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Benjamin S. Motley

BENJAMIN S. MOTLEY, one of the leading business men and influential citizens of the City of Danville, Pittsylvania County, is a representative of an honored family whose name has been identified with the history of this county for many generations. Near Chatham, this county, David Motley, grandfather of Benjamin S., was born in the year 1797, and here he continued throughout his active career a successful exponent of farm industry, with a large and valuable landed estate, he having been eighty-two years of age at file time of his death. Iii this county likewise was born his wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Nichols, their children having been eight in number. Their son Washington, who died after the age of eighty years, passed his entire life in Pittsylvania County, and was a. farmer by vocation. David Samuel Motley, son of David acid Elizabeth (Nichols) Motley, was born near Chatham, this county, January 3, 1831, and his death occurred April 5, 1862. He was a successful farmer at the time of the outbreak of the Civil war, and promptly enlisted in defense of the Confederate cause. He proceeded at once to the front, and though a young man of large and strong physique, he fell a victim to a fever epidemic while in service, and died as a result of this attack. In 1850 he married Elizabeth Watson, who was born near Chatham, October 7, 1829, and who survived him more than forty years, her death occurring January 31, 1905. Mrs. Motley was a daughter of Shimer.and Mary (Farthing) Watson. Mr. Watson passed his entire life in Pittsylvania County, was a farmer, and was about forty years of age at the time of his death. Shimer H., one of his nine children, died in 1914, and another son, William R., is a resident of Charlotte County. Both of these sons were valiant soldiers of the Confederacy in the Civil war, Shimer H. having been taken prisoner after taking part in the battle of Getlysburg. He teas a prosperous farmer in Pittsylvania County at the time of his death.

Of the children of David S. and Elizabeth (Watson) Motley, James Abel was born September 27, 1851, and he is now manager and one of the principal stockholders of the firm of Benefield, Motley

Company of Danville. Mary Frances is the wife of William 11. Moore, as farmer in Surry County and a veteran of the Union service in the Civil war. David Pendleton, the second son, was born December 10, 1854, and died April 18, 1873. Phoebe Ann, who was born February 6, 185 7, became the wife of A. M. Jeffries, of Culpeper County, and at her death was survived by one son and two daughters. Benjamin Shimer immediate subject of this review, was the next in order of birth. Elizabeth, who was born August �, 1861, resides in Danville, and is the widow of John W. Owens, who died in 1886, and who is survived by two sons.

Benjamin Shimer Motley was born near Callands, Pittsylvania County, March 13, 1859, and was reared on the old home farm near Weal, this county. He was but three years old at the time of leis father’s death, and he early began to give effective aid in the work of the farm, thus assisting his widowed mother, who was left to care for her family of young children. He continued to attend the local schools until he was sixteen years of age, and he then took a position as office boy in the establishment of Estis & Wooding, of Danville, with which firm he continued to be associated nine years. He then formed a partnership with his brother, James A., and engaged in the general merchandise business in this city, under the title of T. A. Motley & Brother. One year later the firm name became Motley & Taylor, and five years thereafter the latter firm was succeeded by that of Motley & Mitchell, which continued until 1895. In that year Benjamin S. Motley purchased the hardware department of the well established business and formed the new firm of B. S. Motley & Company, which later became Motley & Levy, and still later Traylor, Peterson, & Motley. In 1900 the business was reorganized under the title of the Piedmont Hardware Company, and four years later Mr. Motley purchased the retail branch of the business, which enterprise he proceeded to incorporate, in November, 1904, under the title of B. S. Motley & Company. He is now president, treasurer and general manager of this vital and progressive corporation, which has two well equipped establishments, in different blocks on Main Street, and which maintain large stocks of heavy and shelf hardware, machinery, mill supplies, cutlery, paints, roofing material, stoves, ranges, etc. The trademark of the concern is “Everwear,” and with this mark the goods are stamped as an evidence of the guaranty made by the company itself. Mr. Motley is a director of the Benefield, Motley & Company Corporation, and the Phoenix Loan & Savings Company. He and his wife are active in the work and service of the Mount Vernon Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in which he is a steward, and he gives as his political creed: “Good citizenship applied to every need of municipal and general governmental affairs.” he served six years as a member of the Board of Education, and he has invariably refused to yield to the frequent importunities made upon him to accept nomination for other public offices, his civic loyalty, however, being of insistent order.

At Danville was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Motley and Miss Sallie P. Farley, who was born in this city on the 21st of January, 1863, a daughter of Kerr and Susan (Cousins) Farley. Mr. Farley, a native of North Carolina, was a Confederate soldier in the Civil war, and a wound he received in battle caused the loss of one of leis fingers. He died in 1897, aged fifty-five years. David Orion, first of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Motley, was born November 10, 188 >, and (lied at the; age of nineteen months. Miss Pearl Cousins, born October 1, 1887, remains at the parental home, and is a successful teacher in the public schools. Ocris Benjamin, born December 12, 1889, is a clerk in the establishment of his father’s company, his marriage to Miss Eva Osborne having occurred July 24, 1914. B. Lee, born August I8, 1892, graduated from the Edith Coburn Noyes School of Expression and Culture in the City of Boston, and she is now a popular teacher of the art of expression, the while she remains at the parental home. Avon Kerr and Aubrey Abel each died at the age of twenty months. Watson Farley, born November 3, 1898; Sarah Hope, born November 28, 1901; Albert Edward, born .January 16, 1906; Harold Chapell, born March 16, 1908, and Abel Irwin, born February 7, 1910, are the younger members of the parental home circle.