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History

History of Elkton

Elkton plays an important part in the rich and complex history of our country. Originally home to various groups of Native Americans, most of whom shared the Siouan-Catawban language, this area of the Shenandoah Valley became a preferred destination for hard-working German and Scots-Irish immigrants.

First settled as Conrad’s Store and later renamed Elkton, the town's most famous historical landmarks include the Miller-Kite House and the Jennings House, both holding roles in national and local history during the American Civil War.

Kite Museum

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The Miller–Kite House, also known as Kite House, is a historic home located in Elkton. It was built in 1827, and is traditionally believed to have been the headquarters of General “Stonewall” Jackson during the time that the renowned Valley Campaign was planned in April 1862. The house is a town landmark and museum, loyally operated by the Elkton Historical Society.

Located at 310 W. Spotswood Trail, Elkton VA (follow the Virginia Civil War Trails signs). Free and open to the public, The Kite House is open on Sundays from 1-5PM through Labor Day weekend. For additional information call 540-578-3046 or email historyed@msn.com.

Jennings House

Dr. Jennings, his wife and six daughters provided aid to wounded Confederate soldiers at their home after the Battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic, June 8-9, 1862. The eight-room brick house served as a makeshift hospital, with more heavily wounded soldiers receiving treatment outside under the burr oak tree. Though called a respite from the monotony of camp life and the horrors of battle, Jennings House only served as a temporary camp for General Richard S. Ewell’s division during their campaign.

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The Meeting-House

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Courtesy of the Elkton Historical Society

By Casey Billhimer

Edited by Casey Breneman

 

Residents of Elk Run and the surrounding area held a meeting September 8, 1821 for the purpose of finding a suitable location for a meeting house, school house and a burial ground. The site selected sat along the main road from Swift Run Gap to Elkton, a combination of what is now Tanyard Bridge Road and Spotswood Avenue.

The 30x60 foot meeting house, constructed with hand hewn timbers, was completed by Henry Monger Jr. on March 21, 1822. The building contained a central divider to separate the men’s and women’s sides, and had two entry doors in front, each serving their respective sides. A balcony was constructed soon after and the Elk Run Liberty Meeting House was born.

The building was used mainly by the Methodist church, but other denominations shared the building as well. Eventually other Protestant congregations constructed their own churches, and the meeting house was dismantled when the United Brethren built their church in 1910.

During the dismantling of the meeting house, an inscription was found on one of the door facings which read; “Davis B. Ingrain born Feb. 12, 1825. At Elkton Run Church Dec. 1865 guarding prisoners.” During the Civil War the building was used several times to house prisoners. Confederate troops under General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Thomas Ewell had camps in the area, utilizing the town’s resources to establish a headquarters in the Kite House, and a makeshift hospital in the Jennings House during the war.

Much of the materials from the original meeting house structure were used to erect a home for the cemetery’s caretaker on the northeast corner of the intersection of Newtown Road and East Spotswood Avenue. The building stood until it was razed to make room for the widening of Newtown Road.

The Post Office by the Creek - How Elkton Got Its Name

In 1812, George Conrad constructed a general store near Elk Run creek. Humbly dubbed “Conrad’s Store,” the name for the business soon became the nomenclature for the surrounding homes and farms, and the beginnings of a town was born. The general store became a United States post office four years later, with Conrad serving as its first postmaster.

During the American Civil War, Conrad’s Store operated as a post office for the Confederate States of America, an expansive postal system that proved to be very efficient and remained in operation for the entire duration of the Civil War. In September of 1866, postal service was discontinued at Conrad’s Store as Union troops regained southern territories and restored the federal mail service.

Over the next decade Conrad’s Store post office fluctuated in and out of business, and the name of the town slowly began to evolve. In 1881, the name “Elkton” was unofficially adopted by locals and newcomers alike.

This name was taken from Elk Run creek that flowed from the Blue Ridge Mountains through the community and into the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. “Elkton” was solidified when it became the name of the new local station of the Shenandoah Valley Railroad in 1880. In January of 1881, the town re-established a permanent post office and Elkton was later officially incorporated on March 14, 1908.

Elkton is in many ways like the creek it is named for. Though constantly flowing through periods of transition and growth, the values of the town and the pride of its inhabitants for their home remain constant.

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