May, George E. Papers, c.1930s

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Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: George E. May Papers, 1930s

Collection No.: SC 0094
Creator: May, George Elliott, 1869-1960

Extent: 5 folders; .1 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: The George E. May Papers, 1930s, contain 44 chapters (some missing) of a carbon-copy typescript manuscript plus handwritten drafts and other notes on the history of Port Republic, Virginia. The manuscript is a draft of May's book Port Republic: The History of a Shenandoah Valley River Town that was published for the first time in 2002 - the 200th anniversary of the founding of Port Republic.


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 Collection Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Preferred Citation: [Identification of Item], [folder #], May, George E. Papers, 1930s, SC 0094, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information: On deposit from the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, May 27, 1987.
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 2055.

Bio/Historical Note:

Born in 1869, George Elliott May was a lifelong resident of Port Republic, Virginia. His primary occupation was woodworker and mill builder, but May's passion was local history, particularly that of Port Republic. He spent much of his life researching and collection information about his hometown, and his manuscript, entitled "A History of Port Republic," was the culmination of that endeavor. May died February 6, 1960 and is buried at Port Republic Cemetery.

Port Republic, Virginia, founded in 1802, is one of the oldest towns in Rockingham County. It particularly flourished during the 1820s and 1830s after the South Shenandoah River was made navigable for flatboats. It is best known today as the site of the Civil War Battle of Port Republic in 1862.

Scope and Content:

The George E. May Papers, written in the 1930s, consist of approximately 44 numbered chapters of a typed manuscript, with some chapters missing, plus handwritten materials on the history of Port Republic, Virginia. The manuscript begins with a portrait of the land and the American Indians who inhabited it and goes on to detail the establishment of the town and its subsequent growth. Information concerning farming (references to the invention of the notched sickle used on the McCormick reaper), boating, industry, and schooling is included. Several chapters are devoted to the Civil War and Stonewall Jackson's victory at the Battle of Port Republic in 1862. Citizens of the town who were involved in wars through World War I are discussed, with additional genealogical chapters on the Carthrae, Burgess, Harper, Kemper, Harnsberger, Trout, Scott, Downs and Madden families. Other individuals mentioned include Zachariah Raines and local slave trader, George W. Eustler.


The collection is arranged in five folders divided by manuscript chapters.


May, George E. Port Republic: The History of a Shenandoah Valley River Town. Staunton, Va.: Lot's Wife Publishing, 2002.


Folder Title
Box : Folder
Chapters 1-7, undated
Chapters 8-12, undated
Chapters 13-24, undated
Chapters 25-44, undated
Miscellaneous Papers, undated

Compiled by: Orville Bame, October 1988; Chelsea Gutshall, February 2010