MODERN FREDERICK AND THE TOWNS.
THE BENCH AND BAR-EMINENT
EARLY SETTLERS-THEIR FAMOUS DESCENDANTS-LISTS OF LAWYERS-SOME NOTED
NAMES-SUPERIOR COURT OF CHANCERY-JUDGE TUCKER'S LAW SCHOOL-DISTINGUISHED
GRADUATES-A BRILLIANT GALAXY-CHURCHES AND MINISTERS-CLAIMS FOR THE FIRST
CHURCH-THEORIES THEREON-REV. WILLIAM WILLIAMS, FIRST PREACHER-TWO EARLY
CHAPELS-FREDERICK PARISH-LORD FAIRFAX AND HIS REQUESTS-ALEXANDER
BALMAINE-CENTENARY REFORMED CHURCH-EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH-PRESBYTERIAN
CHURCHES-METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCHES-CATHOLIC CHURCH-UNITED BRETHREN
CHURCH-FRIENDS' MEETING HOUSE-BAPTIST, CHRISTIAN, CHURCH OF GOD AND COLORED
CHURCHES-THE CEMETERIES-HONORS TO THE HEROIC DEAD-EDUCATIONAL-SPLENDID
SCHOOLS-FIRE COMPANIES-PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS-INDUSTRIES-SOCIETIES-STEPHENS CITY,
MIDDLETOWN, AND THE VILLAGES-GENERAL SUMMING UP.
WINCHESTER from its very foundation, and Frederick County as well, has always been the center and seat of much cultivation, courtesy and patriotism. At first it was so from force of circumstances, Winchester being the point at which the first court of justices was organized (1743) throughout not only the entire Shenandoah Valley, but stretching to the southern boundary of the State, the organization in Augusta County not occurring until two year later (1745). Afterward, during colonial times, and from the Revolution onward, notwithstanding the rise of rival towns and cities in the valley and in other sections of the two Virginias, Winchester has maintained its ancient prestige as the mother of many eminent men and women and a home for learning and refinement. The social standing of its very early pioneers was above the average of those who usually make new settlements. Such men as Richard ap Morgan, Morgan ap Morgan, Welshmen of gentle birth; Marquis Calmes, the Huguenot; Thomas Ashby, James Wood and Thomas Rutherford, Englishmen of education; Andrew Campbell, Lewis Neil, George Hoge, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians; the Van Metres and Swearengens, Hollanders of enterprise; Dr. Fredrick Conrad and Yost Hite, the wealthy Germans; the Cartmells, the Hollingsworths and many others, all were here not long after 1730. These old leaders in the vanguard of civilization could not fail to leave an impress of simple grandeur upon their time, and many of the descendants of these sires are still foremost among their fellow-men. Some have gained well-merited fame, many have reached the highest stations conferrable by their constituents, while one (to name a glorious instance) is embalmed in the heart of nearly every man, woman and child who was fortunate enough to have seen the knightly trooper, the intrepid leader, the courtly gentleman-GEN. TURNER ASHBY, the Chevalier Bayard of the Civil war.
Other representative men came in over 100 years ago whose characters are felt to-day, but almost from the moment that Lawyer James Porteus, the first attorney to make application for admission to practice his profession, stepped up to the rude bar at the first session of the first court held November 11, 1743, the bench and bar of Frederick has had no superior and but few equals in ability and recognized standing throughout Virginia. And in the succeeding fifty years, whilst the able but eccentric Gabriel Jones (admitted 1743) and the brilliant and accomplished Alexander White, prominent about the Revolutionary period; onward through the sixty-two years and five months of service as clerk of the court of James Keith (ending in 1824); and still onward during the fifty years of service of Thomas A. Tidball as clerk, the profession of the law was and is still graced by minds that would do honor to any community in any land. There are so many names that loom above the average horizon, that to give a sketch of each of those who bore them would far transcend the limits allotted to this subject in this work. To select a few would not only be invidious but extremely unjust to the descendants of those left unmentioned. But a list of all the attorneys gleaned from the records, will be found below, running up to and including those of the present day. A number of the first-named practiced before the Revolution and many others have been mentioned in preceding chapters of this work. They were not all residents of Frederick County, large as it was, several of them living in the eastern counties of the State, but their names appear as practitioners in the courts of this county, and are therefore given. The list commences at 1781, and gives the date of admission to practice, in most cases, and runs till 1812:
1781. Robert White.
1785. Francis Whiting.
1785. Charles Magill.
1786. Samuel Reed.
1787. Buckner Thruston.
1787. George Nicholas.
1787. Charles Marshall.
1788. Argur Treadwell Furman.
1788. John James Maund.
1788. John Thompson Mason.
1788. Robert Page.
1789. John Dixon.
1789. Hugh Holmes.
1790. Maxwell Armstrong.
1791. Archibald Magill.
1791. James Cochrane.
1791. Thomas Swan.
1791. James Ash.
1791. David Holmes.
1794. John Brown.
1794. Isaac Hite Williams.
1794. Elijah Gaither.
1795. Alexander White, 3d.
1799. Daniel Thomas.
1799. Joseph Sexton.
1799. William Tate.
1799. James Chipley.
1799. Richard Holliday.
1800. Thomas Griggs.
1800. Matthew Lodge.
1800. Samuel McMechen.
1801. Henry Daingerfield.
1801. Joseph Caldwell.
1801. Alfred H. Powell.
1805. Daniel Lee.
1805. Josiah Tidball.
1805. William A. Menzies.
In conformity with an act of the General Assembly of the commonwealth, the first term of the superior court of chancery to be held in Winchester, was begun on the 7th of July, 1812; Dabney Carr, judge; Daniel Lee, clerk; William Eskridge, sergeant-at-arms of the court.
The first attorneys to take the oath, preparatory to practice in the new tribunal of justice, were: Archibald Magill, Henry St. George Tucker, Alfred H. Powell, Obed Waite, Elisha Boyd, William Naylor, John R. Cooke, Charles Magill, Lewis Wolfe, Robert B. White, Warner Throckmorton, Augustine C. Smith, Oliver Bliss and Samuel Kercheval, Jr.
The following list of attorneys, gleaned from the records of the court of chancery, covers all who were practicing in the courts of Frederick County, at or about the date given, and although a number of the names may be repeated in this and the succeeding lists, yet as a matter of reference they are given in all cases:
November 22, 1819.-Dabney Carr, judge, and Daniel Lee, clerk.
Burr W. Harrison,
Henry St. George Tucker,
John E. Page,
Alfred H. Powell,
Lewis P. W. Balch,
Richard H. Lee,
Robert B. White,
Richard H. Henderson,
John R. Cooke,
Alexander S. Tidball,
William L. Clark,
Augustine C. Smith,
Moses T. Hunter,
Charles T. Magill,
James M. Mason,
Joseph H. Sherrard,
Thomas B. Turner,
Francis W. Gilmer,
Cuthbert Powell, Jr.,
Henry St. George Tucker
having been appointed judge of the superior court of chancery, for the districts
of Winchester and Clarksburg, March 24, 1824, he presented his commission and
opened the court in Winchester April 5, 1824; Daniel Lee, clerk. David H.
Conrad and John B. Smith were admitted to practice at the same
In the records of 1825 appear the following additional names as practitioners before this court: Charles L. Powell, Charles J. Faulkner, William Lucas, A. S. Kercheval, and Messrs. Dougherty, Tapscott, Samuels, Fowke, Grey, Seymour and Williamson.
Richard E. Parker being appointed judge of the superior court, opened the same June 3, 1831. In 1833 the following names appear as either practicing, or having practiced, before the court indicated:
Charles T. Magill,
John R. Cooke,
James M. Mason,
Samuel Kercheval, Jr.,
William L. Clarke,
John S. Magill,
James H. Sherrard,
David H. McGuire,
Edmund I. Lee,
William R. Johnston,
Robert Y. Conrad,
Richard E. Byrd,
Robert Page, Jr.,
David W. Barton,
Richard H. Henderson,
John L. Green,
W. G. Singleton,
J. L. Snodgrass,
Angus W. McDonald,
Edmund P. Hunter,
James Hervey Carson,
Alex S. Tidball,
Joseph S. Carson,
Edward E. Cooke,
James J. Randolph,
Burr W. Harrison,
John A. Thompson.
Isaac R. Douglass was
appointed judge of the chancery court, and opened his first term March 6, 1837,
and having served fourteen years, Richard Parker was appointed and opened the
court June 13, 1851.
The following gentlemen are recorded in the chancery order books covering the years included from 1858 to 1889, as practitioners of the law in the courts of Frederick. Some of the first named are still in active practice here, some have removed to other fields of usefulness, and some have gone to the bar of that High Court whose judge is always just, and from whose decisions there is no appeal:
E. E. Stickley,
Robert Y. Conrad,
Lewis N. Huck,
David W. Barton,
Charles L. Ginn,
C. A. Yancey,
Morgan, Wells & Co.,
Edward E. Cook,
J. W. Jenkins
J. R. Tucker,
C. L. Watrous,
W. J. Robinson,
G. W. Brent,
Lewis T. Moore,
U. L. Boyce,
W. W. Arnett,
John Randolph Tucker,
J. P. Riely,
William L. Clark, Jr.,
J. J. Williams,
G. W. Ward,
David H. Conrad,
E. Holmes Boyd,
G. W. Ward, Jr.,
Charles L. Brent,
R. T. Barton,
F. W. M. Holliday,
Richard E. Byrd,
J. B. Hoge,
J. W. Denney,
Thomas W. Harrison,
T. T. Fauntleroy, Jr.,
Joseph S. Carson,
William M. Atkinson,
N. S. White,
Joseph H. Sherrard,
William A. Alexander,
J. Hayes Shields,
A. R. Pendleton,
E. B. Mantor,
E. P. Dandridge,
M. M. Lynch,
S. J. C. Moore,
James P. Whittaker,
Charles T. Magill,
D. H. Bragonier,
Robert E. Seivers,
J. H. Williams,
C. S. W. Barnes,
W. Roy Stephenson,
James M. Mason,
R. W. Hunter,
Robert M. Ward,
B. C. Campbell
In consequence of the Civil war very little was done in the courts of Frederick County, and the severance of the western portion of the judicial districts, owing to the creation of the State of West Virginia, changed the entire mode of procedure. Instead of a superior court of chancery, at the close of the war circuit courts were established. In 1869, June 10, Edmund Pendleton, having been appointed judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District, which comprised Frederick County, that gentleman opened the first session of the court under the new regulations, but he retained the position only one year, as on June 10, 1870, Judge Robert H. Turner held the court as a portion of the Twelfth Judicial District. Col. Joseph H. Nulton is the present clerk of the circuit court. Hon. W. L. Clark is judge of the city and county courts.
Not only has the bar of Winchester always borne a first-class reputation, but as early as between 1820 and 1830 Judge Henry St. George Tucker conducted a School of Law, which had a large attendance for several years. Many men who afterward became noted in the history of their respective counties and States attended this school, among whom were Gov. Henry A. Wise, of Virginia; Gov. Francis Thomas, of Maryland, and William Cost Johnson, of the same State, besides a number of Frederick County's best known lawyers.
It is safe in saying that no other county in the State of Virginia can point to a more numerous galaxy of legal lights, men who stood above their fellow man in all those attainments that go to make up genuine ability, with intellects that were broad, far-reaching, firm-grasping, and yet intensely subtle and analytic, than Frederick County. Not to go farther back than the Revolution, one must pause at that old heroic parson, Charles Mynn Thruston, the clergyman-soldier, the educated gentleman, and chief dispenser of justice in this county for many years; then to Gen. James Wood, son of Col. James Wood, the first clerk of the county, in 1743. Gen. Wood, from the position of deputy clerk of the county, successively was honored by his fellow citizens until he reached the position of Governor of the Commonwealth in 1798. A little further onward we behold the names of Judge Hugh Holmes and Judge Henry St. George Tucker, and onward still loom up the names of Powell and Boyd and Augustine Smith, and the Lees and Robert Y. Conrad, and the Marshalls, and the Masons, and the Bartons, and Pendletons and Hunters, and a number of others almost as gifted, including many who are still living, and who are destined to leave their impress on those to come after them. Winchester has furnished one governor of late years in the person of the gallant Col. F. W. M. Holliday, who bears the evidence of the faith that was in him during the late disastrous struggle between North and South, in the empty sleeve that hangs by his side, and one of her great lawyers, James M. Mason, who resided here from 1821 till the breaking out of the war, was selected, in conjunction with Mr. Slidell, by the Confederate government to attempt a hazardous and uncertain mission abroad, the outcome of which nearly precipitated war between Great Britain and the United States. Another gentleman who was admitted to practice here in 1825, but who resided in Berkeley County, became Minister to France during President Buchanan's administration, the Hon. Charles James Faulkner. But space forbids further mention of the bench or bar of Frederick County.
Wherever civilized man goes his religion always accompanies him; wherever he sets up his rude cabin or stately mansion, one of his first acts after planting himself is to erect a place of worship, and the next is to induce the settlement in the new village or community of a minister of the gospel. And there never is wanting some valiant solider of the cross to adventure into the wilds; only too happy is he of the opportunity to spread the glad tidings to those to whom it may be difficult to reach. Grand old heroes were those early pioneer ministers-those henchmen of the Lord-who, with rifle on shoulder an dibble and prayer-book in pocket, were as capable of drawing a bead on the savage foe as drawing a conclusion from a text. They were mighty factors in the settlement of the wilderness, for their words of consolation in times of peril and privation made the life of the pioneer not only bearable but content, hopeful and even pleasant. The Presbyterians claim the honor of being the first to introduce worship into the valley of Virginia; the Quakers, or Friends, do the same, as well as the Lutherans and Calvinists, now known as Reformers, and with equal propriety can the Episcopalians lay early claim. The facts are these, and all can judge of the matter as may suit their pleasure: The first settlement, beyond a doubt, south of the Potomac River was made on the spot where now stands Shepherdstown, by a number of German mechanics from Pennsylvania. They naturally brought their religion with them; now, were they Lutherans or Reformers? A settlement of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians was made not long after the Germans came to their new home, and some of them went farther up the valley, on the Opequon above Winchester, at the same time that the German, Yost Hite, and his three German sons-in-law and some others went there. It is altogether probably that Hite and his party were Calvinists or Reformers, and that they built a small church on the Opequon, as is claimed that the Calvinists did in 1740, by the present Reformed Church, and on which claim they have based the fact of calling their church in Winchester, established in 1840, the Centenary Reformed Church. Quakers, or Friends were here, undoubtedly before Yost Hite came to the Opequon settlement, as Alexander Ross, a Quaker, obtained a large grant of land near Winchester before 1732, as the writer has seen a survey from him of a tract of land made for a Hollingsworth, whose grandfather came over with William Penn. This old document is dated 1732, but the family claim that their ancestor settled on the tract as early as 1726. About 1730 is, possibly, the correct date. The Episcopal Church came a little later than the dates given above, although writers of that denomination claim priority of establishment, and with good reason, as Morgan Morgan, a devout Episcopalian, the first justice named in 1743, had doubtless been living in the valley many years before the county was created. Shortly after the organization of the court in 1743, "Morgan's Chapel" and "Cunningham's Chapel" appear in the old records. But the first mention of a minister is in 1743-44, where Rev. William Williams is spoken of, as has been stated in a former chapter of this work, in connection with having violated the law in presuming to marry various persons, he "not being an orthodox minister." He was doubtless a Presbyterian.
The Episcopal Church.-The introduction of the Episcopal Church into Frederick County is coeval with the organization, or rather creation (the latter antedating the former by about five years) of that county, for inasmuch as it was the established religion of the mother country, England, it was obligatory on the part of the colonial rulers to make provision for the spiritual as well as political welfare of the subjects of their sovereign lord and master, the King; so, when Frederick was cut off from Orange County, in 1738, a parish named Frederick was also instituted, and although there may have been no rector and no church edifice for several years, yet collections for their maintenance went on all the same. They had a vestry, of course, and church wardens whose general duty it was to superintend, as it were, the morals of their less religious fellows, but whose special province seems to have been, according to the ancient records, to take charge of an punish the unfortunate female victims of man's inordinate passions. Very little otherwise is heard of church, vestry or wardens, until after the arrival of Lord Fairfax, in 1749, but there seems to have been a misapplication of the funds set apart for church purposes, some £1,500 having been badly used by the virtuous old churchmen, as an act of Assembly was passed in 1752, dissolving the vestry for that cause, and the appointment of another set. These were Lord Fairfax, Isaac Perkins, Gabriel Jones, John Hite, Thomas Swearengen, Charles Buck, Robert Lemmon, John Lindsay, John Ashby, James Cromley and Lewis Neil. Lord Fairfax, in 1752, gave a lot on the southwest corner of the public square in Winchester, upon which shortly afterward was erected a rude chapel. This was occupied many years, but a better one, of stone, was reared on the same spot some time before the Revolution, which was continued to be used until the sale of the lot by the congregation, and the building of the handsome edifice on the corner of Water and Washington Streets. The mortal remains of his lordship, originally deposited in the graveyard of the old church, upon the sale of the lot to private individuals, were removed and now repose under the altar of the new church. Bishop Meade says that the first minister of Frederick parish was a Rev. Mr. Gordon, who was in turn followed by Rev. Mr. Sebastian, who took charge about 1766 and remained till 1777, when he, like patriotic Peter Muhlenberg, threw off the gown and grasped the sword in defense of the struggling colonies. From that date until 1785 there was no regular pastor of Frederick parish, but at about the date named Rev. Alexander Balmaine, who also had fought for the independence of the colonies, was chosen rector and remained in charge for over thirty years. He lived on Cameron Street north of Piccadilly Street, and was highly respected and loved by all classes of the community. After Mr. Balmaine's death, Rev. Mr. Bryan, as assistant to Bishop Meade, filled the position. Then came Rev. Mr. Robertson. In 1827 Christ Church, Winchester, was organized into a separate parish, the parish to which it was attached extending, up to that time, over a large extent of country. Rev. J. E. Jackson was chosen minister, and under his supervision the present fine church edifice was erected. He resigned in 1842 and went to Kentucky, being succeeded by Rev. Mr. Rooker, who resigned in 1847. Rev. Cornelius Walker then took charge, and was succeeded by Rev. Dr. W. C. Meredith, who continued till the commencement of the Civil War, into which he entered as a private in a Confederate regiment, afterward becoming chaplain. Rev. Mr. Maury filled the position as rector during the war, but at its close Rev. Mr. Meredith resumed his connection with the parish, and retained it till his death in 1876. Then Rev. Dr. James R. Hubard was accepted as pastor, and remained about eleven years, when he was succeeded by Rev. Nelson R. Dame, the present rector.
Centenary Reformed Church.-From actual records and from traditions handed down, the Reformed Calvinists, or German Reformed, ministry from the Palatinate, Germany, organized a congregation near to the town of Winchester, or rather the spot whereon that now delightful little city stands, in 1740 or 1741, and the crumbling foundation of the little stone church near Kernstown is supposed to be the locality where that congregation worshiped. The church was abandoned in 1753-4, when a Presbyterian congregation occupied it, and by long occupation by them it has since been known as a church of that denomination. On May 15, 1753, Lord Fairfax by deed gave "Lots numbered 82 and 83." The bequest in part reads as follows: "Do give, grant and confirm unto the said Philip Bush, Daniel Bush, Henry Brinker, Jacob Sowers, and Frederick Conrad, as trustees appointed by the said congregation (Reformed Calvinists), the said recited Lots of land, for erecting and building a meeting-house for the use of the said congregation and for no other purpose." Soon after this grant a log and frame meeting-house was erected on these lots, situated in the eastern portion of Winchester, being bounded by Philpot Lane and East Lane, etc. The records bring the church history up to about the beginning of the present century. From 1791 for a number of years Rev. G. W. Schneyder was pastor. Rev. Bernhard Willey made the first records of the church, which are preserved, and Rev. Mr. Schneyder about 1800, and the last by Rev. Dr. John Brown, October 16, 1804. From this date for many years the church organization seems to have been so scattered or dissolved that no services of this denomination were held in the building. It was used, however, by Rev. Robert Sedwick, a Baptist minister, who preached there for about nine years, and after he left it was occupied by Jonathan Robinson, colored, also a Baptist minister, who came to Winchester with Col. Preston during the war of 1812. Nothing is known to the members, of the church from 1823 till 1840, at which time efforts were made to raise funds for the repair of the church built in 1754, but on aid being promised from the synods and classes it was concluded to build a new edifice in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the organization in this section of the State, and the "Centenary Reformed Church" was the result. This structure is still standing, although it was wrecked and ruined during the late war. The original log and frame house was destroyed by fire on the night of February 13, 1844; and the sight is said to have been a wonderful one, as the ground and roofs of buildings were covered with snow, in addition to the light from a full moon. Persons awaking from their sleep imagined that the whole town was on fire, and great consternation prevailed. After the completion of the new church in 1840 Rev. George A. Leopold became pastor for a short time, and was succeeded in December of that year by Revs. D. H. Bragonier and Robert Douglas, as joint pastors of several churches, but in 1845 Mr. Douglas became sole pastor. In 1847 Rev. G. W. Willard, now president of Heidelberg College, Tiffin, Ohio, became pastor, resigning in 1850, and being succeeded by Rev. now Dr. J. O. Miller, who remained four years, being followed by Rev. now P. Seibert Davis, D. D., until recently editor-in-chief of the Reformed Messenger of Philadelphia. Dr. Davis resigning in 1857, Rev. Mr. Douglas became a supply for two years, when he was succeeded by Rev. Dr. John M. Fetzell, now of Lancaster, Penn., who continued pastor till the breaking out of the civil war in 1861. Rev. Norval Wilson, a resident minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, preached for the congregation until 1862, when the church building was taken possession of by the Federal troops, which use and occupation resulted in the almost complete destruction of the property. The lecture room in the basement was used as a stable, the pews and pulpit for fire wood, and holes cut in the floor of the audience room and walls for convenience. This scandalously treated congregation have never received one cent damages for the loss of their property. When the building was repaired or patched after the war Rev. Hiram Shaull became pastor, remaining from 1866 till 1873. He was succeeded in 1874 by Rev. Charles G. Fisher, who resigned in 1880. Then came Rev. A. R. Kremer till 1884, followed by Rev. S. L. Whitmore. The last pastor, Rev. U. O. Mohr, only remained a few months, and the church is now without one. In the burying ground of the old church is a tombstone erected to the memory of George Helm, bearing date 1769.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church.-The old Lutheran Church, as will be seen from the following records deposited in the corner-stone, was commenced in 1764, but it was not completed till 1793, which date it bore on the gable end. In 1821 the spire was erected. After the erection of the handsome edifice on Boscowen Street, the old one was used now and then for public meetings, celebrations, etc. Following is the record:
"In the name of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen! The foundation of this temple, by the grace of God, was laid in the year of Christ, 1764, on the 16th of June.
"The hearers and founders of this temple are all and each members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, at this time, residing in the city of Winchester, to wit:
"Thomas Schmidt, Nicholas Schrack, Christian Heiskell, David Dieterich, Christopher Wetzell, Peter Holferstein, George Michael Laubinger, Heinrich Becker, Jacob Sibert, Jacob Braun, Stephen Fraeneker, Christopher Altrich, Tobias Otto, Eberhard Doring, Andreas Friedly, Amanuel Burger, Christopher Heintz, Donald Heigel, Jacob Trautwine, John Segmond Haenli, Johannes Lemley, Johannes Lentz, Christian Newberger, George Schumacher, Michael Roger, Michael Warnig, Christopher Lamber, Samuel Wendell, Michael Gluck, Julius Spickert, Balthazer Poe, Jacob Koppenhaber, Heinrich Weller.
"Under whose care and inspection, and at whose expense this temple was built, at that time bore rule George II, King of Great Britain, our most element master, and his officers and governor in Virginia, Francis Fauquier, in Williamsburg, then presiding with highest authority, and Thomas Fairfax, chief magistrate of this whole district, at that time residing not far from this city, who has given to us gratuitously and of good will, two lots of ground, comprising one acre, for sacred use.
"This temple has been consecrated to the Triune God, and to the Evangelical Lutheran religion alone; all sects whatsoever name they may bear, and all others who either dissent from, or do not fully assent to, our Evangelical Lutheran religion being forever excluded. As a permanent record of which to our posterity, this paper is here placed and has been deposited for everlasting remembrance in this corner-stone. Drawn up in Winchester April 16, MDCCLXIIII.
"At that time minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
"LUDWIG ADAMS, Scribe.
"School Master in this city."
In 1772 the walls were completed, but the ambitious old Germans seem to have undertaken a larger job than they were aware of, and in consequence of their exclusiveness, which bordered on intolerance, as evidenced in the document placed in the corner-stone, they received very little help outside of their own denomination. But they are said to have worked like beavers to finish their church, women even assisting in any thing that they could do, even carrying stone and timber, and helping to lift heavy articles. It was not finished as late as 1787-88, at which time a lottery was inaugurated to raise the requisite funds to complete the building. During the great struggle for liberty, of 1775-81, the church was used for a barracks. In 1785, when Rev, Christian Streit took charge of the church, there were no doors nor window-glass nor shutters. But they preserved to such an extent that in 1790 they had cast at Bremen, Germany, two bells of extraordinary sweetness, and in 1795 they had an organ put in. The church on Boscowen Street has been in charge at various times of Revs. Abraham Reck, Eichelberger, C. P. Krauth and Rev. Messrs. Baum, Messach, Dosh, Gilbert and Miller.
The Presbyterian Churches.-The Presbyterian denomination was possibly the oldest religious society in the vicinity of Winchester, and yet they had no church in that town till 1790, the members worshiping at the old Opequon Church. Decisive measures were taken for the erection of an edifice in the town named in 1787, as has been shown in a former chapter, where plans are sought by the trustees of the church from persons competent to build the same. The edifice thus proposed was built in the course of a year or two. Dr. Hill came to the charge about 1785, and remained till 1838, off and on. This first church is now used as a school for colored children, and is on the ridge in the eastern section of Winchester, where at one time there were four churches all in a row.
The original society, known as the Loudon Street Church, was organized by some thirty or forty members, who were dissenters from the body of the old Presbyterian Church in 1838, because they sympathized with what was known as the "New School Movement" in the United States. Under the pastoral charge of Dr. Hill they first occupied the stone house on the west side of Cameron Street, south of the run, once the property of Philip Bush, but at that time belonging to J. and A. Miller, who gave them the use of it free. The present building was erected in 1840. Soon after completion the pulpit was filled by Rev. Moses Hunter. The first synod of the Virginia "New School" branch of the church was held in this church in 1841. The late Dr. H. H. Boyd was installed pastor in 1842, and remained till his death, in 1865. Rev. J. W. Lupton succeeded Dr. Boyd, but resigned after one year's pastoral charge. Rev. G. L. Leyburn took charge in the spring of 1867, and remained till he was appointed missionary to Greece, dissolving his connection in 1875. Rev. H. M. White, the present pastor, took charge in June, 1875.
The "Old School" Presbyterian Church was built about 1838-39, after the division, and the pulpit has been filled by Rev. Dr. Riddell, Rev. Dr. William M. Atkinson and Rev. Dr. Graham, the present pastor.
Methodist Episcopal Churches.-Methodism in the valley of Virginia no doubt dates to a very early period, for the ministers of that denomination have always been noted as pioneers upon the frontiers, and where the ax could be heard felling the primeval forests, it was not long before the voice of one of those "bringers of glad tidings" accompanied the strokes of the woodsman. Before the Revolution, it is thought, itinerant preachers of the faith of Wesley had penetrated the settlements in the valley, and although there is no evidence that a church in that behalf was erected, yet the foundation was laid from which has arisen one of the most numerous and influential religious societies in Virginia. Their churches are noted for numbers and beauty and their ministers for eloquence and ability.
The first Methodist Episcopal Church was erected about 1794 on Cameron Street, between Water and Cork Streets, the lot being purchased from William Beatty in 1791, and deeded to James Holliday, John Steed, Samuel Colvert and Richard Holliday. In 1805 conference was held here for the first time. There were no regular preachers stationed here till about 1827. In 1818 the building was sold to Peter Ham, by the trustees of the church, George Reed, Beatty Carson, James Walls and George M. Fryer. The trustees then purchased the lot on which "Fairfax Hall," the school of the Misses Billings, now stands, and erected thereon the second church. About 1851-52 this property was sold and the fine brick church on the corner of Cameron and Cork Streets was built, the corner-stone being laid September 12, 1853. From 1824-1827 the pulpit was mostly filled by Rev. George Reed, and has been successively filled since by Revs. Edward Smith, Henry Furlong, John L. Gibbons, John Miller, Job Guest, Norval Wilson, William Hamilton, John Smith, E. Dorsey, William B. Edwards, Norval Wilson (second time), Samuel Kepler, William Krebs, John S. Martin, William Hirst, Thomas Sewell, N. J. B. Morgan, S. V. Blake, B. F. Brooke, J. R. Wheeler, and since the division of the church after the last war, by Revs. Messrs. Gardner, Courtney, Ferguson, H. S. France, M. Bishop and the present pastor, Rev. Mr. Koontz.
The Braddock Street Methodist Episcopal Church South was erected under the supervision of Mr. William R. Denny, in 1858. It is connected with the Virginia Conference, and was in charge of Revs. George H. Ray, Peterson and August. The church was terribly abused by the United States soldiers during the Civil War, and particularly by those under Gen. Banks. The Cameron Street Church was used by the Methodists generally during the war, after the soldiers had made the Braddock Street Church unsuitable for occupancy, but at the close of the great struggle when the difficulty arose as to the ownership of the Methodist Churches in Virginia, and when the soldiers in pursuance of the decisions of the courts took charge of the Cameron Street edifice, the original adherents of the Methodist Episcopal Church South bought the Braddock Street Building and worship there now. The ministers who have been stationed there since the war are: Revs. Dr. R. R. S. Hough, I. R. Finley, D. D., J. E. Armstrong, Te. E. Carson, Samuel Rogers, D. D., James S. Gardner, H. H. Kennedy, J. W. Shoaf, W. P. Harrison, D. M. James, J. S. Martin, George Tyler and Thomas E. Carson.
The Catholic Church.-The history, or rather the starting point of the Catholic Church in Frederick County is now not definitely known, but it is altogether probably that it antedates the period generally set down-1790 to 1794-as there were a number of Irish families here at a very early date, and some of them very prominent. Although there may have been no church building or edifice set apart for public worship, yet the religious zeal for which the Catholic Church is noted, makes it almost certain that priests found their way to the splendid section of Virginia that was rapidly coming into notice, and celebrated mass at private residences. The first priest, as far as records show, who visited Winchester, was Father Dubois, who came from Pennsylvania, or Maryland. It is claimed by some that the first church was built in 1790 to 1794, and in support of this view there is a tombstone in the little cemetery on the hill, where once stood the church, which reads: "1794. Sacred to the memory of Maria Holker, daughter of John Holker, late Consul General of France and Agent of the Royal Marine. Aged 10 years." Tradition says that a wealthy Frenchman furnished nearly the entire funds for building the church and Monsieur Holker is doubtless the person indicated. Holker remained in America after he left the French consular service, and his daughter dying in Winchester, she may have been buried elsewhere, and after the building of the church and consecration of the graveyard, her remains were re-interred where they now repose. This theory is supported by the fact that only the year of her death is on the slab. Maj. Edward McGuire, the ancestor of a family that is extensively known and honored throughout Virginia, who was a leading citizen over one hundred years ago, gave the lot upon which the first church was built, but there is no record of the time of building. Mr. W. G. Russell says the church was built in 1805, and as the old gentleman, who was then five years of age, has been found to be extremely correct in his early dates on other matters, as the writer hereof has verified by records, it is safe to assume that he is correct in this case. There may have been a separate burying ground for the Catholics, but no church till the last date named. In the little graveyard on the hill lie many of the pioneer Catholics, and among the number if Patrick Denver, who came to Winchester about 1795 from Ireland. He was the grandfather of Gen. Denver, governor of Kansas before its admission as a State, and from whom the city of Denver, Colo., is named. Patrick Denver died March 31, 1831. The names of the priests who officiated here from the building of the church till 1840 cannot now be ascertained, but they were doubtless identical with those at Harper's Ferry, as the church at that place had a resident priest. Years would pass without the opportunity for the little band of the faithful partaking of the blessings of the mass. In 1844, however, Father O'Brien began visiting Winchester every three months. A few years later, when great impetus was given to improvements in the way of turnpike roads, which necessitated the employment of Irish Catholic laborers, the visits of the priest were increased to once a month, which was kept up till the outbreak of the Civil War. Father Plunket succeeded Father O'Brien, a very popular gentleman among all classes, and he in turn was succeeded by Fathers Talty and Costello. During the war the church was turned into a stable by the soldiers of Banks and others and when the disastrous struggle closed, naught but ruins marked the sacred spot where once the little edifice opened wide its doors to all. Rev. J. J. Kain became the first spiritual adviser, but without a church, so services were held in the parlor of one of the members, and afterward better accommodations were afforded. Father Kain worked unceasingly for the erection of a new church, and in 1870 the corner stone of one of the largest churches in the Valley was laid, and some time after, the building had progressed enough to permit the use of the basement for the services. It was a hard struggle to complete the church, and to make matters worse Father Kain was taken from them, he having been advanced to the Bishoprie of Wheeling. Father Van De Vyver succeeded and the church was completed in 1878, and consecrated under the patronage of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Rev. J. Hagan became the first resident pastor in 1878, all those preceding him being missionaries from other sections. During Father Hagan's pastorate, a neat residence was built adjoining the church, and a parochial school was established, which is in a flourishing condition. Rev. D. J. O'Connell succeeded Father Hagan, and after remaining one year was followed by Rev. J. B. O'Rielly, under whose influence and untiring devotion the communicants have increased, till there is a congregation now of 300 souls. Father Reilly has purchased and laid out a most suitable site for a cemetery. All the property is paid for and the church, which is one of the handsomest in the Valley, is an honor to all connected with it.
United Brethren in Christ Church.-Although this denomination had a number of church buildings in various parts of the Valley, not until 1873 were they in sufficient numbers to establish one here in Winchester. But through the exertions of Rev. G. W. Howe the neat and comfortable building on Braddock Street was erected at the date given. The present pastor is Rev. J. B. Chamberlain.
The Friends' Meeting-House.-This denomination of Christians have a very neat and tasteful building on Washington and Piccadilly Streets. It was built since the war. They had a meeting-house, built many years before that time, as it is one of the oldest religious organizations in the Valley, but the building was destroyed by soldiers.
The Baptist Church dates back to a tolerable age, but its early history seems not to be known to even prominent members of that church, as an account of it could not be obtained after repeated endeavors. They have no pastor at present.
The Christian Church has no pastor at present, and the Church of God is in the same condition. Rev. Mr. Pirkey had been in charge of the former and Elder Morgan of the latter. The colored people have four congregations, two Methodist and two Baptist.
There are several beautiful cemeteries adjoining Winchester. The Catholics have lately laid off a very beautiful site as a city for their dead, but Mount Hebron, for all denominations, is one of the loveliest sports of ground for the purposes to which it is dedicated, to be found anywhere. It is situated upon a commanding eminence just outside of the city limits, and contains thirty-five acres of land. In the main portion it is covered with beautiful trees, evergreens and creeping plants. Imposing monuments rise from be ls [sic] of lovely flowers and many a moss-covered slab reveals a date that takes one back to the beginning of the century, and a few, even years before that time. The humble and well-nigh ruined slab that marks the resting place of Gen. Daniel Morgan lies in the front of the grounds, and with the vacant space surrounding it seems to appeal to the patriotism of this generation to rear some better testimonial to his unselfish patriotism in the war that gave us this grand constellation of States. Mount Hebron was first laid out in 1844.
Stonewall Cemetery.-Within the enclosure that marks the bounds of Mount Hebron is situated the Confederate Stonewall Cemetery. The Confederate dead who fell in the many engagements in this portion of the Valley lie here, and a number of beautiful and costly monuments attest the love the living have for the departed heroes who laid down their lives in a cause they deemed pure and just. As an evidence of the promptness with which the ladies of the Valley hastened to erect a testimonial to the dead soldiers of their defeated and scattered army, this cemetery has the honor of being the first one finished in the United States, North or South. It was opened formally on October 9, 1866. Ex-Gov. Henry A. Wise delivered one of the grandest orations on that occasion that ever fell from the lips of man. A number of splendid monuments have been erected, those of Virginia and Maryland being particularly fine. But the crowning feature of this "bivouac of the dead" is the magnificent marble monument erected exclusively by the ladies of the South. It is a shaft forty-eight feet high, surmounted by a Confederate soldier, and cost $10,000. Beneath it repose the remains of 829 unknown soldiers-unknown to a single soul on earth to-day-unknown to all save Him whose eye never overlooks the fall of a sparrow, much less these sleeping boys in gray whose pure young blood streamed out, mayhap, behind some lonely rock or tree, as he thought of a mother, father, sister, wife, who would await the coming of their hero, who never would return. On the base of the monument are the words: "To the Unknown Dead" and this is the only "monument to the unknown dead" in all our land. On another portion of the base are the words: "Who they were none know; what they were all know." A sentiment that no poet of any age ever excelled for depth, pathos and intrinsic meaning.
United States National Military Cemetery.-For the following particulars the author is indebted to Capt. W. A. Donaldson, superintendent of the cemetery:
Location-Distance from court house, east half a mile. Established and dedicated April 9, 1866. Area of ground, five acres; rectangular in form, with main avenue running north and south; flat, with depression from west to east.
Names and dates of battles from the scenes of which the dead were removed to this cemetery: Kernstown, March 23, 1862; Union forces under Gen. Shields, Confederates under Gen. Stonewall Jackson. Banks retreat, May 23, 1862. Miles' surrender, September 1862, at Harper's Ferry. Millroy's fight, June, 1862. Martinsburg, July 25, 1864. Winchester, September 19, 1864. Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864, Union forces under Gen. Sheridan, Confederates under Gen. Early. Many were found buried where skirmishes had taken place in the vicinity of Winchester. At the entrance to the cemetery is the superintendent's lodge, and none but disabled meritorious officers or privates of the United States army can hold the position as superintendent, under a law in relation thereto. In the center of the grounds is a large mound surmounted by a flag-staff sixty feet in height, to the top of which is hoisted at sunrise, and lowered at sunset, every day in the year, a United States flag. The cemetery is laid off in burial sections, there being forty-eight, some arranged by States, others containing two States.
Interments-Known dead, 2,098; unknown dead, 2,382.
Headstones-At known graves, 2,098; unknown, 2,382.
Monuments-To Third Massachusetts Cavalry, cost $1,000; to Sergt. Thompson, $25; to Eighth Vermont Infantry, $400; to H. M. Martin, $75; to Fourteenth New Hampshire, $200; to Thirty-eighth Massachusetts, $20.
These two cemeteries, Confederate and Federal, lie side by side, and here repose the gallant dead of some of the bloodiest battles the wickedness of man ever devised. Who shall judge between these fallen heroes? Who can deny that both were right? They every one of them had the manliness to face the storm of deadly shot and shell, to brave the hardships of the march and the camp, to leave home and loved ones, and here they lie, silent till that louder trump shall waken them to scenes where strife is never known, where all is peace and concord. The same blue sky canopies their last earthly resting place, the same bright sun makes glad the flowers that bloom on their grassy mounds, and the same Eternal Eye of justice must look with pity equally upon these twin camps.
Excellent schools have from the very establishment of Winchester, almost, been one of its main features and a source of much laudable pride. One hundred years ago, as shown in a previous chapter, two or three exceptionally fine classical schools were conducted here, and at no time since has there been wanting facilities for parents to educate their children right at their own homes. In addition to the law school of Judge Tucker, way back in the 20s, there was in Winchester, from 1855-56 until the Civil war began, a medical college that stood very high. There are now four excellent private schools, of a very high grade, all of them affording instruction that fits their pupils for the highest collegiate course, where that is necessary, but the course at either of the female schools is such that further advancement is not ordinarily required. The male academy was established in 1787, and has continued ever since, with the exception of the years during which the Civil war raged. Mr. Rhodes Massie, a graduate of the University of Virginia, is at the head of this institution. The grounds are large and there is a fine gymnasium attached.
Fairfax Hall, established by the late Rev. Silas Billings, and now conducted by his daughters, is the oldest school for young ladies in Winchester, having been inaugurated in 1869. The ladies in charge were specially educated for the work they have in hand, and held important educational positions before they entered upon their duties here. This seminary for young ladies is beautifully located on one of the finest streets of Winchester. Eight to ten teachers are employed and give thorough instruction to science, mathematics, languages, music, art and elocution.
The Valley Female College is a popular and flourishing institution, located on the highest point within the city limits and for some distance around. It is situated on the exact spot selected by Washington in 1756 for the building of Fort Loudon, and the southwestern bastion of that famous old fort till stands on the grounds of this institute; in fact, a cistern is sunk into the bastion itself. The view from this spot is one of the most charming in the valley of the Shenandoah. To the east may be seen the "burly Blue Ridge," and almost the "brawling Shenandoah," and to the west rises the North Mountain, whilst at closer range loom up the earth-works erected during the late war, within and around which fought or fell many who have gone into history. Yonder Sheridan dashed along on his black charger, and there stood glorious Stonewall Jackson, calm, majestic, inscrutable as a sphinx. The location of this school is fine, but its course of instruction, under the able management of Rev. Dr. J. P. Hyde, is all that can be desired.
The Public Schools.-Until the close of the Civil war Virginia had no public school system. All schools were either the universities, the colleges, the academies, seminaries, institutes, and private, or "select" schools, and here and there a school for the very poor, known as a "charity" school. These "charity" schools were sometimes kept up at the expense of the city or town where they were located, and sometimes established through the generosity of an individual, and none but extremely poor parents ever thought of sending their children to them, they being patronized mostly by orphans of very indigent persons. Hence, there was a certain stigma attached to these lower schools, not alone from the contact with poor children, whose rude manners may have been entailed upon them by a drunken father or worthless mother, but from the innate Virginian idea of independence: that sense of not being dependent upon their fellow-men for material support, especially in the matter of the education of their children. This feeling, the result of generations of experience in this regard, was ingrained and set; so it can readily be imagined that when the "free school system" was mooted it was met with bitter opposition on the part of a large majority of the citizens of the commonwealth. The idea of a "free" school seemed to imply the old "charity" school-highly repugnant and not to be thought of for an instant. Thus slowly do ideas grown, for to-day, and for years, the best people of the State have been and are upholders of the public schools. In accordance with an act of the General Assembly, passed a year or two after the war, Frederick County inaugurated the system without delay, and now, through the liberality of a respected citizen, Mr. John Kerr, Winchester has one of the finest school buildings in the State. Mr. Kerr donated $10,000 for the purpose of erecting the building, provided the city would furnish an equal amount, which it promptly did. It cost $20,000, is heated by steam, fitted with all modern improvements, and fully equipped for the work to which it is devoted.
Five Companies.-The fire department of Winchester has always had a reputation that seemed to be above the average in towns of its size. Very little damage has ever been done by fire since the three fire companies have been organized, which may be a coincidence, or it may be in consequence of the working qualities of the members. A few years ago considerable discussion was had, and no little feeling engendered, upon the subject of which was the oldest fire company in Winchester. Of course the "Sarah Zane" was out, there being no claim on this score by her. The "Friendship" claims to have been organized in January, 1831, and say that there is a tradition that the ladies, as far back as 1817, raised funds to uniform this company. The "Union" claims to be the first organized, putting their date down as 1833, and calling their engine No. 1. The "Sarah Zane" stepped in while the fight was going on, and although only organized in 1840, got in a steamer ahead of the balance and justly claims the honor of being "No. 1 steamer," having gotten their engine March 9, 1887. The others also have steamers. They all do effective work, are a fine set of fire laddies and an honor to old Winchester. But the boys did not go far enough back in their examination of the records, or they would have run against two companies of firemen in Winchester over one hundred years ago, as has been shown by extracts from files of newspapers printed right here at that time and incorporated in another chapter of this work.
Improvements and Enterprises.-Frederick County has been blessed with many improvements running back through a long series of years. A branch of the Baltimore & Ohio system of railroads was chartered by the General Assembly of Virginia March 14, 1831, and soon after was put under construction. This is known as the Winchester & Potomac Railroad. The Valley Turnpike Company was chartered on March 3, 1834. A road from Washington running through Loudoun County was chartered and built to a point west of Leesburg, with its objective point the Ohio River, to run through Winchester, shortly before the late war. It has since been re-chartered and named the Washington & Ohio Railroad, and will be put under construction some day. The Winchester & Strasburg Railroad, an extension of the Winchester & Potomac branch of the Baltimore & Ohio, was chartered March 3, 1867, and shortly afterward completed. The extension of the Cumberland Valley branch of the Pennsylvania system was finished to Winchester from Martinsburg in the summer of 1889.
The Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Association was organized March 13, 1869, with Col. Robert L. Baker, president, and James H. Burgess, secretary. The grounds are located just north of Winchester. The following counties are represented: Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Shenandoah, Page and Loudoun, Va., and Berkeley, Jefferson, Hampshire, Hardy and Morgan, W. Va. The present officers are: Col. H. L. D. Lewis, of Clarke County, president, and E. G. Hollis, secretary.
There are two banks in Winchester: Shenandoah Valley National Bank, with a capital of $100,000, and doing a business of over half a million dollars; H. S. Slagle, president; John W. Rice, cashier; H. D. Fuller, assistant cashier. The Union Bank, chartered 1870, capital $50,000; paid up and doing $300,000 business; James B. Russell, president; M. H. G. Willis, cashier; L. N. Barton, teller. Also a loan and building association, with James B. Russell, president, and M. H. G. Willis, secretary and treasurer.
The Shenandoah land and Improvement Company have their office in this city. Incorporated April 25, 1888; S. H. Hansbrough, president; L. N. Barton, treasurer; J. Clifton Wheat, Jr., secretary.
Societies.-The following fraternities, orders and societies are located in Winchester. Each has its hall tastefully decorated and all are in a flourishing condition. The Masonic Temple is one of the most substantial buildings in the city. The lodge room is superbly frescoed in Masonic devices and emblems, and is considered one of the finest in the State. Hiram Lodge has had an unbroken existence since 1768, when it was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Philadelphia, and has preserved its records since that time.
Winchester Commandery K. T., No. 12, meets third Monday in every month, Charles W. Hensell, eminent commander; H. Clay Krebs, recorder.
John Dove Royal Arch Chapter No. 21, meets second Friday in every month; Judge R. Parker, high priest; H. C. Krebs, secretary.
Hiram Lodge No. 21, A. F. & A. M., meets in Masonic Temple second Tuesday in every month; Samuel B. Baker, master; Charles E. Hoover, secretary.