio, which position I held until 1938 when I became president. I served as president of The Toledo Edison Company until 1949, when I was elected chairman of the Board of Directors, the position I now hold.”
In addition to his many duties during his business career, he found time to take an active interest in many important civic affairs. Again, let him tell us about it:
“I have been an honorary member of The Edison Club (General Electric Co.), Schenectady, N. Y., since 1908. I am a life director of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce; and an honorary trustee of the Toledo Zoological Society, the Boys’ Club of Toledo, and the Toledo Y.M.C.A. I am a life member of the National Foremen’s Club, and of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. I am an honorary member and past president of the Toledo Rotary Club, and a past president of the Joplin Rotary Club. I am a past president of the Toledo Chamber of Commerce; past chairman of the Budget Committee of the Toledo Community Chest; and vice-president and trustee of the Toledo Museum of Art.”
Carroll was married, first, in 1909 to Mabelle Weldon of Schenectady, who died in 1930; and second, in 1937 to Ruth Scott.
He is affiliated with the Methodist Church. His addresses in Toledo, Ohio, are: residence—2237 Evergreen Road, Toledo 6; business—The Toledo Edison Company, Toledo 4.
He and Mrs. Proctor were among those attending our fiftieth anniversary reunion at V.P.I. in October, 1952.
Alfred Aldrich Richardson
Born August 17, 1881 in Hampton County, South Carolina, son of Henry Warren and Sara Aldrich Richardson. He had one brother. His pre-college education was received in the public schools at Columbia, South Carolina.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Columbia, S. C., and enrolled in the engineering course. He was assigned to Battery E, and during his four year term was successively promoted to corporal, sergeant and to lieutenant in his senior year. He left before finishing his senior year to go into the business of farming.
His professional career began in 1913 when he became an official of the State of South Carolina, and he has continued in that capacity to date.
In March 7, 1913 he was appointed chief of the South Carolina Game and Fish Department. He held this position until July 1, 1952, at which time, by an act of the Legislature, the Game and Fish Department and the State Board of Fisheries were combined, and he was made director of the new department, known as Wild Life Resources Department, which official position he now occupies.
He was married November 28, 1905 to Annie Ferris. They have one daughter, Sara. He is affiliated with the Episcopal Church.
Since his official business has to do with wild life resources, it is obvious that his hobbies would be hunting and fishing.
His present address is: Director, Wild Life Resources Department, Columbia, South Carolina.
Edmund Hunter Riddle
Born August 9 1881 at Martinsburg, West Virginia, the son of Henry A. and Martha Hunter Riddle. He had three brothers and one sister. He received his pre-college education in the schools at Chambersburg, Pa., and at the Chambersburg Academy.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Chambersburg, and enrolled in the special studies course. He completed his freshman and sophomore years but did not return for his junior year.
Some time after leaving V.P.I. he joined the Atlantic Refining Company and was district manager at Chambersburg, Pa., until his death on September 29, 1933, except during the period of his military service in the U.S. Armed Forces in World War I.
In 1918, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the U. S. Motor Transport Corps and, after training at Camp Holabird, was sent to France. After the armistice in November, 1918, he was in charge of a large transportation depot near Paris until September, 1919. Upon his return to the United States, he continued in the military reserves and was a captain at the time of his death. He also resumed his business association with Atlantic Refining Company.
He was married June 16, 1908 to Mary Blanche Bard. He was a member of the Falling Spring Presbyterian Church, Chambersburg, Pa., and was always active in community affairs.
Note: The history committee is indebted to Hunter’s sister for most of the foregoing information; her address is—Miss Elizabeth Brown Riddle, The College Inn, Chambersburg, Pa,
Walker Wallace Sanford, Jr.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Sanford, Madison Run, Orange County, Virginia. He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Madison Run, Virginia, and took special studies and agriculture courses. He remained for three sessions but did not return for the 01-02 session. After leaving V.P.I., he returned to his home county and was engaged in dairy farming. His address was: Kenwood Dairy Farm, Orange, Virginia. He died in July, 1954.
Anderson Howard Sayers
He entered the sophomore class at V.P.I. in September, 1899, registering from Barren Springs, Wythe County, Virginia, and enrolled in a modified chemistry course. He graduated in June, 1902 with the degree of B.S. in Applied Chemistry. In his senior year he was first lieutenant in Battery E. He was substitute on the football team of 1901; and in 01-02, was secretary, Athletic Association, and president, Wythe County Club.
After leaving V.P.I., he became a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and was a practicing veterinarian at North Fork, West Virginia. He died September 8, 1908.
Custis Brown (Tuck) Seagle
Born November 30, 1881 at Wytheville, Virginia, the son of George A. and Sarah E. Seagle. He had five sisters. His primary education was received at a school near Wytheville, and he attended Wytheville High School during the session 1897-98.
He entered V.P.I. in the freshman class in September, 1898, registering from Wytheville, and enrolled in the electrical engineering course. He was assigned to Company C, and in his sophomore and junior years was in Company D, first as corporal and then as sergeant. In his senior year he was first lieutenant and range officer on the Staff. He graduated with the class in June, 1902 with the degree of B.S. in E.E. He either brought with him or acquired at V.P.I. the nickname “Tuck”, by which he is yet familiarly known to many of his friends.
His professional career began in October, 1902, when he entered the employ of General Electric Company at Lynn, Mass., and was assigned to the Student’s Training Course. For two years his principal job was testing all types of electrical equipment. In October, 1904 he was transferred to the engineering department for work on induction motor design.
In February, 1909, he was transferred to General Electric’s Philadelphia office, where his work consisted mainly of “Trouble Shooting” and installation of various types of electrical equipment.
In November, 1912, he left the General Electric Company and accepted a position with the American Bridge Company in the capacity of electrical engineer, with headquarters at Ambridge, Pa., near Pittsburgh. In this position he supervised the electrical power and lighting equipment at the company’s various plants, of which there were fifteen in number in 1912. Over a period of several years, nine of these plants were abandoned and the remaining six were enlarged to better serve the interests of the company. It was also the responsibility of the electrical engineer’s office to apply and install electrical equipment for products of the company, such as movable bridges, electric furnaces (Heroult), turntables, etc.
In November, 1946, he retired from the American Bridge Company at the age of sixty-five. He and Mrs. Seagle now live at Bristol, Tenn., her former home city; their address is: 803 Spruce Street. His hobby is gardening and he is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.
Custis was married August 22, 1906 to Lillian Gertrude Fulwider. They had two children—George A. Seagle, born November 6, 1910; and William Richard Seagle, born June 17, 1917 (died 1919).
He and Mrs. Seagle were among those attending our fiftieth anniversary reunion at V.P.I. in October, 1952.
William Taylor (Little Mouse) Smith
Born 1882 at “Adalbert Farm”, King George County, Virginia, son of Albert Turner Smith and Ada Virginia Dickenson Smith. He has one sister, now Mrs. J. G. Pollock, who lives at the “Adalbert Farm”. For his early education he was taught at home by a private teacher, and he also attended a private school in King George County for a year.
He entered V.P.I. in the freshman class in September, 1898, registering from Dogue, Virginia, enrolled in the agriculture course, and was assigned to Company C. Being of short stature, he was promptly accepted into the “Mouse” Club, and was dubbed “Little Mouse” by his company captain, Fred Wilson, who was none too tall himself.
He remained at V.P.I. only one session, returning in 1899 to his home to undertake management and operation of his widowed mother’s “Adalbert” farm, at which he continued until 1914. He then built his home on his half portion of the “Adalbert” farm and engaged in general farming, including raising some pure bred Jersey cattle. From 1899 to 1951, he managed and operated four farms.
From 1937 to 1942, he was employed by Bank of Commerce and Trust Co., of Richmond, Virginia, to manage the “Wilton” farm of 1260 acres. At the end of the five years, what with the improvements he had effected, the farm sold for a top price.
He retired from active farming operations in 1951 and turned the management and operation of his own farm over to his son, William T. Smith, Jr., who also manages another farm, and wherever possible uses power equipment in his operations.
William T.’s motto has been, “I love farm life”. His principal hobby is bird shooting, in pursuance of which he has owned and handled various breeds of bird dogs. He is a vestryman of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and a Mason. His address is, Dogue, Virginia.
He was married in 1919 to Elizabeth May Burroughs. They have two children—William T., Jr., born 1921, who has five children, two boys, three girls; and Elizabeth May, born 1926, who has one daughter.
His mother, who lived to the venerable age of ninety-seven, died in 1953.
Frank Markham (Zeke) Spiller
Born January 3, 1881, at Old Rosedale, Russell County, Virginia, one of eleven children, eight sons and three daughters, and the fourth son, of William Hickman Spiller, II, and Cynthia Boyd Spiller. He was a brother of Stuart whose sketch follows. When he was about two years of age, the family moved to Wytheville, Virginia, the native home town of his father and mother.
For his primary education he attended Mrs. Mary Pettit’s school in Wytheville. For his high schooling, he attended Plumer College and Wythe County High School, both in Wytheville.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Wytheville, and enrolled in the electrical engineering course. He was a corporal in his sophomore year, sergeant in his junior year, and first lieutenant Company D, in his senior year. Also he was director of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. Because of a serious attack of typhoid fever during his senior year, he was absent during final exams, and thus did not graduate and obtain his degree, B.S. in E.E., until 1903. He remained at V.P.I. until the latter part of 1904, during which time he was instructor in Graphics under Prof. Rasche, and in the shops under Prof. Parrott.
His business career began in 1904 with employment by Western Electric Company at the Hawthorne Plant, Chicago, as draftsman on electrical power apparatus, principally motors and generators.
After about a year with Western Electric Company, he left to take a position as draftsman-engineer with a mining company at Mineral Point, Wis. Following this position, he had a similar job with a company at a small town, DePue, Ill., and for awhile was at South Bend, Ind.
About this time he gave up engineering work and engaged in business promotions in various states, including Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.
In 1915 he gave up his business activities in order to return to Wytheville to care for his father and mother who had become invalids. During this period he was also associated with an automobile agency in Wytheville. After death of his parents he resumed his business activities.
In 1932, he joined the U.S. National Park Service. His first assignment was in an engineering capacity with the Smoky Mountain National Park headquarters at Gatlinburg, Tenn. In 1941, he was placed in charge of the park at Fall Creek Falls in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee, with headquarters at Pikeville, Tenn. In 1943 he was transferred to Kentucky to be manager of Otter Creek Park (near Fort Knox) with headquarters at Rock Haven, Ky. In 1944 he developed a serious illness necessitating an operation, for which he went to St. Mary’s Hospital in Knoxville. He never recovered from the effects of the operation, dying three days afterward on November 13, 1944. His remains were sent to Wytheville for interment in the Spiller family plot.
Frank was married April 18, 1931, to Mary Jackson Borches who survives him and now lives in Knoxville, Tenn. He was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Stuart Magruder (Reddy) Spiller
It has been my privilege to collect and assemble the data for this history of the V.P.I. class of 1902, and as there is no one else to write me up for the history I must do it myself.
I was born November 14, 1882 at Old Rosedale, Russell County, Virginia, the fifth son of William Hickman Spiller, II, and Cynthia Boyd Spiller, and younger brother of Frank, whose sketch immediately precedes this. Five of my father’s sons attended V.P.I., which I claim is a record.
When I was three months old, my father moved his family to Wytheville, Virginia, where I was raised as a boy. Attended Mrs. Mary Pettit’s elementary school, then went to Plumer College for two years, and to Wytheville High School for two years. After finishing school and before going to V.P.I., I worked in Bruce’s grocery store in Wytheville.
Entered the sophomore class at V.P.I. in September, 1899, registering from Wytheville, enrolled in the electrical engineering course, and was assigned to Company D under Captain Scotchy McGregor, as a high private in the rear rank. By strict adherence to the principles of military science and tactics, I managed to retain my private status for three sessions and was even promoted to the front rank. Because of a little difficulty in solving the mysteries of Prof. Rasche’s descriptive geometry and Prof. Vawter’s calculus, I did not finish with the class and thus did not graduate until the following year, receiving the degree of B.S. in E.E. in June 1903. Was instructor in the physical laboratory and also worked in the machine shops during the session of 02-03 and part of 03-04.
Left V.P.I. in February, 1904 to take a job with Western Electric Company at its Clinton Street plant, Chicago, Ill., as telephone switchboard draftsman. The company’s telephone switchboard activities were later moved out to the Hawthorne plant which became the company’s largest manufacturing unit. I remained at Chicago and Hawthorne for seven years. During a period of expansion, was in charge of a group of about sixty draftsmen. Later, as a telephone switchboard engineer, was associated with the completion of specifications and drawings for a completely new line of small switchboards for the independent telephone companies’ business.
Early in 1911, was transferred to the company’s main office in New York City as telephone sales engineer. Then in May, 1912 left New York to take the position as Western Electric Company representative in China. Crossed the Atlantic and spent about two months visiting the company’s branch factories at London, Paris, Antwerp, Berlin and St. Petersburg (now Leningrad). Spent a few days in Moscow and from there took the Trans-Siberian Railway overland toward China. Arrived in Peking, China after ten days of continuous railway travel.
My headquarters in China were at Peking with the company’s agents, Arnhold, Karberg & Co., who had offices in the principal cities of China. During my stay in China, I assisted in negotiating contracts for new telephone exchange equipments in several Chinese cities, including Tientsin, Tsinanfu and Changsha. Made several trips as far as one thousand miles into the interior of China, but did not visit the territory south of Shanghai.
The outbreak of World War I in August, 1914, had a serious effect on my company’s foreign business, not only in China but all over the world. As my expected three-year stay in China was nearly finished, I was recalled to New York early in 1910. Left Peking by rail, went through Mukden, then down through Korea to Fusan (now Pusan), then by steamer overnight to Shimonoseki, Japan and on by rail to Tokyo where I visited several days at our Japanese factory, the Nippon Electric Company. Then went by Pacific Mail Co. steamship “Korea” from Yokohama to San Francisco, stopping for a day at Honolulu. From San Francisco went via Santa Fe Railway to Chicago, stopping for a day in Arizona to view the Grand Canyon. After spending a few days visiting our Hawthorne plant went on to report to headquarters at New York City.
During the summer and fall of 1910 I visited several company locations studying their methods in what turned out to be a “grooming course” for another job. Was offered and accepted the position of Far Eastern Manager of Western Electric Company, with headquarters at the company’s branch factory, Nippon Electric Company, Tokyo, Japan. The position also included the offices of director and secretary of the Nippon Company.
I was married before leaving New York for the new assignment. We sailed from San Francisco, November 20, on the Japanese steamship, S.S. Shinyo Maru, arriving Tokyo on December 1. My company had decided to open its own office in Shanghai, China, instead of continuing to work through agents. To assist in opening the office, I started for Shanghai, Mrs. Spiller accompanying me. We traveled, first to Peking, over the same route, in reverse, I had taken earlier in the year, that is, to Shimonoseki by rail; then by steamer across the Sea of Japan to Fusan, Korea; then by rail to Seoul where we stopped for two days to visit the branch house of Nippon Electric Company; then by rail to Mukden and thence to Peking. We spent Christmas day and week among my Peking friends, and then proceeded to Shanghai, via Tientsin and Nanking.
My successor as company representative in China had been there for sometime. After a months stay in Shanghai we had not completed arrangements for opening the office so Mrs. Spiller and I returned to Tokyo. We went by steamer to Nagasaki and then through the inland sea to Koke, where we stopped for a few days and then proceeded by train to Tokyo. On March 23, 1916, I again left for Shanghai to resume arrangements for the new office which were completed satisfactorily in time for me to return to Tokyo on May 2. This was my last trip to China until my tour of duty in Japan was finished in early 1919.
After the United States entered World War I in April, 1917, I registered with the U.S. Naval Attache at Tokyo for any service in the armed forces where I might be useful, but was never called on for service. My successor at Tokyo arrived in December, 1918. I was then asked by the company to make a sales and investigation trip through the East Indies, to which I consented. Because of the unsettled conditions, particularly in respect to traveling and living accommodations, caused by World War I, we thought it was inadvisable for Mrs. Spiller to accompany me on the trip, so she returned to the United States by herself, leaving Tokyo early in February 1919 via steamer to San Francisco, and thence by rail to her mother’s home in Lexington, Virginia.
I left Tokyo in February, 1919 for the East Indies trip, stopping off at Peking and Shanghai in China. Then went by steamer to Manila, P. I. where I remained several weeks. Then took a steamer for Hongkong, stopping there only long enough to get accommodations on another steamer to Singapore. While at Singapore I took a side trip northward by rail into the Federated Malay States as far as a small city, Ipoh, where our London company had an agent. Also, made a steamer trip to Batavia, Java (now Jakarta, Indonesia) for a weeks stay. From Singapore, I took a steamer for Bombay, India, and stopped for a day at Colombo, Ceylon. Visited with the company’s agent in Bombay for several weeks, taking a few side trips to nearby cities. Then, went across India by rail to Madras for a few days stay. Then went by rail to Calcutta for several weeks stay. Our company was in process of installing a new telephone exchange in Calcutta and I conferred with the local telephone people from time to time. From Calcutta, I went by steamer across the Bay of Bengal to Penang, near the middle of the Malay Peninsula, and after a few days stay there returned to Singapore. Since I had covered most of the contemplated territory my objective now was to get back to New York. So I took a steamer for Hongkong and after remaining there for a few days secured passage on the old Empress of Japan, which was scheduled to land at Vancouver, B. C. On the way we stopped at Yokohoma for a few days and then proceeded to Vladivostok to pick up a batallion of Canadian troops returning from duty in Siberia. Landed at Vancouver and from there took a small steamer south through Puget Sound to Seattle, stopping for a few days to visit the company’s Seattle branch house. Then proceeded by rail direct to Chicago and on to New York City, arriving in August, 1919.
Remained in New York City, in charge of sales to the company’s foreign branch factories and offices, until the spring of 1922. Then, in March, 1922 started out on a sales and investigation trip to Mexico. Went by steamer to Tampico, Mexico, stopping for a day or two at Havana, Cuba, and Progresso and Vera Cruz in Mexico. For the next five and a half months, I traveled through the central portion of Mexico, from Vera Cruz on the Gulf of Mexico to the city of Guadalajara on the west, visiting the principal cities in that area, including, of course, Mexico City, where I remained nearly a month. I made the trip back to New York by rail, crossing the border at Laredo and stopping a few days at Dallas, Texas, to visit the company’s branch house there. Arrived in New York City August 21, 1922.
On October 28, 1922, I left New York, by steamer, on a sales trip to Havana, Cuba. Mrs. Spiller accompanied me on this trip, and we remained in Havana about one month, returning by steamer to New York the end of November.
The trip to Havana was my last one abroad. However, I continued at New York to be associated with the company’s foreign business until 1925, at which time the company’s factories and branch houses in foreign countries (except in Canada) were sold to the International Telephone and Telegraph Company.
From 1925 to 1943, I was located at the Western Electric Company’s head office in New York City, first in the installation department, then in the comptroller’s organization, then for five years as assistant secretary, and then back to the comptroller’s organization. I retired July 1, 1943, after nearly forty years service with Western Electric Company and its subsidiary companies.
During my residence in New York I was a member of the Douglaston Club and of the Port Washington Rifle and Revolver Club, both on Long Island. I am now a member of the National Rifle Association of America and a Life Member of the Telephone Pioneers of America.
Following retirement, Mrs. Spiller and I decided to settle in Wytheville, Virginia, and we acquired a home place at 485 Withers Road where we now reside. I kept up my former hobbies, hunting, fishing and gardening. We are affiliated with the Protestant Episcopal Church.
In 1945, I served as chairman of the Zoning Commission to draft a zoning ordinance for the Town of Wytheville. The proposed ordinance was submitted to the Town Council in 1946 but was not finally adopted until a few years later.
In response to the suggestion of local friends, I became a candidate in the June, 1946 election, for member of the Town Council but was not elected. This was my first experience as a small town politician. Early in 1951, I was appointed by the Council to fill the unexpired term of a resigning member. In the June, 1952 election, I filed as a candidate and was elected for a four year term expiring in 1956. In September, 1952, I was appointed Mayor of Wytheville by the Town Council, the position which I now hold.
I was married November 2, 1915, at Lexington, Virginia, to Nannie Marie Patton, a daughter of Colonel William M. Patton who was professor of civil engineering at V.P.I. from 1895 until his death in 1905. We have no children.
My latest activity has been to collect and assemble the data for this history of the class of 1902. It has been quite a chore but there have been many gratifying compensations, particularly the renewal of the pleasant associations with my living classmates and the contacts through correspondence with near relatives of our classmates who have passed on.
George Russell (Mouse) Talcott
Born December 19, 1882 at Annapolis, Md., the son of George Russell and Frances Mason Berry Talcott. He had one brother and three sisters. He obtained his pre-college education in the primary schools at Bon Air, Virginia and at the Bon Air Academy.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Bon Air, Chesterfield County, Virginia, and enrolled in the civil engineering course, and was assigned to Company C. He progressed to corporal, to sergeant and in his senior year was first lieutenant of that company. In June, 1902 he graduated with the class with the degree of B.S. in C.E. He returned for post graduate study in the next session and obtained his C.E. degree in June, 1903.
While at V.P.I. he was secretary and treasurer Camera Club, 00-01; secretary Maury Literary Society, 00-01, and president, 01-02.
After leaving V.P.I., he was employed by the Baltimore & Ohio R. R. as civil engineer. He left the B. & O. because of ill health and went to Texas, where he took a position in January, 1917 as division engineer with the Santa Fe R. R in the Texas-Panhandle section. He gave up this position in October, 1917 and returned to Richmond, Virginia, where he died December 7, 1917. He was affiliated with the Protestant Episcopal Church.
He was married June 19, 1915 to Liesa Bolling Archer. They had one daughter, born in 1916, and now Mrs. E. Griffith Dodson, who resides in Roanoke, Virginia.
Note: The history committee is indebted for some of the foregoing information to his widow, Mrs. George R. Talcott, who resides at 2221 Grove Avenue, Richmond, Virginia.
William Frazier (Weeze) Tams
Born March 17, 1882 at Staunton, Virginia, one of two sons of William Purviance Tams and Sue Frazier Tams. The other son is Purviance Tams, Jr., also a member of our class and whose biographical sketch follows this. They had no sisters.
He attended the public schools at Staunton—primary school from 1890 to 1896, and high school from 1896 to 1899.
He entered the sophomore class at V.P.I. in September, 1899, registering from Staunton, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course. He was assigned to Company B and remained with that company until he graduated, progressing from private to sergeant, and then in his senior year to first lieutenant. He graduated with the class in June, 1902 with the degree of B.S. in M.E. He returned to V.P.I. the following session for one year of post-graduate study, and in June, 1903 obtained his M.E. degree. During his post-graduate year he was instructor in mathematics.
His non-collegiate activities at V.P.I. included—secretary and treasurer Staunton Club, 00-01, and vice-president, 01-02; treasurer Mandolin and Glee Club, 01-02; vice-president Engineering Club, 01-02; historian of our class, 01-02 and also historian of The Bugle, 02.
He was usually addressed formally by his middle name, Frazier, but he brought with him the nickname “Weeze” by which he was affectionately known to his many friends. Both he and his brother, Purviance, were among the high-ranking members of our class, academically.
After leaving V.P.I. he was employed from September, 1903 to January, 1904, by the Illinois Central Railway at Webster City, Iowa, as rodman on survey work.
From January, 1904 to January, 1905, he was with the Seaboard Air Line Railway as instrument man in the chief engineer’s office at Norfolk, Virginia.
In January, 1905, he joined the New River Company as resident engineer in coal mining operations at Scarbro and Parral, West Virginia. He remained with this company until June, 1906.
From June, 1906 to April, 1918, he was with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, as assistant engineer in the chief engineer’s office at Richmond, Virginia. During this period he was in charge of the construction of the railway company’s large coal loading pier at Newport News, Virginia.
In April, 1918 he went back to West Virginia and joined the Gulf Smokeless Coal Company as general manager. He continued in this position until his death on December 23, 1942 from an embolism caused by an accident at the mine resulting in a crushed chest. He was a member of St. Stephen’s Protestant Episcopal Church at Beckley, West Virginia.
Frazier was married in October, 1914 to Edna Davies. Of this union there were two children, both now married—William P. Tams, born in 1916; and Sarah Allison Tams, born in 1918.
William Purviance Tams, Jr.
Born May 19, 1883 at Staunton, Virginia, the son of William Purviance Tams and Sue Frazier Tams. He had one brother, Frazier, also a member of our class and whose biographical sketch precedes this.
His pre-college education was obtained in the public schools at Staunton, Virginia, during the period 1890 to 1899, six years primary school and three years high school.
He entered V.P.I. in the sophomore class in September, 1899, registering from Staunton, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course. He was assigned to Company A, and later in the session was transferred to the Battery E. In his junior year he was quartermaster sergeant on the Battalion Staff, and in his senior year was first lieutenant and quartermaster on the Staff. He graduated with the class in June, 1902 and received the degree of B.S. in M.E. He returned in September, 1902 for one year of post-graduate study, and in June, 1903 received his M.E. degree. During his post-graduate year he was instructor in mathematics.
Among his non-collegiate activities were—vice-president Staunton Club, 00-01; class historian, 00-01; secretary and treasurer Engineering Club, 01-02; vice-president of our class, 01-02; and associate editor of The Bugle, 02. In the 02 Bugle election he ran a close second for the title, “most intellectual cadet”.
His business and professional career began in November, 1903, when he was employed by the Seaboard Air Line Railway in its Construction Engineering Department.
From February to October, 1904, he was assistant engineer in the Light, Heat and Power Department of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. at Wilmington, Del.
In October, 1904, he went to West Virginia as mining engineer for the New River Company, at Scarbro and Macdonald, West Virginia. He held that position until July, 1908.
In July, 1908, he joined the Gulf Smokeless Coal Company, at Tams, West Virginia, and has been associated with that company ever since, except for a period of service in the United States Armed Forces during World War I. He was general manager from July, 1908 to May, 1911 and then he became president, the position which he now holds.
In August, 1917 he joined the U.S. Armed Forces, first as an officer candidate for three months; and then as captain in the 79th Infantry Division at Camp Meade, Md.; and next, until February, 1919, as major, commanding the 32nd Machine Gun Battalion, at Camp Custer, Michigan.
After completion of his service in the army he returned to Tams, West Virginia to resume his coal mining business as president of Gulf Smokeless Coal Company, of which he is principal owner. His present address is —Tams, West Virginia.
Purviance has never married, and by many, is considered the most eligible bachelor in West Virginia. Tennis is his principal recreation. He is affiliated with the Protestant Episcopal Church.
He was among those attending our fiftieth anniversary reunion at V.P.I. in October, 1952. Purviance served as chairman at our gatherings, in the absence of our class president, McCormick.
Richard Carter (Shoestring) Turner
We have not received direct from Dick, as he is familiarly known, any information for the history regarding his early life and his career after leaving V.P.I. The information given herein has been obtained from college and alumni records or furnished by friends who live near him.
He was born September 19, 1883, in Fauquier County, Virginia, and received his early education at The Plains in that County.
He entered the sophomore class at V.P.I. in September, 1899, registering from The Plains, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course. In his senior year he was second lieutenant in the Signal Corps. He graduated with the class in June, 1902, with the degree of B.S. in M.E.
After graduating, he joined the Sydnor Pump and Well Co., in Richmond. After that he was employed in New York State for a year or two, and then came back to the Sydnor Pump and Well Co. At some time in his career he took over his family home “Netherlands” and farmed it. When the farm was sold he moved to The Plains and engaged in the plumbing and heating business.
His address is: The Plains, Virginia—where he now resides. He has always been interested in church work, and has served as Vestryman, Superintendent of Sunday School and in other capacities.
Dick was married—first to Willie Nash, and second, to Anna Page, both now deceased. Of these marriages there were three children—Richard Carter Turner, Jr., John Page Turner and Edward Turner.
Dick has generally maintained his association with the class and nearly always attended reunions. He joined with others at the fiftieth anniversary reunion of our class at V.P.I. in October, 1952, in making that occasion a great success. We know that he is in sympathy with the history project as he has already contributed toward its cost.
George Hannah Watkins
He entered V.P.I. as a sophomore in September, 1899, registering from Smithville, Charlotte County, Virginia, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course. He completed his course but did not graduate until 1903, when he obtained the degree of B.S. in M.E. The record we have is not quite clear but it seems that he was there for only a part of the 01-02 session.
All we know about his career after leaving V.P.I. is that he was Motive Power Inspector with the Pennsylvania Railway, with headquarters at West Philadelphia, Pa., and that he is no longer living.
James Powell Watson
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Watson, 25 Union St., Petersburg, Virginia. He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Petersburg. He was there only two sessions and did not return for his junior year, but went into business in his home city. Later in his career, he was manager of the Petersburg Trunk and Bag Company, and his residence was 109 N. Union St., Petersburg, Virginia. He died, November 11, 1943.
John William Casper West
He entered V.P.I. as a sophomore in September, 1899, registering from Portsmouth, Virginia, and enrolled in the civil engineering course. He graduated with the class in June, 1902 with the degree of B.S. in C.E. In his senior year he was second lieutenant, Company B, and was local editor of Gray Jacket. He returned the following session for post-graduate study and in June, 1903, received his C.E. degree. During his post-graduate year he was instructor in mathematics.
After finishing at V.P.I. he returned to his home county, and at some time in his career became associated with the Eureka Brick Company, Norfolk, Virginia, and at the time of his death, was president and treasurer of that company. He died, at the age of seventy-one, in a Norfolk hospital, on April 20, 1954.
His home at the time of his death was “Westwood”, near Lynhaven. He was a vestryman of the Old Eastern Shore Chapel at Oceana. He was married, November 11, 1908, to Addie D. Woodhouse. Surviving at the time of his death, were three daughters; a son; and thirteen grandchildren.
Courtney (Beast) Williams
He entered V.P.I. in the freshman class September, 1898, registering from Lynchburg, Virginia, and was there during seven or eight consecutive sessions. He obtained the degree, B.S. in M.E., in 1905. In his senior year he was second lieutenant, Company A. He was our class Historian, 98-99; secretary-treasurer, St. Andrew’s Brotherhood, 00-01; vice-president, Lynchburg Club, 00-01, and president, 01-02.
Little is known of his career after leaving V.P.I. For a time, he was in Seattle, Wash. He died, March 15, 1941, in Los Angeles, Cal.
William Thomas Wilson
Born November 6, 1881 at Keysville, Virginia, one of seven children, five boys and two girls, of William A. and Pauline Wilson. His primary and high school education was received in the schools at Keysville during the period 1890 to 1898.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Williams’ Mill, Lunenburg County, Virginia, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course. He was assigned to Company C but finished up in his senior year as second lieutenant in Company D. Also in his senior year he was secretary of the Lee Literary Society. He graduated with the class in June, 1902 with the degree of B.S. in M.E. He returned the following session for post-graduate study and received his M.E. degree in June, 1903. During his post-graduate year he was instructor in mathematics and mechanical drawing.
His professional and business career began in October, 1903 when he joined the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pa., and spent his first two years with that company as special apprentice. He was then appointed track foreman in the erecting shop which position he held for three years. Following that assignment, he was sent to San Jose, Costa Rica as representative for the Baldwin Company, where he remained three years.
On returning to the United States he joined the Carnation Milk Company at Seattle, Wash., and served as construction engineer for six years.
In 1917 he came back to Philadelphia and joined the E. G. Budd Company, and was appointed chief inspector on automobile bodies and stream lined cars. He held this position until his retirement in 1952.
After his retirement he continued to reside in Philadelphia, his present address being 6813 North 7th Street, Philadelphia 26, Pa. His hobby is gardening. He is a Deacon in Grace Baptist Church, Philadelphia.
He was married in October, 1933 to Mrs. Belle C. Sublett; they have no children.
Henry (Solomon) Wysor
Born April 20, 1880 near Dublin, Virginia, the son of Henry C. and Mary E. Shipp Wysor. He had three brothers and two sisters. His precollege education was received in private schools during the period 1888 to 1898.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Dublin, Virginia, and enrolled in the chemistry course. He was assigned to Company C and became a corporal in his sophomore year and a sergeant in his junior year. He left V.P.I. at the end of his junior year to go into business and did not return for his senior year. From here on let Henry tell us about his career in his own words:
“Following my sophomore year, I did special work in the chemistry of iron and steel under Professors Price and Davidson. I left V.P.I. at the end of my junior year for a position with the Carnegie Steel Company. When called to teach at Lafayette College in 1904, and upon submission of satisfactory papers and thesis, the president and faculty at V.P.I. awarded me the degree of B.S. in Applied Chemistry, and I was recorded as having graduated with my class of 1902.
“My first job began May 1, 1901 as analytical chemist with the Carnegie Steel Company at their Duquesne Works. During this same year the United States Steel Corporation was organized, following the purchase of the Carnegie Company by J. P. Morgan. There was popular lack of confidence in mergers at that time, and labor unrest was growing with a fresh influx of foreign workers, but big business was on the march, and participation in some way was a challenge to ambitious young men.
“During 1902 I was made assistant chief chemist at the Duquesne Steel Plant, and in 1904 accepted a job with the Open Hearth Superintendent, which brought me into close contact with the manufacture of iron and steel.
“In September, 1904, I was called to Lafayette College as assistant professor of analytical chemistry and metallurgy. Was appointed professor of metallurgy in 1913, but I continued teaching chemistry also until 1918, which completed fourteen years at Lafayette. Exigency of World War I caused me to again enter the steel business.
“On July 1, 1918, I was employed by the Bethlehem Steel Company, serving as consultant, trainer of young engineers, and as metallurgical engineer until July 1, 1948, when I retired.
“Since retirement I have tried to stick to my hobbies, including community activities, looking after my farm and gardening, but have accepted several calls as a steel consultant. In 1949 I had a government assignment of three months with ECA in France, requiring a study of the French steel industry and recommendations for restoration and possible expansion. In 1953, I completed a part time assignment, extending over two years, in connection with construction of an Atomic Energy Commission’s rolling mill plant in Ohio.
“My residence has been Easton, Pennsylvania, for fifty-one years, present address is 1 Edgewood Avenue. I hope to finish here with several things yet to be done. I think the best place in which to pass one’s retirement is in one’s home community for there is where most of the friends are. Each undertaking has been a challenge, and my associates have been good friends.
“As we grow older we are prone to think more about people and places and events of the past days, and memory can be kind as well as true. How fine is that picture of college life, surrounded by Virginia mountains, where we were guided into adult responsibility and careers. I feel truly thankful for the experience and inspiration of 1898-1902 at Alma Mater. With apologies to Browning, I avow: Open my heart and you shall spy graved inside of it, V.P.I.”
Henry was married August 29, 1906 to Mary Belle Ernest, of Glade Spring, Va. They had four children: Frances Elizabeth, world famous concert and opera singer; Henry Ernest, 1909-1929; Virginia Mason (Mrs. Douglas H. Purdy); and Philip Byars, lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Air Force in the Pacific in World War II, and now with Bethlehem Steel Corporation.
Henry, Mrs. Wysor and daughter, Elizabeth, were among those attending our fiftieth anniversary reunion at V.P.I. in October, 1952.
Thornton McDuffey Yancey
Born February 28, 1883, at Red Bank, Halifax County, Virginia, the son of William C. and Alice Terrell Yancey. He had one brother and no sisters. From 1889 to 1897, he attended public school and a private school at Buffalo Junction, Mecklenburg County, Virginia. During these years he was an expert at drying or curing cigarette tobacco raised on his father’s farm.
He entered V.P.I. in the freshman class in September, 1898, registering from Buffalo Junction, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course. He was assigned to Company C; in his sophomore year was a corporal in Company B; in his junior year a sergeant in Company A; and in his senior year he was first lieutenant and ordnance officer on the Battalion Staff. He graduated with the class in June 1902 with the degree of B.S. in M.E.
His professional and business career began in November, 1902, when he was employed by the Pocahontas Coal and Coke Company at Bramwell, West Virginia, as field engineer. For the remainder of his career, see the annexed chart which he prepared for the history; it has the earmarks of the training in the graphic arts which Thornton received under Professor Rasche. Let him tell us in his own words a bit of his philosophy regarding his career.
“When I left the Pocahontas Coal and Coke Company, I thought to get with a small outfit and by diligence grow up with the company into a responsible position. It so happened that most of the small companies I worked for failed to pay off the way I had hoped they might. I did gain a lot of valuable experience with the smaller outfits, however, and that experience paid off in other ways with larger companies I worked for later . . . I have had, for me, a most exciting and adventurous life; . . . if I had to do it all over again, I am sure I would study engineering, and possibly follow pretty much the same course, except to be better prepared to enter V.P.I.”
Upon his retirement, March 1, 1949 from Western Electric Company, he continued to reside at 1112 North Harvey Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois, and obtained employment with the Water Department of that village.
He was active for several years in Boy Scout work, and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. His hobbies are mainly doing things around his home; he has installed his own home gas heating plant and a complete television unit with antennae; also has added new lighting fixtures and put up new wall paper. In addition to all this, he does quite a bit of gardening.
He is a Life Member of the Telephone Pioneers of America.
He was married January 29, 1917 to Alice Carol Bendinger of Milwaukee, Wis. They have one son, Robert Lee, born 1919, who has three children; and a daughter, Betty Jane, born 1923, who has two children.
William Thomas Young
Born March 21, 1882 at Corinth, Miss., son of Robert F. and Mary J. Young. He had one brother and two sisters. He attended primary school from 1888 to 1895, and high school from 1895 to 1899, at Corinth. Prior to going to V.P.I. he worked with his father in the lumber business.
He entered the sophomore class at V.P.I. in September, 1899, registering from Corinth, and enrolled in the mechanical engineering course. He roomed with his home city neighbor, Paul Jones, first in barracks No.2, then later in No. 1. In his senior year he was second lieutenant Company D. His other activities included: secretary Y.M.C.A., 00-01; vice-president Maury Literary Society, 01, and president, 01-02; local editor Gray Jacket, 01-02 and editor-in-chief, 02; class secretary and treasurer, 01-02.
He graduated with the class in June, 1902 with the degree of B.S. in M.E. He returned for post-graduate study in the session 02-03, during which he was an instructor in mechanical technology and in freshman English.
His business and professional career began in June, 1903 when he was employed as a draftsman by American Car & Foundry Co., St. Louis, Mo. He left this position to return to Corinth, and we will let him tell us about his further career in his own words:
“After leaving the position with American Car & Foundry Co., at St. Louis in October, 1903, and on account of the death of my father, I returned to Corinth, Miss., where I conducted a real estate business for a brief period. Following that I was instrumental in assisting in the organization of a corporation for the erection of a machine shop and foundry in Corinth, known as Corinth Engine and Boiler Works, for the purpose of manufacturing and selling saw mill machinery. I was employed there as machine designer, draftsman and later as salesman. I also engaged in the organization of a bank in Corinth in which I was a stockholder and director for several years.
“About 1910, I entered the lumber business under my own name, later organizing Corinth Saw Mills, Inc., which manufactured hardwood lumber for domestic and foreign trade, catering largely to export of lumber. I was president of this company until 1937. During the period, 1910 to 1937, we manufactured all species of timber native to the South, with special emphasis to plain and quartered oak which was in good demand in England, Scotland, Belgium, Holland and other European countries. At the beginning of World War II, it became very difficult to conduct a lumber export business, so we liquidated that business.
“In June, 1937, I started operating a wholesale oil and gas business which is still in operation with myself as owner under the name of Young Oil Company. My street addresses in Corinth are: business, East Cruse Street; residence, 811 Jackson Street.”
Tom is an elder and trustee of the First Presbyterian Church, and teacher of the Mens’ Bible Class. His civic activities include: Chamber of Commerce, Community Chest, Y.M.C.A., Red Cross and Boy Scouts. His hobbies are: golf, fishing and traveling.
He was married October 17, 1907 to Lillian Knott. They have two children —Mrs. A. J. Vaughan, born 1909, and Mrs. J. D. Reynolds, born 1911.
William Andrew Yowell
Born November 23, 1880, at Culpeper, Virginia, the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Sidney Yowell. He had two sisters but no brothers. His primary and high school education was received in the schools at Culpepper.
He entered the freshman class at V.P.I. in September, 1898, registering from Culpeper, and enrolled in the civil engineering course. In his senior year he was first lieutenant and quartermaster on the Battalion Staff. He graduated with his class in June, 1902 and received the degree of B.S. in C.E. While at V.P.I. he was awarded a gold medal for winning some event at a track meet.
After leaving V.P.I., he was engaged in his profession, civil engineering, for several years. Then he was appointed deputy clerk of the court at Culpeper. Following this he moved to Bedford, Virginia, and was appointed deputy clerk of the court there, which position he held from 1914 until he died December 2, 1931 at Bedford. While in Bedford he was captain of the Home Guards during World War I, and was also active in various civic affairs there. For a time he was in the insurance business in Bedford.
He was married April 16, 1915 to Emma C. Fant. They had two sons — William Andrew Yowell, Jr., born April 15, 1916; and Charles Adam Yowell, born October 3, 1922. Both sons were in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, and William Andrew, Jr., was also in Korea and returned to the United States in the middle of 1953.
Note: The history committee is indebted for most of the foregoing information, to some member of his family or relative whose name we do not know.