James Perley

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James D. Perley
1906-James Perley.JPG
James Perley, ca. 1900

Electoral District Third Ward
Term Start September 1, 1888
Term End August 31, 1895
Preceded by New charter
Succeeded by F. M. Huyett

Biographical Information

Date of birth July 3, 1833
Date of death January 21, 1915
Place of birth Alexandria, Virginia
Place of death Charlottesville, Virginia
Spouse Mary Jane Mooney Perley
Children J. Vincent Perley (1856–1916)
Annie E Perley Gleason (1858–1946)
John W Perley (1862–1933)
Charles M. Perley (1866–1898)
Rosa Lee Perley (1868–1882)
Residence 104 W Main Street
Profession Wholesale and Retail Business (Furniture)
James Perley & Sons
Religion Methodist

James Perley (1833-1915) was prominent Charlottesville businessman who employed furniture dealers, undertakers and professional embalmers. As a soldier of the Confederacy, he survived the charge of Pickett’s Brigade at Gettysburg (1863).[1] Elected from the Third Ward, he served on the city council from 1888 to 1895.

After service in the war he returned to Charlottesville and opened a new store. His businesses were located in the Perley Building at 100 to 108 West Main Street. In 1895 he admitted his sons into the business and styled the name "James Perley & Sons."

Historical Context: Pickett’s Charge was an infantry assault ordered by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee against Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Union positions on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg and one of the most famous infantry attacks of the American Civil War (1861–1865). On the afternoon of July 3, 1863, it pitted 12,000 Confederates—including three brigades of Virginians under George E. Pickett—against half that number of Union troops.[2]Under Longstreet's command, Pickett's division alone suffered 2,655 casualties, Pettigrew's division suffered 2,700 casualties, and Trimble's brigades amassed 885 casualties. In total, there were 6,555 Confederate casualties in less than an hour of fighting.
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James Perley was the son of James and Elizabeth Perley, and was born in Alexandria on July 3rd, 1833. The family moved to Fredericksburg in 1839, and after a two years' residence there came to Charlottesville, where the remainder of his life was spent.

Upon the formation of a local military company, known as the Monticello Guard, Mr. Perley enlisted and soon rose to the rank of sergeant, serving with the company when it was called to Charles Town upon the occasion of the execution of John Brown.

Accompanying the Guard to Manassas on April 16th, 1861, where it was merged into Company A, Nineteenth Virginia Regiment, Garnett's Brigade, Pickett's Division, Mr. Perley served continuously to the close of the war, participating in all the battles of the Nineteenth Virginia Regiment and was a true and brave soldier. He was captured at Sailor's Creek, a few days before the surrender and carried to Point Lookout, and was there when the war closed.

In 1855 Mr. Perley married Miss Mary Jane Mooney, of Albemarle County, and to this union were born six children James Vincent, Annie E., John W., Charles M., Mary V., and Rosa Lee. In 1867 he entered the furniture and undertaking business in Charlottesville, succeeding John B. Dodd. The business grew steadily and in 1885 had reached such proportions that Mr. Perley decided to form a partnership, admitting his sons to the business, under the firm name of James Perley & Sons, and continued as directing head of the concern until his death on January 10th, 1915, having reached the ripe age of 82 years.

Throughout his long life Mr. Perley was active in all public efforts to advance the welfare of the community, and took a deep interest in the affairs of his church.


  1. https://search.lib.virginia.edu/sources/uva_library/items/uva-lib:2105733
  2. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/picketts-charge/
  3. Richey, H. (1920). Memorial history of the John Bowie Strange Camp, United Confederate Veterans: including some account of others who served in the Confederate Armies from Albemarle County, together with brief sketches of the Albemarle Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the R. T. W. Duke Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans ... Publishing committee: C. B. Linney, Channing M. Bolton, John Z. Holladay; edited by Homer Richey. Charlottesville, Va.: Michie Co.. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc2.ark:/13960/t18k75981&view=1up&seq=170&q1=Perley

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