Towns in Rockingham County
|In 1860 a postoffice was established at Mountain Valley, and the name was changed to Singer's Glen. Mountain Valley had already become famous as the home of Joseph Funk, father of song in Northern Virginia, as the place of his school, and as the place where he and his sons printed and bound the music books and other publications that were being sent all over the country. The appropriateness of the present name has been proved by both the nature of the work that Joseph Funk & Sons kept up there till the later 70's and the character of the people who still live there.|
In March, 1894, Singer's Glen was incorporated, with B.H. Franklin mayor; and S.H. Swank, G.W. Shaffer, Jos. R. Funk, S.W. Brewer, D.M. Hollar, and C.F. Shank, councilmen. The present (1912) population is about 180, and the town officers are: B. H. Franklin, mayor; J.F. Moubray, sergeant; S.H. Swank, P.H. Donovan, W.C. Funk, G.W. Hedrick, D.S. VanPelt, and D.M. Hollar, councilmen.
The name of Edom appears as early as 1844, perhaps earlier. In 1835 Joseph Martin, in his Gazetteer of Virginia, mentions Linville Creek P.O., which may be identical with Edom. Henry Howe, a decade or more later, speaks of Edom Mills. The population of this beautiful village is about 140.
Another Rockingham village, similar in situation to Edom, built upon a never-failing stream and surrounded by sloping hillsides, is Mt. Clinton. According to an article printed in the Register, October 11, 1883, this place got its name about 1833, by a vote of the people of the community registered at the store of Bowman & Devier. Several names were under consideration, but a certain gentleman authorized Bowman & Devier to give a horn of apple-jack to every man who said "Mt. Clinton." And so Mt. Clinton it came to be. Before this the place was referred to as Muddy Creek, and was already the site of a mill, a tilt hammer, a cooper shop, etc. The meeting-house nearby was known as Gospel Hill. Henton & Burkholder were general merchants at Mt. Clinton as early as 1833, perhaps earlier. About 1895 the village came into prominence as the seat of West Central Academy, mentioned in Chapter XV. The population is (1912) about 225.
Cross Keys is an ancient village, being mentioned by Martin in 1835 as a postoffice. There have been a church and a store at Cross Keys for several generations, and the place was made famous by the battle fought there June 8, 1862, between Fremont and Ewell. The population is about 50.
Spring Creek is a village of about 200 people, situated in a prosperous farming section of western Rockingham. It maintains various local enterprises, and should be remembered as the place where Bridgewater College had its beginnings in 1880.
Ottobine, or Paul's Mill, on Beaver Creek, the site of a mill, a church, a postoffice, etc., has been well known for many years. For example, as early as 1838, possibly before, it was a place of muster. The population is about 60.
Another village of western Rockingham, surrounded by beautiful farms, is Clover Hill, with a population of about 70.
Rushville, at the confluence of Muddy Creek and Dry River, with a population of about 60, has been well known in the county for many years.
Stemphleytown, between Dayton and Bridgewater, has borne its name since the 40's or 50's from David Stemphley, the first resident. The population is about 40.
In December, 1866, Jacob Funkhouser, C.E., was laying off a town at Kratzer's Spring, on the Middle Road. This was evidently the village now called Linville, located a short distance south of Linville Depot. About 1870 the name Etna was applied to a certain part of Linville. The present population (1912) is about 250.
River Bank, near McGaheysville, should receive special notice, in addition to other things, for the mere fact of its existence, since it has probably been washed away oftener than any other place in the county. The bridge built at River Bank soon after the war was swept away in 1870. In 1873 a mill was erected and plans perfected for the rebuilding of the bridge. The leaders of River Bank industry at that time were J.H. Larkins, W.B. Yancey, R.A. Gibbons, and Henry E. Sipe. In January, 1874, three spans of the new bridge were swept away by a freshet; and in the big flood of 1877 not only the bridge, but also the grist mill and saw mill, went down in the waters. In 1874 a postoffice was established at River Bank, with E.L. Lambert, postmaster.
|Grottoes, whilom Shendun, owes its meteoric phases to the "booms" of 1890, its permanent character to the fertility in the soils, the caves in the hills, and the ores in the mountains about it. Mt. Vernon Forge had marked the place of old. In March, 1891, it was alive with industries. Males 430, with females 279, made a total population of 709, showing an increase of 100% in about five months. In February, 1892, an Act of Assembly was passed incorporating the town of Shendun; W.I. Harnsberger was elected mayor, R.T. Miller, E.R. Armentrout, J.W. Rumple, J.G. Hall, J.M. Pirkey, L.D. Patterson councilmen|
In March, 1893, receivers were appointed for the Grottoes Company, at Shendun. This year (1912) another Act was passed changing the name of the town from Shendun to Grottoes. The present population is about 400. C.D. Harnsberger is mayor; J.E. Graves, assessor; R.D. Melhorn, treasurer; S.F. Newman, sergeant; J.M. Pirkey, J.W. Lemon, M.D. Eutsler, W.I. Harnsberger, J.M. Bell, and J.L. Leeth, councilmen.
In 1893 street cars were running in Shendun. This, so far as is know, gives the place a unique distinction among the towns of Rockingham. In the Rockingham Register of January 30, 1891, the following item of interest appeared:
"The first child born in Shendun was a daughter to Mr. And Mrs. W.I. Harnsberger, and granddaughter of Hon. H. B. Harnsberger, of Port Republic. It was named Shendun Bell, the latter name in compliment of Maj. H.M. Bell, of Staunton, one of the principal promoters of Shendun."
Text from "A History of Rockingham County Virginia" by John W. Wayland, Ph.D.
- Published 1912
Photos from old postcards