by Cindy Akers
Recently, the Floyd County Historical Society sent out its newsletter with some fascinating information. We’ll expand a little on one of those stories.
Daniel Jackson Akers was born in Floyd County in 1873 to Elias “Ale” Akers and Mary Dulaney. He was a descendant of Emera Altizer and Blackburn Akers, both soldiers in the Revolutionary War, and his father served in the War Between the States. Daniel married Ms. Selma Alice Weeks in Floyd County on 24 April 1904. She was born around 1888. According to the first two census records, she showed up on was the daughter of George Washington Weeks and Demaris Anna Thompson. Both of those families had also served their country in several wars.
After their marriage, Daniel and Selma settled in the Alum Ridge section of the county and raised a rather large family, which was normal for the time. They had seven sons and two daughters. Even though Daniel and Selma had middle names, only 3 of their nine children were given a middle name. Edgar Washington Akers was born in 1906, married Mary Elizabeth Duncan in 1930, and died in 1999; at last count (1950 census), he had six children. Don Akers was born in 1909, married Alethia Duncan in 1929, and passed away in 1969; at last count, he also had six children. Ray Akers was born in 1915, married Etha Frances Akers in 1940, and died in 1970; Ray and Etha had four children. Lucy Arlene Akers was born in 1925, married Ellis Taswell Dulaney in 1942, and passed away in 1991; Lucy had at least three children, maybe four.
But that’s just 4 of their nine children. Selma apparently liked to be productive and work fast, so five of her children were born in two fell swoops. Yep, she had two sets of multiple pregnancies. Daughter Toy L. Akers, born in 1919, married Dallas Humphrey Reed in 1942 and later moved to PA, where she passed on in 2009; Toy and Dallas had four children. Toy’s twin brother Roy never married and had no children. He was killed on Rt 8 in 1946, at 27, when a trailer truck overturned on him. His brother Dan was with him, narrowly escaped being hit, and had to witness this horrible event. Roy had just recently been discharged from the US Army.
On 12 August 1912, around 9 pm, Daniel and Selma set a Floyd County record, and I think it still stands today. She gave birth to the only set of surviving triplets in Floyd County, delivered by Dr. Roley Tasville Akers. He doctored most of the folks in Alum Ridge, where he lived, and also treated patients in other county areas. He probably rode that fine horse of his out there that day to bring these babies into the world and most likely had done it for all her other births.
The firstborn of the boys was Daniel. According to his 1940 draft card, he was 5’9” tall, 138 pounds, with a ruddy complexion, black hair, and brown eyes. He was a farmer by trade, working both his farm and working out on other farms for wages, and he did carpentry work. He was married to Beulah Mae Webb Reed, who had one daughter, Eula Frances Reed, and they had two sons of their own, Oscar Jackson and Joseph Cleveland. Beulah left him in 1970, and they divorced in 1971. Dan then married Patricia Rose Marie McLean. She was born in New York, but at the time of her marriage, she was living in Floyd County, one of the twin sisters. In 1981, just four days after his 69th birthday, and a month before their 10th anniversary, Dan died suddenly from a heart attack at 8:15 pm. Patricia passed away in 2000.
The middle triplet was Elias Akers, who married Hattie Bell Akers, and had one daughter, Frances Ann. Elias’s draft card doesn’t give his height and weight but does list him with black hair, brown eyes, and a tanned complexion. He was a self-employed farmer in the Sowers community and listed himself as a conscientious objector. Later on, he drove a milk truck. Elias died of a heart attack in 1992 at 8:29 pm.
The third triplet, Taswell Akers, married Mary Dovie Reed, who passed away in 1969. Tas and Dovie lived on and worked her father’s farm. His second marriage was to Glenna Jean Dickerson. I find no children listed for either of those marriages. His draft card lists him as 5’5”, 125 pounds, with a ruddy complexion, black hair and hazel eyes, and a conscientious objector. Taswell died in 1994. I haven’t found his death certificate to list the cause or time of his death. It would be interesting to know if he also died from heart problems and if he died after 8:30 pm. These three boys died in the order they were born.
Dr. Akers was one of five sons, and he had five sons. Three generations of his family were doctors. His oldest son, Waller Curtis Akers, was a prominent physician in Patrick County, who owned and operated the Stuart Hospital and private practice, and Waller’s youngest son, James Curtis Akers Sr., was a dentist in Patrick County.
Roley Tasville Akers was well renowned all over Virginia and known in other states for his expertise and medical reputation. He suffered a broken hip in 1932, leaving him in a wheelchair, but he still saw patients in his office. He’d been practicing medicine since 1883, at 26, and he wasn’t giving up. He was the oldest practicing physician in Floyd County. He wrote medical articles and essays for national medical journals during his lifelong career. He was a member of the Virginia, American, and Southern Medical Societies and had served on the county Board of Health since its beginning. He also served 45 years on the county school board and many years as board chair. He had been a teacher in his younger years and wrote articles on the county’s history. He served on the Board of Directors of the People’s Bank for more than 20 years. He was a Bishop in the Brethren Church for 40 years and taught and supervised the Sabbath School.
Dr. Akers was descended from the same families as Daniel and Selma. He was the son of Lewis Akers and Mary Ann Chaffin, and he married Lucy Reed, the daughter of Jesse Reed and Delilah Boothe, also from those same families. Like almost everybody else in Floyd County whose family was in residence here before 1900, we’re almost all some kind of kin by birth or marriage.
By 1940, he had given up his practice after more than 55 years. In 1941 he died of heart disease at the age of 82. His wife Lucy died in 1945 of pneumonia following influenza; she was 80 years old. They are buried in the Roley T. Akers Family Cemetery on Alum Ridge.