George Preston Coleman(1870-1948) was born May 4, 1870 to Cynthia Beverley Tucker Washington Coleman and Dr. Charles Washington Coleman (1826-1894). He married Mary Haldane Begg Coleman (1875-1967), and they had two daughters, Janet Haldane Coleman Kimbrough (1902-1992) and Cynthia Beverley Tucker Coleman Moorehead (1904-1962). 1
From the age of 11, he was one of the few students who received private instruction from the College of William & Mary President Benjamin Stoddert Ewell during the period when the college was closed (1881-1888) due to lack of funds. In the post Civil War Era several colleges accepted younger students as a preparatory school for college in order to fill the gap in public education and in the hopes they would continue on in the institution at the upper level. 2. Coleman continued studies at W&M for two years after it reopened in 1888. He worked as an engineer in the Midwest and returned to Virginia as assistant highway commissioner and from 1911 to 1923 was commissioner. He was a leader in the development of the Virginia highway system and he organized the Virginia Road Builders Association.
Coleman was a member of the Board of Visitors of the college and was vice rector. He was mayor of Williamsburg from 1929 to 1934. He became president of the Peninsula Bank & Trust Company of Williamsburg in 1927 which position he held at the time of his death. In 1942, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Society of Alumni, Mr. Coleman delivered the alumni oration in which he cited his grandfather, Nathaniel Beverley Tucker, who had made the first oration in 1842. On this occasion, Mr. Coleman received the alumni medallion and, two days later, the College conferred upon him an honorary Doctorate of Law.
Materials in the Special Collections Research Center
George P. Coleman in SCRC Database
- Ashley Courtway, U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current, "George Preston Coleman", Memorial #31248347, accessed through Ancestry.com April 25, 2017, https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=31248347&ref=acom