A Guide to the

Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society Collection, 1740-1950

Collection Number SC 0117

Compiled by: Sandra Joyner & Don Lambert, April 1987

Revised by: Cara Lundgren, 2014

Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society Collection, 1740-1950

Collection No.: SC 0117

Creator: Various

Extent: 6 boxes, 1 flat folder; 3.0 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: This collection consists of approximately 1,700 items, in six boxes and one flat folder, and covers the dates 1740-1950. The collection is comprised of a very wide variety of legal, governmental, business, school, and church records, as well as personal papers, all primarily from the Central Shenandoah Valley (Rockingham, Shenandoah, Augusta, and Page counties). Most are originals, but some facsimiles are included.

Administrative Information


Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], [box #, folder #], Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society Collection, 1740-1950, SC 0117, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information: This collection was compiled from many boxes of miscellaneous papers placed on deposit at the library by the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society.
Processing Information: In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in the spring of 2017. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 2095.

Scope and Content: This collection consists of approximately 1,700 items, in six boxes and one flat folder, and covers the dates 1740-1950. The collection is comprised of a very wide variety of legal, governmental, business, school, and church records, as well as personal papers, all primarily from the Central Shenandoah Valley (Rockingham, Shenandoah, Augusta, and Page Counties). Most are originals, but some photocopies are included.

The Legal/Governmental Documents Series includes summonses, road documents, juror lists, delivery bonds, papers from the Sheriff's Office and the Circuit Courts of Rockingham and Shenandoah Counties, CSA Telegraph Reports, postal accounts, and miscellaneous other official reports, claims, applications, etc.

The Business/Institutional Documents Series includes church histories and other church documents, school catalogs, slave purchase documents, records of Cootes' Store, and other miscellaneous business papers which are not related to families, such as the merger of the News Register Co. and Rockingham Publishing Co. Significantly the collection includes a complete issue of the Rockingham Weekly Register from April 26, 1828, that is not extant elsewhere.

The Individual/Family Documents Series contains deeds and indentures; letters; receipts; promissory notes and other financial papers, including those related to family businesses; certificates; and miscellaneous other documents. Of particular interest are the Harrison and Lincoln family folders, which include several noteworthy deeds; and the Winfield family folder, which includes several items relating to the Civil War.

Arrangement: Most of the papers were received in no order. A few packets were labeled with family names. The documents were sorted into the following series and sub series:

1. Legal/Governmental Documents
2. Business/Institutional Documents
3. Individual/Family Documents
3.1. Individual Families. Separate folders under each family or individual for which 5 or more relevant items are held.
3.2. Miscellaneous Families. Combined folders in one alphabetical sequence for four or less documents per name. See Cross Index for names.
4. Oversize
4.1. Legal/Governmental Documents
4.2. Business/Institutional Documents
4.3. Individual/Family Documents
4.4. Maps and miscellaneous

Documents are arranged chronologically within folders, except in the Miscellaneous folders of the Individual/Family series, where they are filed alphabetically.


Series 1: Legal and Governmental Documents Box: Folder
Account book, J. H. Shue, Clerk of Circuit Ct. 1875-1881, 1 item 1:1
Applications to create voting precincts, 1922, 2 items 1:2
Applications for soft-drink licenses, 1916-1931, 78 items   1:3
Appointments to office, 1876-1887, 7 items 1:4
Arrest warrants, 1890-1920, 6 items 1:5
Articles of agreement, 1861 Militia draft substitute agreement, 1821-1894, 11 items 1:6
Black voters, Rockingham County, 1902-1903, 1 item 1:7
Complaints of illegal sales of poison, 1906-1907, 14 items  1:8
Complaints to the court, 1778-1825, 5 items 1:9
Court Actions: court decisions and grand jury presentments, 1779-1897, 7 items 1:10
Courthouse and Public Square; papers dealing with the building of a new courthouse, 1832-1838, 12 items 1:11
Court Petitions, 1798-1899, 5 items 1:12
CSA Military telegraph reports, 1864; Confederate Bonds, 1864, 5 items 1:13
Debt contracts, 1797-1907, 19 items 1:14
Delivery bonds, 1844-1893, 90 items 1:15
Inquests, 1790-1823, 10 items 1:16
Jail: Reports on the condition of the jail, 1824-1916, 3 items 1:17
Juror lists. See also Oversize Series. 1871-1902, 63 items 1:18
Lawsuit: Haga vs. Bradley; Article of agreement and depositions concerning this lawsuit. 1829-1835, 13 items 1:19
Licenses; To sell merchandise, keep private entertainment, practice as physician or attorney, operate as daguerrian artist, 1929 list of stills. 1760-1929, 53 items 1:20
Oaths of office, 1779-1893, 7 items   1:21
Pleas of the Commonwealth, 1855-1860, 7 items 1:22
Postal accounts, Parnassus, Va. 1875-1881, 25 items 1:23
Assessments of Clerks of the Court, 1880-1914, 93 items 1:24
Civilian Defense, 1941-1944, 1 item 1:25
Prohibition petition, 1914, 1 item 2:1
Promises to pay, 1817-1910, 28 items 2:2
Receipts & applications for business charters, 1875-1903, 51 items 2:3
Records & claims against estates, 1792-1890, 9 items 2:4
Recognizance bonds, 1883-1889, 50 items   2:5
Recognizance bonds, promises to keep the peace, 1890-1897, 77 items 2:6
Road documents. See also Oversize Series. 1793-1927, 57 items   2:7
Summonses and subpoenas, 1801-1930, 36 items 2:8
Tax Data. See also Oversize Series. 1801-1861, 4 items 2:9
Miscellaneous legal documents: Claims, judgments of court, deposition notice, program from dedication ceremony of W. G. Myers Armory. 1797-1954, 6 items 2:10
Series 2: Business and Institutional Documents  
C&W Railroad Company. See also Oversize Series. 1895, 3 items 2:11
Cootes Store: legal & financial records, 1857-1923 2:12
Cootes Store Horse Co. ledger, 1911 2:12.5
Cootes Store: charges, receipts, 1839-1898   2:13
Cootes Store: Post office records, 1866-1895 2:14
Cootes Store: Bark business, 1890-1892 2:15
Currency: Bills issued from banks and counties. 1860-1861, 2 items     2:16
Gilbert, Felix. Extracts by Warren Skidmore from Account book, 1768-9 2:16.3
Harrisonburg Chamber of Commerce, 1925-1944 2:16.5
Mossy Creek Iron Works, 1801, 1 item    2:17
Rawley Springs Tonic Water Co., 1896, 3 items; Rawley Springs Turnpike Co., 1890, 1 item 2:18
River Bank Bridge Co., 1867, 3 items 2:18.5
Rockingham Thespian Society, 1866, 1 item 2:18.7
Telephone companies: Receipts from Harrisonburg Mutual Telephone Co.; by-laws of Page Co. Telephone Company. 1902-1904, 3 items 2:19
General Church documents: Contains undated typed manuscript "Some Old Churches of Rockingham& Neighboring Counties" by Ruebush & Wayland; M. E. Church S., Rockingham Dist. Steward's Bk. 1884; 1911 Rockingham Sunday School Association Constitution; [Peaked Mountain Church] list, 1920. 1884-1920, & und., 4 items 2:20
Trustees and officers of churches, 1875-1918 3:1
Church histories and directories, 1927-1950: Cook's Creek Presbyterian, 2 booklets, 1927, 1951; Hebrew Friendship congregation, booklet 1952, typed manuscript [1950?]; Methodist Church of Dayton, booklet 1951; Mt. Hebron, booklet 1950; Port Republic Methodist Church, booklet 1957; New St. Stephen's Reformed Church, booklet 1941; Trissels Mennonite Congregation, typed manuscript, 1950 3:2
School documents: Catalogs from Girls' Home School, Prospectus for Industrial School at Massanetta Springs, Program from McGaheysville H. S., Teacher's District Meeting, Timberville, 1908 program. 1889-1926, 5 items 3:3
Mossy Creek Academy: Lists of subscribers, Constitution (with transcription). [1850?], 5 items 3:4
Slave Purchase Documents, 1794-1825, 3 items 3:5
Miscellaneous business documents, 1816-1919: 1901 timber contract; 1816 & other sale notices; 1843 Elk Run tent holders agreement; subscription form, Golden Horseshoe Tavern, Elkton; 1855 Rockingham Mutual Fire Ins. Co. policy for A. Sprinkel; 1913 (?) merger of News Register Co. & Rockingham Pub. Co., Account with J.P. Houck; Minute book of Weyers Cave Telephone Exchange, 1898-1952; Receipts of P.H. Myers; 29 items 3:6
Series 3.1: Individual and Family Documents (Note: See also cross index for particular names)  
Basford, Thomas. Includes summonses, tax data, and business accounts. 1868-1874, 8 items 3:7
Conrad, Edward. Contains deeds & plat for downtown Harrisonburg; other deeds; & receipt for Valley Telephone Co. shares. See also Oversize. 1895-1908, 12 items 3:8
Crawford, William. Contains tax information. 1867-1877, 13 items 3:9
Eversole Family. Contains letters; road tax toll; RR stock receipts; & misc. 1832-1879, 70 items 3:10
Gaither Family. 1834-1907, 25 items 3:11
Garber Family. Includes tax data, muster fines, tax paper for the Confederacy, and receipts from shares of stock. 1834-1886, 5 items 3:12
Gibbons Family. Contains letters written by Mary Gibbons, including one dated 20 June 1862 describing battles of Pt. Republic & Cross Keys. 1838-1895, 17 items 3:13
Harrison Family. Includes an indenture that transferred land from T. Harrison to Rockingham County for a courthouse. 1779-1831, 3 items 3:14
Harnsbarger Family. Indentures, surveys. 1815-1824, 6 items 3:15
Kemper Family. Letters, mostly written to Fanny Kemper before Civil War. 1843-1862, 34 items 3:16
Kite, Joseph H. Bankruptcy papers. 1873-1875, 30 items 3:17
Koontz, John. Includes 1812 grant to land where Koontz built the house later occupied by Lincoln's. See also Oversize Series. 1805-1832, 24 items 3:18
Lincoln Family. Includes land indentures and typescript of genealogy. See also Oversize Series. 1780-1831, 6 items 3:19
Martz Family. Business letters from E. R. Shue, F. H. Bowman, etc. and letter to Hiram Martz commenting on politics and the recent elections. 1840-1914, 31 items 3:20
McGahey Family. Letters, deed, survey, & appraisal of estate of Tobias R. McGahey, 1845; blacksmithing accounts; 1862 note from John Letcher; 1884 note from J. R. Jones; churn patents, & misc. 1809-1944, 45 items 3:21
Miller Family. 1837-1882, 6 items 4:1
Morrison Family. 1876-1898, 12 items 4:2
Nicholas Family. See also Oversize Series. 1839-1843, 5 items 4:3
Reherd, William. 1834-1881, 17 items 4:4
Roller, John Edwin. Letters; description of military drill; tax receipts & other business papers. 1846-1908, 55 items 4:5
Senger, Daniel. 1899-1905, 5 items 4:6
Shacklett Family. Letters. 1834-1872, 65 items 4:7
Shacklett & Gibbons. Invoices. 1855-1858, 16 items 4:8
Shacklett & Others. Invoices. 1827-1888, 57 items 4:9
Showalter, Jacob. Includes 1840 indenture of John Showalter; other docs. relevant to estate of Jacob. 1826-1876, 31 items 4:10
Shue, J. H. 3 Confederate bills; docs. relating to Shue estate. 1864-1886, 15 items 4:11
Spader, John, and relatives. Deeds, loan bonds. 1866-1917. ca. 12 items 4:12
Winfield Family. Includes many documents relating to the Civil War, business documents, indenture for servitude of a free boy of color, 1823-1944, 37 items 4:13
Zirkle, Crawford. 1865-1876, 11 items 4:14
Series 3.2: Miscellaneous Families  
A-C 5:1
D-G 5:2
H-K 5:3
L-Q 5:4
R-Z 5:5
Series 4.1: Oversize Legal and Governmental Documents  
Assessments of clerks of the Court, 1880-1914, 8 items OV 1:1
Public road papers, 1794-ca.1870, 4 items [MISSING] OV 1:2
Reports of business of the Courts, 1883-1914, 35 items OV 1:3
Tax Data, 1833, 1 item OV 1:4
Miscellaneous legal documents:  Juror list, list of Rockingham county officers; lists of county pensioners 1920, '21. 1874-1921, 5 items OV 1:5
Series 4.2: Oversize Business and Institutional Documents  
Chesapeake & Western Railroad Company: complete issue of Rockingham Weekly Register, April 28, 1828 OV 1:6
Chesapeake & Western Railroad Company: 1 page from Bridgewater Herald, September 14, 1895 Map Case 1:3, Flat Folder 1
Church documents, 1794, 2 items OV 1:7
Series 4.3: Oversize Individual and Family Documents  
A-G  OV 1:8
H-K OV 1:9
L-R OV 1:10
L-R Map Case 1:3, Flat Folder 1
S-Z (several large items in map drawer including a March 19, 1777 deed between Michael Bowyer and Sebastian March in Augusta County, in the Colony of Virginia.) OV 1:11
Conrad Family land grants and indentures OV 1:12
Series 4.4: Oversize Maps and miscellaneous  
Plat of Hall lands, Harrisonburg, 1883, 1 item Map Case 1:3, Flat Folder 1
Himmelsbrief, Rockingham County, ca. 1800, 1 item OV 1:13