John Walter Wayland.

A history of Rockingham County, Virginia online

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^ A HISTORY OF



ROCKINGHAM COUNTY



VIRGINIA



BY

JOHN W. WAYLAND, Ph.D.

Professor of History, State Normal School, Harrisonburg, Va. ; Member
Virginia Historical Society, American Historical Association,
Pennsylvania-German Society, Etc.; Author of "Politi-
cal Opinions of Thomas Jeff erson, " "The Ger-
man Element of the Shenandoah Valley
of Virginia," Etc.



RUEBUSH-ELKINS COMPANY

DAYTON, VIRGINIA
1912



/ (jyrK-



^ - i. -u



Copyright, 1912,
JOE K. RUEBUSH and P. H. ELKINS



Published and Sold by

RUEBUSH-ELKINS COMPANY

Dayton, Va.



C!.A330<!(j7 V



OUTLINE OF CONTENTS.



p LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

INTRODUCTION.
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE.

PART L— Chronological.

Chapter.

L Geography of Rockingham County.

IL Geological Features.
m. « First White Settlers: 1727-1738.

•IV. Rockingham as Part of Augusta: 1738-1777.

V. The New County and the New Nation: 1777-1820.

VI. A Growing Community: 1820-1860.

VII. Rockingham in the Civil War: 1861-1865.

VIII. The Days of Reconstruction: 1865-1876.

IX. From 1876 to 1912.

X. Rockingham To-Day.

PART IL -Topical.

XI. Towns and Villages of Rockingham.

XII. Roads and Railroads.

XIII. Race Elements and Population.

XIV. - Churches and Religious Life.

XV. Education and Schools.

XVI. Charitable Institutions.

XVII. Writers and Printers: Books and Periodicals.

XVIII. Singers of Rockingham.

XIX. Rockingham Statesmen and Jurists.

XX. Farms and Farmers.

XXL Domestic Arts and Manufacturing^Enterprises.

XXII. Banks and Banking.

XXIII. Health Resorts.

XXIV. Natural Curiosities.

XXV. Hunting in the Western Mountains.

XXVI. Boating on the Shenandoah River.



XXVII. Court Days of Long Ago.

XXVIII. Some Interesting Incidents:

Spotswood's Expedition of 1716 and the Uni-
versity Pageant of 1909.
The Coming of the Lincolns.
Daniel Boone on Linville Creek.
Valentine Sevier's Sale Bill.
The Influenza of 1806-7.
A Case of Body-Snatching.
A Visit to Philadelphia in 1847,
Death of Ashby: 1862.
Stonewall Jackson at Port Republic.
Killing of John Kline: 1864.
Death of Meigs: 1864.
The Thurman Movement.
Sidney Lanier at Rockingham Springs.
A Fence Corner Council.

CONCLUSION.



APPENDIX.



Sheriffs of Rockingham.

County Judges and Circuit Judges.

County Clerks rnd Circuit Clerks.

Commonwealth's Attorneys.

Superintendents of Schools.

County Surveyors.

Members of House of Delegates.

Members of State Senate.

Marriages in Rockingham, 1778-1720.

Landowners in Rockingham in 1789.

Muster Rolls of Rockingham Soldiers.

Business and Professional Directory of Rocking-
ham County: 1912.

Bibliography: A list of books, magazines, and
newspapers containing information con-
cerning Rockingham County and Rock-
ingham People.

INDEX.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

Frontispiece, The Peak

District Map 16

Geological Map - - - - 24

General John Sevier - - - 32

Site of First Court House 48

Bear Lithia Spring - 48

Suter Wheat Field - - 48

Steam Plow - - 48

Court House of 1833 64

Court House of 1874, two views - - - - 64

Court House of 1896 64

Chesapeake-Western Bridge 80

Bridgewater Bridge - - - 80

Confluence of the Rivers, Port Republic - - - 80

Lethe - - 96

Lincoln Homestead .-_ - - 96

Miller Farm Scene - - - - 98

Mt. CHnton - - - 96

State Normal School - - - - - - 112

Senator John F, Lewis - - - - - - 128

Etching, 10th Va. Regt. Camp Equipment - - 138

Battle-Flag 10th Va. Reg. - - - - - 144

Flag of Chrisman's Boy Company - - - - 144

Flag Saved at Appomattox _ . - - - 144

Port Republic Battlefield . - - - - 144

Hon. John T. Harris - - - - - - 160

Fort Lynne - - - - - 176

Conrad's Store - - - - - - - 176

Funk Printing House - - - - - ._ - 176

Madison Hall - - - - . - - - 176

Smithland - - - - - - 176

Old Stone Fort - - - - 176



Bowman's Mill 176

Bogota - - : 176

Waterman House - 192

Chinkapin Tree 192

Town Hall, Bridgewater - - - 192

Farm Lands on Cook's Creek _ - _ - 192

Historical Map - - - - - 198

Bridgewater College 204

Elkton Hotel 208

Singer's Glen - - - - 208

First Postoffice 208

Stonewall Jackson's Headquarters - - - - 208

View of Harrisonburg 224

Site of Salyards School (McGaheysville) - - 224

Singers Glen High School 224

Orphans' Home - 224

Old Elk Run Church - 224

Blosser Hatchery - - - . - - 224

Henry Tutwiler 240

Bishop James Madison 256

Big Spring 272

Ashby's Monument 272

Olden Days on Court Square 272

Asbury's Chapel 272

Old St. Peter's Church - - - - 272

District Sunday School Map 280

Bridgewater Graded and High School - - - 288

Waterman School 288

Harrisonburg High School - - - 288

McGaheysville Graded and High School - - - 288

Shenandoah Collegiate Institute - - - - 296

Joseph Salyards 304

U. S. Court House and PostofRce - - - - 312

Rockingham Memorial Hospital _ - - - 312

Rockingham County Almshouse - - . - 312

Old Folks' Home 312

Dr. Gessner Harrison 320

Etching, Oldest Known Number Rockingham Register 336

Title-Page Genuine Church Music - - - - 342

Judge Daniel Smith 352



Hon. Chas. T. O'Ferrall 359

Judge John Paul 360

Senator I. S. Pennybacker 368

Hand-Woven Coverlets 384

Rawley Springs 394

Massanetta Springs 394

Washington's Profile 400

Giant's Grave 400

Cedar Cliff Falls 400

Formation in Massanutta Cave - - - - 400

Diamond Lake, New Market Endless Caverns - 400

Sidney Lanier Cottage - 416

Keezletown School Building 416

A Rockingham Orchard 416

First Piano Brought Into Rockingham - - - 416

Pageant, Knights of Golden Horseshoe - - - 426

Mt. Vernon Furnace 432

Where Meigs Fell 432

The Falls, Bridgewater 432

Brock's Gap 432

Lincoln Graveyard __-__- 432

Silver Lake, Dayton - 432

Sidney Lanier 434



INTRODUCTION.

In this volume we present to the pubhc the results of the
first serious attempt ever made to write and publish a com-
prehensive illustrated history of Rockingham County, Vir-
ginia. That the task herein essayed has not been undertaken
before is remarkable, in view of the broad scope and inviting
character of the field; for the sons of Rockingham, both at
home and abroad, have been making history for many gen-
erations. They have made this fair land between the moun-
tains to blossom as the rose; they have cleared farms and
enriched them; they have founded homes and kept them in
the light of sacred fires; they have builded altars and
worshiped before them; they have erected schools and
trained their children; they have sought peace and pursued
it, yet in the hour of battle they have set their bravest and
best in the forefront; they have borne loss and disaster
without flinching, and in the midst of wasted fields and
homesteads have raised again the standards of a free and
prosperous people. Not only have the brave gone forth for
defense, and the strong to arduous labor, but the fair have
also done faithfully their noble part. In peace or war, in
prosperity or adversity, the women of Rockingham have
risen always to their high destiny. Their invincible spirit
has given motive to soldier and farmer and scholar; their
hands have ministered to sick and wounded, their prayers
have soothed the dying; the memorials raised by their toil
and patience enhance the past and inspire the future. We
give them honor.

It has been the author's purpose in this history (1) to
give due recognition to all the important phases of Rocking-
ham life, interests, and enterprises; (2) to emphasize those



particular interests and activities that have given the county-
its distinctive character and influence; (3) to find and pre-
serve some treasures lost, or nearly lost, in the lapse of time
and the obscuring din of busy days.

Inasmuch as Rockingham is a great county, mine has
been a great task. How well it has been performed, the
intelligent reader must judge. No one more than the author
will realize the lacks and deficiencies in the result, but he
hopes and believes that all will at least credit him with a
sincere purpose and an earnest effort. No opinion, however
adverse, and no criticism, however sharp, can take from him
the joy that he has found in the work. To him it has been
indeed a labor of love. The splendid achievements and re-
sources of the county have been appreciated as never before,
and things in her history have been found— often by seeming
chance or rare good fortune— that were before undreamed of.

At the laying of the corner stone for the new Court
House in 1896, Judge John Paul delivered an address that
contains much valuable information concerning the courts and
civil officials of Rockingham. This address has been found
very helpful by the author of this book. In 1885 Mr. George
F. Compton, now of Charlottesville, Va., published an ex-
tended and interesting series of historical articles on the county
in the Rockingham Register; in 1900 Mr. John H. Floyd of Day-
ton wrote a series of ten historical papers concerning Rock-
ingham, and published them in the Harrisonburg Free Press;
in addition, many historical pieces, in books, magazines, and
newspapers have appeared from time to time. To all these,
so many as he has seen, the author makes due and grateful
acknowledgement; all that he has found published, in any
available form, he has listed, and in many cases described, in
the appended Bibliography; at the same time he begs leave
to state that the bulk of the matter presented in this volume
has been collected and prepared by himself, with the gen-
erous aid of many friends, from sources that may in a large
measure be termed original. It would of course be impossible
to enumerate all the sources from which materials have been
obtained; but some of the more important ones are herewith
indicated.

vi



First in natural order and importance are the official
records to be found in the land office at Richmond and in the
county clerks' offices of Orange, Augusta, and Rockingham
County. The records of marriages, of land sales, and of
court proceedings are rich in facts and interest and signifi-
cance. Of almost equal importance with these original
records, are the many printed volumes of Hening's Statutes
and the Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia. Old
almanacs and files of old newspapers have been found to
contain circumstantial accounts of important events that
could scarcely be obtained from any other source. Old files of
the Rockingham Register have proved of special value in this
respect. Containing as they do particular and contemporary
accounts of practically every notable happening in the county
within the past ninety years, the successive issues of the
Register are a very treasure-house to the student and anti-
quarian. A complete and well-preserved file of the Register,
from the first issue in 1822 to the present, would be sought
after eagerly by any of the great libraries of the country,
and would command almost any price. Although the writer
has not seen any complete file of this paper, he has been
exceedingly fortunate in securing what is perhaps the best
file in existence. Through the generous kindness of Mr. R.
B. Smythe, manager of the News-Register Company, Har-
risonburg, Va., he now has in his possession Register files
covering many years. These have been found most helpful
in the preparation of this book. Miss Hortense Devier,
whose father, Giles Devier, was for many years editor of the
said paper, has made a generous loan of extended files. In
addition to these files, many fugitive copies of the Register,
some dating back almost to the first issue, have been put
into the author's hands by his friends, as either a gift or a
loan. Special acknowledgement is made to Hon. Geo. E.
Sipe for access to files of the Old Commonwealth. For all
these favors he is duly grateful.

He has also had put at his disposal files of other pe-
riodicals, old ledgers and day books, and even personal manu-
scripts and diaries. A manuscript account of Harrisonburg,

vii



its people, and the activities centering in it as the county-
seat, written in 1892 by a lady who was born in the town in
1812, and giving reahstic descriptions of days and doings
nearly a century ago, should be specially mentioned. The
records of the Methodist church, dating back in their begin-
ning more than a hundred years, have been a source of much
information having a general as well as a particular interest.
Photographers have contributed pictures, authors have given
their books, publishers have opened their presses in hearty
and generous co-operation. The librarians at Richmond and
at the State University, as well as at other places where the
author has gone gathering facts, have been obliging and
helpful; hundreds of persons all over the county, and in
many other parts of our great country, have responded
cheerfully to personal letters requesting particular informa-
tion. It is indeed an embarrassment of riches that has
confronted the author; the task has been one of selection
rather than of collection, though he has sought far and long
for some things herein presented. He feels, therefore, that
he may be justly criticised, not so much for what he has
given in this book as for what he has been obliged to leave
out. It has been deemed v/iser, on the whole, to keep the
volume within reasonable size and cost than to include so
much as to make it cumbersome in bulk or expensive in price.
We have tried to make a book for the average reader, for
every citizen, as well as for the scholar and antiquarian.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to special contributors
and others who have given aid in supplying materials or sug-
gesting lines of choice, and the names of many of these will
be found in the proper connections throughout the volume.

Special mention is yet due in this place, and is gratefully
made, of the uniform courtesy extended to the author by
Col. D. H. Lee Martz, clerk of the circuit court in Rocking-
ham, and by his assistants, Mr. C. H. Brunk and Mr. J.
Frank Blackburn.



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE.

1716— September— Spotswood visits the Valley— East Rock-
ingham.
•1727— Adam Miller settles on the Shenandoah River.

1738— November— Act of Assembly passed creating Frederick
and Augusta Counties.

1745— September 23— John Sevier born in Rockingham.

1749— August 27— James Madison, first Protestant Episcopal
bishop of Virginia, born at Port Republic.

1751— Thomas Lewis and Gabriel Jones buy land in East
Rockingham.

1753— May 11— Valentine and Joannah Sevier sell land to
Andrew Byrd, on or near Smith's Creek.

1758— April 28— Massacre at Fort Seybert.

1763— April 18— Valentine Sevier sells his personal property
to Andrew Byrd.

1769— Lutheran and Reformed congregations at Peaked Moun-
tain agree to build a union church.

1773— August 15— Valentine and Joanna Sevier sell land in
Long Meadow to Michael and David Holsinger.

1775— October— John Alderson installed as pastor of the Lin-
ville Creek Baptist church.

1777— October— Act of Assembly passed creating Rocking-
ham County.

1778— April 27, 28— First court held for Rockingham County.

1779— August 5— Thomas Harrison sells lot for county
buildings.

1780— May— Act of Assembly passed establishing Harrison-
burg.

1780— First Presbyterian preaching in Harrisonburg, accord-
ing to tradition.

1782— Abraham Lincoln goes from Rockingham County to
Kentucky.



A HISTORY OF

1784 — First court house for Rockingham completed.

1787— December— Act of Assembly passed creating Pendleton

County.
1789— October 29— Rockingham Union Lodge, No. 27, A. F.

& A. M., chartered.
1791 — December — Act of Assembly passed establishing Kee-

zletown.
1794 — Bishop Asbury organizes Methodist school in Harrison-
burg.
1801 — McGaheysville named for Tobias Randolph McGahey.
1802 — January 14 — Port Republic established by Act of As-
sembly.
1804 — January 5 — New Haven established by Act of As-
sembly.
1805— Robert Gray locates at Harrisonburg,
1807 — November 16 — Henry Tutwiler, first M. A. of Univer-
sity of Virginia, born in Harrisonburg.
1807 — December — Dr. Peachey Harrison writes of Rocking-
ham for Philadelphia Medical Museum.
1809 — George Rockingham Gilmer of Georgia visits Rocking-
ham.
1809 — Bishop Newcomer (U. B. ) confers with Bishop Asbury

(M. E.) at Harrisonburg.
1811 — February 20— Dr. Asher Waterman sells 35,000 acres

of West Rockingham land for $13,125.
1813 — Daniel Bryan pubhshes the "Mountain Muse."
1816 — Rockingham Methodists prepare memorial against

slavery.
1818 — Brown's "Circular" pubhshed.
1818 — Harrison's Cave discovered.
1820 (?)— Garber's Church built.
1822— Trissel's Church built.

1S22— Rockingham Register founded by Lawrence Wartmann.
1824 — January 26 — Timothy Funk born at Mountain Valley.
1825 — Mt. Crawford established by Act of Assembly.
1826 — February 18 — Act of Assembly passed chartering Rock-
ingham Academy.

—10—



ROCKINGHAM COUNTY

1828— Lin ville Creek Church (of the Brethren) built.

1831 — March — Act of Assembly passed creating Page County.

1832 — Dunker Annual Meeting held in Rockingham County.

1832— First edition of Joseph Funk's "Genuine Church
Music."

1833— January 7 — Great Anti-Nullification meeting held in
Harrisonburg.

1833— January Court — Old courthouse sold.

1833 — March — Dayton established by Act of Assembly.

1834— Valley Turnpike Company authorized to construct toll
road from Winchester to Harrisonburg.

1835 — February — Bridgewater established by Act of Assem-
bly.

1839-40— Extraordinary snows in Rockingham County.

1840— December 19— Joseph Salyards advertises the resump-
tion of school at McGaheysville.

1844— Sons of Temperance organize at Harrisonburg.

1844— Liberty Springs Company buys land.

1847— Joseph Funk and Sons open printing office at Mountain
Valley.

1847— October 5 — Cyclone near Friedens Church.

1848— Mt. Vernon Furnace in Brown's Gap built.

1850— Rockingham Parish reorganized and put in charge of
Rev. James B. Goodwyn.

1850— Death of Judge Daniel Smith.

1858— Jed Hotchkiss publishes description of Northwest
Rockingham.

1861— Dunker Annual meeting held in Rockingham.

1861— October— Girls' school at Harrisonburg turned into a
Confederate hospital.

1862— May 8— Col. S. B. Gibbons killed at McDowell.

1862 — June 6 — Gen. Turner Ashby killed near Harrisonburg.

1862— June 8-Battle of Cross Keys.

1862— June 9— Battle of Port Republic.

1862— December 24 — Joseph Funk dies at Singer's Glen.

1864— May 5— Col. E. T. H. Warren and Maj. L G. Coffman
killed in the Wilderness.

-11—



A HISTORY OF

1864 — June 15 — John Kline killed in Rockingham.

1866 — John W. Taylor begins teaching at Lacey Springs.

1866 — School for colored children organized in Harrisonburg
by Misses Martha Smith and Phoeby Libby, of
Augusta, Maine.

1868 — February — Lutheran Church in Harrisonburg rededi-
cated.

1868 — July 13— Old Waterman home near Harrisonburg burns.

1868 — Thurman movement in Rockingham culminates.

1869 — Rockingham Home Mutual Fire Insurance Company
organized.

1869 — First railroad opened to Harrisonburg.

1869 — New stage line opened from Harrisonburg to Shenan-
doah Iron Works. )

1870 — January — Musical ilf-i^Zio^^ established at Singer's Glen.

1870 — January — Navigation opened on Shenandoah River in
Brock's Gap.

1870— October — Destructive Floods.

1870 — December 25 — Destructive fire in Harrisonburg, south
side of Public Square.

1871— Harrisonburg graded school organized under new public
school system — J. S. Loose, principal.

1871 — U. S. District Court located at Harrisonburg.

1872 — January 6 — West Rockingham Mutual Fire Insurance
Company organized.

1872 — April — Redivision of Rockingham County into 5 town-
ships.

1872 — John Cover builds tannery near Conrad's Store.

1873 — September 29 — Valley Normal School at Bridgewater
opened.

1874 — March — First train over Valley Railroad from Harrison-
burg to Staunton.

1874 — November — Grading on Narrow Gauge completed from
Harrisonburg to Bridgewater.

1874 — Third Court House erected.

1875 — Shenandoah Collegiate Institute at Dayton founded.

—12—



ROCKINGHAM COUNTY

1876 — May — Catholic church in Harrisonburg consecrated.

1876— Monument to soldiers erected in Woodbine Cemetery by
Ladies' Memorial Association.

1877 — November — Destructive floods.

1878 — Ruebush-Kieffer printing house moved to Dayton.

1879 — June— Dunker Annual Meeting at Broadway.

1879 — August-September — Sidney Lanier at Rockingham
Springs.

1879 — New Market Endless Caverns discovered.

1880 — Bridgewater College started at Spring Creek.

1880 — March — Broadway established by Act of Assembly.

1881 — April 18 — First through trains from Hagerstown to
Waynesboro on Norfolk & Western Railway.

1881 — September — A, C. Kimler begins teaching at McGah-
eysville.

1881— A. S. Kieffer pubhshes ''Hours of Fancy."

1885 — Lake's Atlas of Rockingham County published.

1885— G. F. Compton begins history of Rockingham in the
Register.

1887 — Shenandoah Normal College located at Harrisonburg.

1889 — Dunker Annual Meeting at Harrisonburg.

1892 — February — Shendun established by Act of Assembly.

1892— March 1— Old Folks' Home at Timberville opened.

1892 — Harrisonburg synagogue dedicated.

1892 — Emma Lyon Bryan publishes "A Romance of the
Valley."

1893 — Massanutta Cave, near Keezletown, discovered.

1894 — February — Timberville established by Act of Assembly.

1895 — July 31 — Chesapeake & Western Railway completed to
Dayton.

1895 — September 13— C. & W. Railway completed to Bridge-
water.

1897 — Fourth Court House erected.

1897 — Cross Keys Home Mutual Fire Insurance Company or-
ganized.

1898 — New water system for Harrisonburg put in operation.

1898 — Harrisonburg Daily News established.

—13—



A HISTORY OF

1899 — April 18— Valley Telephone Company absorbed by the
Rockingham Mutual System.

1899 — May 20 — President McKinley in Harrisonburg.

1899 — ^July 1— Rockingham County Medical Association or-
ganized.

1903— Nettie Gray Daingerfield publishes "That Dear Old
Sword."

1905 — Harrisonburg Daily Times established.

1906 — April — Fravel Sash and Door Company moved to Har-
risonburg.

1906— J. C. Paxton builds lime kiln at Linville.

1907 — J. W. Wayland publishes the "German Element of the
Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. "

1911 — Harrisonburg and Rockingham County adopted com-
pulsory education law.

1908— March— Elkton incorporated.

1909 — June — Great Dunker Annual Meeting at Harrisonburg.

1909 — September — State Normal School at Harrisonburg
opened.

1911 — Waterman School opened.

1911 — Rockingham Memorial Hospital built.

1911 — L. J. Heatwole publishes his perpetual calendar.

1911 — Rockingham Daily Record established.

1912 — Legislature changes the name of Shendun to Grottoes.

1912— State Sunday-School convention held in Harrisonburg.

1912— E. U. Hoenshel publishes the "Crimson Trail."



CHAPTER I.
GEOGRAPHY OF ROCKINGHAM COUNTY.

Rockingham County, Virginia, extends from the Blue
Ridge on the southeast entirely across the great valley to the
first Alleghany ranges on the northwest, and has an area of 870
square miles. Only two counties in the State, Augusta and
Pittsylvania, are larger. Excepting a great notch, cut out of
the east corner in 1831 in the formation of Page County,
Rockingham is nearly a square, and lies on the map as if its
corners were approaching the cardinal points of the compass
in a right-hand turn. The corner farthest north extends
nearly up to the 39th parallel of latitude, the south corner be-
ing almost as near to the [38th. As to longitude, the 79th



Online LibraryJohn Walter WaylandA history of Rockingham County, Virginia → online text (page 1 of 40)