Presley Marion Rixey was the son of Presley Morehead Rixey (1812-1894) and his second wife, Mary Frances (Jones) Rixey (1824-1892). He was born at his father’s residence in Culpeper, VA, and lived there until attending UVA. Rixey was educated at public schools in Culpeper and Warrenton, VA, and attended the University of Virginia in session 49 (1872-1873), during which he earned an M.D. in nine months, because of limited funds.
Rixey, a career member of the U.S. Navy, was commissioned as assistant surgeon in the U.S. Navy on 28 Jan. 1874, and steadily rose in rank throughout the next thirty years: he passed assistant surgeon on 18 April 1877, surgeon on 27 Nov. 1888, Medical Inspector on 24 Aug. 1900, and Medical Director on 7 May 1907. From 5 Feb. 1902 through 1910, Rixey served as the 17th Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy at the rank of Rear Admiral. During WWI, Rixey was recalled to active duty. His naval career included eleven years of sea duty. He worked in Washington, D.C., as physician to Presidents McKinley and T. Roosevelt. At the height of his career and later in life his primary residence — what he termed his “country home” — was “Netherfauld Farm” (aka “Rixey”), which was located in Virginia but was within sight of Washington, D.C.
About 1878, Presley M. Rixey married Earlena E. English (1855-1935) at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H. The couple had no children. Rixey died at his home in Rixey Station, outside Cherrydale, VA. He and his wife are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, VA.
- Rixey, Presley Marion. The Life Story of Presley Marion Rixey: Surgeon General, U.S. Navy 1902-1910. Biography and Autobiography. Biography by Rear Admiral William C. Braisted, M.C., U.S.N., and Captain William Hemphill Bell, M.C., U.S.N. (Washington, D.C.: 1910) Strasburg, VA: Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1930.
- Tombstones of Presley Marion Rixey and Earlena E. Rixey at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA. Findagrave.com (Accessed 5/2/2011).
- 1860-1930 U.S. Census. Virginia, Washington D.C., in Ancestry.com. United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.