Roanoke County, Virginia Genealogy Trails



     Dr. Richard Gordon Simmons, was born April 4th, 1865, in Frederick County, Maryland, on "Carroll's Manor," and is a son of Richard Edwin Simmons and Theresa Ann (Kinzer) Simmons. He was educated in the public and private schools of Frederick City, the Western Maryland College, at Westminster, Maryland, and graduated at the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1889. He came to Roanoke in 1883 and was employed for several years in the clerical department of the Norfolk & Western Railway Company Offices, prior to attending the Medical College at Philadelphia. After completing his medical course, he returned to Roanoke where he has since been engaged in the practice of his chosen profession.

     Dr. Simmons was a charter member of the Roanoke Light Infantry and was later commissioned a Captain and Assistant Surgeon in the military forces of the State and was assigned to duty with the Second Virginia Regiment of Infantry, in which capacity he served until 1898, when the regiment entered the service of the Government in the Spanish-American War. Within a few weeks he was detached from the Second Virginia Regiment and was made Assistant to the Chief Surgeon of the Seventh Army Corps, commanded by General Fitzhugh Lee. his duties being executive and administrative. At the conclusion of the Spanish-American War, he declined to remain longer in the service of the Government.

In 1899 the United States Army Recruiting Station was established in Roanoke, and Dr. Simmons has been the examining Surgeon since that time. He was largely interested in the organization of the Captain George H. Bentley Camp of United Spanish War Veterans and was elected its first Commander and served in that capacity for two successive terms and in the meantime he was active in the affairs of the organization throughout the State. In 1910 at the State Department Encampment, he was elected Commander of the Department of Virginia and served one year. After his retirement he was made a member of the Staff of the Commander in Chief, and is also a member of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States.

January 1st, 1910, Dr. Simmons was appointed Coroner for the city of Roanoke by the Judge of the Corporation Court, in which capacity he is still serving. His record as an official is clean and above reproach, and he is praised on all sides for the manner in which he handles all cases coming under his jurisdiction. He is especially commended for the manner in which records are kept of all cases.

     In 1910 he was married to Miss Nina S. Sollee, daughter of Captain and Mrs. Francis Sollee of Jacksonville, Florida. Two little girls have been born to bless this union, Nina S.. and Ann Louise Simmons.

Dr. Simmons is a wide-awake and progressive citizen of Roanoke and one who stands ready at any and all times to aid any worthy enterprise which is in the least calculated to up build this city.

Fraternally he is a member of the Royal Arcanum, and religiously a member of the Episcopal Church.

History of Roanoke County by George S. Jack, Edward Boyle Jacobs; published 1915;

Submitted to Genealogy Trails by Andrea Stawski Pack.


The subject of this sketch was born inRoanoke County, Virginia, September 5th, 1873, being a son of J. M. and Mary E. (Pugh) Simpson. His father is a native of Pittsylvania County, but he settled in Roanoke County soon after the Civil War.

     He was a volunteer in the first regiment formed in Pittsylvania County in 1861, and served throughout the four years conflict, laying down his arms at Appomattox when Lee surrendered. He was the possessor of a chip from the old apple tree under which General Lee signed the documents declaring the Confederacy at an end. He died November 19th, 1909, at the age of seventy-eight years, leaving five sons and three daughters.  Preston Edward Simpson was the fourth son.

     He received his education in the country schools and began life as a farmer and fruit grower. At present he is the manager of a fine farm and orchard, owned by J. Lewis Logan, of Salem, Virginia. This orchard contains three thousand trees. He is the owner of a small Mill Creek farm and has planted thereon some six or seven hundred Pippin and Johnson's Winter apples. He is a member of the mercantile firm of C. M. Conner & Company, at Air Point. He married Lydia P., daughter of William and Emma Conner, in December, 1802.

     Nine children have been born to this union, eight of whom are living, as follows: Salle W., aged eighteen years; Roxie Mattic, aged fifteen years; Effie. aged thirteen years; Rachel Virginia and Louise May, twins, aged ten years; John Mover and Louis Morgan, twins, aged four, and Reuben Meredith, aged three years; Robert, deceased, succumbed to blood poison from a cut on his heel in 1910, at the age of five years, nine months, and fourteen days. He was born August, 1904.

     Mr. Simpson possesses the respect and confidence of the people of the Bent Mountain district, and of the county in general.

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

     Francis Sorrel, M. D., distinguished in the Confederate States Army for services rendered in the medical department, was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1827. He was educated in Princeton, New Jersey, graduating in 1846. He then spent two years at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in medicine in 1848. He then entered the United States Army as an assistant surgeon, serving until 1856, when he resigned his commission with the rank of captain. After traveling in Europe a year, he went to California where he rapidly attained prominence and in 1860 was elected to the California Legislature. In the following year, he returned to the East to offer his services to the Confederacy. He was promptly commissioned as surgeon in the regular army, and assigned to special duty of great importance which was due largely to his experience and unusual ability, with headquarters at Richmond, Virginia, where he was charged with the erection and management of the general hospital system of the army, and where he remained until the evacuation of the Confederate Capital.
     In March, 1865, he married the widow of Dr. L. Rives, who was a daughter of General Edward Watts of Roanoke County, and since the Civil War period, until recently, has led the life of a simple retired country gentleman on his splendid farm, "The Barrens," a few miles to the northwest of Roanoke.
Dr. Sorrel is of the type of Southern gentlemen which is rapidly passing away. He has at all times manifested a keen interest in the development and growth of Roanoke and has been identified with a number of enterprises in a financial way. Recently he has made his home in Roanoke, but much of his time is spent in visiting points of interest in various sections of the country.
History of Roanoke County by George S. Jack, Edward Boyle Jacobs; published 1915; Submitted to Genealogy Trails by Andrea Stawski Pack.

For many years one of the most prominent men in Roanoke County was the late Tazewell Merriman Starkey. He was born in Franklin County, Virginia, in December 1829, and died January, 1910. He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Starkey, and was educated in the private schools of his native county. He came to Roanoke County in 1850 and was engaged in farming. After the Civil War he purchased one of the finest farms in Roanoke County, near Cave Spring, where he resided until the time of his death.
     He was one of the first directors of the First National Bank, and served in that capacity until the time of his death. He was a large owner of Roanoke County lands. The Norfolk & Western Station at Starkey was named in his honor. For a period of twenty-eight years he was a member of the Board of Supervisors of Roanoke County from Cave Spring District.
     He was a valiant Confederate soldier, serving in the Fifth Virginia Calvary. He was wounded in the Seven Days’ Fight around Richmond, and had three horses shot under him. Seven other bullets pierced his jacket, but otherwise left him unharmed.
     In May 1865, he was married to Henrietta P. Harvey, daughter of Colonel and Mrs. Robert Harvey, of Roanoke County, and as a result of that union there were four children; namely, Mrs. Junior W. White, of Cave Spring; Mrs. Eliza B. Smith, of Roanoke; H. Clay Starkey of Roanoke and Joseph G. Starkey who resides at the old homestead.
     Mr. Starkey was a man of keen business ability, and in his death the county lost one of its most prominent and progressive citizens.
Transcribed by:
Peggy Luce


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