Name: William Dorrier, Respected Scottsville Businessman and Citizen
Image Number: 436DorrierWilliam, Scottsville Cemetery
Comments: William Dorrier was born in Brunswick, Germany, on June 9, 1839; he was the son of William (1813-1876) and Caroline Dorrier (1793-1876). William arrived in America in the Spring of 1856, where he became a successful business man in Pennsylvania. William married Katherine Ritchey (1844-1892) of Bedford Co., PA, in August 1874, and the Dorriers moved to Virginia that year. In 1876, their first child, Walter Sylvester Dorrier (1876-1959) was born, and their daughter, Lucy May Dorrier (1879-1901) was born three years later. In the 1880 U.S. Census, William, Katherine, Walter, and Lucy May Dorrier were living in Scottsville, Albemarle County, VA, and William Dorrier's occupation was listed as 'merchant.'
After William Dorrier arrived in Scottsville in 1874, he spent the next 28 years successfully engaged in business with D.H. Pitts of Scottsville. For 11 years, William Dorrier also was a member of the railroad contracting firm of Lane Bros., Co. He also was a member of the Pitts & Dorrier Merchants and co-owner of the Valmont Stock Farm and Pitts & Dorrier Co., and President of the Scottsville National Bank.
William and Katherine Dorrier lived with their family at Mount Pleasant farm about 6 miles from Scottsville. Four more children were born into their family: James F. Dorrier (1882-1961), Charles Richard Dorrier, Sr. (1885-1966), Benjamin Edgar Dorrier (1887-1936), and Edgar Dorrier (1890-).
In the early 1900's, William Dorrier built the Dorrier Building, located at 280 Valley Street in Scottsville, to serve as a general merchandise and feed- grain store. William's son, Charles Richard Dorrier, Sr., operated this store for fifty years under the name, C.R. Dorrier and Company.
The Dorrier building ca. 1920 when it operated as the C.R. Dorrier Store. In 2020, the Dorrier building is occupied by the Tavern on the James. Photo courtesy of Robert Ash.
On Monday, May 21, 1906, while William was driving via wagon to Scottsville, his horse became frightened and upset the wagon, throwing William out, inflicting what was then considered painful but not serious injuries, and from all indications, William was getting on nicely, until the following Saturday morning when unfavorable symptoms appeared and despite the best medical and careful nursing by tender, loving hands, William Dorrier passed away at his Mt. Pleasant home on May 27, 1906.
William Dorrier's obituary in the Scottsville Courier (June 6, 1906) explained his excellent success in business: "By his unusual business qualifications, his fair and honest dealings with all men, Mr. William Dorrier was a successful businessman in the business world. By his kind and charitable deeds, his sympathetic nature, and his ready hand to help those in need of help, he was the friend of all, and all were his friends. He was a man of unusual judgment, and many there were who went to him for advice, feeling assured that it would be cheerfully furnished and of the best. As a whole, he was one of the very best, most valuable and highly respected citizens of our county and our town. To say that Mr. Dorrier will be greatly missed, but mildly expresses it, but he leaves an example which is worth the emulation of every man. As to the kind of citizen he was, we refer you to the public generally; as to the neighbor he was, we refer you to those who were his neighbors, and as to the father he was, we point to you his four sons, the superior to whom it would be difficult to find."
"The funeral services were held at his residence, Tuesday morning, May 29th, at 10 o'clock, conducted by Father Crow of Charlottesville, VA, and the internment was in the Presbyterian Cemetery at Scottsville. The attendance was very large and the floral tributes beautiful, which evidenced the popularity of the deceased and the high esteem in which he was held."
"Mr. Dorrier is survived by four sons, as follows: Walter S. Dorrier, cashier of Scottsville National Bank; James F. Dorrier, of Matthews & Dorrier, railroad contractors; Charles R. Dorrier, cashier of the Esmont National Bank; and Bennie Dorrier, of Scottsville; also an adopted daughter, Miss Mary Dull, of Scottsville; to all of whom the deepest sympathy of our people is extended."
William Dorrier is buried at Scottsville Cemetery (formerly the Presbyterian Cemetery) and next to his wife, Catharine Ann (Ritchey) Dorrier, who passed away on November 18, 1892:
The above 1920 photo of the C.R. Dorrier store is part of the Robert Ash collection at Scottsville Museum. In 2020, Robert Ash resides in Rock, West Virginia.
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