William B. Abbitt was the son of William Abbitt (b. ca.1797) of Appomattox County, VA, and his wife Mary, called “Polly.” The elder William Abbitt was one of four sons (George, Benjamin, Joseph, and William) of Benjamin Abbitt (1765-1818) and the grandson of Pleasant Abbitt (b. ca. 1735), the progenitor of the Abbitt family in central Virginia.
In the historical record and secondary sources, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between William B. Abbitt and his first cousin, William H. Abbitt, who was the son of the George Abbitt mentioned above. Both men were doctors and practiced in Appomattox County. Both men married a woman named Sarah — William B. married Sarah LeGrand, and William H. married Sarah Plunkett. However, there are significant differences between the two as well. William B. was born in 1826 (the birthdate in the header is recorded in the U.Va. Matriculation Books); William H. in 1832. William B. studied medicine at the University of Virginia in session 26 (1849-1850); William H. graduated from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond in 1853. William B. died at slightly over the age of 31; William H. died in 1907 at the age of 75.
About 1851, William Benjamin Abbitt married Sarah LeGrand (b. ca. 1828), and the couple had the following children: Mary E., William T., Francis G., and Nannie B. Abbitt (1860 U.S. Census). In the fall of 1857, there was an outbreak of typhoid in Appomattox; Dr. William B. Abbitt died of the disease on 5 Nov. He is buried in Clover Hill Cemetery in Appomattox County.
Many thanks to Travis DuPriest, Jr. for generously sharing his Abbitt research with me.
- Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1860; Census Place: Appomattox County, Virginia; Roll: M653_1332; Page: 473; Image: 479; Family History Library Film: 805332.
- “Deaths.” Journal of the American Medical Association, v. 49, no. 13 (Sept. 28, 1907), p. 1132-1133.
- Marvel, William. A Place Called Appomattox. Chapel Hill, NC, 2000.
- University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.