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Alexander Apperson

ALEXANDER APPERSON. Among the younger business men who enjoy the confidence and respect of their fellow citizens at Marion, Virginia, none are more deserving than Alexander Apperson, secretary, and treasurer and general manager of the Marion Foundry and Machine Works. Naturally inclined toward mechanics and thoroughly educated, his business ability, practical ideas and sound judgment have much to do with the continued prosperity of one of Marion’s most important manufacturing enterprises, one that was founded by his father. Mr. Apperson, like his two older brothers, is a veteran of the World war. Alexander Apperson was born at Marion, Virginia, February 22, 1895, a son of Dr. John Samuel and Elizabeth (Black) Apperson. For many years the late Dr. John Samuel Apperson was one of Marion’s most enterprising and useful citizens. He was born on his father’s estate near Orange Court House, Orange County, Virginia, August 31, 1837, a son of William Apperson, a farmer and a descendant of Scotch-Irish Appersons who came to Virginia in Colonial days. Dr. Apperson was graduated from the University of Virginia with the degree of M.D. in 1867, and began the practice of medicine at the Old Town House, now known as Chilhowie, Smyth County. In 1885 he came to Marion, where he was secretary of the building committee of the Southwestern State Hospital, of which he was assistant superintendent until 1889, when he resumed the private practice of his profession, although subsequently interested in many other lines of endeavor. He was one of the founders and builders of the Marion Rye Valley Railroad, and in 1899 founded the Marion Foundry and Machine Works, which he operated until his death on August 9, 1908. He was a director in the Bank of Marion, and in numerous ways his capital and influence contributed to the up building of this city. He was a democrat in politics and was a Confederate veteran, having served f our years in “Stonewall” Jackson’s brigade. When the great World’s Fair was held at Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Apperson was sent as the representative of the State of Virginia. Dr. Apperson was married to Miss Elizabeth Black, always known to her friends as “Lizzie,” who still resides at Marion. She was born at Blacksburg, Virginia, a place founded by her ancestors. Her parents were Dr. Harvey and Mary (Kent) Black, the former of whom was born at Blacksburg and the latter at Rockford, Illinois. Dr. Black’s name is prominent in the medical history in Virginia. He served with officer’s rank all through the war between the states, as the surgeon in “Stonewall” Jackson’s brigade, closely associated with Dr. Hunter McGuire. He served six years as superintendent of the Eastern State Hospital at Williamsburg, Virginia, and was held eminent in medicine before he came to Marion to become superintendent of the Southwestern State Hospital. Four children were born to Dr. and Mrs. Apperson: Harvey Black, who attended Washington and Lee University and is engaged in the practice of law at Roanoke, is a veteran of the World war, a second lieutenant in an infantry regiment that was stationed at Camp Lee, Virginia. Kent, who resides at Blacksburg and fills the office of assistant state horticulturist, is an overseas veteran of the World war. After graduating from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute at Blacksburg he entered military service, was trained at Camp Lee, then -went to France as a member of the 317th Regiment, 80th Division, and during his twelve months there saw hard service, taking part in the Meuse, Argonne and other major offensives. Mary Elizabeth resides with her mother in Marion.

Alexander Apperson attended the public schools of Marion and was graduated from the high school in the class of l914. Shortly afterward he became A student in the Polytechnic Institute of Virginia at Blacksburg, from which he was graduated in the class of 1918 with the degree of Bachelor of Science. On July 15, 1918, he enlisted for service in the World war, was sent to Camp Humphreys, Virginia, and was made a sergeant in the Engineer Corps, where he had training until the signing of the armistice, and he was honorably discharged on December 27, 1918.

Upon his return to Marion Mr. Apperson became general manager of the Marion Foundry and Machine Works. The business was incorporated in 1907, and when Mr. Apperson reached his majority lie became secretary and treasurer of the company and so continues, the board of officers at present being: H. B. Apperson, president; J. A. Groseclose, vice president; and Alexander Apperson, secretary, treasurer and general manager. The foundry and offices are situated on Broadway, Marion. The company manufactures wagons and truck bodies and conducts a general repair shop in wood and iron, its products having a wide market, shipments being made to West Virginia, Pennsylvania and all over Virginia. Mr. Apperson has some additional business interests and is a stockholder in the Bank of Marion. In politics he is a democrat, and has served on the Town Council with extreme credit’ but business largely engages his attention at present. He is a member of Pulaski Lodge No. 1067, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and belongs also to the Kiwanis Club, and is post commander of the American Legion. Mr. Apperson was reared in the Methodist faith, and is a member of Marion Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He is unmarried.

Source: Virginia and Virginians, Vol VI, pp. 282-283