History of Virginia - Benjamin Schuyler Pedigo

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Benjamin Schuyler Pedigo

BENJAMIN SCHUYLER PEDIGO began his career as a school teacher when eighteen years old, and for nearly half a century has been one of the most useful men in Southwestern Virginia. For nearly forty years he has practiced law in Floyd County, and almost constantly has held and performed the duties of some public office. He has been successful in business affairs, President of the Floyd County Bank, and is the present commonwealth's attorney of that county.

The founders of the family in Virginia were two brothers who came from France in Colonial times. The mine was originally Peregoy. The great-grandfather of B. S. Pedigo was Abel Peregoy, and he changed the spelling of his name to Pedigo. His home was in Patrick County, and for a number of years he held the office of county surveyor and was also a farmer. His son, Lewis Pedigo, was born at the site of the modern town of Elamsville in Patrick County, and spent the early years of his life in that community. He followed the same occupations as his father, farining and surveying. He was also county surveyor. He died at the Hollow in Patrick County, where he had moved some twenty-five years before his death. His wife was Sarah Harbour, likewise a native of Patrick County. Albert Gallatin Pedigo, father of B. S. Pedigo, was born at Elamsville in 1822, was reared and married in Patrick County, became a farmer, and lived at Elamsville from 1858 to 1866, prior to which time he had lived near the Hollow in Patrick County. In the latter year he moved to Floyd County, and for a number of years conducted a farm there. During the eighties he moved to Vinton in Roanoke County, and owned and operated a market garden at Vinton, two miles from the City of Roanoke. He died at Vinton in 191.1. In the early part of the Civil war he was a teamster in the Confederate army and during later years was a private soldier in the Fifty-fourth Virginia Infantry, under Capt. A. A. Dobyns. In its very conception he affiliated with the republican party, and during Harrison's administration served as postmaster at Vinton. Albert G. Pedigo married Lucinda J. Harbour, who was born in Patrick County, October 7, 1826. She is now in her ninetyeighth year, and has preserved her physical and mental faculties to a remarkable degree. Her home is at Vinton. She and her husband were the parents of thirteen children, and of this large family three are now living: Cordelia, with whom her mother lives at Vinton, is the widow of Thomas Martin, who was a merchant and farmer at Sandy Ridge, North Carolina; Benjamin S., and Abram Lincoln, a contractor and builder at Roanoke and Vinton. Rufus C., a farmer at Draper, Virginia, died in September, 1923.

Benjamin Schuyler Pedigo was born near the Hollow, in Patrick County, Virginia, November 17, 1855, and was eleven years of age when his parents moved to Floyd County, they having previously moved to Elamsville. He first attended school at Elamsville in his native county, and afterward private and public schools in Floyd County, and was educated for teaching in the Little River Institute six miles east of Floyd and attended for several sessions state normal schools. At the age of eighteen lie taught his first school in Floyd County, and he continued public school work for nine years. For one year he was principal of the Cave Spring Graded School of Roanoke County, for one year was principal of the graded school at Gish's Mill, now known as Vinton in Roanoke County, and did his last school work, until 1884, as principal of the Alleghany Springs Public School in Montgomery County. While teaching lie read law and during vacations studied under Judge John Merritt at Floyd, and after his admission to the bar he located at Floyd Court House in 1884, and has been a favorite attorney on one side or another in nearly all the important civil and criminal practice in this section.

He has been elected to a number of offices oil the republican ticket. For a number of years he was commissioner in chancery in the Floyd County Circuit Court, for twelve years was commonwealth attorney, served as county clerk twenty years and six months, and in November, 1919, was again elected commonwealth's attorney, beginning his four-year term January 1, 1920.

Mr. Pedigo was the first and is the present president of the Floyd County Bank of Floyd. He with D. R. Wood and others organized this bank February 2, 1904, and this is the largest and strongest bank outside the cities in Virginia. Ile is also a director of the Floyd Electric Power Company. Mr. Pedigo owns one of the most attractive homes in Floyd County, has two other dwelling houses in the courthouse town, and seventy-five acres of land adjoining the town. He has developed a valuable apple orchard on this farm. He owned a large amount of other farthing land, but sold out in 1921.

Mr. Pedigo is affiliated with Floyd Lodge No. 229, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and for the past four years has been worshipful master of the lodge, and is also a member of Hylton Lodge No. 153, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Willis, and Floyd Lodge No. 202, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. During the World war he was secretary of the Floyd County Draft Board, was chairman of the Liberty Loan drives at Floyd, assisted in all drives for other patriotic purposes, made speeches over the county and gave to the limit of his means in every campaign.

Mr. Pedigo married Miss Lelia C. Kirby in April, 1892. She is a daughter of Andrew J. and Elizabeth (Liggon) Kirby, both now deceased. Her father was a prominent citizen of Floyd County, was a farmer and tanner and for a number of years before the Civil war was sheriff. Mr. and Mrs. Pedigo have two daughters: Elizabeth, teacher in the public schools, and also a student of horticulture in a college at Ambler, Pennsylvania, and Josephine M., also a teacher, is now attending Marshall College at Huntington, West Virginia, preparatory to teaching in the higher schools.