Atkinson Family (Isle of Wight County, Virginia) (Part 1)

Born near Smithfield, VA, Archibald Atkinson, Jr. (23 Feb. 1832-29 Oct. 1903) and Robert Chilton Atkinson (3 Oct. 1841-31 Dec. 1917) were sons of U.S. Congressman Archibald Atkinson (1792-1872) and his wife, Elizabeth Ann (Chilton) Atkinson (1808-1872).

Archibald Atkinson, Jr. attended the University of Virginia in session 29 (1852-1853). He earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1854. Afterward, he spent two years studying in Dublin, Ireland, and Paris, France, then established a medical practice in Baltimore, MD, where he stayed until the outbreak of the Civil War. He returned to Virginia and was appointed Assistant Surgeon in the Wise Legion in West Virginia, and assigned to the charge of the Lewisburg Hospital. Later in the war, he served as surgeon to the 10th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry; 31st Virginia Infantry Regiment; and in the Second Army Corps in the Army of Northern Virginia. After the end of the war, he practiced in Smithfield, until 1873, when he returned to Baltimore to practice his profession. In 1875, Dr. Atkinson was elected to the chair of Materia Medica and Therapeutics in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Baltimore, and later at Baltimore Medical College.

On November 2, 1858, Dr. Atkinson married Mary Elizabeth Thomas (1839-1914), of Smithfield. The couple had two children: Mary Chilton and Louis Woodley Atkinson. Dr. Atkinson died in his home in Baltimore of Bright’s Disease, and he and Mrs. Atkinson are buried in the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Portsmouth, VA.

Robert (“Bob”) Chilton Atkinson studied at Smithfield Academy and Lynchburg Military Academy as a youth, and was attending William and Mary College when the Civil War began. He joined the Confederate army as a 2nd lieutenant and served as drillmaster in the 3rd Virginia Infantry. Later in the war, he served as a private in the Prince George Cavalry Company, and then with the Stuart Horse Artillery.

After the Civil War, he attended the University of Virginia in session 42 (1865-1866). He earned his medical degree in 1867 at Tulane University in New Orleans.  He was the owner of a drug store in St. Louis, MO, where he set up his medical practice. In addition, he was Professor of Pediatrics at Marion Sims-Beaumont College (the Medical Department of the University of St. Louis), and assistant superintendent of the St. Louis City Hospital. His civic work included serving on both the city and the state boards of health, the board of hygiene of the public schools, and the St. Louis board of education; for one year he served as the coroner of St. Louis City County.

On  23 Feb. 1875, Robert Atkinson married Mary Tandy Bull (22 May 1850-17 Mar. 1939), and the couple had four children: Chilton, Lillie (d. young), May, and John Archibald Atkinson (d. young). Dr. Atkinson died at his home in St. Louis; he and his wife are buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery, in St. Louis, MO.

For more information on this Atkinson family, see Part 2.


  • Barringer, Paul. The University of Virginia, its history, influence, equipment, and characteristics. New York, 1904, v.1, p. 442-443.
  • The Biographical Cyclopedia of Representative Men of Maryland and District of Columbia. Baltimore: National Biographical Publishing Co., 1879.
  • “Deaths.” Journal of the American Medical Association, v.41, no.20 (Nov. 14, 1903), p. 1218. (Accessed 11/2/11).
  • “Deaths.” Journal of the American Medical Association, v.70, no.3 (Jan. 19, 1918), p. 183-184. (Accessed 11/2/11).
  • Driver, Robert J., Jr. 10th Virginia Cavalry. Lynchburg, VA, 1992, p. 88.
  • Graves of Archibald and Mary Elizabeth Atkinson in Portsmouth, VA, and of Robert Chilton Atkinson, in St. Louis, MO. (Accessed 11/2/11).
  • “Mary Tandy Atkinson Death Certificate.” Missouri State Board of Health, certificate no. 12313, in Missouri Digital Heritage [database online] (Accessed 11/2/11).
  • Memoir of Archibald Atkinson, Jr. Special Collections, University Libraries, Virginia Tech. (Accessed 5/10/2011).
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