Apperson Family

Photo of John Apperson (Jr.) at Lake George, c. 1920. For more information about John S. Apperson please visit

For many years Ellen Brown has been working on a book about her Uncle, John S. Apperson who moved from Virginia in 1900 to work for General Electric in Schenectady, New York. In his spare time he fell in love with the Adirondack Forest Preserve and became a leader in the Adirondack Preservationist movement. Over the years, Ellen has searched for information about his early years and family. His father, Dr. John S. Apperson, Sr. was the quintessential self-made man, having left home in Orange County, Virginia in 1859 with $12.00 and a few postage stamps in his pocket. During the Civil War he served as a medic under Dr. Harvey Black and was present when General Stonewall Jackson had his arm amputated. After the war he became a country doctor and eventually an entrepreneur, manager of a branch railroad, a foundry and other industrial enterprises.

The following is a collection of Apperson family letters, articles and a slideshow:

  • Letter to Uncle John
  • One Hundred Years Ago
  • Getting Ready for the Electrical Age As a graduate student at Virginia Tech, Ellen Brown wrote this paper exploring the early years Tech, when it was known as the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. Her grandfather, Alfred Hull Apperson, who graduated from there in 1894, wrote his senior thesis on the incandescent light bulb! His little brother, John, also attended the school, but dropped out after a year or two, becoming the foreman of a construction crew for a branch railroad (the Marion and Rye Valley RR)…until leaving Virginia to seek his fortune in the north in 1900.
  • For the Love of Virginia This essay suggests the strong ties to Virginia, even for those who move away. John S. Apperson left Marion, Virginia in 1900, and even though he spent the rest of his life in New York State, he maintained close ties with his siblings, nieces and nephews.  Dr. Apperson's house - Marion
  • Forever Wild This was an early attempt by Ellen Brown to write a biography of her Uncle John Apperson. She pulls together a narrative of his childhood and adolescence and tries to grasp what sort of person he became as an adult, working at General Electric Company in Schenectady and spending his free time trying to protect the forests and lakes of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
  • Journal Pre Civil War account written by John S. Apperson (1837-1908)…..
  • Becoming a Conservationist, One Letter at a Time
  • Defending Democracy on the Home Front
  • Slideshow: