History

The 84 year old law firm of Dunton, Simmons & Dunton, located in White Stone, Virginia, serves local and national clients. The firm has been rated AV® (the highest rating) by Martindale-Hubbell® for many years and has also been listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent LawyersTM, which selects the top 5% of all law firms in the United States based on recommendations of other attorneys and judges. It is the intention of the firm to practice law at the highest professional levels but to enable its attorneys to enjoy life in a rural Virginia setting, near the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Attorneys in the firm are routinely selected by their peers for inclusion in Virginia's Legal Elite and Virginia Super Lawyers. Attorneys have unique areas of concentration to provide clients with superior legal services. The following information relates to the attorneys for whom the firm was named.

Ammon G. Dunton, Sr.

Dunton, Simmons & Dunton, L.L.P. began in 1931, when Ammon Gresham Dunton, Sr. returned to his native Lancaster County, Virginia, after practicing law in Norfolk for four years. A general practice lawyer, Mr. Dunton, Sr. became known for his prowess and quick wit in the court room as well as his leadership ability in the local fishing industry (including service as president of several local menhaden companies). He was also president of several local banks, a director of local and statewide banks, president and chairman of the Northern Neck Insurance Company, president of the Virginia Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, and director of many other local businesses.

In addition to his work as corporate counsel for local fishing and other businesses, Mr. Dunton defended substantial numbers of criminal defendants, including his last capital murder trial during his 90's. On the other side of the criminal bar, during the 1940's, Mr. Dunton, Sr. served as Commonwealth's Attorney for Lancaster County.

Known as the "Dean of the Northern Neck Bar", Mr. Dunton, Sr.'s career spanned more than 60 years, and he was held in unanimous and deep respect. Upon departing this life on February 10, 2000, in the 96th year of his life, resolutions in his honor were passed both by the Commonwealth of Virginia General Assembly and the Northern Neck Bar Association.

C. Jackson Simmons

Carroll Jackson Simmons was born in Lancaster County on February 17, 1923 and attended the College of William and Mary, being inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa and selected as the College's first exchange scholar to the Exeter College in England. Being fluent in French, he was awarded a Rotary Foundation scholarship to attend the University of Geneva from which he received a "Diplome" in International Studies in 1949. Upon his return from Switzerland, he attended the University of Virginia Law School, graduating in 1951 and immediately joining the firm - where he practiced law for 48 years.

In his practice as a trial attorney, Jack Simmons was known for his keen intellect and clarity of thought, but above all his sense of civility in the practice of law. He was a member of the Northern Neck Bar Association from 1951 to his death, have been elected its president in 1971. A student of language and the local history of his beloved Northern Neck of Virginia, he received many invitations to speak on major occasions, often selecting local historical subjects for his remarks. A collection of his most celebrated speeches was published under the title Speaking of the Northern Neck. A lifelong resident of Irvington, Virginia, he is one of three persons who reestablished Chesapeake Academy in 1965, and he later wrote a well received history of the Town of Irvington, which has enjoyed several printings.

C. Jackson Simmons was a leader in civic and church organizations and was selected as president of the Northern Neck Historical Society, as senior warden of the Christ Church Parish, and later of St. James Anglican Church. C. Jackson Simmons departed this life on February 19, 1999, in his 76th year, having continued to practice law until shortly before his death. The Northern Neck Bar Association passed a resolution honoring his exemplary conduct in the practice of law as a noble and learned professional, and his sense of humor, eloquence in speech, strong ethical sense, intellectual vigor, and gentlemanly manner, which caused him to be respected and cherished by his fellow bar members.

Ammon G. Dunton, Jr.

Ammon Gresham Dunton, Jr. graduated from Yale University in 1957. After service as an officer in the United States Army (from which he was discharged as a captain), he attended the University of Virginia School of Law, serving as an Associate Editor on the Virginia Journal of International Law. He thereafter embarked on what would become a 5 year career at the Wall Street firm of Shearman & Sterling, before returning to his native Lancaster County in 1967 to assist his then ailing father, Ammon G. Dunton, Sr. who, it turned out, lived another 33 years and continued to practice for most of them. Mr. Dunton, Jr., who is the managing partner of the firm, has focused on business law and administration of trusts and estates. He has been a Registered Investment Advisor for many years.

Mr. Dunton assumed leadership in many Virginia businesses, including acting as chairman of Bay Banks of Virginia, chairman of the Bank of Lancaster, chairman of the Northern Neck Insurance Company, president of the Virginia Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Vice President of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and in other roles.

Mr. Dunton, Jr. has always been and remains active in the community beyond his law practice as well. He served as President of the Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library, president of the Northern Neck Historical Society, and chairman of the Lancaster County Landmarks Commission and its Bicentennial Commission. He is a member of Grace Episcopal Church, Kilmarnock, Virginia, where he has been elected to the Vestry and as Senior Warden three times. He has served as trustee of the funds of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. He is also active in local charitable work and remains president of the Tidewater Foundation, Incorporated, a local charitable organization. He is married and has four adult children.

The Current Firm

In addition to Ammon G. Dunton, Jr., who acts as managing partner, the firm consists of partners Craig H. Smith, William R. Curdts, J. Rawleigh Simmons, Morgan W. Alley, John C. Hodges, Elizabeth B. Hurd, and E. Stanley Murphy. Detailed information on each of these attorneys is available on our Attorneys page.