m. 13 FEB 1839
m. 20 Dec 1864
Facts and Events
Colonel Chiswell Dabney Langhorne (November 4, 1843 – February 14, 1919) was an American railroad industrialist. He was the father of Nancy Witcher Langhorne and the maternal grandfather of both Joyce Grenfell and Michael Langhorne Astor.
Langhorne was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, the eldest son of John Scarsbrook Langhorne (who inherited Langhorne Mills in Lynchburg along with the bulk of his father's property) and Sarah Elizabeth Dabney (whose family owned the "Edgemont" plantation). The family were wealthy slave-owners before the American Civil War. The Confederate General Jeb Stuart was a relative .
The Langhorne family lived in greatly reduced circumstances after the war. Chiswell, however, made a new fortune working first in the tobacco auctioneering business and then in railroads.
As a youth he entered the Confederate Army and served with distinction during the war. Soon after the Civil War he went to Danville, Virginia. The sale of loose-leaf tobacco by auction on a warehouse floor originated in Danville just before the Civil War. The practice, which was called the "Danville System", was quickly and widely adopted. It is said that Langhorne set the pattern of the tobacco auctioneer's chant which was also quickly adopted and followed everywhere.
In 1864, while the civil war was still in progress, Chiswell Langhorne married sixteen-year-old Nancy Witcher Keene. In 1885, by which time he had at least six surviving children, he moved his family to Richmond. Through the influence of his wartime commanding officer he landed a construction contract with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. This was the start of his railroad fortune.
He died in Richmond following an illness of several weeks.