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William James Edmondson

WILLIAM JAMES EDMONDSON is one of the prominent school men of Southwestern Virginia, and has had an active career and service of thirty-five years as a. teacher and school superintendent. He has held the office of division superintendent of schools of Washington County continuously since 1900, his special residence being at Abingdon.

Mr. Edmondson was born on a farm two miles south of Meadowview, in Washington County, May 7, 1867. His great-great-grandfather was a Revolutionary patriot, Andrew Edmondson, who gave up his life while fighting the British Regulars and Tories at the important battle of Kings Mountain. There were seven Edmondsons, all relatives, who were present in the same battle. The Edmondson family was one of the first established in Southwestern Virginia, and the first fort in this part of the State was known as Fort Edmondson. It occupied a site on a farm now owned by Superintendent William J. Edmondson of Abingdon. Superintendent Edmondson’s grandfather, William Edmondson, was born at Liberty Hall in Washington County in 1800. Ile spent all his life in Washington County, a farmer and slave owner, and died near Meadowview in 1875. His wife, Matilda Wedding, was born near Meadowview in 1808, and died there in 1893. She was a daughter of Abednego Wedding. Abednego Wedding was one of triplets, and his two brothers were named Shadrach and Meshach.

John Wesley Edmondson, father of the division superintendent of schools, was born in Washington County in 1829, and in 1867 established’ his home on the farm two miles south of Meadowview, where he spent the rest of his career and where he died in 1910. He was one of the gallant soldiers of the Confederacy, serving as a private during the first year of the war. He was wounded at the battles of Kernstown and McDowell, and after his second wound was incapacitated for further duty as a soldier. He was one of the substantial farmers of Washington County, was a democrat, and a very devout Baptist in religious faith. He married Martha Jane Hawthorne, who was born in Washington County in 1839, and died in 1934. William James Edmondson is the oldest of their six children. Lydia Belle is the wife of David C. Snodgrass, a. farmer at Meadowview. Matilda Jane married Dr. Preston E. Wolfe, who lives at Liberty Hall in Washington County and is on the staff of physicians at the Southwestern State Hospital at Marion, Virginia. Samuel W. graduated Bachelor of Arts from Emory and Henry College, received the Master of Arts degree from the University of Virginia, and is a farmer living near Emory and at the present time principal of the Greenfield High School. David, the fifth child, owner and operator of the old homestead, is also president of the Edmondson Electric Company of Meadowview. Joseph H., the youngest, now at the home farm, was in training for the motor corps service during the World war at Charlottesville, but was not called to duty before the armistice.

William James Edmondson grew up at the old place near Meadowview, attended public schools, including the high school near Meadowview. He graduated Bachelor of Arts from Emory and Henry College in 1887, and in 1890 the college bestowed upon him the Master of Arts degree. From 1887 to 1893 Mr. Edmondson was principal of the Glade Spring Military Academy. From 1893 to 1900 he was principal of the Liberty Hall High School, and in 1900 was elected for his first term as division superintendent of schools of Washington County. He has been reelected each consecutive four years since then, and at the close of his present term will have been in office for twenty-four years. The public school system of Washington County has made tremendous strides of advancement while he has been superintendent. He has the responsibility of supervising 232 white schools and thirteen colored schools in the county, and the total scholarship enrollment of these schools is nearly ten thousand.

Mr. Edmondson has acquired some important business interest. lie is a fourth owner of the Edmondson Electric Company, is a stockholder in the Bank of Glade Spring and the Mountain Trust Bank of Roanoke, and he has a farm and comfortable residence at Liberty Hall, having three hundred and twenty acres of Blue Grass land. He also owns 287 acres of grazing land in Ashe County, North Carolina.

Mr. Edmondson is a democrat, is a deacon of the Friendship Baptist Church of Washington County, is past master of Liberty Hall Lodge No. 134, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; a member of Marion Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; and belongs to the Virginia State Teachers’ Association. During the World war he spent much of his tune in putting the various local drives over the top, and made a house to house canvass soliciting Liberty Bond sales.

Mr. Edmondson married at Liberty Hall June 30, 1899, Miss Polly Preston, daughter of Capt. John Preston, one of the prominent men of this community. He was a captain in the Quartermaster’s Department of the Confederate army during the war between the states, and for many years a prominent live stock dealer at Liberty Hall. Mrs. Edmondson is a graduate of the Liberty Hall High School. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Edmondson. John P. was registered under the second draft act at the age of eighteen but was not called to active duty. He now has the active management of his father’s farm at Liberty Hall. The second son, James William, died when seven months old, and the youngest is Samuel Robert, born June 10, 1913.