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CAPTAIN WILLIAM W. OLD.
Captain William W. Old was born in Princess Anne County, Virginia, on November 17th, 1840, and died in the City of Norfolk, Virginia, on July 19th, 1911.
He was the son of Jonathan Whitehead Old, a lineal descendant of Edward Old, who settled in lower Norfolk County, Virginia, early in the seventeenth century. During the Indian wars previous to the Revolution, and in that struggle itself, members of his family gallantly served the Commonwealth. Thomas Old, of that period, and his kinsman, James Tooley, were members of the Committee of Safety in Princess Anne County during the war of Independence. Captain Old's mother, Elizabeth Anne (Whitehurst) Old, connected him with another old and honorable family of Virginia. Her father, Colonel William Whitehurst, was for many years the presiding justice of Princess Anne County by commission from the Governor.
Captain Old studied in his youth at the Norfolk Academy, then under the superintendence of John B. Strange, who afterward lost his life at Sharpsburg, as a colonel in the Confederate service. In 1855, on account of a yellow fever epidemic, Colonel Strange left Norfolk and established the Albemarle Military Institute, where young Old studied three years. In October, 1858, after a few months at the Broun & Tebbs school in Albemarle County, he entered the University of Virginia, where he graduated with the degree of M. A., July 4th, 1861. Already the war had begun, and the “University Volunteers" had been organized at the university, in which he held the rank of junior second lieutenant.
On the day of graduation they were mustered into the Confederate service and assigned to Wise's Brigade, then operating in West Virginia, where the company was on duty until disbanded the following December by order of the Secretary of War. Captain Old determined to remain in the service, acted for a short time as volunteer aide upon the staff of General Wise, and then enlisted as a private in the Fourteenth Regiment, Virginia Infantry, commanded by Col. James Gregory Hodges. He was wounded in the second day's fight at Seven Pines, June 1st, and in August following was commissioned captain and assistant quartermaster and assigned to Battery No. 9 of the Richmond defenses, under command of Col. James Howard. He served there until May, 1863, when he was ordered to Jackson's old division, then commanded by Major-General Edward Johnson, and placed in charge of the commissary train during the Pennsylvania campaign.
In December, 1863, he resigned that position to become aidede-camp upon the staff of General Johnson. On May 12, 1864, during the fighting at Spottsylvania Court House, he was engaged in carrying a message to General C. A. Evans, when General Johnson and many of his troops were captured. He was subsequently assigned to the staff of Lieutenant-General Richard S. Ewell, and on June 12, 1864, to the staff of General Jubal Early, with whom he served through the Maryland campaign and the movement on Washington in that year. In August of the same year his old commander, General Johnson, having been exchanged, ordered to the Western Army, then under General Hood, and assigned to command the division of Patton Anderson, Captain Old rejoined his staff, and served in the West until October 31st, when he was severely wounded at Florence, Alabama, and was incapacitated for duty during the remainder of the war. On being paroled after the capitulation of General Joseph E. Johnson, he returned home and was engaged in teaching school and farming until civil affairs were well settled.
In 1868 he was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law in Norfolk, where he continued to reside until his death. He first formed a partnership with Mr. John S. Tucker, and later with Mr. Richard Walke, this latter association continuing until the death of Mr. Walke. At the time of his death he was senior member of the firm of Wm. W. Old and Son, composed of himself, William W. Old, Jr., Edward Brockenbrough and Charles Webster.
In 1870 he was married to Alice Herbert, daughter of Edward H. Herbert, a prominent and influential citizen of Princess Anne County, Virginia. Six children were born of this marriage, all of whom, with their mother, survive him. Dr. Herbert Old, Colonel Wm. W. Old, Jr., Dr. Edward H. H. Old, Surgeon in the United States Navy, Annie, wife of Charles Webster, Margaret Nash, wife of John H. Stump, and Ellen Alice, wife of Prof. William M. Dey, of the University of North Carolina.
Mr. Old was a devoted member of Christ Protestant Episcopal Church. He was elected a vestryman in June, 1875, and continued to fill that office till his death, except for certain brief intervals, during which he was ineligible for election, according to a rule of the church. For many years he was sent as a delegate to the council of his diocese and was Chancellor of the Diocese of Southern Virginia from the time of its existence as a separate diocese. He was also sent as a delegate to the General Conventions of the Protestant Episcopal Church, at New York, in 1889; at Baltimore, in 1892; at Minneapolis, in 1895; at Washington, in 1898; at San Francisco, in 1901; at Boston, in 1904; at Richmond, in 1907, and at Cincinnati, in 1910.
Captain Old took a deep interest in the public affairs of his city and for two terms was a member of the City Council, and acted as Chairman of its Finance Committee.
Literary affairs also engaged his attention, and for over thirty years he was a member of the directory of the Norfolk Library Association, which was later merged into the Norfolk Public Library.
He was also actively connected with many charitable and benevolent institutions, among others, The Episcopal Church Home, Jackson Orphan Asylum, The Bonney Home for Girls, and the Norfolk Protestant Hospital, to the last of which he had rendered gratuitous services as legal advisor since its organization.
From its beginning, he was an earnest member of this Bar Association, always taking an active part in its affairs and a constant attendant at its meetings. He greatly enjoyed the privilege it afforded him of meeting with his friends from other parts of the State.
Such is a brief outline of the principal events in the life of our lamented fellow-member. Volumes would have to be written to tell of the faithful and gallant services rendered by the young university graduate to the cause he loved so well and for which he fought on many a bloody field, till incapacitated by wounds for further struggle; of how after the war he came to his own people and with them undertook the burden of rebuilding their shattered fortunes; of the zealous and successful care of the interests of his clients; of his many services to his church, to his city and to the numerous charitable institutions with which he was connected.
Captain Old by his upright life won the esteem and confidence of all who came into contact with him. He enjoyed a large and lucrative practice and appeared frequently in the State and federal courts and in the Supreme Court of Appeals. Duty was his watchword. He delighted in work and never shrank from any task, however intricate or difficult. No amount of inconvenience could deter him from going to the bottom of a matter and mastering every detail of a case. The writer has often told him that he loved work more than most men loved recreation. His legal papers were models of completeness and accuracy. He was employed in many of the most important and hardly fought cases in the courts in his vicinity, and he always contended with indomitable energy, zeal and perseverance to maintain his cause.
In the midst of the cares of a most exacting profession, he found time to gratify his fine taste for letters, and was an accomplished scholar.
He loved with all his soul Virginia and the South and was loyal to their traditions. He spent freely of his time and means