Biography of Hollie Brockenborough McCormac, Sr.

H. B. McCormac, Sr., born in 1875 in Frederick County, Virginia, was a prominent figure in industry, banking, agriculture, and politics in the Shenandoah Valley. He served as president of The Virginia Woolen Company, the Berkeley Woolen Company, and the Union Bank of Winchester. McCormac was instrumental in founding the Winchester Chamber of Commerce and held leadership roles in various organizations, including the National Manufacturers Association and the Virginia Manufacturers Association. A dedicated civic leader, he chaired the executive committee of Winchester Memorial Hospital and the Liberty Loan and War Chest Committees during WWI. He passed away on December 11, 1937.

Hollie Brockenborough McCormac
Hollie Brockenborough McCormac

The late H. B. McCormac, Sr., was a leading executive of the Shenandoah Valley by reason of his activity in the varied fields of industry, banking, agriculture and political affairs. He was president of The Virginia Woolen Company and its affiliate, the Berkeley Woolen Company.

Born in 1875 on a farm in Frederick County, H. B. McCormac completed his secondary education at the John Kerr High School in Winchester, then entered Virginia Polytechnic Institute at Blacksburg. However, after two years of study there, he left to assume responsibility for management of the farm, on his father’s death. Until the end of his life he maintained his interest in agriculture and cultivated this same family acreage as an avocation for a number of years.

However, he early found employment with The Virginia Woolen Company, in which he advanced from subordinate positions to that of general manager of the plant, which had grown during his years of increasing responsibility. Many years before his death, he obtained a controlling interest in the business and was elected its president, combining the duties of the chief executive office with those of managership. He thus ascended to the management of the largest industry of its kind in the northern part of Virginia, and he also became president of its affiliate, the Berkeley Woolen Company of Martinsburg, West Virginia, and of the Winchester Milling Corporation and Colonial Brick Corporation. As a leading industrialist of the Valley, H. B. McCormac, Sr., was a member of the National Manufacturers Association, and for a number of years was one of the Virginia members on its board of directors. He was also a member of the Virginia Manufacturers Association, was for several terms its president, and did much in the planning of its legislative policy.

In the later years of his life, H. B. McCormac was president of the Union Bank of Winchester, succeeding James B. Russell in that office. In addition to the organizations mentioned above, he was president of the Mount Clifton Orchard Corporation, and was vice-president of the Winchester Credit Corporation. He was one of the organizers of the Winchester Chamber of Commerce in 1916, and later served as its president. As a vital influence in the affairs of the Republican party in Virginia, he was often considered as a candidate for the United States Senate but declined the honor. He was one of the city’s Rotarians.

In the sphere of civic service, H. B. McCormac was for some years chairman of the executive committee of Winchester Memorial Hospital, and he was generous in his support of this institution. He was a member of the Rouss Fire Company, a volunteer fire-fighting organization, and during World War I he served as chairman of the Liberty Loan and War Chest Committees. He was also at one time chairman of the executive committee of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival.

Fraternally, he was identified with the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Hiram Lodge No. 21, and was past master and lodge trustee of that body. He was also a member of John Dove Chapter No. 21, Royal Arch Masons, and of Winchester Commandery No. 12, Knights Templar. As a thirty-second degree Mason, he was a member of Acca Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Mr. McCormac attended the Loudoun Street Presbyterian Church.

H. B. McCormac, Sr., was married to the former Gertrude Adams, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Dean Adams of Frederick County. Hollie B. McCormac, Jr., of whom a biographical sketch accompanies, was their only son.

Mr. McCormac died at “Macsfield,” his home on Handley Boulevard, Winchester, on December 11, 1937. His death marked a severe loss among the circle of Shenandoah Valley industrialists, and his constructive civic influence has likewise been greatly missed.


Couper, Wm. (William), History of the Shenandoah Valley, Family and Personal Records, vol. III, New York, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1952.

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