Roanoke County, Virginia Genealogy Trails


Among the pioneer citizens of Roanoke who have played an important part in the up building of the city may be mentioned the subject of this sketch. James Calder Cassell was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, March 15th, 1856, and was a son of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Cassell.
His father, now deceased, was one of the oldest employees of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and was an officer in the Union Army.
Mr. Cassell was educated in the public schools of his native county and at an early age entered the service of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as a telegraph operator in 1870. His life has been one of great activity and his rapid rise in railroad circles was due solely to ability, energy and faithful discharge of duty. In a few years he was promoted from operator to dispatcher, and in 1878 was made train master of the Shenandoah Valley Railroad and during the construction and completion of the road, was also in charge of a track force. He rode into Roanoke on the first train in 1880, and in 1884 was transferred to the main line of the Norfolk & Western as train master at Lynchburg. In 1889, he was made superintendent of the Lynchburg Division.
In 1897, he was transferred to the Radford Division and thus became familiar with the most important part of the road, and in 1899, when L. E. Johnson was appointed to the position of general manager, Mr. Cassell was made the general superintendent, and later assistant to the general manager, then assistant to the president, which position he resigned in 1905. owing to impaired health and immediately organized the firm of Cassell & Elliott, ration and commissary contractors.
He was married to Miss Boyer, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1883, and they have one son, James Calder Cassell.
Mr. Cassell is interested in many Roanoke enterprises, among which might be mentioned: Senior member of the firm of Cassell & Elliott, President of the American Mercantile Company, President of the Roanoke Overall Company, Director in National Exchange Bank and Southwest Virginia Trust Company, The Roanoke Grocery and Milling Company, The Roanoke Coffee and Spice Company, and others.
He is a progressive citizen of Roanoke and one who has contributed his share in the up building of this city.  Fraternally, he is a Mason, and religiously, a member of the Presbyterian Church.
History of Roanoke County by George S. Jack, Edward Boyle Jacobs; published 1915;
Submitted to Genealogy Trails by Andrea Stawski Pack.

     John William Chambers is a son of John F. and Mary E. (Childress) Chambers and was born in Franklin County, Virginia, April 11th, 1865, and as a boy attended the county schools of Franklin, and afterwards for a session or two the public schools of Big Lick.
     In 1885 he moved to Bent Mountain, Virginia, where he engaged in farming, and on January 1st, 1886, married Susan Della, daughter of Giles and Ella E. Tyree, of Roanoke County. He resided on Bent Mountain for a period of seventeen years, and planted a fine apple orchard of Ben Davis, Johnson’s Winter, Winesaps, and the Delaware Red varieties. The orchard is now bearing and is regarded as one of the best fruit farms in this section of the country. Nine years ago he moved his family to Roanoke, and later bought a tract of land containing twelve acres on the Franklin Road, just one mile south of the city. He built a fine residence on this tract which he occupies with his family. This small farm contains one of the largest orchards of Keifer pears in the county.
     Mr. Chambers is one of the county’s most progressive citizens and has at all times taken an active interest in the development of the horticultural interests of this section of the State. He is a stockholder of the City National Bank of Roanoke, Virginia, and through his thrift and enterprise has succeeded well. 
     To his marriage with Miss Tyree the following children were born: Earnest Lee, married and resides at the old home place on Bent Mountain; Mary Ella, married R. A. Bondurant, a young Roanoke attorney, and resides on Franklin Road just south of the city; Bessie Alice; Annie Beatrice, Nannie Elizabeth and Vola Belle.
Transcribed by: Peggy Luce


Clarke, Clarence W., investments; born Milwaukee, Wis., September 18, 1864; son Spencer W. and Marie (Foat) Clark; editor in public school; married, Minneapolis, 1888, Bella Scott; children: Marjorie L., born 1892; Winchester Scott, born 1893. Consecutive engaged as miller, traveling agent, and banker; now president and director Bankers' Loan and Investment company, Hudson River Land company. Was member common council, New Haven, Conn.; trustee New Haven Public Library; treasurer New Haven Republican club; was nominated for city sheriff of New Haven on Republican ticket; alderman for 7th Ward, city of Yonkers, two terms. Has been delegate to many conventions in N.Y. and Conn. Congregationalist. Member Elks and Masons; ex-president New Haven Orchestral Club; ex-member New Haven Grays (Co. F, 2d Reg't, C.N. G.). Recreations: Music, fishing, baseball. Clubs: Republican (N.Y. City), Union League (New Haven), City, Corinthian Yacht (Yonkers, N.Y.), Also Shenandoah Club, Roanoke, Va.
[Herringshaw's American Blue-Book of Biography: Prominent Americans of 1912- An Accurate Biographical Record of Prominent Citizens of All Walks of Life, 1912 - Transcribed by AFOFG]



Cocke, Lucian Howard, lawyer and banker of Roanoke, Va., was born in 1858, in Hollins College, Va. He is vice-president of the National Exchange bank of Roanoke.
[Herringshaw's American Blue-Book of Biography by Thomas William Herringshaw and American Publishers' Association, 1914, Transcribed by AFOFG]

     Perhaps the best known citizen of the Bent Mountain district is John Coles, who was born in Pittsylvania County, in 1836, being the only son of John Coles, Sr., also a native of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, the latter being born in 1800, and died of typhoid fever in 1848. John Coles, Sr., was at one time the owner of a tract of fourteen thousand acres of Bent Mountain lands. These lands were originally comprised in the vast territory owned and controlled by Colonel Andrew Lewis, later owned by a man named Clark. The lands were purchased by the Senior Coles from John M. Price, of Fincastle, Virginia, the price paid being $12,000.

      On the plateau of Bent Mountain was included a boundary of twelve hundred acres, which was said to be worth as much as was paid for the entire boundary at the time. To-day many thousand fruit trees are growing on the mountain sides and on the plateau and it is roughly estimated that the acreage formerly owned by John Coles, Sr., is now worth the sum of $250,000.

      John Coles, Sr., married Louisa Payne, of Campbell County, Virginia, one son, John, the subject of this sketch, being born to this union. The daughters were Katherine Thompson, who married Captain Joseph M. Terry; Elizabeth Dandridge. who never married; Louise Payne, married first, to John Rice Miller and secondly, to Dr. Edward Withers ; and Mary Clayborn, married to Major Isaac H. Carrington, of Richmond. The daughters are all dead.

     John Coles, Jr., married Emily Ellen Shelor, daughter of Colonel William B. and Elizabeth (Helms) Shelor, of Floyd County, Virginia, October 28th, 1868. To them were born three sons, John Calhoun, Douglass Banks, and William, the latter a twin brother of John Calhoun, and died in infancy.

      When the Civil War broke out, John Coles joined the 38th Virginia Infantry and was First Lieutenant of that command. After the disbandment of the 38th Virginia Infantry, he returned to his home on Bent Mountain, and afterwards joined the cavalry service and figured in many cavalry fights and skirmishes in the Valley of Virginia during the latter years of the war. The war ended, he returned to Bent Mountain where he began farming.

     During the four years conflict, the home of Lieutenant Coles was burned by deserters. He was visited by a second fire in the year 1904, which again destroyed his residence and contents. He was elected Justice of Peace from Bent Mountain for two terms and afterwards refused reelection. He is a member of the Episcopal Church. His ancestry dates back to the time when his great, great grandfather was born in Ireland in 1706. His son, Colonel Isaac Coles, Sr., settled in Virginia and died in Richmond in 1747.

      Colonel Isaac Coles, Jr., was born March 2nd, 1747, and was the grandfather of the subject of this sketch. He was a first cousin of Patrick Henry, and a lineal descendant of Governor Alexander Spottswood. He was a member of the first Congress of the United States from Virginia when that body met in Philadelphia before the building of the capitol at Washington.

[Virginia and Virginians:  History of Volume 2; by Robert Alonzo Brock, Virgil Anson Lewis; publ.  1888; transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]


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